Founders’ Day introduces new traditions and celebrates old ones

Photo by Danielle Bongiovanni

Founders' Day was held on Nov. 10 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the newly unveiled Peter P. Mercer Learning Commons. Hosted by President Jebb, the Board of Trustees, the Student Government Association (SGA) and the George T. Potter Library staff, the event celebrated 52 years since the founding of Ramapo College.

At 1:30 p.m., SGA President Anjali Patel was the first to give remarks. She reflected on the numerous achievements of the Ramapo community, including recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. “The SGA recognizes that students are at the heart of the college and we aim to make this a priority for years to come as Ramapo prospers further,” she said.

Lee Keller, the director of the library, spoke next. After three years of construction, she was happy to refer to the Learning Commons as “a post-pandemic beacon to our community” and thanked everyone who was involved in the renovation. She encouraged students to "find a beanbag chair of your own and browse the book authored by our very own faculty."

“This is an exciting time to be at Ramapo,” President Cindy Jebb said. The strategic planning process for 2021-2022 includes The Future Series, an “all hands on deck opportunity” for anyone who wants to make a difference at the college. She praised Ramapo as both distinct and familiar, standing out from other higher education institutes while continuing to grow in ways that honor the college’s founding.

She proceeded to introduce a new presidential coin initiative, which will be given to members of the Ramapo community who go “above and beyond in their service to others,” starting with Dr. Charlie Carreras. For his dedication to the college as one of Ramapo’s founding faculty members, the creator of the Carreras Scholarship, and one of the Mahwah Museum’s moderators, he was presented with a coin by the president.

Once the ceremony was over, people were free to mill around outside and inside of the Learning Commons. SGA members distributed coupons for the bookstore and staffed refreshment booths, handing out mini grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup shooters. Drinks included homemade lemonade, coffee and iced tea. Donuts were offered in addition to the ceremonial cupcakes.

Across the lawn, attendees were encouraged to take advantage of the photobooth and cornhole games. The mascot, Rocky, wandered around and was happy to pose with people for pictures as upbeat music played.

The Center for Reading and Writing hosted a Scavenger Hunt. Senior literature major Griffyn Leeds and junior communication arts major Joe Ferreri, who both work for the center, explained the activity was designed to increase students’ familiarity with the resources offered at the Learning Commons. All they needed to do was submit photos of the destinations hinted at on the clue sheet to be a winner.

The event was a hit for staff, faculty and students alike. Senior communications major Ben Hopper said in an interview, “I am ecstatic about Founders' Day. This is the highlight of my week. I'm having a blast, seeing so many friends here and it's great to see the Ramapo community all together."