Founders’ Day, which commemorated the College’s 150th anniversary last Wednesday, provided students, faculty and alumni with many ways to celebrate. Events on Founders’ Day included a commemorative postal cancellation table, collection of items for the time capsule and the College’s 150th birthday party. The daylong celebration culminated in the evening with the Leadership Convocation.
At the birthday party, members of the College community gathered in Brower Student Center as the bash kicked off with a performance by the TCNJ Dance Team to the hit song “1, 2 Step” by singer Ciara. Other performances included the official TCNJ Cheer by the Lions’ cheerleaders and a rhythmic demonstration by some special guests, the Fisher Middle School Drill Team from Fisher Middle School in Ewing. All the performances were filmed by Philadelphia Action News 6.
A lighted cake that read “Happy Birthday TCNJ” was wheeled out as partygoers sang “Happy Birthday” to the College. Roscoe the Lion blew out the candles with a little help from his mascot friends from the Trenton Titans, Trenton Thunder, Somerset Patriots and New Jersey Devils.
Like any good birthday party, there was also plenty of free birthday cake, candy and other desserts. The most impressive dessert was a cake replica of the Green Hall clocktower, which stood about three feet tall. There were also party hats, noisemakers, a magician, a juggler and a clown painting faces and making balloon animals.
Anyone who wanted to take a piece of history home with them stopped by the commemorative postal cancellation table. There were College postcards, Founders’ Day programs and other memorabilia available to stamp with the exclusive Sesquicentennial postal cancellation.
Once an item was stamped, it could be kept as a souvenir or given to one of the U.S. postal employees who were on hand to mail it. This exclusive stamp was only being given out on Founders’ Day, making it a must-have for stamp collectors and a very special College keepsake.
To give a historical gift to the College’s future generations, people could donate items to the Founders’ Day time capsule. Among the varied items submitted were pictures, magazines, issues of The Signal, business cards, a squeeze toy from the last freshman orientation and a College mouse pad.
The time capsule will be buried in the entranceway of the new library and will be dug up and opened in the year 2055 for the College’s bicentennial celebration.
The College’s ambassadors passed out free raffle tickets at the event, and every 10 minutes a new number was called for a chance to win a Lions stuffed animal, T-shirts, bags and other prizes.
At the stand of the College’s radio station, WTSR, free stickers and key chains were given out and students Dave Salge and Mike Heitmann performed acoustic versions of hits from yesterday and today.
At another table, seniors could claim a free CD to help them countdown the days to graduation with a new piece of information and trivia for each day.
Entries for the weeklong scavenger hunt, in which students could form groups and try to get the most questions right about the College, were also collected at a table at the birthday party. The first entry received that had all the answers correct would win $150.
“There was a long line this morning of people who wanted to get (their answers) in first,” Christina Smith, senior graphic design major, said.
At two other tables, guests could look through past Seal yearbooks and place an order for the new issue as well as look through past editions of The Signal, including the initial 1885 issue, when it was a literary magazine, and the 100th anniversary issue from 1985.
Doris Downey, Ewing resident and member of the Ewing Township Patriotic Committee, said the party was wonderful because she saw some old friends and got the commemorative stamp cancellation to add to her stamp collection.
College President R. Barbara Gitenstein also said she enjoyed the party. “I’m having a wonderful time. It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “It was great to have all different elements of the community involved and I love birthday cake.”
The birthday party was coordinated by Janis Blayne-Paul of the Sesquicentennial Planning Committee, who was very happy with the party’s turnout. “I am thrilled. I think it’s going well,” she said. “It seems like we have a good mix of people.”
This ceremony, honoring alumni of the College who have made a difference in the community, will become an annual Founders’ Day event. This year, the College’s Alumni Association honored Ret. Col. Leonard J. Tharney (’54) Nancy Cashel Faherty (’89) and Anthony J. Pasczio (’72).
The evening’s keynote speaker was Eleanor V. Horne, vice president and corporate secretary of Educational Testing Services in Princeton and former trustee of the College.
Horne said the College is “always in a state of becoming something better: from good to great and from great to best in class, which we are today.” She also called the College “an incredible story of vision, leadership and perseverance.”
The main theme of Horne’s speech was to point out discrepancies between the number of black children completing their educational careers as compared to a far greater number of white children.
“I urge the College, not just the school of education, to do everything it can to improve the life chances of black youngsters,” Horne said.
Horne’s speech was followed by one from the president of the Alumni Association, Greg Bellotti (’92), who introduced the award recipients. Bellotti pointed out what all the honorees had in common: “They’ve all given back to society in significant ways,” he said.
Bellotti introduced the Distinguished Service Award recipient, Tharney. Bellotti spoke of Tharney’s years of teaching in the education department at the College, referring to the “legacy of thousands of teachers that (Tharney) made better.”
Tharney, one of the founding faculty members of the College’s International Studies Program, gave an emotional speech that showed him to be humbled and grateful for the honor he had received.
Faherty, the recipient of the Humanitarian Award, is a human services activist, public relations expert and community advocate for youth sports and recreation. Among the many roles she has held, Faherty was president of Angel’s Wings, Inc., an emergency care provider for abused and neglected children.
Bellotti called Faherty “a consummate leader and a driving force at whatever she does.” In her speech, Faherty said, “Our children need us all to find the humanitarian within ourselves.”
Bellotti said the Alumni Citation Award winner, Pasczio, is “very proud, very successful, very humble and he never forgot his roots.”
A devoted alumnus, Pasczio is a business leader and chair of the Institute for Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders, an affiliate of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
In his speech, Pasczio thanked his alma mater. “(The College) gave me the courage to dream,” he said.