March 17th, 2013 marks 125 years since the University was founded, and the University intends to celebrate this milestone anniversary in a variety of ways throughout the spring semester.
The 125th Anniversary celebration launches Jan. 25 (1/25, in reference to 125 years) with a celebration in the Wheelock Student Center Rotunda. Also on Jan. 25, the University will release a commemorative issue of the alumni magazine Arches. Because the University’s actual founding date falls over spring break, there will be a virtual birthday celebration on March 17th.
Gayle McIntosh, the University’s Executive Director of Communications and chair of the 125th Anniversary Planning Committee, noted, “First and foremost, Puget Sound is about people and what we accomplish collectively and as individuals.”
The 125th Anniversary promises to demonstrate this collective effort, as the celebration will consist of contributions from various groups in the University community.
Ongoing throughout this academic year is the Drive for 125, the athletic department’s contribution to the anniversary celebration. Puget Sound sports teams are working towards 125 wins over the course of the fall, winter and spring sports seasons this year. Puget Sound athletics is on track to reach this goal, with 64 wins already.
“Anniversaries tend to bring communities together,” Steven Olveda, the University’s Sports Information Director, said. “The Drive for 125 is a way for the athletic community to join the larger Puget Sound community in celebration.”
The Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound present An Evening with Bill Cosby on Feb. 10 as their contribution to the anniversary celebration.
The Collins Library staff has been busy sifting through the University archives and the rest of the library collection in preparation for the Library’s contribution to the anniversary celebration. From Jan. 25 to March 14 Collins Library will hold the “125 Years in the Stacks” exhibit.
The exhibit will feature 125 books, one from each year since 1888, when the University was founded. Books were selected by suggestions from members of the University community who proffered a favorite text or a book significant to the time it was published. Library staff members also browsed the University’s collection for other books to include in the exhibit.
“In some cases people had a book that was meaningful to them, in other instances we just look for unusual, unique items among the collection,” Jane Carlin, the Collins Library Director, said.
The book display will function as a lens, offering insight into numerous aspects of the University’s history. The variety within the 125 books demonstrates the university’s diverse community as well as the changing times over the course of the 125 years since the University’s founding. As a sample from the University’s extensive library collection, the exhibit symbolizes the University’s institutional history.
Memorabilia from alumni donations and historical items from the library’s university archives will also be featured in the exhibit to provide a well-rounded view of the University’s history.
Further opportunities to learn about University history come with the Sound Past Lecture Series.
The Lecture Series begins Jan. 28 with “No Woman Has Ventured As Far: The Art and Adventures of Abby Williams Hill.” This lecture by Karen Haas and Laura Edgar, the Abby Williams Hill Collection curators, will focus on Abby Williams Hill, an interesting character in University history.
The second lecture will focus on another woman significant in University history. On March 4 Darleyne Reiter will present “The Woman Behind Jones Hall: The Life of Franke Tobey Jones.”
The Sound Past Lecture Series will conclude with a more holistic view of the University’s history. Puget Sound alumni George Mills (currently the Vice President for Enrollment) and John Finney (previously the University Registrar and Associate Dean) will present “A Brief History of University of Puget Sound” on March 11.
The spring lectures of the biannual Susan Resneck Pierce Lecture in Public Affairs and the Arts and Swope Endowed Lectureship on Ethics, Religion, Faith, and Values are also part of the anniversary celebration. Wole Soyinka will present “Writing for Freedom” Feb. 7 for the Susan Resneck Pierce Lecture and Gabriella Lettini will speak March 5 for the Swope Endowed Lectureship.
At the heart of the anniversary celebration is the inscription on the University seal “Pros ta akra.” Greek for “to the heights,” this phrase describes an aspiring university community and connects the University’s academic climate to its physical environment. Mt. Rainier is pictured on the seal and rises beyond campus as a subtle yet ever-present reminder that the University and the individuals within it aim to reach great heights.
“This is a community that consistently aspires to excellence—to getting better, to going higher,” President Ronald Thomas said. “We don’t rest on our past reputation or accomplishments, but are summoned by visions of greater things in the future.”
Thomas noted the innovative curriculum, excellence in teaching, accomplished students and alumni, movements toward sustainability and Logger athletic successes as stand out examples of the University community reaching for the heights.
“Aspiring to the heights is what happens inside and outside the classroom as students realize their full potential and embark on unique and meaningful paths through life; in the tireless work of our faculty and staff to provide the best learning environment possible; and in the efforts of our alumni, who are quite literally working in every known field of human endeavor and making a difference in the world in countless ways,” McIntosh said.
Though the anniversary celebration places significant emphasis on the University’s history, the 125th Anniversary holds significance for the future. Reflections on the achievements of the past 125 years provide insight into how the University has reached the present and offers excitement for the future.
“I’m hopeful that the anniversary celebrations will instill pride within the Puget Sound community, allowing us all to take a look at the amazing 125 years this fine place has had,” ASUPS President Brian Ernst said. “Naturally, then, I’d hope we’ll look forward to the next 125 years and wonderful times to come.”
McIntosh, too, noted that looking toward the future is essential in this anniversary celebration.
“The anniversary is as much about looking forward as it is about looking back,” McIntosh said. “It’s the work we do today, as students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, parents, and friends, that will make the 150th—and 200th, and 250th—anniversaries possible.”
As for what the campus community can do for the anniversary celebration—aside from enjoying the numerous celebratory events offered—the 125th Anniversary website is a place for students, faculty, staff and alumni to share memories and photos and contribute to a video contest soliciting short films that capture the University of Puget Sound spirit.
As a milestone anniversary, the 125th Anniversary has elicited no small reaction from the University community, and much celebration will arrive with the spring semester. The anniversary celebration will reflect a dynamic, united university with great aspirations at its core.
Information on the 125th Anniversary and its concomitant celebration, as well as the place to contribute memories, photos and videos can be found on the 125th Anniversary website (http://www.pugetsound.edu/125).
Information specific to the Drive for 125 is on the Puget Sound athletics website (http://www.loggerathletics.com/information/releases/2012-13/drivefor125).
The Collins Library has also created a blog for the 125 Years in the Stacks Exhibit with more information on each of the books to be featured in the exhibit (http://blogs.ups.edu/125books/).