The campus' 150th
birthday celebration features a yearlong series of events and activities that will reflect on the contributions of a once-tiny agricultural college that now enrolls 28,000 students and ranks among the nation’s top public research universities.
“UMass Amherst has been a driving force for individual opportunity and economic development dating back to the time of Abraham Lincoln and the creation of land-grant colleges,” said Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “Our sesquicentennial celebration will engage citizens throughout the Commonwealth, including the 120,000 UMass Amherst alumni who live in Massachusetts.”
This spring, an array of events will occur at the flagship campus during Founder’s Week, April 22-29, which celebrates the signing of the university’s charter in 1863. This includes the official inauguration of Chancellor Subbaswamy and the launch of a capital fundraising campaign on April 27; creation of a new Alumni Weekend, and Earth Day activities. A key historical element is the Stockbridge Day/Celebration of Agriculture Day on April 25. It features a tour of the campus’ agricultural-related facilities including the Cold Spring Orchard in Belchertown, the South Deerfield and Hadley farms, and a reception at the new Agricultural Learning Center on North Pleasant Street north of the Amherst campus. Invited guests include members of the family of Levi Stockbridge, the fifth president of Massachusetts Agricultural College, and state and university officials.
The celebration will also feature:
· An illustrated history book titled UMass Rising: The University of Massachusetts Amherst at 150 that recalls the campus’ history, memorable faculty and important milestones, with an emphasis on the past 50 years. Distributed by the University of Massachusetts Press, the book will be available in the spring.
· UMass Amherst Day in Boston, featuring a series of events in the state capital next fall.
· A traveling exhibit to be displayed across the state, recounting UMass Amherst’s story and its impact on Massachusetts history.
· Performance of the Minuteman Marching Band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade next November in New York City.
· A television documentary that explores the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 through the lens of UMass Amherst’s past, present and future, produced by PBS station WGBY-TV in Springfield.
· A New England Public Radio documentary on the history of the campus, dating back to the inaugural class of 56 students taught by four faculty.
· A new book, the University of Massachusetts Amherst: An Architectural Tour (Princeton Architectural Press, April 2013), in which Max Page, professor of architecture and history, and Marla Miller, professor of history, relate the history of the campus through five guided tours that encompass dozens of buildings, landscapes, artworks and memorials.
· An oral history project, organized by the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, comprising interviews with 150 people. This will include students, current and retired faculty and administrators, and alumni from 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003 and 2013; neighbors and others in the community who have watched the university grow or played a role in its development; construction workers who erected campus buildings, and workers in departments such as the physical plant and dining commons.
· A promotional TV spot that celebrates the 150th anniversary as well as the university’s future.
· “50/150: The MFA Program for Poets and Writers 50th Anniversary Reading” will celebrate five decades of achievement by this nationally recognized graduate program in the fall.
· The planting of 150 new trees across campus with assistance from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture.
Further details and additional activities will be announced throughout the sesquicentennial year, including plans for a symposium on community-engaged scholarship, community service projects and an academic symposium on the future of public higher education.