Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Vanderbilt!

It was 135 years ago on this date (March 17, 1873) that Vanderbilt University was founded.

It all began with a $1 million endowment contribution from The Commodore, Cornelius Vanderbilt. He made the gift to Methodist Bishop Holland McTyeire as a way of healing the nation's wounds after the recent Civil War.McTyeire had an in. His wife was the cousin of the Commodore's second wife.

It also from this gift that our Vanderbilt Class of '73 got its nickname "The Centennial Class". But since students did not start attending Vanderbilt until 1875, I suspect we got the name because we were the class that graduated in the school's cenntennial year, not be because we were the 100th class to graduate.

What do you remember about Vanderbilt's 100th birthday on March 17, 1973? I remember the schoool invited lots of Vanderbilts to come to campus for a celebration and I believe there were some commemerative trees planted and a special luncheon held, with some selected student leaders invited.

Does anyone remember any kind of general campus celebration or activity? I don't and looking back that seems odd to me. I do remember WRVU did a series of special reports that ran all weekend with interviews with Chancellor Heard, Chancellor-Emeritus Harvey Branscomb, retired Dean of Students Madison Sarratt and other campus dignitaries. But otherwise it seemed like business as usual to me. But I was a town student, so maybe I missed something.

Don't miss your chance to celebrate! Make your plans now to join the Class of 1973 for our 35th Reunion celebration the weekend of
October 24-25, 2008. Look for the link to the Class of '73 web page at the top of the left hand side of this blog for more details about the fun and games we are planning.

Please don't be like the original Commodore, who despite giving the money to found the school that still bears his name, never once set foot on the campus. Also if you have memories or thoughts to share about Vanderbilt's 100th birthday back in 1973 or what Vanderbilt still means to you today, just hit the reply link below and write away.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There was a semi-memorial, choir performance for the entire Vanderbilt family. I remember we sang their family hymn in German.