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University kicks off season of celebration

March 8, 2011

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Chapman University commenced a season of celebration at its 150th Anniversary Celebration held Friday in Wallace All Faiths Chapel, which included the premiere of specially commissioned music and poetry and a variety of speakers reflecting on the institution’s heritage, as well as visions for its future.

The university has “a remarkable legacy,” President Jim Doti said in his remarks and every hope for an equally remarkable future thanks to the collective energy of its entire community of faculty, students, staff and supporters.

“It is and will become what we make it. It will reach the heights that we take it and it will continue to grow and prosper because of our personal resolve,” President Doti said.

The commemoration kicked off a full calendar of anniversary events that include the upcoming March 18 and 19 Founder’s Day activities and a May 6 “Education Day,” an open house style occasion which will feature entertainment, children’s activities, faculty lectures, music, birthday treats, and fireworks.

New works of anniversary poetry and music commissioned by the university also debuted at the celebration. Anna Leahy, Ph.D., associate professor of English, read her poem, “To find, to create, to remake,” a poem composed of exactly 150 syllables arranged in 15 lines. Faculty and students from the Conservatory of Music, under the direction of Paul J. Sherman, conductor and director of Chapman University Wind Symphony, performed Fanfare 150, a musical salute composed by Shaun Naidoo, associate professor of music, Conservatory of Music.

Each of the event’s main speakers centered their remarks on one of the university’s milestone years, starting with 1861 when Hesperian College was opened to coincide with the first inaugural address of President Abraham Lincoln, and concluding with 2011 and President Doti’s reflections for the future.

Leatherby Libraries also unveiled its anniversary gift to the university — published works in each of the six years that celebrate milestone accomplishments in the university’s history. The cornerstone of the gift collection is a Harper’s Weekly dated March 16, 1861, which includes the now-iconic engraved illustration of Lincoln’s first inauguration.

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