McDaniel College Launches 150th Anniversary Celebration


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WESTMINSTER, Md. – McDaniel College marks its 150th anniversary with a year-long sesquicentennial celebration honoring its past, present and future.

Founded in 1867 as the first coeducational college south of the Mason-Dixon Line, McDaniel was formerly known as Western Maryland College, named for the Western Maryland railroad. The college’s founding date is Sept. 4, 1867, when the first academic year began, and the college’s charter was approved by the State of Maryland on March 30, 1868. In 2002, the college was renamed for William Roberts McDaniel in honor of his 65-year association with the college as a student, professor, administrator and trustee.

As a kick off, college historian James E. Lightner, who has served the college for five decades as a 1959 alumnus, professor emeritus of mathematics and current trustee, is the speaker at McDaniel’s 147th Commencement on Saturday, May 20, 10 a.m., in the college’s Gill Center. Lightner penned the history of the college in his more than 700-page book, “Fearless and Bold.”

Debuting in May 2017, a commemorative logo celebrating the 150th anniversary will appear on banners and signage on campus and throughout Westminster, Md., as well as on college stationery and other materials.

An anniversary website,, will include an interactive historical timeline and a calendar of 150th anniversary-related events. The hashtag #McDaniel150 will also be utilized on Facebook and Twitter to celebrate the 150th anniversary.

Throughout the 2017–2018 academic year, the college plans to hold lectures, exhibitions and other events to commemorate the anniversary, including two special celebrations:

· McDaniel College’s 150th Birthday Party takes place on campus in conjunction with Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 21, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Free and open to the public, the event features live music, children’s activities, food and a beer and wine garden. A timeline exhibit highlighting each decade of the college’s history will be on view in Rice Gallery, Peterson Hall, with a reception beginning at 10 a.m., including opening remarks by college historian James E. Lightner. (The exhibition runs Thursday, Oct. 19–Friday, Nov. 10). There will also be self-guided historic tours of campus and viewings of “Fearless and Bold: LIVE,” a 90-minute multimedia presentation on the college’s history adapted from the book, “Fearless and Bold,” in Decker Auditorium, Lewis Hall of Science.

The Birthday Party will continue as McDaniel’s Green Terror football team takes on the Mules of Muhlenberg College at 2 p.m. at Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, with a cake-cutting ceremony slated for halftime (approximately 3:15 p.m.). McDaniel is nationally recognized for its unique drive-in tailgating tradition and approximately 2,500 fans annually attend the Homecoming football game. Admission to the game is free; parking on the field is $10 per vehicle (cash only, payable at the gate).

· Holiday Light Show illuminates Kenneth R. Gill Stadium with a drive-through light display synchronized to music throughout the holiday season. The show opens on Saturday, Nov. 25, in conjunction with Westminster’s Miracle on Main Street holiday electric parade.

The college also plans to participate in various community engagement activities, including the Westminster Fallfest Parade on Thursday, Sept. 21, and the holiday electric parade on Saturday, Nov. 25, as well as the PEEPshow at the Carroll Arts Center in March 2018. An exhibition pairing former and current art faculty members at McDaniel with alumni artists will be on display at the Carroll Arts Center from Jan. 9–Feb. 25.

In addition, McDaniel’s Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO) will be hosting “Service Saturdays” with McDaniel students spending one Saturday each month working on community service projects with local nonprofit organizations. The Westminster Clean Up in April 2018 also includes McDaniel students volunteering at various sites throughout Westminster.