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May 2, 1919

A special Founder’s Day program celebrated the centenary of Walt Whitman’s birth with an address in Students’ Building by American poet Edgar Lee Masters. At the close of Masters’s remarks, Whitman’s friend, the 82 year-old naturalist John Burroughs—introduced by President MacCracken as “the youngest man in the room”—gave an impromptu appreciation of his friend and told of bringing Whitman to the college in the summer of 1878 to call on Professor Frederick Ritter. A Walt Whitman exhibition was mounted in the Library.

Founder’s Day also included a song contest, a faculty-student baseball game, a pageant and two operas given by the Society of American Singers, an organization of “professional singers of standing and American citizenship” formed in 1915.

The Years