On March 28, 2003, the mythical garden became real, as The Rose Garden outside of the Gertrude Castellow Ford Center for the Performing Arts was dedicated at the entrance to The University of Mississippi. On that day people of all ages stood in a circle and embraced the message of the OMWC. The vision of the OMWC is to expand and redefine the boundaries symbolized by the rose metaphor. In the adult teaching tale – the rose is the symbol – like growing roses, mentoring student leaders requires loving attention to bring them into full bloom and share their beauty in service to the world.
At the center of The Rose Garden, the council placed an exquisite sculpture, “The Mentor,” to depict their nurturing energy to those who enter the campus. Each rose bush planted represents a scholarship created to educate the next generation of student leaders, who are chosen to go out into the world and make it a more caring and ethical place. The students, like roses, can be difficult to raise and require a great deal of attention. They will need watering, fertilizer, and even pruning. But once cut away from the bush, the carefully tended rosebuds will transform their surroundings and bring beauty to those around them.