Over the course of more than 230 years, Franklin & Marshall College has embraced events that have created seismic shifts in the culture of the institution—moments that radically changed its community’s actions and thoughts. This year’s upcoming milestones are so monumental that the College is taking time to celebrate them throughout the 2019-20 academic year.
The theme for the year is “Change the Game: Explore the Past. Challenge the Present. Inspire the Future,” a designation aimed to emphasize the impact of these milestones.
The event series launches Aug. 29 when F&M President Barbara Altmann hosts a Common Hour focusing on the 50th anniversary of coeducation and how current students and alumnae are affecting meaningful change on campus and within their communities.
The F&M community will come together to highlight individuals and events that have been responsible for paradigm shifts beyond coeducation, such as the 100th anniversary of the Department of Spanish and the 50th anniversary of F&M's 1969 Black Student Protest at Goethean Hall. The community also will look to the future when it celebrates the opening of the Susan and Benjamin Winter Visual Arts Center, a building that will emphatically change the southern end of campus—physically and functionally.
“Each event is significant in its own right and deserving of celebration,” said Kim Armstrong, associate dean of the faculty, professor of Spanish and linguistics, and co-chair of the Gamechangers Planning Committee. “We hope that by having a common theme, people will make connections among the various events and activities on campus.”
Armstrong, along with other members of the campus community, spent the 2018-19 academic year planning the extensive programming that will give these milestones the recognition they deserve. Events include the Nov. 14 Common Hour presented by Sandra Cisneros, poet, essayist, novelist and the College’s 2019 Mueller Fellow, as well as gallery exhibits at the Phillips Museum of Art, special celebrations during True Blue Weekend, and much more.
“With this series of events, we wanted to encourage the F&M community to think collaboratively, to bring together resources and ideas in ways that are only really possible in a liberal arts college such as ours,” said Giovanna Faleschini Lerner, associate professor of Italian and co-chair of the planning committee.
In addition to celebrating campus-specific milestones, there also will be opportunities to reflect on major events that were responsible for national paradigm shifts, such as the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the 400-year observance of the beginning of American slavery.
“Though these are important milestones in the history of the College, it is essential that we do not forget that the College does not exist in a vacuum,” Faleschini Lerner said. “Its history and the histories of the people that make up its community have developed and continue to develop in the context of American politics, society and culture, and in dialogue with the rest of the world.”
Armstrong hopes that elevating these landmark moments will resonate with students in particular.
“It's a powerful message about an F&M education,” she said. “We are preparing students to be 21st-century citizens. They are the ones that will change the world, change the game.”
"It's a powerful message about an F&M education. We are preparing students to be 21st-century citizens. They are the ones that will change the world, change the game."