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Eastern Celebrates 125th Anniversary



125 anniversary logo.jpg

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.

"We have come a long way from our humble beginnings in September 1889 as the Willimantic State Normal School," said Eastern President Núñez. "At that time our faculty occupied the fourth floor of the Savings Institute building on Main Street, preparing their 13 students to become primary grade schoolteachers. Today we are Connecticut's public liberal arts university, providing more than 5,500 students with intellectual skills and applied learning opportunities that prepare them for dozens of professional careers.  At the same time, we are committed to ensuring educational access for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, with most of our students staying in Connecticut to become vital members of our state economy.  Even as we have grown, we have remained faithful to Eastern's tradition of establishing personal, lifelong relationships between our students and the faculty."

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 number of community-based projects are also planned, including a poster contest in local schools; the linking of planned CCE activities to the 125th Anniversary; and other activities under consideration.

Students are also getting involved in the celebration: the Student Government Association is looking into reenacting one or more Eastern tradition from bygone years; Visual Arts students are planning a Public Arts project in the community; and a video contest is also in the works.

The Eastern website will feature an historical photograph slide show on the home page; a dedicated webpage for the anniversary and its many activities that will feature the event schedule, contests, videos, and photos of special events; as well as a number of social media contests for students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors.

Academic and other departments are working on a variety of programs during the spring semester aimed principally at faculty, staff and student audiences. "Education Day," sponsored by the Education Department, was held on Jan. 28, 2014, and featured faculty and alumni discussion panels. During "Focus on the Arts" on Feb. 20, theatre, music and visual arts faculty and students will offer performances, visual exhibits and other entertaining and informative information.

"Athletics at Eastern" will be featured on March 10, 2014, with a visual presentation, alumni and student testimonials, and a display of athletic apparel and equipment. On April 10, 2014, "Science Day" will showcase scientific demonstrations and experiments.  May 1, 2014 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.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (860) 465-5735 or


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