Wayne State to Mark College's Centennial With Several Special Events
Wayne State College is celebrating 100 years as a state college beginning this fall and running through fall of 2010. The year-long celebration will include several cultural events to mark the college’s anniversary. The college was founded in 1891 as a normal school by James Madison Pile and became a state college in the fall of 1910.
The first centennial celebration event was two lectures by Dr. Michael J. Klarman, the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School, who visited the college Nov. 5 to deliver the Dr. Sheila Stearns President’s Lecture on Public Affairs. Klarman spoke on “Backlash: The Unpredictable and Occasionally Perverse Consequences of Court Decisions” and “Why Brown v. Board of Education Was a Hard Case”.
Klarman earned his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, his J.D. from Stanford Law School, and his D. Phil. from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar. After law school, Klarman clerked for the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He joined the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law in 1987 and served there until 2008 as the James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of History. He has won numerous awards for his teaching and scholarship and is the author of three books, most notably From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2004 and for which he received the prestigious Bancroft Prize in History.
The Dr. Sheila Stearns President’s Lecture Series on Public Affairs, named after former Wayne State president Sheila Stearns, brings to campus speakers of national and international distinction who have the ability to inspire students to think broadly about global issues and motivate them to become engaged in civic and public affairs.
The second event marking the college’s centennial will be a WSC Centennial Celebration concert jointly presented by Wayne State and the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site. The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17 in Ramsey Theatre at the college. The event will include a new work, The Time Cycle, composed by WSC staff accompanist Philip Pfaltzgraff and featuring WSC music faculty and students. The work was inspired by the writings of alumnus and Nebraska Poet Laureate in Perpetuity, John G. Neihardt.
Neihardt often referred to Wayne as his "hill of vision." In his autobiography, All is But a Beginning, Neihardt wrote of WSC, "It was as though the little college had been created for me ...lifted me to a higher, creative level of being. It was simply in the air of the world, and I think it radiated from J. M. Pile."
Pfaltzgraff utilized writings from the Neihardt works "The Poet's Town," "Prelude," "Prayer of an Alien Soul," and "Hark the Music," as inspiration for The Time Cycle. “This piece for choir, wind ensemble, piano, and soprano soloist,” Pfaltzgraff explained, “explores our links to the past, to the universe around us, and to our personal expectations of what the future may hold.”
Pfaltzgraff graduated from Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa, in 1971 with a Music Education (major in voice) Degree. He has worked in public and private schools (K-12) in Hubbard, Des Moines and Waukee, Iowa, St. Petersburg, Fla., and Mt. Pleasant, Mich. In addition to a career in music education, he has served in music and pastoral leadership in churches in Iowa, Florida, and Michigan.
The Centennial Concert is free and open to the public. The concert will be followed by a dessert and coffee reception in the Ramsey Theatre lobby, hosted by the Wayne State College centennial committee.
Wayne State will continue its celebration in 2010 with a presentation by the Glenn Miller Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. April 21 in Ramsey Theatre. The Black and Gold Series concert will be preceded by a dinner on campus. Currently led by trombonist Larry O’Brien, the orchestra presents nearly 300 performances while traveling more than 100,000 miles each year.
The Wayne State Foundation has commemorated the college’s centennial with the publication of a 180-page history book chronicling the college’s past as told through images and stories that link Wayne State to each of the decades of state, national and world history since its inception. The book, Far From Normal: 100 Years of Educational Excellence, also provides many details about the large cast of interesting characters who helped make the college what it is today.
Wayne State President Richard J. Collings and the Board of Trustees of the Wayne State Foundation launched the college’s Centennial Campaign in 2005 to celebrate Wayne State’s 100-year anniversary as a state college. The campaign’s intent was to raise $20 million, the largest campaign goal in Wayne State Foundation history. Wayne State has already received $18 million in gifts and pledges and expects to reach its goal by the fall of 2010.