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President Alison Byerly emailed the following message to the Lafayette community today.

A few short weeks ago, a meticulous replica of the Marquis de Lafayette’s 18th-century frigate, the Hermione, departed French shores, embarking on a 3,819-mile voyage to Yorktown, Virginia, where it made landfall on June 5th. This magnificent vessel is now making its way up the Eastern seaboard, stopping at numerous ports of call along the way.

As the Hermione approaches our shores, the story of this visionary project and the Marquis de Lafayette’s impact on American history has already been highlighted by national and international media, including coverage on CBS Sunday MorningNPR, CNN and the New York Times.

Honoring Lafayette is a longstanding American tradition. Lafayette’s decision to devote himself to the American cause in 1777 was born of his admiration for the spirit of the revolution, and his unselfish idealism made him a lasting hero in his adopted country. His triumphal return to America in 1824 prompted citizens of Easton who were forming a new college to name it after General Lafayette, as a testament of their respect. We at Lafayette College have always taken great pride in our Marquis.

Like Lafayette himself, the College chose its own path and created its own identity. Over the years, we have turned our honorary connection with Lafayette into a true connection, becoming an important archive of Lafayette papers and memorabilia, and using the Marquis’ own writings and motto, “Cur Non?”, as a guiding spirit for the institution.  We continue to be inspired by his example as we invite our community through our newly launched Capital Campaign to “Live Connected, Lead Change.”

We hope you will join us this summer as we celebrate both a remarkable voyage and our namesake’s proud legacy. Lafayette is hosting open events at five of the Hermione’s ports of call: Alexandria – June 11, Annapolis – June 16, Philadelphia – June 27, New York City – July 2 and Boston – July 11.  While some events are already full, you can register for many of these events and learn more about tours and program details for each of the 11 ports of call, at  the College’s Hermione site. The site also contains links to media coverage of the voyage, and includes a GPS tracker that allows you to follow the ship’s progress up the coast.

Whether you are able to greet the Hermione with us at water’s edge this summer or join the excitement across the country and around the world through our site and social media, we hope that you share our pride in this remarkable recognition of the College’s guiding spirit.  This special voyage seems a fitting conclusion to what has been a very special year for Lafayette College.

Alison Byerly

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