Oglethorpe’s campus was transformed into a festive English town on Saturday, June 2, as people across Atlanta and beyond gathered to celebrate the Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee, marking the 60th anniversary of her reign. The event at Oglethorpe, hosted by the British Consulate General in Atlanta, was held on the same day as many other festivities across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
Festivities included children’s games popular in the Commonwealth, a hat competition, and a performance by Scottish Pipe & Drum group, which marched the crowd onto Anderson Field to watch a game of cricket.
A “Got Talent” competition held on the quad provided some eclectic entertainment for festival-goers, with performers representing Ghana, Scotland and other member nations of the Commonwealth.
There was plenty of good food available as well, with the lines for the fish & chips and meat pies being the longest. And no British celebration would be complete without an opportunity for some afternoon tea.
Oglethorpe was chosen to host the event in part for its architecture. The campus building designs were originally inspired by Corpus Christi College in Oxford, England–the alma mater of our namesake, James Edward Oglethorpe. It created the perfect setting for the festivities and allowed guests to feel as if they had been transported to England, if only for a few hours.
Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI. In the 60 years that she has held the crown, there have been 12 different Prime Ministers, six Popes…and 30 royal corgi dogs. She is the second longest serving monarch in the world.
On February 9, 2011 Petrels all over the country celebrated Oglethorpe Day, an annual celebration of James Edward Oglethorpe, the university’s namesake and founder of the Georgia colony.
On campus, students and staff welomed former CNN President Tom Johnson and current CNN International Anchor Natalie Allen for a lively discussion about their experiences in global media.
The festivities began with the Petrels of Fire race, a 270-yard dash around the quad in an effort to beat the 12 noon carillon bell toll. This year’s race drew five brave sprinters who battled the cold and each other in the fierce race to the finish. In keeping with tradition, runners had 30.92 seconds to complete the challenge, and this year freshman Billy Colbert reportedly came within three seconds of the bells.
Following the race, a bagpiper summoned the crowd of spectators to the Conant Performing Arts Center to attend the OU Day dialogue. Both Johnson and Allen engaged in an hour-long discussion, moderated by Devon Belcher, assistant professor of philosophy, about their careers in media. They entertained questions from students and touched on current issues such as censorship, Wiki-leaks, and the future of journalism.
Afterward, OU President Larry Schall and Dean of Students Michelle Hall presented the speakers with plaques commemorating two four-year scholarships that have been established in their names. Two deserving students in next year’s freshman class will be the recipients of the scholarships.