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Release: Immediate

University of Iowa plans costume ball, presidential symposium and birthday party to celebrate Founders Day weekend, Feb. 22-25

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It was on Feb. 25, 1847 -- only 59 days after Iowa became a state -- that the University of Iowa was founded. To celebrate its 150th anniversary, the university is planning a trio of Founders Day events Feb. 22-25: a costume ball; a special program featuring four presidents of the university; and a birthday party at Old Capitol, featuring a re-enactment of the legislative session that created the university. All three events are open to the public.

"These Founders Day events are the capstone of our year-long sesquicentennial observance," said Sam Becker, UI emeritus professor of communication studies and co-chair of the UI sesquicentennial committee. "On behalf of the sesquicentennial committee, I want to invite all of our faculty, staff and students, as well as our alumni and friends to join us in celebrating this historic moment. We believe it will be a great experience."

Here is a schedule of the activities for the extended weekend observance:

* Sesquicentennial Ball, Saturday, Feb. 22: The ball, "Promenade Through the Past," will be from 8 p.m. to midnight in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union. Participants are invited to dress in the style of their favorite era in the university's history: buckskin to black tie, bustles to bobby sox, and sequins to bell-bottom blue jeans.

Music will be provided by Dox Big Band. There will be a buffet from 9-11 p.m. A cash bar will be available. Tickets are $25 per person or $10 per person for UI students. In addition, tables of eight may be reserved upon request. For ticket and table reservations, call (319) 335-0557.

* Presidential Voices, Sunday, Feb. 23: Four presidents of the University of Iowa will consider the past, present and future of the university in a symposium to be from 3-5 p.m. in Hancher Auditorium. There will be a public reception in the Hancher lobby following the program.

The program will feature talks by UI President Mary Sue Coleman and her three predecessors: Willard L. Boyd, who served from 1969 to 1981; James O. Freedman, who served from 1982 to 1987; and Hunter R. Rawlings III, UI president from 1988 to 1995. Boyd is now UI professor of law and emeritus president of the Field Museum in Chicago. Freedman is the president of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Rawlings is president of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Tickets for Presidential Voices are free but must be ordered from the Hancher Box Office. Tickets may be reserved by calling 319-335-1160 or 1-800-HANCHER.

* Founders Day Birthday "Bash," Tuesday, Feb. 25: This public birthday party for the university will be from 4-7 p.m. in the building where it all began, the Old Capitol, which was Iowa's first state capitol and the building where legislation creating the university was approved.

The highlight of the birthday bash will be a re-enactment of that legislative session. A number of current Iowa legislators are expected to be on hand to perform the re-enactment. Also scheduled to attend are Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and former governor Robert D. Ray.

The event will also feature a display of luminaria around the Old Capitol and the Pentacrest.

Birthday cake, punch and coffee will be provided. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in any of the Founders Day events, please contact University Relations at (319) 335-0557.