How a Centenary Celebration Looks Like

By: Lizdály Rosario Ortiz



Founded in 1911 as the College of Agriculture, the University is preparing to celebrate its centenarial in 2011.  Some changes along the journey have happened and one particularly with the institution’s name. In 1912 the name was changed, and for the next 50 years the university was known as the College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts – Colegio de Agricultura y Artes Mecánicas (CAAM by its Spanish acronym). After 1966 the former name became the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez (RUM, by its Spanish acronym).

One of the men involved in the foundation was José de Diego. De Diego, along with the efforts of D. W. May, founder of the Federal Experimental Station, and Carmelo Alemar were the ones who achieved the foundation of the CAAM. The importance of de Diego’s achievement remains in history and today is the name of the building which is home to the chancellor’s office, center of the campus administration.

The José de Diego Building is the oldest structure standing at the campus. It is the most important building, which is home of the Chancellor’s Office and the Administration Offices.

The University for the past 99 years has been recognized for its incomparable education programs. It has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1946, by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in the undergraduate engineering program, by the  National League for Nursing (NLN) in the undergraduate nursing program, and by other associations related to Science and Business Administration.

Ana Valentín, auxiliary librarian, and A. Román a student,   agreed that UPR-Mayagüez has been recognized worldwide because of its prestige.

The combination of high standards of education, “growing young students to become professionals” comment made by the student  A. Román, student and senator of the college of mechanical engineer; and the humanity between traits could not fail in attempting to grow in every heart of a “Colegial,” They are said to have “green blood running in their body.”  “El Colegio is where dreams become true,” added Román.

For the last few years the university has been preparing for the 100th anniversary of the Institution. As Ana Valentín, said: “Someone celebrating 100 years is not something that we see every day and it is going to be big.”  This upcoming celebration has moved an entire Committee to prepare how the university and the outside people in the community will celebrate the centenarial . Valentín identified Norma Sojo as one of the Committee members who has been promoting fundraising activities.

The final journey of this huge celebration for the University started last September 23, 2010 when the 99th anniversary was celebrated with a parade. The parade started at the  Student Dean’s Office and students, professors, employees, and even people from the community participated on the event. Other related activities have included the welcoming of this year’s first year students and special recognitions to outstanding professors.

In the opening message in the parade, the Chancellor of the university Dr. Miguel A. Muñoz said: “[…] a hundred years of fighting creating the best professionals that this country has had and will have, not only for Puerto Rico but for the world,” expressing his emotion and the meaning of this anniversary, in an article that covered the event on universia.com.

The goal of the Committee is to raise $100 thousand to cover all the costs.  With various sponsors like WAPA TV, P&G, FARUM, the Ex-alumni Office, the College of Engineers and Surveyors of Puerto Rico and more the Committee has already raised 64 percent of the $100 thousand initial goal.

The Celebration Committee will commemorate the anniversary with a Centenary Mosaic that will be located at the gardens of the Dean of Students Office. The mosaic will capture the history, colors, emblems, and icons of the university. According to Universia.com, the idea for this mosaic was developed by the group Cero Design as on the 99th anniversary of the university.

Pórtico Degetau. Nowa ays it is the iconic emblem of the Institution but before it was the entrance of the Degetau Hall. This ruins were the only thing that stood still after an earthquake in the late 1940s.

The Alumni Wall is another project which will be located in the Gymnasium Angel F. Espada. The wall will have 1,500 slabs with the names of ex alumni and their year of graduation. The funds raised by this project will cover the costs of the Centenary Mosaic.

Other projects are still in development like the “Plaza de los Fundadores.” Concerts, conferences, event for employees to share, a golf tournament, and other activities are in the agenda to continue celebrating until the day of the big celebration comes next year.

The date is getting closer to witness the celebration of a century of existence. When September 23, 2011 comes “it will be big and exiting,” Ana Valentín said, “I hope everyone, including municipal government, and  the campus celebrate with joy the anniversary” added A. Román who hopes there will reign joy in the heart of people celebrating the accomplishment of  history.

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