Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back in the Day with Arlene Constable Schaefer

Unity College Trustee Arlene Constable Schaefer stopped by today for lunch.  The weather was dreary, but we were cheered by cardinals and goldfinches out on the birdfeeder, a sweet peach-blueberry cobbler (blueberries courtesy of Monica Murphy at CrossTrax) and some warm conversation.

Arlene is the daughter of Eddie and Florine Constable, the generous people who donated the land our campus sits on today. The Constable family were leaders in the poultry industry, and our campus was once a farm where -- literally -- millions of chicks were hatched.

Arlene grew up in what is now Constable Hall (the front portion of the house on the right side of the above photo).  Her childhood was full of fun, she says, but she had few playmates because Unity was a very small town back then  -- although she did have a few favorite chickens she raised by hand.

We chuckled over the irony that her family's farm is now overrun with young people during the school year.  While Unity College has not yet graduated -- literally -- millions of students, we have educated tens of thousands of environmental stewards and leaders who have touched the lives of millions of people.

Arlene's parents continued to reside in Unity after they donated their land to the college.  In the 1970's, when Florine Constable became ill, the couple began to take their evening meal in the college cafeteria.  In 1979, some students inquired about the identity of the older couple, and learning of Eddie and Florine's contribution to the college, they got up a petition to insure that the Constables could dine for free whenever they wished at the Unity College Cafeteria. Arlene still has that petition; it is on view in the scrapbook she donated to our library.

Curiosity, committment and compassion are still hallmarks of Unity students.  Maybe they inherited it from Arlene, who carries on her family's dedication and generosity as a member of the college's board of trustees, and as an active member of the Rotary Club, the Unity Barn Raisers, and other local organizations.  It was an honor and a pleasure to spend time with her over lunch today.

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