Vanderbilt Magazine

Birthday Bash: Vanderbilt kicks off its Sesquicentennial in style

Photos by John Amis, Joe Howell, Harrison McClary and Anne Rayner

Vanderbilt officially launched the yearlong celebration of its 150th anniversary with a full slate of events on March 24 and 25. Among the highlights was a formal ceremony in Langford Auditorium where members of the Vanderbilt community took to the stage in academic regalia to recount details of the university’s founding in 1873 and reflect on key moments in Vanderbilt’s history.

The weekend also included an event at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum that featured performances by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriters Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, a gathering for alumni and parent volunteers at the Parthenon in Centennial Park, the unveiling of the six most recent portraits in the Vanderbilt Trailblazers series at E. Bronson Ingram College and a party for the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities on Alumni Lawn.

“We are surrounded today by our founders’ legacy, which has been amended and enriched by the generations that followed over 15 decades in an unbroken chain leading up to this very moment,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said during the Langford Auditorium ceremony. “Today, Vanderbilt University is more multifaceted, more accomplished and more renowned than our founders dreamed. The ‘great university of the South’ is now one of the great universities of America, and it is poised to become one of the great universities of the world and of this century. We are stronger and more vital than ever.”