College begins countdown to 150-year celebration

On Monday, Feb. 9, at 12:30 p.m. the College kicked off its countdown to the sesquicentennial celebration by unveiling the official clock that will count the seconds until Sept. 8, the official start of the sesquicentennial year.

The clock is located outside the Brower Student Center in the trophy case facing Packer Hall and the interior of campus. There is also a countdown clock that appeared today on the College’s homepage.

According to Sue Long, public information officer for the office of college and community relations, the clock was purchased by funds raised by the Sesquicentennial Planning Committee (SQC).

Staff members and students who attended the short ceremony, which lasted about 15 minutes, sent streams of confetti through the air just after the clock was unveiled.

“The College is celebrating 149 years of history and beauty on its campus by littering it with confetti,” Ryan Zeek, junior history major, said.

Robert Gladstone, Board of Trustees member and chair of the SQC, began the ceremony saying, “This is the beginning of the beginning.”

On Feb. 9, 1885, 149 years ago, the College began as the New Jersey State Normal School, and since then it has gone through three name changes.

College President R. Barbara Gitenstein said, “We are very excited to begin our celebration, honoring the successes of our past and rejoicing in the promise of our future.”

Jean Nelson, financial aid secretary, was pleased with the ceremony. “I think it’s a great honor to be a part of a school with such a great history,” he said.

Laureen Biruk, junior graphic design major, is a member of the SQC. Although she was unable to attend the unveiling, she was pleased to hear that people are becoming more involved.

Biruk and the group have been working on this event for over a year.

Gladstone added said that Monday began the first day of the “Name the Lion Contest.” The contest is the first of many contests that will be held throughout the year. “The lion is a part of the history of the school, and his name will be a part of the future,” Gladstone said.

Students, staff, alumni and members of the community will be invited to choose from a list of 10 names related to the history of the school. The names are listed and a short explanation of the origin of the name is available by clicking on it.

To vote on the lion’s name visit the sesquicentennial Web site at The contest will end at 6:55 p.m. on May 7. The winning name will be announced on Sept. 8 at the official kickoff of the sesquicentennial year.

Participants are invited to vote as many times as they would like.