President Nicole Hurd stands with John Becica '69. Hurd is holding a book.

John Becica ’69 presented President Nicole Hurd with a copy of his book, Trail Tails, at Reunion in June.

Nearly 200 years ago General Lafayette visited America with much fanfare. His yearlong tour was equivalent to the ticker-tape parades of today and resulted in the naming of the College. Referred to as the “Hero of Two Worlds,” Lafayette was honored for his heroic efforts during the American Revolution as a major general in the Continental Army and for his pivotal role in gaining military aid from France to enable  winning the American Revolution. No one knows the importance of the Marquis’ impact on the United States better than John Becica ’69. In fact, Becica has spent more than two decades delving into the history of the Marquis after becoming inspired by a presentation by the Lafayette Libraries at Reunion years ago.

Becica was so uplifted by the impact of the Marquis on U.S. history that he joined the American Friends of Lafayette (AFL), a society formed at the College in 1932 to honor the Marquis. His involvement led to the development of the Lafayette Trail Project, an effort spearheaded by AFL and the Consulate of France in Boston to memorialize the footsteps of the Marquis in preparation for the 2024 bicentennial of his farewell tour.  

Becica also recently published Trail Tails, a compilation of short stories pertaining to the General’s visit. Currently, the Lafayette Trail is having historic roadside markers installed along the trail route (over 120 at this point), and the AFL is mobilizing local historians to celebrate Lafayette’s visit to their town, exactly 200 years after the day of his arrival. “All of this is in preparation for the trail bicentennial celebrations, which will take place over 13 months, starting in August of 2024 and ending in September of 2025,” Becica explains. “Our goal is to celebrate Lafayette’s legacy and to educate the American public about his contributions to the world.” 

“Not much was said about the Marquis while I was a student, and I want to help fix that,” Becica says. “My continuing connection to my alma mater is based on the family atmosphere that the College engenders. It began with a handful of close friends I made as a student—classmates I’ve kept in touch with over 55 years.”

Learn more about the Bicentennial initiative:

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