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Chillicothe welcomes Ohio University's Bicentennial

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 27, 2004) -- By now, everyone in the state knows Ohio's statehood started in Chillicothe. What will become better known on March 6 is that Chillicothe also is where the roots of Ohio University were planted 200 years ago. To commemorate the founding of the University, Chillicothe is hosting several celebrations on Statehood Day, March 6.

The Chillicothe Kiwanis Club will be hosting their annual prayer breakfast in association with the Ministerial Association at Trinity United Methodist Church at 8 a.m. The Ross County Ministerial Association and the Chillicothe Kiwanis Club have sponsored the Annual Statehood Day Prayer Breakfast to commemorate the founding and the beginning of the state of Ohio in Chillicothe in 1803. At the prayer breakfast, the Kiwanis Club also will present its annual Statehood Achievement Award to a local citizen as it has for the past 38 years. This will be the 38th Ohio Statehood Celebration held in Chillicothe to celebrate Ohio's 201st Anniversary.

In 1802, Congress passed a bill that authorized the formation of a state government in Ohio. The governing officials were assembled and, after being sworn into office, began administering the affairs of the secular government on March 1, 1803. The opening session began with a prayer by a pioneer minister Rev. James Finley. This prayer asked for divine guidance in all deliberations and judgments of the secular authorities.

Along with this community tradition, another milestone will be celebrated -- the 200th birthday of Ohio University. Ohio University was the first land-grant college administered in the United States. The signing of this grant approval was done so in Chillicothe. To tie into the celebration, the honored guest speaker will be Dr. Charles J. Ping. Ping was the 18th president of Ohio University (1975-94). Currently, Ping is president emeritus and trustee professor of philosophy and education of Ohio University. Ohio University currently has five branch locations, one of which is Ohio University Chillicothe Campus. Tickets for the event are $7 and are available from members of the ministerial group or local Kiwanians.

Also in honor of the local Ohio Bicentennial Celebration, the theater department of Ohio University-Chillicothe, under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Breidenbaugh, will be performing "Thomas Worthington for Ohio's Statehood." The production is a vignette-style play funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help educate school children in grades 4 and 8. One vignette will be devoted to the inclusion of the provision for founding Ohio University in the state's constitution. The constitution was adopted by the general assembly in February of 1804 when it met in Chillicothe. The play will be presented at Majestic Theater, 45 East 2nd Street, at 1:30 p.m.

Other Statehood Day events include:

  • 10:30 a.m. -- Tour of newly renovated Heritage Center and downtown Chillicothe (for media only). Admission is free.
  • 1 - 4 p.m. -- Meet the author and purchase copies of OU's bicentennial book, "Ohio University 1804-2004, The Spirit of a Singular Place." >>Storefront near the Majestic Theater.
  • 3 p.m. -- Ohio University-Chillicothe site and exhibit tour on campus ? 101 University Drive (for media only). Admission is free.
  • 7 p.m. -- 1st Annual Battle of the Bands -- Shoemaker Center, Ohio University ? Chillicothe. Cost is $5.

More information on the Kiwanis Statehood Day Prayer Breakfast may be obtained by calling Joyce Stab, president, (740) 775-0286. Information about Ohio University, Dr. Ping, or the Majestic event may be obtained by calling Susan Liggins at (740) 774-7207.

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Media Contacts: Susan Liggins, (740) 774-7207 or liggins@ohio.edu, or Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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