Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Nevonian Society

  • Nevonian Society 2010

All alumni who have celebrated the 50th anniversary of their graduation from the College and the spouses and partners of such alumni automatically become lifetime members of the Nevonian Society during the class's 50th reunion year. For 2014, that is the members of the Class of 1964, who will join the existing Nevonians in the classes of 1963, 1962, 1961 and so on, as well as spouses and partners of the same.

The Nevonian Society honors the life achievements of its illustrious members who have given life to the College's mission:

Franklin & Marshall is a residential college dedicated to excellence in undergraduate liberal education. Its aims are to inspire in young people of high promise and diverse backgrounds a genuine and enduring love for learning, to teach them to read, write, and think critically, to instill in them the capacity for both independent and collaborative action, and to educate them to explore and understand the natural, social, and cultural worlds in which they live. In doing so, the College seeks to foster in its students the qualities of intellect, creativity, and character, that they may live fulfilling lives and contribute meaningfully to their occupations, their communities, and their world.

Induction Ceremony
During Reunion Weekend, the members of the 50th reunion class or their surviving spouses or partners are formally inducted into the Nevonian Society during a special luncheon held on campus. All Nevonians are invited to this annual luncheon so they can be on hand to welcome the newest members and enjoy festivities. As yet uninducted members of older classes and their surviving widows are encouraged to also be inducted.

During the ceremony, each inductee signs the Nevonian Register called "Prexy's Book" (named after Dr. Theodore "Prexy" Distler, former president of the College and first president of the Nevonian Society) and receives a unique lapel pin commemorating this milestone. The lapel pin displays the coat of arms for the families of both Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall.

In 1981, the Franklin & Marshall Alumni Association established the Nevonian Society to honor alumni and the surviving spouses or partners of departed classmates who have reached the 50th anniversary of their graduation from the College. The Nevonian Society was named for the College's second president, John Williamson Nevin, who was born in Franklin County, PA on February 20, 1803, and was a graduate of Union College and the Princeton Theological Seminary (1826). In 1840, he accepted a position teaching in Mercersburg Seminary, a German Reformed institution and in 1841, Nevin became president of Marshall College, a position in which he served until the union of Franklin College and Marshall College in 1853. Nevin retired from public life for eight years before accepting a position as professor of the Philosophy of Science at Franklin & Marshall College in 1861. In 1866, he became the second President of Franklin & Marshall and served in this capacity until his retirement in 1876. Nevin married Martha Jenkins in 1835. The Nevins had eight children. John Williamson Nevin died at his home in Lancaster, PA, June 26, 1886.

Nevin's early years as president of Franklin & Marshall are characterized as "not particularly eventful" as the College grew slowly both financially and in the number of students and faculty. This was largely due to the conflicting aims of the Reformed Church who founded other, competing educational institutions such as Mercersburg College (1865) and Ursinus (1869) during Nevin's tenure. Among the highlights of his Presidency are: the creation of an endowed professorship in English literature and the Audenried endowed professorship in History and Archaeology; the removal of the Theological Seminary from Mercersburg College grounds (resulting in the construction of Gerhart and Alumni houses for Seminary faculty); the contruction of a separate building for the F&M Academy; and the construction of F&M's first dorm, Harbaugh Hall (all were constructed in 1871-72).

Questions and Suggestions
You are invited to contact Stefanie B. Valar, Director of Gift Planning (717-291-4272 or ) with your questions and suggestions.

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  • The Nevonian Medal
  • In May 2008, the Nevonian Medal was established to honor and celebrate members of the Nevonian Society who have demonstrated extraordinary and sustained dedication to the College.

    This can take many forms, including but not limited to, serving on committees, councils and other volunteer groups, staffing events, being an advocate, and providing financial support.

    The Medal is awarded annually to one or more alumnus or to his or her surviving spouse during the alumnus’ reunion year, and presented at the Nevonian Luncheon in June. Recipients also become members of the Society of Distinguished Alumni.