Volume 96, Issue 83
Friday, March 7, 2003

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From purple to grey: Western marks 125th anniversary

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

It's official: Western is too old to date your grandma or compete in a triathlon.

Yesterday marked Founder's Day at Western – the commemoration of the day the school was founded 125 years ago, at what is currently Huron University College.

On Mar. 7, 1878, the Ontario legislature approved the establishment of Western [through the UWO Act], said Jim Etherington, president of Western's Alumni Association. "That is why it is so significant – Western was created by Huron College," he said, adding Huron was founded in 1863 and is therefore celebrating its 140th anniversary this year.

The school was originally called the Western University of London Ontario.

It is the beginning of a year-long celebration, Etherington explained, noting the major core events will take place during Homecoming next fall. The year will be filled with recitals and keynote speakers, who will all address the university's history, he added.

On Mar. 19 at the Galleria mall, Canada Post will unveil a commemorative stamp in honour of Western's anniversary, Etherington confirmed.

A DVD about the 125th anniversary will also be available at Homecoming, Etherington said, noting the events will continue throughout the year and will end next spring.

"A lot of existing events will [also] have a 125th theme to them," Etherington said, adding, at one time, Founder's Day was an actual celebration on campus.

Western President Paul Davenport said the events will be partly academic, partly Western based and partly community based.

"[Western] is a great institution with great support from the city of London," Davenport added. "[This will be] a celebration of town and gown."

The preparations for the event have been in the works for at least a year, said Arlene Kennedy, director of the McIntosh Gallery and co-chair of the 125th anniversary committee.

"[We are] helping to co-ordinate the efforts and make sure the whole community is involved in the celebration," she said. "[It has been] quite a lot of fun."

"The university is working on plans to refurbish Concrete Beach and approached the University Students' Council with an opportunity to landscape the beach," said USC President Chris Sinal.

In recognition of the 125th, the USC thought it was appropriate to donate the money to renovate the Beach on behalf of all students, he said.

In addition, 1,000 purple and white tulips will be planted outside the main entrances to University College. Purple and white annuals will also be planted by the City, and anniversary banners will be placed across campus and the community.

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