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Founders Day Celebrates 150 Years Since Charter

A large banner strung across Olin Plaza. Balloons and signs marking the campus in a festive old gold, red and black. A scavenger hunt featuring an image of our founder and a special visit from his descendant. Ursinus marked 150 years since its founding on February 5, 1869, with these activities and more.

A lot has changed on and around campus since the day Ursinus was granted its charter and on Founders Day 2019, the campus community celebrated its past while looking toward the future. 

The historic day began with a coffee hour for faculty and staff, followed by a scavenger hunt and $150 prize for all members of the community. Six Ursinus-themed riddles led teams in a looping path through campus, making stops at some historical and modern markers in various buildings along the way. From the Freeland Hall bell on the second floor of the Myrin Library to the Athletic Hall of Fame in the Floy Lewis Bakes Canter, participants roamed the pathways of Ursinus in the beautiful weather collecting puzzle pieces from students waiting at each of the stations.

The puzzle, when completed, portrayed Ursinus’s founder and first president, John H. A. Bomberger. The college’s first leader was the subject of a very special exhibition of his book collections and personal items—a pipe and gold pocket watch among them. During this toast to Ursinus, a distantly familiar face with a distinctly familiar name visited campus to wish all members a happy 150th birthday.

John (Jay) H. A. Bomberger IV attended the celebratory reception in the Myrin Library surrounded by his great-great-grandfather’s original library collection and spoke about his legacy at Ursinus and what he sees in the college’s future.

“Ursinus has gone from a sleepy little liberal arts school to a powerful liberal arts institution,” he said.

The night continued with a special anniversary-themed dinner in Wismer, as well as cupcakes, trivia and more games and prizes during the women’s basketball game against Gettysburg College.

An official year-long celebration of the college’s sesquicentennial anniversary begins later this summer. —By Mary Lobo ’15