College celebrates 150 years

As both an alumnus and member of the math department faculty, William Hausdoerffer participated in the College’s 100th birthday celebration.

Fifty years later, the 1936 Trenton State Normal School graduate was back to celebrate the College’s 150th birthday, kicking off the Sesquicentennial Celebration with the lighting of the cauldron last Wednesday in Brower Student Center.

“There was no lighting of a cauldron, but we had a big dance one weekend, lots of newspaper publicity and parades,” Hausdoerffer said, reflecting on the centennial-year celebration. “This reminds me of that a little bit.”

Though the College has changed since Hausdoerffer’s time as a student – there is now only one central campus, and dorms are co-ed – he finds much of the celebration the same. The current president spoke of the institution’s accomplishments, the cheer and dance teams encouraged the crowds, and students and alumni alike gathered to witness a milestone in the College’s history.

Originally scheduled to take place on Quimby’s Prairie, the student center became the final destination of the torch used to light the Sesquicentennial cauldron. It was passed off for six miles by volunteers who ran it to campus from the College’s original location on North Clinton Avenue in Trenton.

“I never ran six miles in my life but I wanted to do it for the school,” Sean O’Grady, class of 2004, said.

“It was hot, it was humid,” Anne DeGennaro, class of ’83 and member of the Sesquicentennial Planning Committee, said. But she cheered “amen” when commended for running the full six miles.

Rain Plan B brought the torch through the middle of the student center to the outdoor food court, where it was lit by a potential member of the class of 2025. Harrison Fehn, 5 months old, was chosen to light the torch in honor of the College’s future.

“He did it with a little help from mom and dad,” said mother Heather Fehn, who works as an assistant to College President R. Barbara Gitenstein’s cabinet. Her husband, Jack, is an institutional controls technician for the College’s Energy and Central Utilities office.

Jack and Heather hope Harrison chooses to attend the College, where the couple met and subsequently married at a ceremony in the Allen Drawing Room.

“We’ll talk about it in 16 years,” Heather said. Jack said he is more eager to keep Harrison around so that he can keep an eye on him while he works.

Over the low racket of the student activities fair, which was simultaneously taking place in the student center, Gitenstein and Robert Gladstone, chair of the Sesquicentennial committee, led the half-hour event ceremony.

Awards were handed out for the name-the-ice-cream-flavor and cheer contests. Freshman Megan O’Reilly won the ice cream naming contest with “Sesqui-mint-tennial,” and senior Laureen Biruk’s cheer took first place. The Lion Mascot – originally dubbed Linus, although not called by this name for decades – was renamed “Roscoe,” after former College president Roscoe L. West.