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Honoring the past and looking to the future

Founders Day promises to be a day full of history and discovery
Feb 15, 2010
By Colleen Kiphart

Ohio University commemorates 206 years of history this Friday, Feb. 19, with its annual Founders Day celebration. A full slate of events is planned for the day featuring the legacy of previous generations and the talents of students, faculty and staff of today.

"Founders Day is an opportunity for us to reflect on the courage and wisdom of the visionaries who conceptualized and created Ohio University," said President Roderick J. McDavis. "We owe a debt of gratitude to our founders and all who followed them. Through their perseverance, they created and sustained Ohio University as a unique place of higher learning. This day of celebration is a reminder that we are all stewards of a legacy of promises fulfilled."

Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit agreed with McDavis.

"I'm a believer in the importance of social memory in the life of a university," said Benoit. "That's why events such as Founders Day matter. Sharing what came before helps us to gain confidence in our ability to succeed in what lies ahead."

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, which hosts the event, wanted to allow more people to participate in Founders Day. As a result, Founders Day 2010 will be an all-day commemoration.

"This year's Founders Day is an extended celebration that draws from without and within the university," Benoit said. "Performances, events and displays will stretch across the entire day and will involve students, faculty, staff, and community members."

Janice Roché, assistant to the executive vice president and provost, has been responsible for organizing much of Founders Day. She began planning Founders Day 2010 the day after the 2009 event was over, but she acknowledged the planning is truly a community-wide effort.

"We are grateful for the participation of a team of professionals in Event Services to mount this event," she said. "We work throughout the year with writers, artists, communications experts and technicians for all of the behind-the-scenes details."

The day kicks off at 10 a.m. with the convocation in the Baker University Center Theater. McDavis and Benoit will provide remarks. Jeremy Webster, dean of the Honors Tutorial College, and Joe McLaughlin, chair of Faculty Senate, will recognize accomplishments by students and faculty. The convocation also will feature musical performances by the Rattletrap String Band, Title IX and other vocalists.

The convocation will be streamed live to the regional campuses and to television screens in Baker University Center to ensure that even those who cannot be in the theater are able to take part.

There will be two receptions to follow the convocation at 11 a.m. One will feature music by the Rattletrap String Band in the Baker University Center Theater Atrium. The other reception will highlight the Women of Appalachia art exhibit, currently showing in the Multicultural Center Art Gallery. It will be held outside of the second-floor gallery. Refreshments will be served at both.

From 2:15-3:15 p.m. OHIO community members will be able get into the spirit of Founders Day with three musical performances by students from the School of Music. The groups will be performing throughout Baker University Center and include a jazz ensemble, flautists and the Undergraduate Woodwind Quartet.

Between events people can stop by one of the several all-day exhibitions taking place across campus and in Baker University Center. These include the 2010 Ohio University School of Art Faculty Exhibition at the Kennedy Museum of Art, the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections? exhibition on University history on the fourth floor of Alden Library, and an exhibition to be named in the Trisolini Gallery on the fourth floor of Baker University Center.

There also will be an opportunity to get in touch with Ohio University?s two centuries of history at a hands-on display of documents, books and artifacts from University Archives in the third floor atrium of Baker University Center.

The School of Theater will showcase the skills of their faculty and students with an installation, "The Art and Craft of Theater Design," in the Amanda Cunningham Leadership Center. This display will feature beautiful costumes, headdresses, masks, elaborate props and more.

At 4 p.m. the university community will come together to honor its heritage with the opening of the Presidential Portrait Gallery. Eighteen of the past 19 presidents will be represented in the gallery, located on the fourth floor reception foyer of Baker University Center, outside of the ballroom.

The day?s program will conclude with an event that follows the longstanding tradition of recognizing Ohio University?s Distinguished Professors. Peter Jung, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was named a Distinguished Professor in 2009. After his portrait unveiling, Jung will give a short lecture on his work at 7:30 p.m. in Baker University Center Ballroom A.

Students, faculty, staff and community members are not the only people who will be able to take part in Founders Day ? potential Bobcats and their families will too.

"One of the things that I'm most pleased about when it comes to this Founders Day is that it coincides with one of our ?Ohio Up-Close? days on the Athens campus," said Benoit. "So, prospective students and their parents will have the chance to see many of the things that we hold dear--talented students, the passion that people have for this place, and our remarkable history."


Published: Feb 15, 2010 8:00 AM


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