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Ribbon-cutting ceremony begins Bicentennial Celebration

Ribbon-cutting ceremony begins Bicentennial Celebration

President Julie Kornfeld cut the ribbon at Bexley Hall. | COURTESY OF KENYON COMMUNICATIONS

On Jan. 8, Kenyon officially kicked off its Bicentennial Celebration through a series of introductory events. A ribbon-cutting ceremony in Bexley Hall, limited-edition cupcakes in Peirce Dining Hall and remarks from President Julie Kornfeld marked the start of the yearlong event. 

The bicentennial celebrations at Kenyon are spearheaded by the Bicentennial Planning Committee, composed of Associate Vice President for Alumni and Parent Engagement and Annual Giving Shawn Dailey P’24 ’25, Director of Advancement Communications and Strategy Molly Vogel ’00 and Director of Campus Events Howard Grier. 

Due to inclement weather, the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Bexley was moved indoors, but was extremely well-attended, according to both Grier and Vice President of Student Affairs Celestino Limas. “It was a wonderful, nice turnout,” Limas said in an interview with the Collegian. “It was an intimate event. It was really the ‘soft opening’ for the Bicentennial.” 

At the ceremony, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies and Newman Advisor Royal Rhodes read a poem he wrote aloud, and Kornfeld gave remarks afterward. Several Gambier citizens also attended the ceremony and had the opportunity to view the newly renovated Bexley and Colburn Halls for the first time. 

Available at the ribbon-cutting ceremony was the Bicentennial Book, which students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to sign throughout the next calendar year at Kenyon, similar to the Matriculation Book. According to Grier, nearly 135 people signed the book at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

Apart from in-person events, the start of Kenyon’s bicentennial celebrations also featured some online events — particularly a video covering the last 200 years of changes to Middle Path, with archival narration by Paul Newman ’49. Kenyon’s bicentennial website, which outlines upcoming events that the Kenyon community can look forward to, also went live on Jan. 8. 

“The best part of the launch has to be the website — especially the timeline,” Grier wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The Office of Communications did a fantastic job drawing on the decades of work by Thomas Stamp ’73, retired College Historian and Keeper of Kenyoniana, to compile it. I hope everyone will take the time to really dig into it.” 

Among upcoming events listed on the website are the nationwide bicentennial tours, which will take place in San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, New York, Boston, Cleveland and Columbus. Curator of Academic Programs Jodi Kovach and Associate Professor of Physics Madeline Wade will accompany Kornfeld for the San Francisco reception, while Professor of Economics Jay Corrigan and Professor of Psychology Leah Dickens will be present for the Chicago reception. 

Though several upcoming events are aimed at alumni, Grier emphasized that students on campus will have several events to be excited about as well — particularly Kornfeld’s inauguration on April 13, which will feature the traditional illumination of Old Kenyon Residence Hall, along with a dance party. For earlier events, Grier added that students can look forward to a film program that will feature either monthly or bimonthly screenings, as well as a retro menu program at Peirce. 

Molly Vogel ’00 is the advisor for the Collegian.

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