Pitt-Bradford to celebrate 50th anniversary with Founders' Day

Panther installation
The panther will be unveiled

Pitt-Bradford will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a Founders’ Day celebration Sept. 3, 50 years from the day it first opened its doors. 

In the 50 years since that momentous first day of class, Pitt-Bradford has grown from a fledging institution comprised of a hodgepodge of buildings in Bradford to a nationally recognized university with a campus of its very own. Its enrollment has grown by more than 455 percent from 288 students on its first day to about 1,600 students this year, and it has produced more than 10,000 graduates from all 50 states and several countries. 

“Pitt-Bradford would not have been established had it not been for several forward-thinking individuals in the community who recognized the need for an institution of higher education in this region and for those residents who contributed to the cause,” said Dr. Livingston Alexander, Pitt-Bradford’s president.

“We greatly appreciate the hard work and support they gave 50 years ago and continue to be grateful for all of the generous support we still receive from the Bradford community and the region. We hope our friends and neighbors will help us celebrate this momentous event in the life of Pitt-Bradford.”

Founders’ Day events will be held in the Robert B. Bromeley Quadrangle from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Complimentary lunch and dessert will be served throughout the event next to Fisher Hall and the Frame-Westerberg Commons.

At 12:15 p.m., officials from Pitt-Bradford will offer brief remarks in front of the Commons, and then they will unveil a new bronze panther statue, which was created by Bradford native David Hodges. The statue, which is 2 ½ times larger than a living, breathing panther, will be permanently perched in front of the Commons. Anyone who would like to have a picture taken with the bronze beauty will be able to do so from 1 to 2 p.m. when photographer Shawn Murray will be taking photos. The photos then will be posted on the university’s Facebook page for all to see and share.

Adding to the festivities will be a performance by Pitt-Bradford’s employee band, Staff Infection, which will play music from the 1960s and ’70s in front of Swarts Hall. The band is comprised of Dan Songer, director of campus police and safety on drums and vocals; Rhett Kennedy, director of auxiliary services on vocals and percussion; Ed Bahan, men’s and women’s swimming coach on bass guitar; Alan Hancock, textbook buyer in the Panther Shop on lead guitar; and Dave Clark, maintenance worker on vocals and rhythm guitar.

The Friends of Hanley Library will be in front of the library asking visitors to sign a guestbook, which will be added to a time capsule that will be buried next spring and unearthed in 25 years. Members of the Communications and Marketing staff will be in front of Fisher Hall giving away anniversary-related gifts. Additionally, anyone wearing Pitt gear to Founders’ Day has a chance to receive a special, limited-edition gift. Radio station WBRR-FM will also be broadcasting live from the event in front of Fisher Hall.

Members of the Admissions staff will be offering tours of campus from 1 to 2 p.m. Anyone interested in taking a tour is asked to meet in front of Hanley Library.

Another piece of the Founders’ Day celebration is the opening of the 50th Anniversary Airport Exhibit in the KOA Art Gallery in Blaisdell Hall. The exhibit, compiled by former Pitt-Bradford employee Linda Delaney, will feature numerous artifacts dating back to when the land upon which the campus now sits was home to the Harri Emery Airport.

The exhibit will run through Sunday, Oct. 6. Regular gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. However, special tours of the exhibit can be arranged by contacting Patty Colosimo, assistant director of arts programming, at 362-5155 or Colosimo@pitt.edu.

Those attending the Founders’ Day celebration are asked to park in one of three lots on campus: the lot adjacent to the Harriett B. Wick Chapel, the lot across from the Hangar Building on Dorothy Lane, and the lot between Blaisdell Hall and Dorothy Lane. The ATA trolley will provide rides to the quad.