How did UD mark the nation’s Bicentennial?

Forty years ago, the entire United States spent a year celebrating the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Bicentennial mementos from coins, postage stamps and jewelry to collectible plates, spoons and soft drink bottles commemorated the occasion, and across the country, special events reflected both the spirit of the times and the cultural and intellectual advances of the country’s first two centuries.

The University of Dayton contributed to the festivities with some 60 academic, artistic, cultural, athletic and leisure events in 1975-76. Here are a few:


In September 1975, the philosophy department convened a bicentennial philosophy colloquium called “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” featuring eight speakers from seven institutions, addressing American social and political thought. Professor Paul Tibbetts, the program’s coordinator, presented “Science, Freedom, and the Good Life.”


In February 1976, the Department of Music presented the world premieres of three one-act operas based on themes of American authors Washington Irving (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), Herman Melville (The Bell-Tower) and Edgar Allen Poe (The Masque of the Red Death). The work was funded in part by grants from the George Gund Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Starting in January 1976, displays in the Roesch Library lobby highlighted the literary, scientific, artistic, historical and religious contributions of each member nationality belonging to the International Cultural-Ethnic Association of Greater Dayton (ICEA). Each member group also was invited to prepare a summary of its history in the Dayton area.


In March 1976, more than 100 teachers from colleges and universities in the United States and Canada converged on the University of Dayton campus to mark the bicentennial at the spring meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association.


In August 1976, an international Bicentennial Olympiad, sponsored by the International Cultural-Ethnic Association (ICEA) of Dayton in conjunction with the Dayton-Montgomery County Bicentennial Commission, drew sports and leisure enthusiasts from Dayton and several foreign countries for 15 events: archery, basketball, bocce, table tennis, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, bowling, golf, bridge, euchre, chess and checkers.


You can browse other University of Dayton news from 1976 or view the entire archive of news releases from 1955 to the present in eCommons, the University of Dayton’s institutional repository.   

- Maureen Schlangen, E-scholarship and communications manager

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