Convocation commemorates 100th anniversary of President Taft’s visit

Convocation 2011

A hundred years ago this fall, Baker University was abuzz with the appearance of U.S. President William Howard Taft on the Baldwin City campus for the inauguration of President Wilbur Mason on Sept. 24, 1911.

The University commemorated the centennial of Taft’s visit at Fall Convocation on Oct. 18 at Rice Auditorium. In Baker’s 153-year history, Taft is the only sitting U.S. president to speak at Baker’s campus. He delivered an address at Taylor Hall, now known as Mabee Hall, on world peace, stressing that the United States should be a leader in the worldwide movement to abolish war.

Assistant professors Leonard Ortiz and John Richards, of Baker’s Department of History, Culture and Society, reflected on Taft’s remarks from 1911. Baker’s Speech Choir, Baker University Brass Quintet and Baker University Concert Choir also performed at convocation, an annual celebration of the faculty’s accomplishments.

Taft’s presence on the campus remains today. To prepare for the president’s arrival, the University built a bridge, known as Taft Bridge, because of Taft’s girth. A replica of the bridge, featuring a commemorative plaque, is located between Case Hall and Mabee Hall on the Baldwin City campus.

BU Speech Choir presents excerpts from Taft's address

View more photos on Flickr.

Board of Trustee chairman Hoot Gibson, Assistant Professors John Richards and Leonard Ortiz

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