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UM celebrating 123rd Founders’ Day

The University of Montevallo will celebrate its 123rd Founders’ Day on Oct. 10. The theme of the celebration will be “A great institution is born of its time” and will focus on how the University has evolved since its founding.

The theme was taken from the book “Alabama College, 1896-1969″ written by former UM professor of history Lucille Griffith. In the preface of the book Griffith begins, “A great institution is born of its time. There must be a need, a demand, that brings it forth. If that institution lasts, it must change with the times; otherwise, a changing society moves on and the institution is left to wither away, unnecessary, unwanted, unsupported. Adaptation becomes the key to life and growth.”

UM has undergone multiple name changes since it was founded as Alabama Girl’s Industrial School in 1896, and changed its name for the final time 50 years ago from Alabama College to the University of Montevallo. Throughout its history, the University has shown its willingness to adapt to the needs of students and retain its identity by continuing to be the only public liberal arts college in Alabama.

The day’s main focus will be a formal ceremony in Palmer Hall beginning at 11 a.m. University faculty and senior class will march into Palmer Auditorium for the annual convocation. This ceremony celebrates the founding of UM, the robing of the seniors and the honoring of outstanding faculty, staff and alumni.

Dr. Lonnie Edwards, a 1971 graduate of UM and notable educational consultant, educator and CEO of Edwards and Associates in Atlanta, will be the keynote speaker during the ceremony.

Edwards was one of the first two male African American athletes at the University and helped to pave the way for other African American students and athletes. He is a member of the UM Athletics Hall of Fame and has received numerous awards for his teaching and service throughout his career.

He has served as assistant superintendent of Dekalb County Schools and superintendent of Jackson County Schools in Georgia along with other roles in the Georgia Department of Education.

The ceremony in Palmer Hall will be followed by a luncheon for all guests in Anna Irvin Dining Hall at 12:30 p.m.

The UM National Alumni Association will then present its annual awards at 5 p.m. in Anna Irvin Dining Hall. These awards will recognize outstanding members of UM’s alumni, faculty and staff who have dedicated themselves to service to the University.

The day will conclude with the 22nd annual Life Raft Debate in Palmer Auditorium at 7 p.m.