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Sesquicentennial Records | Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections:  Archives and Manuscripts

Name: Sesquicentennial Records

Historical Note:

The Sesquicentennial of Saint Louis University, the celebration of its 150th

anniversary, lasted for a full year and included some 80 different events. It opened with the

June 1968 commencement at which urban expert Daniel P. Moynihan delivered the

address. The Sesquicentennial observance ended with the May 31, 1969 commencement

ceremonies when Theodore M. Hesburgh, president of the University of Notre Dame,

spoke to the graduates.

The Sesquicentennial was in the planning stage for a full 2 years. Co-chairmen of

the celebration were David R. Calhoun, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive

Officer of St. Louis Union Trust, and William A. McDonnell, Chairman of the St. Louis San

Francisco Railroad Company and the holder of a similar position at McDonnell Douglas

Corporation. The director of the celebration was University law professor Joseph

J. Simeone Jr.

The Sesquicentennial was dedicated to the theme of "Knowledge and the Future of

Man." From a statement concerning this theme comes the following explanation: "We must

use our ingenuity and our imagination creatively to forge new categories of thought and

new modes of action to keep pace with the accelerated tempo of human history. . .. The

attitudes of challenge and response ... best fit our times. It is in this spirit that we

recommend serious reflection on the role of knowledge in the future of man."

Highlights of the observances included the commissioning of a poem from John

Knoepfle, Assistant Professor of English at the University, entitled "Lines for Men of the

Greater Interior," as well as a four-panel mural on the Sesquicentennial theme by Thomas

F. Toner, who adorned the walls of the Sesquicentennial Room in Busch Memorial Center.

A 16-week lecture series called "Age of Complexity" was put on by University faculty and

filmed for broadcast in S1. Louis, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles. A

program of conferences held at the University included "Technology and Metropolitan St.

Louis," "Theology in the City of Man," and "Meeting the Population Problem." There were

art exhibits, a performing arts festival, and the dedication of a new research wing at the

School of Medicine.

Several books appeared during the Sesquicentennial year: Knowledge and the

Future of Man, edited by Walter J. Ong; William B. Faherty's Better the Dream, a history

of the University; and a pictorial chronicle of the school, Saint Louis University: 150 Years,

by Rita G. Adams, William C. Einspanier, and B.T. Lukaszewski.

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