Homecoming 2019 was a weekend of celebrations! While Oct. 18-20 was packed with many favorite Homecoming events, including the Harvest Crafts Festival and Bake Sale, athletic events, children’s activities, music performances, parade, Decades Bash, tailgates, reunions and awards ceremonies, there were also several new events planned as part of the Bicentennial celebration.
Hundreds of alumni, faculty, staff and friends of Maryville College gathered in the Clayton Center for Arts for the Founder’s Day and Bicentennial Celebration on Oct. 19 – the College’s actual founding date in 1819. The event included a Fine Arts showcase, videos of MC archival footage, performances by Off Kilter, special guest speakers, a spoken word poet, the debut of the Bicentennial video and a balloon drop. At the end of the night, a commemorative gift was given to attendees as they departed: a Maryville College pennant pin that was designed specifically for the Bicentennial Celebration. It was inspired by a pin belonging to John Patton Brown, Class of 1906, from Philadelphia.
A special composition, “People Are the Key,” was commissioned for the Bicentennial and premiered during the weekend (see video below). MC choir alumni organized a fundraiser to finance the commissioned work, which was composed by award-winning composer Paul John Rudoi. The performance of the piece during the annual Homecoming Choir concert included the choir, as well as a soloist, violinist, bodhran player and guitarist. Off Kilter also performed the piece during the Bicentennial Celebration.
As a Bicentennial project, the Blount County Alumni Association board raised $2,000 to plant and maintain a red maple tree in front of Willard House on campus (to replace a dead tree that had to be removed). Pictured in photo below (L-R): Rob Kennedy ’71, Molly Ridgeway Anderson ’18, Kristi Kennedy Knight '93, Brittany Miller ’16, Al Baker ’72, Tara Tisch Orr ’09, Michelle Wilson Bailey ’08, Amy Poag Baker ’98, Liz Walton Blackburn ’58, Lori Bowers Zerick ’81, Chase Worley ’11 and Gail Bradley Hafner ’60.
For the weekend, Maryville College arranged for a special commemorative piece of artwork that thousands of alumni and friends could be a part of. Partnering with a New York-based company specializing in event technology, the College planned for an 8-by-5-foot “hashtag mosaic” that could be built, on-site, the Saturday of Homecoming but could be contributed to from anywhere by taking photos and posting them to Instagram or Twitter, using specific hashtags. The Bicentennial Mosaic, comprised of thousands of photos submitted by alumni and friends, was unveiled during the Bicentennial Celebration and will be permanently installed in the lobby of Pearsons Hall (see pages 16-17 for the full mosaic).