Today in History: Founders Day at Teachers College

| November 15, 2017

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Writes Dean William F. Russell, in “The Re-education of the Americans” (Teachers College Record, Volume 46 Number 2, 1944, p. 75-92), “The dedication ceremonies were difficult to attend. One either had to take the steam cars on the elevated to 110th Street and Central Park, the cable and horse cars on Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, or the New York Central to Manhattanville. But despite transportation difficulties, the old gymnasium (the basement and first floor of the west wing of Main Hall) was crowded with notables; the invocation was given by Bishop Henry C. Potter, and addresses were made by Presidents Seth Low of Columbia, Charles W. Eliot of Harvard, Daniel C. Gilman of Johns Hopkins, and by Spencer Trask, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

On November 15 next, we plan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that ceremony, and the present successors in office to the participants of a half century ago have graciously accepted our invitation to take part. Thus we shall be fortunate to be able to hear Presidents Nicholas Murray Butler, James B. Conant, and Isaiah Bowman, Bishop William T. Manning, and Chairman Cleveland E. Dodge.

Teachers College should take this opportunity more clearly to review the purposes for which it was founded, to examine these purposes in the light of present conditions, and to take new steps forward to the realization of the valid aims of our founders.”

Did you know that the opening of the new brick and red sandstone building on 120th Street, otherwise known as Teachers College, occurred on November 15, 1894, Founders Day, which has been celebrated here throughout the decades? The original dedication ceremony was a relatively simple one, including speakers from Columbia University, Harvard University, and John Hopkins, while President Walter Hervey of Teachers College presided. Throughout the afternoon and evening, members of the Trustees, faculty, and students conducted hundreds of visitors on tours throughout the building, and the long day closed with dinner for the Trustees and speeches at the home of Grace Hoadley Dodge, treasurer of the College.

It is perhaps a time to remember our founders; the principles upon which Teachers College was established; and how it was all made possible. To enlighten this exercise, we share the following articles from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.

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