Connecticut College turns 102

Connecticut College celebrated its 102nd birthday on Friday, April 5, with Founders Day celebrations tied to another important date in the College’s history: the 25th anniversary of Emeritus Professor of English William Meredith’s Pulitzer Prize.

The festivities kicked off with the ceremonial ringing of the Harkness Chapel bell, which tolled 102 times to mark the number of years since the College’s charter was signed April 5, 1911.

Members of the College community, including students, faculty, staff and emeriti professors, then gathered in the Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room in Shain Library for a poetry reading and short talks to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the late Meredith’s Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Before reading one of Meredith’s famous poems, Charles Hartman, the Haskell Professor of English at Connecticut College, said that during his 30-year teaching career, Meredith “made Connecticut College a center of the literary world.”

Calling him the “least suicidal poet of his generation,” Janet Gezari , the Allyn Professor of English at Connecticut College,” said Meredith found great joy in conversation with friends and loved teaching his students.

Blanche Boyd, Weller Professor of English and writer-in-residence at Connecticut College, and Robley Evans, emeritus professor of English, also spoke and students Julia Burgdorff ’15, Asia Calcagno ’14, Timothy Hartshorn ’14 and Kevin Tyler ’13 read several of Meredith’s poems.

At the Founders Day Tea and Birthday Party in Shain Library that followed the event, President Leo I. Higdon Jr. said Meredith exemplified the great teaching that is a hallmark of Connecticut College.

“Great teaching is everywhere on this campus, and it always has been, beginning with the first faculty who took a chance at a new college for women more than 100 years ago and continuing through the eras and right through to today’s faculty.”

The community celebrated the College with delicious cupcakes, petit fours and lemonade, and guests were treated to the Centennial song and other musical selections from the co-ed a cappella group, the Williams Street Mix. The festivities continued with traditional birthday cake and balloons in Harris Refectory, the College’s largest dining hall.

All throughout the day, alumni, students and other members of the community tweeted and instragrammed well wishes to the College. "Happy Birthday, Connecticut College! You are one of the best things that happended in my life!" tweeted Diana Deedy (@1026Dina), while Rudi Riet '96 (@randomduck) wrote, "Cheers to @ConnCollege, looking quite spry for 102! #ConnCollege #centenarianplustwo." To see more, visit the Founders Day storify page.  

The celebration concluded with an onStage performance by 27-year-old Cuban music sensation Afredo Rodriguez. Rodriguez, a pianist known for his ability to improvise, also gave a special interactive performance for local middle school students earlier in the day.

April 8, 2013