Cermony dedicates Sachiko Mallach Tribute Garden
As it continues its journey into a second century in Bryn Mawr, the Harcum College community paused last week to remember a woman who, in a short time, made a far-reaching impact on its future.
Gathering at sunset Oct. 7 in front of the campus’s Bedford Hall, President Jon Jay DeTemple and other college administrators, faculty and friends met to break ground for the Sachiko Mallach Tribute Garden.
The garden will be dedicated to the memory of Mallach, known in the community as “Sachi,” who served as vice president of advancement from 2009 to 2013. Mallach, of West Chester, died July 1, 2015, after a five-year battle with cancer. She was 42.
With landscaping and seating facing Montgomery Avenue, the garden is intended to be a place of reflection for the college and the larger community.
Remembering Mallach, DeTemple reflected that, “In the tapestry that is Harcum College, our history and where we are going,” her service may not have been one of the longest, but it was “one of the brightest, brightest threads.”
“She could get in the door, she could get it started,” DeTemple said of projects like the renovation of the campus’s Kevin D. Marlo Little Theatre and improvements to the Charles H. Trout Li-
“To do something to memorialize her, my thought was, it should be something that engages people.” — President Jon Jay DeTemple
brary that were major accomplishments of her tenure. “She was always, always engaged.”
“To do something to memorialize her, my thought was, it should be something that engages people,” he said. “The idea is that everybody passes by, whether they are Harcum students or people who just are in this area. It would be great to have a place where you could stop, pause and be engaged – and Sachi will always be there.”
Raised in New York City and Long Island, Mallach, after college at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, made a career of fundraising and development for schools and nonprofit organizations. Before joining Harcum College’s administration, she had served as director of development for the Chester County Historical Society, where she was credited with securing a matching grant for $1 million, the largest in its history. She was described as being “passionate about philanthropy.”
Dennis Marlo, a member of Harcum’s board of trustees, remembered meeting her when she was interviewing for the post and thinking, “The college is going to be so much better if we can get Sachi on board.” Not long before, Harcum, which celebrated its centennial in 2015 as one of Pennsylvania’s first independent twoyear colleges, had been “in a downward spiral,” Marlo recalled, but with the work of previous president Trout and DeTemple’s arrival in 2007, finances were stabilizing and enrollment was starting to increase. With Mallach’s appointment, “There was so much energy that she just turned the whole momentum of the place around.”
“We meet a lot of people in our lives . . . . Once in a great while we meet someone who has such purity of spirit and goodness of soul that they leave an indelible impression on you. That was Sachi,” added Board of Trustees Chairman Ted Rosen. Speaking for his board colleagues, Rosen said she “not only had us give more, which was her job, but she had us be more.” Mallach’s vision and mission for Harcum College “became my mission,” he said.
Now, with the tribute garden, “This little piece of land will be transformed into a place of beauty and a place of life,” Rosen went on to say. “A long time from now there will be people walking by and sitting in the garden who have no knowledge of Sachi, but one thing is a certainty: They will be the beneficiaries of her work here.”
Mallach was married in 2007 to Daniel Mallach. The next year, their daughter, Katy Rose, was born. Daniel Mallach, a landscape architect and planner who works in the West Chester firm of Thomas Comitta Associates, worked with a committee at Harcum to design the tribute garden. A rendering, painted by Narberth artist David Fox, depicts a semi-circular space with benches for seating around a flagstone plaza. A stone wall behind the benches takes its cue from stonework on the nearby Bedford Hall.
“The energy she brought to her work has inspired me in my own work,” he said of his wife. For this design, I wanted a space both intimate and social, where you can come by yourself or in a group, to meet or study.”
The location is both important in its link to the larger community and has personal significance. Bedford Hall, which houses Harcum’s alumni offices, was where his wife worked, Mallach said. “This was her front lawn.”
Features like the stone wall link the garden to its campus surroundings. “I want it to look like a place that has been here for a hundred years,” Mallach said. There will be initial plantings, but he also expects the garden will evolve over time.
DeTemple said funding for the Sachiko Mallach Tribute Garden will come from donations. Any funds received beyond the cost of the garden will go to the Harcum Scholarship Fund. DeTemple said it is the school’s intention to create an annual award to be given in Mallach’s name.
For information about the Sachiko Mallach Memorial Fund or to make a gift, go to www.harcum.edu/garden.
At the groundbreaking are (from left) Harcum Board Chairman Ted Rosen and his wife Toni Rosen, Harcum trustee Dennis Marlo and his wife Karen Marlo, faculty member Steve Pipitone, Alumni Director Melissa Samango, Professional Studies Director Theresa Groody, Katy Mallach (daughter of Dan Mallach and the late Sachiko Mallach), Counseling Director Kathy Anthony, and President Jon Jay DeTemple.
A rendering of the garden concept is by Narberth artist David Fox.