SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — It’s not often that someone – or something – reaches the ripe old age of 160, so why not celebrate?
That’s the thinking of Lehan Peters, director of the Wittenberg Fund in the university’s Office of Advancement. Never one to shy away from a fun time, Peters has some big plans for Wittenberg, which was officially founded on March 11, 1845, by Ezra Keller, also the university’s first president.
“We’re celebrating 160 years of excellence, and we want to include everyone,” said Peters, Wittenberg class of 2003. “This spring, we have many activities planned that will hopefully get the entire campus involved. This is an opportunity for the campus community to come together to celebrate an institution that has given us so much.”
With the university’s students on Spring Break on March 11, better known around campus as Founders Day, the majority of Peters’ planned activities are scheduled for Monday, March 14. There will be a rented birthday cake display welcoming students, faculty, staff and visitors in front of the fountain near the entrance at Ward Street and Wittenberg Avenue, and a birthday banner will be displayed on all university computers upon log-in. In addition, a birthday party open house with cake and punch will keep the mood festive and dessert cravings satisfied for faculty and staff members from 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Bayley Alumni House, and Sodexho Dining Services will also provide a birthday cake as a dessert option for students eating in the Center Dining Room in the Benham-Pence Student Center.
Peters has been promoting the landmark birthday for some time, making use of a “160 Years of Excellence” theme to encourage members of the Wittenberg community to make monetary contributions to its long-term financial security. Monday’s birthday party festivities will include reminders of the ongoing faculty and staff fund-raising campaign, which has nearly 50 percent participation, already equal to the 2004 rate for the entire year.
Another ongoing campaign, the Senior Circle, is running simultaneously with the faculty and staff campaign, and the members of the Wittenberg Class of 2005 have issued a challenge to the rest of the community to match their participation rate. The Senior Circle is an annual program created in 1996 to educate each year’s senior class about The Wittenberg Fund and the importance of alumni giving. The 2005 Senior Circle campaign currently has a participation rate of about 25 percent just weeks after its kickoff event.
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