UMES hosts week-long events in celebration of its founding

Aug 31, 2012

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. -- What’s a birthday without cake, song, reflection on the past and visions of the future?  The University of Maryland Eastern Shore celebrates its annual Founders’ Week, September 9-15, with events for campus and community.

The theme, “From Excellence to Eminence—the Journey Continues,” signals the beginning of Dr. Juliette B. Bell’s first year as UMES’ 15th president.

In recognition of the university's origins, Founders' Week activities begin with an anniversary worship service at Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Princess Anne on Sun., Sept. 9, at 11 a.m.  The two institutions were founded less than a week apart in 1886.

Explore the university’s rich heritage in an exhibit at the Frederick Douglass Library beginning Sept. 10, or relive it through a historic tour of the Academic Oval Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. Students and faculty impersonating influential campus leaders from the past lead the walking tour.  A musical salute by the university’s concert and gospel choirs and jazz band on the lawn outside the J.T. Williams administrative building brings the evening to a close.

In celebration of Bell's first year at UMES, a tree planting ceremony and time capsule burial takes place at 10 a.m. at the International Flag Mall by the J.T. Williams administrative building.

Bell leads her first Founders’ Week Convocation and Summer Commencement on the university’s 126th birthday, Sept. 13, at 10 a.m. in the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts.  The school traces its origins to 1886 when the Methodist Episcopal Church opened the Delaware Conference Academy, also known as the Princess Anne Academy, with nine students and three faculty members.

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a national organization representing the country’s 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities, will give the keynote address to an audience including some 30 Doctor of Physical Therapy graduates and their families.  The students, who comprise the largest PT class since the university began to offer doctoral-level training 10 years ago, have worked for three years to earn the much-in-demand credential, said Dr. Raymond L. Blakely, the program’s founder.  Once they pass a national licensing exam—and UMES has a near-perfect record of producing graduates who do so on the first try—they will enter the healthcare field as physical therapists in hospitals, senior care facilities and the private sector with home healthcare providers.

Founders’ Week Convocation and Summer Commencement is open to the public, however seating is limited.  A wreath laying ceremony and reception with birthday cake follows convocation.

A community clean-up day, “Street Sweep,” has been added to the event line-up this year.  The university and the Town of Princess Anne—in an effort to promote the “Town/Gown” partnership—will meet at the Richard Henson Center parking lot Sept. 15 at 8 a.m. for a day of service.  A picnic with music in the town’s Manokin Park at 1 p.m. wraps up the event.

All events are free.  For a complete list, visit www.umes.edu or call 410-651-6669.        


Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580, gcstephens@umes.edu.  

Office of Public Relations
University of Maryland Eastern Shore