March 9, 2022

March 10 is Charter Day and Sesquicentennial Commemorative Book Launch

We Serve Book LaunchThis Thursday, March 10, 2022, the University will mark our historic Charter Day with the second annual Charter Day of Giving to raise funds for critical needs, from emergency aid to students when it matters most, such as aid for that last course needed to graduate (the Fund to Finish) to support for a specific WCU college or school (the Excellence Fund).

The day also features the launch of the University’s sesquicentennial commemorative book, We Serve: West Chester University 1871 - 2021 Sesquicentennial History. The event will take place at 12:30 p.m. on March 10 in the Francis Harvey Green Library in Special Collections on the sixth floor.

Authored by Anne E. Krulikowski, associate professor of American history/public history, the book chronicles the University’s growth, the events that precipitated changes within the institution, and the people behind WCU’s achievements.

“After first looking through the University’s wonderful photograph collection, I decided the 150th anniversary history should be inspired by the idea of a photo album and present a generous selection of historic and current images to show the students, faculty, and evolution of the campus over time,” she says, noting that many of the materials in the WCU archives were created by students, such as student newspapers and yearbooks. Some of these records and ephemera will be displayed in Special Collections for the book launch event; other items are on exhibit in the WCU Museum’s Sesquicentennial exhibition, History and Heritage, on the library’s first floor.

“The Serpentine yearbooks, for example, showcase the writing and artistic talents of generations of students,” Krulikowski continues. “The 1935 Serpentine was one of several that won national awards for student design and layout.”

Krulikowski credits a number of people for assisting with the research and source material as well as editing and fact-checking, including Special Collections Librarian Ron McColl, history professor Brenda Gaydosh, intern Kelly Gullick, WCU photographer Erica Thompson, Margo McDonough, and Sue Fiorentino’s sister Fran Pierce (Both attended the institution’s Demonstration School and essentially grew up on campus.), as well as College of Arts and Humanities Dean Jen Bacon.

The book signing event will be streamed live on YouTube. The first 50 in-person attendees will receive a free copy of We Serve: West Chester University 1871 - 2021 Sesquicentennial History, which is available at the Campus Store on the ground level of Sykes Student Union. This is a limited printing so get your copy while they’re still available.

More events are coming up as the University prepared for the sesquicentennial campus and community celebration on Saturday, April 23. Visit WCU’s sesquicentennial website for frequently updated features about our history and heritage.


Did you know?

We celebrate Charter Day because on March 10, 1870, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed an act “to authorize the Trustees and Contributors to the West Chester Academy to become a State Normal School.” See the original charter in the WCU Anthropology and Archaeology Museum’s WCU 150: History and Heritage exhibition.

For more than 100 years, school staff members assembled scrapbooks and collected ephemera (newspaper clippings, alumni luncheon menus, sports and commencement programs, etc.), now part of the University archives.

West Chester is one of only two campuses in the United States with campus buildings originally constructed in serpentine stone. The other: University of Pennsylvania.

Long before cell phones, students had to make or receive phone calls through one of only two operators on campus. Residence halls later had hall phones.

The original Main Hall contained everything necessary for the fledgling Normal School to function: classrooms, library, dining hall, and living accommodating for both students and faculty.

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