Former President of Costa Rica, Luis Alberto Monge (1925-2016) passed away on November 29, 2016. As a University founder, he was not only the embodiment of EARTH’s values and ideals, but also the inspiration for creating them. Don Luis Alberto’s love for EARTH was continually reinforced by his numerous visits with students and staff who held closely EARTH’s mission, in just the same way he had when the University was in its infancy. Seeing the students’ deep commitment to their community and supporters deepened his belief of EARTH’s need in the world.
At the end of the 1980s, Costa Rica was surrounded by war torn countries, however, Luis Alberto Monge insisted that Costa Rica remain a neutral state in the midst of the unrest.
During this uncertain and tumultuous time, the idea arose to create an institution that help transform younger generations into leaders of change. This was the antidote needed in order to create a world with more harmony, justice, hope and prosperity. don Luis Alberto was a true believer in the power education, which was why he became tireless supporter of the concept and implementation of institution.
His opposition to war was the fundamental pillar that permitted the resources needed- along with critical support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation- to create EARTH University. He embraced the project, knocked on doors, attended meetings and prepared letters soliciting external funds to make the creation of EARTH University a reality.
Once the university was created, Mr. Monge provided unconditional support and assisted EARTH in various ways. As a founding member of the Board of Directors, his values helped shape many decision-making process, as a director emeritus he also continued to share his invaluable vision in an increasingly interconnected world.
EARTH will continue to honor his legacy through the formation of leaders who will promote sustainable development and a peaceful and just society, that don Luis Alberto dreamt of and worked tirelessly in the political arena until his last day.
As part of inauguration ceremony for the start of the school year in 2015, Mr. Monge shared a meaningful message with the first year class.
On EARTH’s Guacimo campus, there are several monuments built to honor the work and dreams of the University founders. Renowned Costa Rican artist, José Sancho, created a sculpture entitled “Crecer” meaning “Grow” in Spanish in memory of don Luis Alberto. After his passing, his ashes were placed at the foot of the monument.
You will find additional photos of Mr. Monge throughout his time at EARTH.