Amanda Petway ’90 Memorial Garden

Amanda Petway ’90 Memorial Garden


Although I’m writing about a charming garden that sits outside the Addlestone Library established to honor my dearest friend, my space at the College of Charleston isn’t actually a physical place at all. Rather, it’s a nod of gratitude toward an amazing friend who would come to immeasurably change and enrich my life.

In 1986, two nervous freshmen, ready for the first day of class, stood toe to toe in the dorm’s slow-but-steady elevator. Our identical outfits from the Gap helped ease us into a first conversation, which quickly signaled we would be friends.

Mandi Petway had a sparkle. She just did. She treasured each day and each friend with a certainty, which was inspiring. Together, we experienced many firsts at the College, and we enjoyed being constantly surrounded by laughter. A positive attitude – just one of Mandi’s many incredible qualities – would prove to be her secret weapon against an illness she would battle for her four years at the College. Mandi’s deep faith was also mature for a college student and was a tremendously encouraging example to me at a time of my life when I was most impressionable.

Mandi graduated from the College in 1990. Her battle with cancer ended just a few years later, when she was called to heaven to dance with the angels.

For many, the simple garden by the library and the scholarship in her name stand in testimony to her kindness, friendships and presence at the school. For me, they are sweet reminders of the most important space for all of us.

My hope and prayer for all those who visit her garden are that, in this busy world, they may be reminded to keep a special space in their hearts for friendship. It was a blessing beyond measure to know and love Mandi, and I remain so very grateful to the College for bringing us together.

“If I could sit across the porch from God, I’d thank him for lending me you.”

– Molly Brandhorst McMahon ’90



  • As Mandi’s mother what more wonderful tribute to our dear daughter Amanda than to have such a dear and lasting friend as Molly. Mandi’s many friends from C of C transformed her life from one of fighting cancer to one filled with laughter, love, and blessings to numerous to count. Tom and I are forever grateful to College of Charleston and to Molly for remembering her in the “My Space” section of the magazine.

  • I remember the moving ceremony when they dedicated Mandi’s Garden like it was yesterday. I was blessed to have such a special godchild. I learned from her, not the other way around. Her last goal was to graduate from College of Charleston which was no easy task. She had so many battles to fight along the way, and it would have been much easier for her to quit. But with her positive attitude and a strong will, she earned that diploma. She should be an inspiration to all of you there. When you think of giving up no matter what the goal, think of our sweet angel and fight even harder.

  • Mandy was a gift to us all. She was a beautiful soul who taught us all how to live with dignity and grace. How blessed we all were to have known and loved her. Thanks to Molly for the amazing words honoring an amazing girl.

  • Molly, your “My Space” tribute to Mandi, Mandi’s Garden and the College of Charleston was wonderful!
    You’re the best!!

  • Molly, Molly, Molly. Your beautiful article brought tears to all of our eyes. The loss of Mandi has left such a hole in all of our hearts and we still miss her infectious giggle. You were her nearest and dearest friend and it was so thoughtful and sweet of you to remember her from so long ago. The garden is till lovely and I am sure her spirit smiles there every day. Hope you, Doug and the children are great and with any luck, our paths will cross soon.
    Love to you and all, Aunt Lynne (Mandi’s aunt)

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