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.”
Chancellor Daniel Diermeier (pictured at the podium) was joined on stage at the Langford Auditorium ceremony by a cross-section of the university community, including administrators, staff, students, faculty and alumni. Among them was alumnus and former U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, BA’62, (pictured to Diermeier’s right), who shared his reflections on Vanderbilt’s history.
Six pioneering members of the Vanderbilt community who played significant roles in the university’s history were honored at a portrait unveiling and reception March 25 in E. Bronson Ingram College as part of the Vanderbilt Trailblazers initiative. Among them was the Law School’s first female African American graduate, Janie Greenwood Harris, LLB’64, pictured here below her portrait alongside members of her family.
Members of the Vanderbilt Athletic Bands welcomed attendees to the March 24 ceremony in Langford Auditorium with rousing renditions of their most popular songs.
“Today’s celebration offers us the chance to create our shared vision for the future,” said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver during the Langford Auditorium Sesquicentennial kickoff ceremony on March 24. “We come together to lift up the vision of Vanderbilt as an engine of discovery and positive change in our world for today and tomorrow, for ourselves and for the generations who will follow.”
Members of the Vanderbilt community gathered outside the Student Life Center for a fireworks show on March 25.
Longtime musical collaborators Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell performed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as part of the March 24 “Songs of America” event.
The “Songs of America” event featured a conversation with Jon Meacham, Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Professor and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Political Science, and Jad Abumrad, Distinguished Research Professor of Communication of Science and Technology, about the music that helped shape the U.S.
Hatch Show Print, a letterpress print shop that has been operating in Nashville since 1879, designed a special commemorative print for the Sesquicentennial featuring an image of Kirkland Hall.
Vanderbilt celebrated its alumni and parent volunteers at a special Volunteer Leadership Weekend dinner held under the watchful eye of Athena Parthenos, the monumental sculpture by alumnus Alan LeQuire, BA’78, inside the Parthenon.
Chancellor Daniel Diermeier greeted members of the university community at the March 25 celebration on Alumni Lawn and posed for a few group selfies in front of the V150 backdrop.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge, which spans the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville, was lit up in Vanderbilt’s colors in honor of the Sesquicentennial.