We were delighted to welcome back to the College Dr Giles Mercer and his wife Caroline, for the official opening of Brownlow House today.
Dr Mercer was Headmaster of Prior Park between 1996 - 2009, and more recently wrote Brownlow's biography, 'Convert, Scholar, Bishop: William Brownlow 1830-1901'.
Brownlow Housemaster, Mr Jamie Comber, began proceedings with an update on how well the inaugural students have settled into their first term in Brownlow, "setting the standard for future years." He then introduced Henry Allen and Annabel Davies to read 'The Call of Jeremiah'.
Mr Murphy-O'Connor then invited Dr Mercer to address the audience. Dr Mercer gave four reasons why he believes William Brownlow is an important figure. The first being he was the third founder of Prior Park College; Bishop Baines and Bishop Clifford preceded him. Finances had become such a problem by the 1890's when Bishop Brownlow took over the running of the College, it required someone extremely capable to resolve the issue. Bishop Brownlow worked out a system where debt could be repaid and then entrusted the College to the Christian Brothers, which shifted the finances over to them. The second reason was Brownlow truly believed that a Catholic/Christian education was the best kind and that schools are at the heart of the Church. Thirdly, Brownlow believed that Christianity has a huge impact in making the world a better place. Finally, Dr Mercer believes that Bishop Brownlow is an excellent role model, being both generous and compassionate. Brownlow also believed in an 'all-round education', which is still at the core of a Prior Park education.
William Brownlow's motto was "Malo esse, quam videri", "To be, rather than to seem" or "Be yourself." Dr Mercer concluded that this motto was as relevant to our Brownlow students today. Dr Mercer then presented Mr Comber with a copy of his book, before officially opening the tenth House at Prior Park College.