Heritage Week honors founder, traditions
March 16, 2007
Bryan College will celebrate its heritage the week of March 19, as it recognizes a man intimately involved in the formation of the college, reenacts a Chautauqua program and revives a banquet tradition.
Festivities begin March 19, William Jennings Bryan’s birthday, with a celebration of the life and contribution of Frank Earle Robinson. Robinson Hall, the college’s newest residence hall, will be formally dedicated in ceremonies that will include remarks by three of Mr. Robinson’s grandchildren.
Mr. Robinson helped plan the Scopes Trial, which provided the impetus in 1925 for creation of Bryan College which opened in 1930, served as chairman of the committee that raised money to establish the college, was the first chairman of the board of trustees of the college and a generous benefactor until his death in 1957.
During the chapel program, three of Mr. Robinson’s grandchildren, William E. Robinson, Ann Gabbert Bates and Craig V. Gabbert Jr., will speak about their grandfather. Mary Francess Rudd Carlson, daughter of Bryan’s third president, and Bryan trustee Ralph Green will discuss Mr. Robinson’s support of the college and his prominent role in the community.
On Wednesday, students will reenact a Chautauqua program, commemorating the fact that Mr. Bryan was a fixture on the Chautauqua circuit for some 30 years. The program will include music and poetry about Mr. Bryan, recitation of excerpts from several of his famous speeches and a birthday cake served during lunch.
Friday night, the Student Government Association will sponsor a Bryan Birthday Banquet, reviving a college tradition that has lapsed in recent years. SGA President Bonnie-Marie Yager said student leaders “felt that it was important for students to understand why it is significant that our college is named in honor of William Jennings Bryan. We hope to have a program that will celebrate old and recent history and memories.”