Commemorating the date of the first meeting of the Emory College Board of Trustees on Feb. 6, 1837, Founders Week has incorporated Emory’s earliest history as an institution into a week full of free activities for the Emory community.
Founders Week is an adaptation of an older tradition called Charter Day. This day marked the anniversary of the chartering of Emory as a university on Jan. 25, 1915, according to Vice President and Deputy to the President Gary Hauk.
Hauk explained how for a time, the Emory community attempted to celebrate Charter Day, but found it to be challenging to plan any sort of celebration two weeks into the semester and on the heels of King Week.
This year, Founders Week marked the celebration of 100 years of Emory in Atlanta, referring to when the University received a DeKalb County charter to build at its present location in 1915, expanding from Oxford, Georgia, where it was first founded in 1836.
Founders Week promised many events, highlighted by a Sunday Bach concert at the Schwartz Center, with a selection of solo and chamber music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
The week continued with a Founders Day Dinner on Monday, Distinguished Faculty Lecture by C. H. Candler Professor of Psychology Frans de Waal on Tuesday, Wonderful Wednesday and will culminate with the annual Emory Jazz Fest on Saturday.
“Every year the Emory community recognizes the founding of our University with a week of events that strive to celebrate faculty accomplishments and the role of the University in promoting inquiry and intellectual life,” College senior and Wonderful Wednesday moderator Kevin Satterfield said.
Satterfield said that the Founders Day Dinner is a great way for some of the most dedicated students on campus to engage with alumni, faculty and administrators including Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair and President James W. Wagner.
The evening included a performance by No Strings Attached and an address given by keynote speaker Stephen Chen (‘95C), a supervisory attorney with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Additionally, the dinner featured a new social media platform, including a “live stream social media feed, which allowed guests to upload their photos and tweets to a projection on the wall using the hashtag #Emory100,” College senior David Bailey said, who played a large role in organizing Founders Week.
Wonderful Wednesday featured its usual fanfare of student groups’ tables, complete with free food, Founders Day T-shirt giveaways, carriage rides, a photo booth and the chance to chat with actors dressed as some of Emory’s “founders.”
This week’s Wonderful Wednesday also saw the appearance of Lord Dooley and his highly anticipated announcement of the Dooley’s Week theme: Dooley’s Island.
Satterfield said that, in the end, Founders Week is ultimately about the ideals that our founders sought to achieve.
“In all, this week is not only about celebrating Emory’s role in fostering Atlanta’s distinct culture of philanthropy, business and arts,” Satterfield said, ”it also reminds the current community of the potential we, as an institution, have in instilling the values of global learning and community engagement within our students and faculty.”
– By Mary Hollis McGreevy, Contributing Writer