Academic Themes

bicentennial logo colorThe College’s Bicentennial provides a wonderful opportunity to build our community celebration around principles and aspirations historically central to the College, combining resources to create programs and invite speakers to challenge, engage, and encourage us as we reflect on our history while we prepare for our third century as a College.

To illustrate Allegheny’s integral role in our nation’s history, we are connecting many of our Bicentennial events to two anniversaries. Our general thematic focus for the past year was inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act has shaped college programming this year. While taking a broad approach to celebrating the College’s history, we also turn our attention to the stories of Alleghenians and others who helped to influence two of the most important democratic movements of our time.

The thrust of the years’ programming is not exclusively commemorative. We celebrate the founding of the College and the commitments and accomplishments it enabled for so many Alleghenians in the past two centuries. But in the spirit of these three anniversaries, campus-wide events also confront current forms of injustice and disenfranchisement, locally, nationally, and across the globe, and explore the role that the College and its future alumni can play in redressing these problems.

Through broad input from the college community, we have put together a schedule of speakers and programs that is designed to engage and energize the entire campus and community. Keynote speakers include Lani Guinier, Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, on November 14. In March 2015 another national leader in the field of civil rights, civil rights icon Robert Moses, founder and director of the Algebra Project, will give a keynote address. This year’s theme of Voting Rights and Democratic Participation will conclude with a national undergraduate conference on campus in April. The schedule includes many other events and performances, including presentations by alumni and other members of our college community.

Many members of our community have collaborated to bring this programming to our community. I offer my heartfelt thanks for their hard work. I encourage you to refer to the Bicentennial website – – for more information in the coming months. In the meantime, if you have any questions about Bicentennial events or ideas for other events or speakers, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Brian Harward, Associate Professor of Political Science,
Chair for Annual Programming, 2014-2015,
for the Bicentennial Committee