Eastern Connecticut State University is celebrating its 125h Anniversary this year with a series of special events, displays, multi-media production, and other activities to highlight Eastern's 125-year journey since its beginnings in 1889 as the Willimantic State Normal School.
To provide the campus community and visitors with a better sense of Eastern's past, a 30-foot timeline of the University's 125-year history will be displayed on the wall next to the Student Center Theatre, with a 25-year span being installed each month between January-May, 2014. The display will include what was going on in Willimantic; Connecticut; and the United States during each time segment, in addition to what was happening on campus. In addition, a special anniversary edition of EASTERN Magazine will be published in early June to share the celebration with alumni and friends.
In late September, the University will dedicate a time capsule that will eventually be installed in the Fine Arts Instructional Center, to be opened in 2039 during Eastern's 150th Anniversary. Displays are also being installed in the J. Eugene Smith Library to coincide with the major events mentioned earlier; Education is the theme for January 2014; The Arts is the focus for February; Athletics will be featured in March; The Sciences are the topic for April; and Community Engagement is theme for May. A major event each month from January to May will focus on the same themes showcased in the Library display.
On Jan. 28, 150 students, faculty and staff joined Eastern President Elsa Núñez in the Betty R. Tipton Room for "Education at Eastern: Past, Present and Future." The event included an informative set of presentations, including panel discussions, a video and visuals--all of which highlighted how teacher education has been a central part of Eastern's mission since our beginnings in 1889.
On Feb. 20, 2014, "The Roaring Twenties and then Some!" was the focus, as more than 125 faculty, staff and students filled the Betty R. Tipton Room to celebrate the arts at Eastern. Over a luncheon of deviled eggs, crudité, tea sandwiches, scones, cookies, and assorted teas, the assembly was treated to music, art, and theatrical performances from 1914-1939, including a slideshow of art pieces created by visual arts students Solinda Keth and Cassandra Marion, under the direction of Professors Anne Dawson and June Bisantz.
The program continued with music selections from students, including Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" was on the piano by Sean Hanrahan; "Just My Bill" from the 1927 theatrical production of "Show Boat," performed by Moriah Perrett, and "Mack the Knife" sung by Renae St. John. Kyle Girard and Alexis Kurtz sang Gershwin's "Who Cares?" and Melinda DeDominicis performed "Someone to Watch Over Me," also written by George Gershwin. Eric Ouellette accompanied the singers on piano. Lucy Shea, Michael Siddell, Derwin Hill and Jessica McDonald performed the first scene from the upcoming play, "Prelude to a Kiss," which will run from Feb. 27 to March 2, and again on March 4-5. In addition, Ta Anh, Moriah Perrett and Alexis Kurtz sang Paul Stookey's "There Is Love" from the play. The students are directed by lecturer Gloria Trombley.
"Athletics at Eastern" will be featured on March 10, with a visual presentation, alumni and student testimonials, and a display of athletic apparel and equipment. On April 10, "Science Day" will showcase scientific demonstrations and experiments. May 1 is "Community Engagement Day," with a series of activities on campus, including the annual Service Expo, the Puentes al Futuro event and Eastern's annual Community Service Awards.