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The 1915 Founder's Day celebration features a Maypole dance. The 1915 Founder's Day celebration features a Maypole dance.
 


Decades Ago at San Diego State

Special Collections and University Archives takes a look back at Founder's Day and May Day activities in 1914.
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Founder's Day was once one of the most important events on the San Diego State campus, linking the college to the local community.  

Originally known as Dedication Day, the school observed Founder's Day on May 1 to commemorate the anniversary of the 1899 dedication of the Normal School's original building. The day began with a morning program that featured speeches, music and poetry. In the afternoon, students participated in English May Day events, including a Maypole dance.

The Dedication Day celebration in 1914 generated much hype in the Normal News since it marked the 15th annual May Day event. The April 9, 1914, issue reported on preparations for the festivities, while the cover of the April 30 issue of the Normal News featured a Dedication Day poem by Iriving Outcault, a much beloved English professor, as well as a schedule of the day's events. Sadly, according to the May 6, 1914, issue, the May Day celebration was rained out and the school was unable to reschedule the event.  

The Dedication Day tradition carried over to the Montezuma Mesa campus site, as well — the laying of the cornerstone for the new campus marked the 1931 dedication celebration. Renamed Founder’s Day by San Diego State President Walter Hepner in 1931, the college continued to celebrate Founder's Day annually. Although the Maypole is gone, SDSU now honors itself with SDSU Month every year in March.  

Special Collections and University Archives holds several collections documenting San Diego State Founder’s Day history and activities including the University Archives Photograph Collection, the Founders Day Collection, and the San Diego State University Historical Collection.  

About Decades Ago at San Diego State

The SDSU Library's Department of Special Collections and University Archives presents the weekly series "Decades Ago at San Diego State." Special Collections and University Archives staff members collect articles and photos from archived issues of The Daily Aztec, providing a glimpse of the university's past and its memorable events, people and programs. 

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