About the Nevonian Society
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. In 2019, the members of the Class of 1969 will join the existing Nevonians in the classes of 1968, 1967, 1966, 1965, 1964 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.
During Alumni Weekend, the members of the 50th reunion class or their surviving spouses or partners are formally inducted into the Nevonian Society during a special program held on campus. All Nevonians are invited to this annual event so they can be on hand to welcome the newest members and enjoy festivities. As yet uninducted members of older classes and their surviving spouses or partners are also encouraged to 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.
History of the Society
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. Feb. 20, 1803, and was a graduate of Union College and the Princeton Theological Seminary (1826).
In 1840, Nevin accepted a position teaching in Mercersburg Seminary, a German Reformed institution. In 1841, he became president of Marshall College, a position in which he served until the union of Franklin College and Marshall College in 1853. Nevin then 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 College 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.
During Nevin's early years as president of Franklin & Marshall, the College grew slowly both financially and in terms of the number of students and faculty on campus. 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. Still, Nevin's presidency produced many highlights, among them: 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 construction 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). Today, his legacy lives on in the lives of F&M's loyal alumni.
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 commitment 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 alumna or to his or her surviving spouse during the alumnus’ or alumna's reunion year, and presented at the Nevonian program in June. Recipients also become members of the Society of Distinguished Alumni.