Dedicated to Margaret and Robert Gladish, New Church teachers and administrators, for their decades of diligent and spirited work in the garden of the mind.
Address read by Jared Buss:
Robert Gladish loved gardening all his life, especially roses, and he loved planting seeds of learning. He loved words and the beauties of the English language. He loved clear thinking and clean writing.
Equipped with his education at the Boys School, a Junior Diploma from the College, and an MA from the University of Chicago, his first job was to teach Shakespeare and grammar to football players at Texas A&M. In 1962 he married Marianne Nicholson, and the couple lived in the Chicago area while he pruned student papers at University of Illinois, Circle Campus, and earned his PhD in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago.
In 1971 he was asked to come build a new life teaching in Bryn Athyn College. The family moved, and Marianne and he devoted themselves to the life of the College. Bob was dubbed “Dr. Comp” soon after arriving, perhaps on account of the life-line he sketched and underscored onto his students' papers in red ink. Many students have spoken about the vital help they received from Dr. Gladish in learning to write.
He was also gifted in administration, and after serving as Head of the English Department, he was asked to serve as Dean of the College in 1977.
He served on as Dean after the death of Marianne in 1984, and five years later, in 1989, he married Margaret York, who was Dean of Women in the College at that time. This proved to be a pairing of two talented teachers who both had a passion for New Church education, and a determination that their institutions should function as professionally as possible.
Before joining forces with Bob, Margaret had also built a career in education. She graduated from the Girls School in 1961 and went on to earn a BA in French from Hood College, then a BS in Nursing and an MA in Teaching French, both from Columbia University. Her service at the Bryn Athyn College began in 1968 with teaching French, and she added Dean of Women to her role in 1971. Her office moved to another campus in 1992 when she was asked to become Principal of the Girls School in 1992. Until her retirement in 2007, Margaret performed this role with deft organization, a sense of humor, and a shrewd foresight into the future of this school. Thanks to Margaret’s vision and support, the curriculum was expanded and the old Library converted to the Fine Arts Building we now enjoy.
During the height of Margaret's academic career, Bob’s own duties as Dean reverted back to teaching in 1989, and he continued to teach until a few years before his death in 2008. In his partial retirement he richly enjoyed serving as a mentor to secondary students who came to the Gladish home for help with their senior research papers. Both Margaret and Bob have given their time unselfishly to their community and to the schools in retirement. Both of them care deeply about the quality of New Church education and its adherence to the principles that make it unique. Between the two of them, Margaret and Bob Gladish saw and steered, seeded and pruned three decades of New Church education from leadership positions. Their close involvement has weeded out errors and brought many gardens of the mind into flower.