Founders Week celebrates 150th

For about 75 years, the University Alumni Association has hosted the annual Founders Day celebration.

As part of this occasion, outstanding alumni, faculty and friends are honored for the important roles they have played in advancing the University.

In the 150th-anniversary year, this annual event will be greatly expanded to include a week of events for alumni, students, faculty, staff and community members.

Kicking off Founders Week will be a community open house from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 14. This will be open to the entire St. Louis community, and events will include tours, exhibits, classes, demonstrations, performances and refreshments. More detailed information will be made public as it becomes available.

That same day, the Saint Louis Symphony will perform at 7 p.m. in Brookings Quadrangle. This, too, is open to the entire community.

Student Life will be holding a 125th-anniversary reunion Sept. 12-14 at various places on the Hilltop Campus.

From 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 16, Robert E. Hegel, Ph.D., professor of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures in Arts & Sciences, will deliver a lecture on “China in 1853: Bandits at Home and Foreigners on the Shores.”

This is part of a free noncredit short course called “Remembering 1853: A Sesquicentennial Celebration of the Humanities,” an introduction to the humanities from a global perspective and through the lens of 1853, the founding year of the University.

On Sept. 17, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas Friedman of The New York Times will give the inaugural Assembly Series sesquicentennial lecture as part of Arts & Sciences’ “Conversations” series. The lecture will be from 11 a.m.-noon in the Athletic Complex Field House.

The Conversations series will comprise discussions intended to provide a forum for reflection on issues that will affect the future of the University, the community and the world.

From 2-3 p.m. that day, Friedman will join a panel moderated by James V. Wertsch, Ph.D., the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences. Also part of the Conversations series, the panel will discuss “What Kind of International Borders Will Exist in the 21st Century?”

Joining the panel will be Seyla Benhabib, the Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University; Bruce Blair, president of the Center for Defense Information; Leila N. Sadat, J.D., professor of law and member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; and Satadru Sen, Ph.D., assistant professor of history in Arts & Sciences.

The annual Founders Day celebration at America’s Center will close out the week. Although the name of the keynote speaker was not yet available for release at press time, past addresses have been delivered by President George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Dave Barry, Tom Brokaw and Colin Powell.

In keeping with tradition, the Founders Day ceremony will include the presentation of the Distinguished Faculty Awards, the Distinguished Alumni Awards and the Board of Trustees’ Robert S. Brookings Award. The latter award is presented to individuals exemplifying the alliance between the University and its community.

For more information on Founders Week or to see other events for the sesquicentennial celebration, go online to and click on the “Calendar of Events” link.