Stephanie A. Urchick
Rotary International President-Elect
Cleveland Cultural Gardens
August 17, 2023

The Rotary Club of Cleveland welcomed Stephanie A. Urchick, Rotary International President-Elect to Cleveland. Among her activities was a meeting and presentation at the historic Union Club in Cleveland. See pictures and video.

The morning of the event Stephanie went on a tour of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens with Beverly A. Ghent-Skrzynski and her husband David. Dan Hanson led the tour.

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens were established over 100 years ago in Rockefeller Park in Cleveland. Currently there are almost 40 heritages represented with another 10 or so gardens in the planning stages. The motto of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens has always been "Peace through Mutual Understanding." This parallels Rotary International's stated mission spread to 200 or so countries to "provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through [the] fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders".

President-Elect Urchick's heritage includes Polish and Carpatho-Rusyn roots so these gardens were first on the list to visit.

David, Stephanie and Beverly with Copernicus in the Polish Cultural Garden

David, Stephanie and Beverly with Copernicus
in the Polish Cultural Garden

Each of the gardens has representations (statues, busts, fountains, flora, etc.) representing their culture. Most of these features honor musicians, scientists, writers, poets and other cultural figures. For example the Polish Garden has several busts circling the large fountain including Copernicus, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Frédéric Chopin, Madame Marie Sklodowska Curie, Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Adam Mickiewicz. The most recent addition is of St. Pope John Paul II.

St. Pope John Paul II bust in Polish Cultural Garden

St. Pope John Paul II bust in Polish Cultural Garden

Because of her roots, Stephanie was eager to visit the Carpatho-Rusyn Garden. Until last year it was called the Rusin Garden which has led to a lot of confusion from people who wondered if it was a misspelling of Russian. Dedicated in 1939, the Rusin Garden features a statue of Aleksander Duchnovic who famously stated, "I was, am and always will be a Rusin."

Aleksander Duchnovic bust in Rusin Garden

Aleksander Duchnovic

Last year it was renamed to the Carpatho-Rusyn Garden and 4 informational posts were added.

Carpatho-Rusyn Garden sign

Stephanie, Dan and David

Stephanie, Dan and David

Map in Rusyn Garden

President Elect Urchick showing where her family was from

President Elect Urchick showing where her family was from

The tour included the Slovak, Italian, Greek, Hungarian, Irish and other Gardens in the 250+ acre footprint.

Dan Hanson, Stephanie Urchick and Beverly Ghent

David, Dan Hanson and Stephanie Urchick

Touring the Irish Garden

Pictures and video of the Cleveland Rotary Club meeting with Stephanie Urchick

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