Rutgers University Celebrates 250 Years

Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, will celebrate its 250 year anniversary with a yearlong program of events such as symposiums, conferences, exhibits, special graduation celebrations and concerts beginning this November.

Rutgers will begin the celebration of its 250 year history on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 from 4-5:30 p.m. at Old Queens Lawn at Rutgers-New Brunswick with a party titled “Let’s Get Revolutionary!” This event will feature food, kettle fires, fife and drum corps, a bell choir, the Scarlet Knight riding on horseback, actors portraying historical figures, tours of the newly reopened Daniel S. Schank Observatory (the first building at Rutgers built solely for scientific purposes in June of 1866), a photo booth, Rutgers history trivia games and the premiere screening of the 250 anniversary film Our Revolutionary Spirit. The rain date for this event will be Thursday, November 12, 2015 from 4-5:30 p.m. at College Avenue Gym at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

Similarly, Rutgers-Camden will host a special celebration on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 12:20 p.m. during the free period in the main lounge of the Campus Center. This celebration will include birthday cake, giveaways and a salute to Rutgers. Later that day, when the sun sets, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and Camden City Hall will be lit in red light for the night in honor of the 250 year anniversary of the university. Camden City Hall will be lit from November 6-13 in honor of the anniversary, while the bridge will only be illuminated for this one night. On the Rutgers-Camden campus, the Gateway glass sculpture at Fourth and Cooper Streets will be lit with a scarlet light for the week as well.

On Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 11:00 a.m., there will be a dedication ceremony for the Writers House on the Rutgers-Camden campus. Tours of the building will begin at noon that day only.

Included in the anniversary celebration is Simeon De Witt: Mapping the Revolution, which can be viewed until July 31, 2016 at the American Art Gallery at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers-New Brunswick. In 1776, Simeon De Witt was the 14th (and only) graduate of Queen’s College (before the school even became Rutgers). He was the only graduate because of the Revolutionary War. After graduation, De Witt and New Jersey resident Colonel Robert Erskine produced hand drawn maps under direct order of General George Washington. These maps allowed the Continental Army to move throughout the state of New Jersey. De Witt was promoted to Surveyor General in 1780 after Erskine’s death.

Rutgers through the Centuries: 250 Years of Treasures from the Archives is another exhibit that will be on display from November 12, 2015 to November 30, 2016 in the Special Collections and University Archives Gallery at the Archibald S. Alexander Library at Rutgers-New Brunswick. On view will be important historical documents pertaining to the Rutgers story, photographic illustrations and artifacts from the collections of the Rutgers University Archives. Some highlights of Treasures include an original printed copy of the 1770 Queen’s College Charter, portraits of past presidents and faculty members, photographs and artifacts depicting 19th and 20th century student life and documents showing Rutgers College becoming a land-grant institution in 1864.

Admission to this exhibits is free, but a reservation time is required by calling 848-932-7505. Visitors are welcome to the exhibit Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and Saturdays during the academic year from 1-5:00 p.m.

Rutgers Day will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2016 from 10-4:00 p.m. at the New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark campuses. All New Jersey residents are invited to participate in hands-on learning activities in the fields of science, art and humanities. There will also be live entertainment from musicians and dancers, as well as exhibitions hosted by students and faculty.

On October 26, 2016, there will be a symposium called “A Discussion on the Significance of Our Charter Language, ‘Useful Arts’ and the Humanities.” The discussion will explore how the language of Rutgers’ 1766 charter applies to Rutgers and all higher education in today’s world. As part of the event, renowned scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah, who teaches at New York University, will present his ideas in a speech that will speak about “What the Humanities Mean.” President of the American Council of Learned Societies, Pauline Yu, will speak about “Why the Humanities Matter.” There is no additional information as of yet.

Rutgers is certainly planning a very special year for its students, faculty, staff, communities, and the university itself.

For more information on Let’s Get Revolutionary!, click here.

To read more about Simeon De Witt and the exhibition at Zimmerli Art Museum, click here.

For more information on Rutgers through the Centuries, click here.

Information on Rutgers Day can be found here.

Rutgers has dedicated an entire website to the yearlong 250 celebration. Learn more about Rutgers history and view the calendar of events for the next 12 months by visiting the special site.

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