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Several students helped in the planning process and will participate in the day’s events

Several students had the opportunity to be an important part of the planning process for the Marquis de Lafayette’s 250th birthday celebration on Sept. 6. Their ideas and opinions helped shape the day’s events and they will also participate in many of the activities.

The College is planning a yearlong celebration during 2007-08 in recognition of the life and legacy of the man for whom it is named. In addition to the birthday party, major events will include a lecture series, entitled Lives of Liberty, featuring renowned speakers, and a historical exhibit at the Williams Center for the Arts, entitled A Son and his Adoptive Father: The Marquis de Lafayette and George Washington.

  • A web site dedicated to the celebration and to the Marquis’ unique connection to the College provides information and updates.

Six students were highly active in the planning for the Marquis’ 250th birthday celebration as part of the birthday planning committee. They are A.B. engineering and English double major Charles Felix ’08 (Brooklyn, N.Y.), international affairs major Jason Lowcher ’10 (Washington, N.J.), history major Sarah Reddan ’09 (Monroe Township, N.J.), international affairs major Emanuel Santa-Donato’ 10 (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), music and language studies double major Allison Shapp ’08 (Plainview, N.Y.), and history and government & law major Sara Walter ’09 (Kempton, Pa.).

The students met once a week during the past spring semester with Pam Brewer, associate dean of students and director of student life programs; Lauren Ibbotson, assistant director of student life programs; Diane Shaw, special collections librarian and College archivist; and Michiko Okaya, director of the Williams Center gallery. They brainstormed ideas that would include as much of the student body in the celebration as possible. They helped plan invitations, activities, and the All College Dinner.

“The celebration came together very well. It’s historic, informative, and fun all at once,” says Santa-Donato.

Ibbotson believes the students have shown a great deal of dedication and excitement for the celebration.

“We started this with a blank slate and worked very hard to come up with ideas,” she says. “The students are very gung-ho. The whole campus is really getting engaged in this event and we’re very excited about it.”

Many of the students will be dressed in Colonial period clothing and will take part in the contra dancing demonstrations during the celebration and Lowcher will serve as the Marquis’ aide-de-camp for the day.

The students felt that it was important to celebrate the Marquis’ legacy because of his strong pursuit of liberty. “Freedom and liberty stem from the belief that each individual can and should control their own destiny. People can do amazing things provided they have the freedom and the determination to do so,” says Santa-Donato.

Reddan says, “Lafayette’s ideals of liberty and freedom represent the fundamentals of this country. It is what makes America great and needs to be kept alive to honor our history and traditions.”

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