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125th anniversary celebrations an opportunity to tell UConn’s story

by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu - September 26, 2005

The University will celebrate its 125th anniversary during 2006 with a series of events and activities highlighting the institution’s history since its founding as Storrs Agricultural School in 1881.

UCONN 125“The University of Connecticut has a wonderful history and all of us should take pride in what has happened here over the past century and a quarter,” says University President Philip E. Austin. “We’ve grown from a small agricultural school to one of the nation’s   premier public universities, and along the way we’ve become one of our state’s great assets. This is a story that we’re eager to tell our own community and the people of Connecticut.”

A steering committee comprising more than 40 representatives of the University and the town of Mansfield has been formed to plan campus and University-wide activities and to serve as a resource for others planning anniversary events. Interested members of the community may contact members of the committee, who are listed at http://www.uconn.edu/125/.

The committee is discussing the creation of four major events during the year: a kick-off event; a Founders Day celebration in April; a University program in the early fall; and a closing event at the end of the fall 2006 semester.

Scott Brohinsky, director of university relations, says, “The University has a proud history. The committee had a variety of good ideas and all of us believe we have an important story to tell.”

He says many of the University’s current strengths can be traced back over the years, from the first genetics course that was taught at UConn to the present focus on regenerative biology, for example, or from the admission of Japanese students from internment camps during the Second World War to today’s emphasis on human rights.

“Our 125th anniversary is an opportunity to spend a whole year sharing that story with people inside and outside the University community,” says John Barry, director of university communications. “We hope this will also serve as a platform for us to reach out to the public, to let our legislators know about our growth and accomplishments, and – through our regional campuses – to engage communities across Connecticut in the celebration of UConn and its significance to the people of our state.”

Activities already planned for the 125th anniversary include a visual display in the Wilbur Cross atrium celebrating the University’s history; anniversary banners to be hung on Hillside Road; and the release of a special anniversary Dairy Bar ice cream flavor.

Members of founding families, town representatives, and past University presidents will be invited to participate in anniversary events and activities.

A special logo has been created by University Communications and is available for use by University offices during the anniversary year. It may be applied to University stationery, publications, websites, and other materials. The logo and a set of applicable standards are available at www.logo.uconn.edu.

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