UMES celebrates 125th Founders’ Week
As UMES opens its doors for the fall semester to some 4,500 students and 200 faculty members, it also invites the community to share in a special celebration of Founders’ Week—the university’s 125th.
“UMES has much of which to be proud, and we must recognize and celebrate our past to fully appreciate our future,” said Dr. Mort Neufville, interim president.
The university traces its roots to Sept. 13, 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.
In recognition of its origins, the university's Founders’ Week begins with an anniversary worship service at Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Princess Anne on Sun., Sept. 11, at 11 a.m. The two institutions were founded less than a week apart in 1886.
An exhibit, “If These Walls Could Talk: UMES 125 Years Through Its Architecture,” opens in the Frederick Douglass Library on Mon., Sept. 12, with a reception from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A 125th Anniversary Celebration takes place on Sept. 13, UMES’ Founders’ Day, at 5 p.m. on the steps of John T. Williams Hall. Festivities begin with a party featuring musical performances and a birthday cake for the school. Light Night, a tour of the historic UMES Academic Oval, follows at 6:30 p.m. Student and alumni guides relay the history of the buildings and the lives of their namesakes. Tours begin on the portico of the Richard A. Henson Center.
On Thursday at 10 a.m., the campus community fills the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts for the Founders’ Week Convocation and Summer Commencement. The event is open to the public. Actress and alumna Starletta DuPois returns to the campus to give the keynote address to 26 Doctor of Physical Therapy degree candidates.
DuPois is best know for her work in the box office hit “The Notebook,” “Friday After Next” with Ice Cube and Mike Epps, Martin Lawrence’s “Big Momma’s House” and more. She has worked alongside Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfieffer, Denzel Washington and others.
An explosive culmination to the week’s activities is the Founders’ Week Outdoor Concert and Fireworks Celebration on Friday at 7 p.m. Event organizers encourage participants to bring a folding chair or a blanket to spread out on the lawn adjacent to the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts. Music by the UMES Gospel Choir will accompany the fireworks display.
Call 410-651-6669 or visit www.UMES.edu/125 for more information.
The “Olney” was the original building of what was to become UMES.