Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia will celebrate the 225th anniversary of its founding with a two-day symposium April 22-23. Themed “Honoring the Past; Looking to the Future,” the symposium features experts leading lectures and discussions on the university’s history and the future of higher education. The celebration also includes an art exhibition and musical performance. It coincides with an alumni awards luncheon and the rededication of the Fine Arts Theatre.
“The University of Georgia is proud to hold the distinction as the nation’s first chartered public institution of higher learning,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “For 225 years, UGA has served the people of this state through teaching, research and service. Today, UGA stands as the state’s most comprehensive and diverse institution of higher learning. We look forward to celebrating the rich history of this place and the role UGA can and will play in the future prosperity of Georgia.”
The first day of the symposium will focus on the university’s history. The event officially begins April 22 with a keynote address at 9 a.m. by John R. Thelin, University Research Professor at the University of Kentucky. Thelin, whose teaching and research interests focus on the history of higher education and public policy, will speak on “Alma Mater, Lost and Found: The History of the University of Georgia in National Perspective” in Room 150 of the Miller Learning Center, where all presentations will take place unless otherwise noted.
Following Thelin’s remarks, UGA faculty members will speak. At 10:15 a.m., James C. Cobb, B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor of History, will discuss the baby boomer generation in college. James C. Hearn, a professor at the Institute of Higher Education, will give the response and commentary. Nash Boney, history professor emeritus, will give a presentation on “Historical Images of the University of Georgia” at 11:15 a.m.
After a lunch break, UGA faculty members will lead discussions on race and gender at the university. Robert A. Pratt, professor and chair of the history department will speak about Mary Frances Early and UGA’s desegregation at 1:30 p.m. Sharon Y. Nickols, the Janette M. Barber Distinguished Professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, will give a presentation on the admission of women to UGA. Undergraduate students will take part in a panel response, which will be moderated by Derrick Alridge, director of the Institute of African American Studies.
At 3 p.m. the evolution of campus plans, landscapes and preservation efforts will be the featured. Presentations will be made by Danny Sniff, associate vice president for facilities planning; John C. Waters, a professor in the School of Environmental Design; and Dexter Adams, director of the grounds department in the Physical Plant.
At the same time “Intercollegiate Athletics at UGA” will be discussed in 350 Miller Learning Center. J. Douglas Toma, an associate professor in the Institute of Higher Education, will speak about UGA athletics in a national context. Welch Suggs, assistant to the president, will moderate a panel discussion with former student athletes on Title IX and athletics at UGA.
A reception and concert from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Tate Student Center Alumni Plaza will end the day’s activities. Student ensembles from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music will perform pieces related to UGA, including ones written especially for UGA and songs traditionally heard at sporting events and academic ceremonies.
The theme for April 23 events is “UGA, Still Making History: Looking to the Future.”
At 9 a.m. Stephen R. Portch, chancellor emeritus of the University System of Georgia, will speak on “The Future of Higher Education.”
A panel discussion on “The Future of Teaching, Research and Service at the University of Georgia” will take place at 10:15 a.m. Panel members include Laura Dunn Jolly, interim vice president for instruction and dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences; David C. Lee, vice president for research; and Arthur N. Dunning, former vice president for public service and outreach.
At 11:30 a.m. UGA President Michael F. Adams will give closing remarks.
The UGA Alumni Association will hold its annual awards luncheon at noon in the Grand Hall of the Tate Student Center. Honorees include former UGA provost Arnett C. Mace Jr.; Atlanta businessman John F. McMullan; the Thomson-based Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc.; and the family of Savannah businessman Craig Barrow III.
The symposium will close with the 3 p.m. rededication of the theater. Built in the late 1930s, the structure was modernized to include more restrooms and handicap accessible facilities, more theater seats and better acoustics. The project also restored the original ticket booth, coat check and the theater’s ornamental plaster ceiling.
An art exhibition also celebrating the university’s 225th anniversary is on display at the Visual Arts Building until April 30. University of Georgia Turns 225 includes objects that reflect the history and current state of UGA. Works by Lamar Dodd, George Cooke, Charles Frederick Naegele, Howard Thomas and current students and professors are on display.
“The symposium has a really wonderful mix of people: students, professors, alumni and guests,” said Tom Dyer, professor emeritus and chair of the planning committee. “It should produce a really interesting program.”