This post is a student contribution from Claudia Moser’s class ARCH 1764: 25 Things! 250 Years of Brown’s Material Past
Beginning the night was a campus reception and film (created by Brown alumna) entitled “The Brown Difference”. The film showcased not only Brown’s history, but also the various aspect of the modern university. Various faculty and alumni were interviewed, each of them discussing what Brown University and the “Brown difference” meant to them and how it helped shape their lives and the world. The film also showed the different elements of student life on campus, from athletics to acapella to lounging on the steps of Faunce Arch. It was an engaging and entertaining film for all, wether they be student, alumni, or not attend the University at all.
After the film there was some spare time before the cutting of the cake. In the meantime I visited the Haffenreffer Museum, which was open to the public, showcasing items from Brown’s history in celebration of its 250th anniversary. The Haffenreffer had ceremonial objects of the University (such as professor’s graduation dress) as well as other objects that represented the University. In one corner, there was even a pair of bear statues, one large and one small (I’m assuming mother and cub bears).
At this point the building had to be evacuated in preparation for the fireworks. Everyone gathered on the main green in front of Faunce for the cake-cutting ceremony. President Paxson welcomed everyone to the weekend and spoke about Brown, its history and its future. Various members of Rhode Island’s political scene spoke about Brown, and then a group of students recited a poem highlighting Brown’s role in pioneering diversity and rights. The University’s chaplain, Reverand Janet Cooper Nelson, then delivered a prayer for Brown in 250 syllables. President Paxson closed the speeches by declaring Brown the “Ivy League champion of fun”, and then proceeded to cut the cake while the fireworks began.
The fireworks were definitely the highlight of the evening’s events. It wasn’t terribly cold out, so the fireworks were enjoyable. The entire main green was filled with people, from Faunce Arch all the way to the fence at the other end of the green, which made for a great atmosphere. There were many different types of fireworks exploding above College Hill (all cool), but the most exciting part of the show was the ignition of “250+” in sparklers on the front of University Hall. The fireworks were an impressive display, although I wondered how high the risk of University Hall catching fire was. Overall it was a very entertaining and enjoyable evening, the perfect way to begin Brown’s 250th anniversary celebration.