The University of Florida's 150th Anniversary Celebration kickoff week

Published: Thursday, January 9, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 9, 2003 at 12:19 a.m.




  • Emerson Alumni Hall Building Dedication
    11 a.m., 1938 W. University Ave.
  • Honoring the Past 150th Celebration Convocation
    3 to 4:30 p.m., University Auditorium (no more tickets available).
    Inaugural event featuring declarations and dedications.
    Keynote addresses by Gov. Jeb Bush and NBC broadcaster Forrest Sawyer.
    (Event will be simulcast to Rion Ballroom in the Reitz Union, with entertainment and a master of ceremonies. Free tickets available at the University Box Office.)
  • Shaping the Future 150th Celebration Reception
    4:30 - 6:30 p.m. J. Wayne Reitz Union Grand Ballroom.
  • Gator Nights -150th Celebration Student Kickoff
    10 p.m. - 2 a.m., Reitz Union. Free food and entertainment all night. Featuring mentalist Robert Channing in the Rion Ballroom.
    Little Astronaut playing at the Orange and Brew.

  • In 1853, the school that would become known as the University of Florida opened as the East Florida Seminary in Ocala - with no mention of Gators or of orange and blue.
    A century and a half later, UF hardly resembles the school that started with fewer than 100 students enrolled in what was intended as the state's first public education for children of all ages.
    After relocating to Gainesville, changing its name and officially becoming a post-secondary university, all the things that have come to define UF would come with time.
    To celebrate all that has contributed to making UF the state's flagship university, UF is throwing itself a yearlong birthday party, or 150th Anniversary Celebration, which kicks off this weekend.
    "It's an amazing accomplishment that this university has gone from humble beginnings to a university of international stature - with communities literally circling the globe," said James Olivero, professor of music and member of UF's 150th anniversary committee that selected the celebration's theme, "Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future."
    The opening ceremony for UF's 150th Anniversary Celebration comes Friday, when Gov. Jeb Bush's keynote speech will highlight an afternoon convocation at University Auditorium.
    "We wanted the governor because he is the highest representative of higher education in the state," said Karen Willis, director of the anniversary celebration.
    Michael Blachly, co-chair of the anniversary committee, which largely planned the celebration, said the committee wanted to make sure that the anniversary celebration reaches more than students, faculty and alumni.
    "It's for the broadest public we can reach," he said, adding that one goal of the celebration is to make more people aware of how UF connects its teaching, research and community outreach activities to issues that concern people at local, state, national and international levels.
    Locally, many of UF's yearly events, such as Greek Week, the Dance Marathon, Career Showcase and Homecoming, will be made over with a 150th anniversary theme, and the logo will be seen all across campus.

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