UMES Celebrates Founders’ Week

PRINCESS ANNE — What’s a birthday without cake, song, reflection on the past and visions of the future?

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore celebrates its annual Founders’ Week, Sept. 9-15, with events for campus and community.

The theme, “From Excellence to Eminence — the Journey Continues,” signals the beginning of Dr. Juliette B. Bell’s first year as UMES’ 15th president.

Explore the university’s rich heritage in an exhibit at the Frederick Douglass Library beginning Sept. 10, or relive it through a historic tour of the Academic Oval Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. Students and faculty impersonating influential campus leaders from the past lead the walking tour. A musical salute by the university’s concert and gospel choirs and jazz band on the lawn outside the J.T. Williams administrative building brings the evening to a close.

Bell leads her first Founders’ Week Convocation and Summer Commencement on the university’s 126th birthday, Sept. 13, at 10 a.m. in the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts. The school traces its origins to 1886 when the Methodist Episcopal Church opened the Delaware Conference Academy, also known as the Princess Anne Academy, with nine students and three faculty members.

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a national organization representing the country’s 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities, will give the keynote address to an audience including some 30 Doctor of Physical Therapy graduates and their families. The students have worked for three years to earn the much-in-demand credential, said Dr. Raymond L. Blakely, the program’s founder. Once they pass a national licensing exam — and UMES has a near-perfect record of producing graduates who do so on the first try — they will enter the healthcare field as physical therapists in hospitals, senior care facilities and the private sector with home healthcare providers.

Founders’ Week Convocation and Summer Commencement is open to the public, however seating is limited. A wreath laying ceremony and reception with birthday cake follows convocation.

A community clean-up day, “Street Sweep,” has been added to the event line-up this year. The university and the Town of Princess Anne will meet at the Richard Henson Center parking lot Sept. 15 at 8 a.m. for a day of service. A picnic with music in the town’s Manokin Park at 1 p.m. wraps up the event.

All events are free. For a complete list, visit or call 410-651-6669.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.