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Founders' Day

In 1909, President Joseph Harker suggested to the Board of Trustees that a Founders Day should be established as a day of special observance of the very first meeting of the Board of Trustees on October 10, 1846 and that the observance should be held every year as close as possible to this day to commemorate the founding of the College. He instituted the second Thursday of every October to be "Founders' Day."

The first Founders' Day was delayed until November 9, 1909 for the completion of a new building on campus, Harker Hall. Every year the programs usually had outside speakers to give presentations during convocations based on the topic selected for the day. In addition, during Harker's presidency, a new tradition of "candle lighting" was instituted for the alumnae for those who couldn't attend Founders Day programs but wanted to be part of the observances. In societies across the U.S. they were to gather to light a blue and yellow candle (College colors) in "happy remembrance of college days and as a token of continued interest and communion with former students."

During President McClelland's presidency, he introduced a new custom to have groundbreaking or cornerstone-laying ceremonies set to coincide on this observance day.

After the establishment of the Men's College, Founders' Day became a weekend with the addition of a soccer game, a 5k run, and exterior dorm decorating competitions based on the weekend's theme. By 1967, the weekend was renamed Homecoming Weekend with the typical homecoming parade included in the festivities. Homecoming continues to be annually observed on either the second or third weekend of October.

Photos

Photo of Christian County (IL) alumnae gathered for the candle lighting dinner on Founders' Day 1927 at the Taylorville Country Club.
Photo of Christian County (IL) alumnae gathered for the candle lighting dinner on Founders' Day 1927 at the Taylorville Country Club.