Southwestern Celebrates Founders Day with Town Fair, Time Capsule Opening
Southwestern's founder, "Dr. John J. Schumacher," was overwhelmed to see the progress the law school has made in 100 years as he addressed students, faculty and staff at the Centennial Town Fair and Founders Day Celebration held on campus on August 25.
"I am bursting with pride to know that our little collective of determined students and faculty that assembled a century ago to study law has become this magnificent institution - now known throughout the country and beyond," he said. "And that our original principle ideals - opportunity, diversity, public service, innovation, professionalism, practical training - are still the ideals you strive for today."
Dr. Schumacher was there in spirit, courtesy of Graydon Schlichter '06, who took on his persona for the day, along with Alumni Coordinator Debra Snyder who played the role of Southwestern's first graduate, Betty Trier Berry '15. "I was so proud to be Southwestern's first graduate - but that distinction means so much more to me now - to be part of the history of such an extraordinary school," Ms. Berry (Snyder) remarked.
Their visit was a highlight of the festive town fair held under tents on the Southwestern Promenade. With early 20th century-era decor, a fun photo booth and fair-themed treats, the event featured welcome remarks by Dean Bryant Garth and reminiscences of the "Special Guests," a cake-cutting ceremony, and music courtesy of Professor Caleb Mason and band mate Patrick Joseph.
"Founders Day was a fantastic embodiment of the noble principles upon which Southwestern was established," noted Michael Friedman, Student Bar Association President. "It reminded us of our rich and vibrant history as an institution and the law school's important role in the development of Los Angeles over the past 100 years."
Later in the evening, several members of the Class of 1978 hosted a special opening ceremony of the Time Capsule that was created and buried in what is now the Student Commons by the 1978 graduating class "to be opened on the occasion of Southwestern's Centennial." There was a bit of suspense as it took some time and muscle to open the long canister that revealed news clippings of the day, copies of the law review and student newspaper, some archival yearbooks, photos, a letter of congratulations from Mayor Tom Bradley '56, and other memorabilia.
According to Robert D. McKinley '78, one of the alumni who spearheaded the original capsule effort, "The Time Capsule opening symbolized that a third of a century is a long time, and a very short time. Southwestern has changed dramatically in the intervening years, but it seems but a brief time ago that I stood in front of Mayor Bradley as he presided over the burial of the Capsule. From 1975 to 1978, Southwestern was considered more of a working person's law school, producing 'shirt sleeve lawyers,' half of whom attended night school so they could work day jobs. Most of us had to live poor and work very hard, with little time for anything but study. It was the best time of my life!"
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Future Time Capsule
At a later date, as another part of Southwestern's Centennial Celebration, a new time capsule will be created. If you have ideas about items that are representative of Southwestern and Los Angeles in 2011 that would fit into a capsule, please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.