Skip to main content

Connecticut College to celebrate 100th birthday on April 5

On Tuesday, April 5, the bells of Connecticut College's Harkness Chapel will toll 100 times - once for every year since the signing of the College's charter on the same day in 1911. Founders Day marks the College's official 100th birthday, and a red-letter day in the year-long Centennial celebration. Founders Day highlights include a historical lecture, an all-campus party and the debut performance of a new Centennial song. Events begin at 1:15 p.m. with a keynote address by Linda Eisenmann '75, provost of Wheaton College and a historian of higher education. Connecticut College President Leo I. Higdon Jr. says Eisenmann is the ideal Founders Day speaker.

"As a historian, Linda Eisenmann can help us all better understand Connecticut College's founding in the context of what was happening in higher education in the early 1900s," Higdon said. "And as an alumna, she helps connect all of us to this history, and the evolution of the College, in a very personal way." Eisenmann's talk is free and open to the public. It will be in Evans Hall in the College's Cummings Arts Center. At 2:15 p.m., the chapel bells will call the campus community to Tempel Green for a photograph of those assembled standing in the shape of 100. Visiting and local alumni are also invited to join the photograph and festivities. From the green, the crowd will proceed to a Founders Day Tea and 100th Birthday Party.

At the birthday party, the campus community will enjoy its first Centennial cake - in the shape of New London Hall, the oldest building on campus. Guests will also be treated to tea, in honor of the historic teas attended by students in the early years of the College, and the chamber choir will debut the new, prize-winning Centennial song, written by Richard Schenk, a musician and composer in the dance department, and Ann Livingston Schenk M'01, a former instructor in the dance department. The event will include brief remarks by President Higdon and Connie Gemmer '80, chair of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, and emeriti faculty will be honored for their role in the growth of the College.

A special dinner in Harris Refectory will follow the party. Later, Shake the Baron, a rock band comprised of three 2010 alumni and a current student, will perform. Alumni who can't get back to campus are being invited to celebrate the College's big day wherever they are. Alumni who celebrate the College during the week of April 3 - by having dinner with a classmate or writing a letter to a professor, for example - should tell the College about it by posting a few sentences, a photo or a video clip on the College's Facebook page. Many more Centennial events are scheduled throughout the year and across the country, culminating in a huge celebration on Fall Weekend, Oct. 21-23. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit

March 30, 2011