University News

University Commemorates Centennial Founders Day with Online Celebration

Alumni from across the country and around the globe joined students, faculty, and staff in showing their Charger Pride and celebrating what it means to be a part of Charger Nation.

May 8, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of Charger Nation.
Charger Nation came together on Zoom for a Charger Cheers toast.

As captain of the University’s dance team, Cassie Austin ’21 enjoys sharing her Charger Pride with the University community. She looked forward to doing just that as part of the University’s virtual Founders Day celebration, taking to Instagram to teach the dance that accompanies the Charger Fight Song.

Image of Cassie Austin ’21.
Cassie Austin ’21 gets ready to teach the Charger Fight Song on Instagram.

"With everything going on in the world right now, it is crucial that we remember that we have our Charger family to be grateful for," said Austin, a business management major. "That’s something important to celebrate."

An annual campus-wide celebration of the University’s founding, Founders Day was especially momentous this year, as the University celebrated its Centennial. Because of the global coronavirus pandemic, Charger Nation came together for an online party.

A "robot version" of President Steven H. Kaplan created by the University’s engineering students kicked off the celebration with a video welcoming the University Community to the party. The festivities, which drew departments from across the University, included hourly University trivia, Chargers Bingo, a "Charger Cheers" Zoom call, and the inaugural episode of the Dr. Z and J-Dub podcast hosted by athletics director Sheahon Zenger, Ph.D. and veteran sports reporter and adjunct faculty of communication JW Stewart that featured President Kaplan and Glenn McGee, Ph.D., deputy provost, as special guests.

Image of trivia.
The University’s Alumni Association hosted trivia on its Facebook page.

Bella Miceli ’13, assistant director of fitness and wellness at ChargerREC, joined the online bash, hosting virtual fitness and wellness sessions.

"I could not have been more honored to take part Founders Day," she said. "It was exciting to see how many departments were involved in putting together a fun-filled day for our community, as we came together and showed our Charger Pride. Here’s to 100 more years!"

Image of Bella Miceli ’13.
Bella Miceli ’13, leads a virtual fitness and wellness session.

Throughout the day, students, parents, alumni, and other members of Charger Nation joined the festivities on social media. Many students and alumni including – Shannon Livewell Woodworth '14, '15 MBA – wished the University a happy birthday. She shared photos and the favorite memories she and her husband, Kyle Woodworth ’15, have from their time as Chargers.

In honor of Founders Day and the University’s Centennial, Larry Flanagan ’80, ’13 Hon., a member of the University’s Board of Governors, and his wife Stephanie, as well as an anonymous alumnus, gave the University community a generous birthday gift, pledging to match gifts made to the Charge Ahead Student Support Fund or Centennial Scholarship Fund, up to $25,000.

At the end of the day, President Kaplan greeted Charger Nation with a video message of unity. He asked the University community to light a candle as a "symbol of the light we have always been as a University." Many did just that, sharing their photos on Facebook.

"We’re all going through some very difficult times," said President Kaplan in the video. "We want us all to pull together, demonstrate our unity, demonstrate our tenacity and perseverance as Chargers."

Image of Shannon Livewell Woodworth tweet.
Shannon Livewell Woodworth '14, '15 MBA wished the University a happy birthday via Twitter.

Austin, the dance team captain, says the event was a wonderful way for alumni, current students, and future members of Charger Nation to celebrate – even if they couldn’t be together in person.

"Founders Day gave our community an opportunity to meet and connect with one another, even virtually," she said. "I think it’s important to support the University’s 100th birthday because it gives a great sense of community."

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