By Leigh Welch, Staff Writer

crowd gathered at Merrill Hall for Charter Day (photo by Karina Sprague)

crowd gathered at Merrill Hall for Charter Day (photo by Karina Sprague)

Charter Day festivities were held on October 9, which marked the 150th Anniversary of the charter signing for the University in 1863.

The day’s events included a historical charter display in the Mantor Library, art exhibits at the Emery Community Arts Center and the UMF Art Gallery, ribbon cutting at Abbott Park, ringing of the bells at the Old South Church, and the charter day ceremony on the steps of Merrill Hall.

The ceremony consisted of speeches given by Alumni, State office representatives, external affairs personnel, community members, State Senators, members of the Board of Visitors, and President Kathryn A. Foster, herself.

After the ceremony President Foster asked the audience to accompany her through the hall of presidents located within Merrill Hall. Immediately following there was a campus/community picnic on the lawn of the Emery Community Arts Center.

The general vibe of the speeches was that of excitement for the future. Paul Mills Esq., Farmington Historian and community member delivered a speech during the Charter Day Ceremony, stating that Farmington was “the Athens of West Central Maine. The educational center, if you will.”

The Charter was signed on October 9th 1863 allowing Farmington to become the location of the first Normal School, established on August 24th 1864. The University of Mine at Farmington was Maine’s first institution of higher education and has been recognized nationally as an excellent institution.

Mills captured the general spirit of the ceremony when he said, “An anniversary is a milestone, but it is not a destination.” President Foster presented a speech that was along the same lines. “Firmly may it stand, and well may it thrive.” Foster said when referring to UMF.

The student participation in this event was satisfactory. This was due in part to the broadcasting done by the History Club here at UMF. History Club president, Jon Delorme, said, they did their best to try to “raise awareness for charter day with the student body.” The History Club spread the word using “flyers geared toward the students” and by “creating a Facebook page” said Delorme.

Delorme and other members of the History club looked at this event from a historical point of view and found some interesting information. This event is “interesting because [the Charter] was signed during the Civil War. The civil war was still going on when [the Charter] got signed, which is a interesting time for a college to pop up.”

According to Delorme Charter Day “is a 150th birthday party of UMF.” The festivities that took place on October 9th at the University of Maine at Farmington lived up to the sesquicentennial year.