As Oxy embarks on a yearlong celebration, students, alumni, faculty, and friends come together for a Founders Day to remember

The Ferris wheel and carnival attractions offered a vintage feel, and the Clancy's With or Without (gravy, that is) threatened to add pounds to one's waistline just by looking at it. But in kicking off a yearlong celebration of its 125th anniversary April 20, Oxy looked to the future as well.

Founders Day highlights included a ribbon-cutting for the Samuelson Alumni Center and a series of panel discussions by distinguished alumni on the future of Wall Street (with Ian McKinnon '89 and Soroosh Shambayati '86), online entrepreneurship (with Zaryn Dentzel '05 and Octavio Herrera '98), and the movie business (with Todd Garner '88). Capping the evening was President Jonathan Veitch, who outlined his vision of making Occidental "the most distinctive urban liberal arts college in the country."

Oxy overcame its hardscrabble beginnings to not only survive, but thrive, Veitch told a dinner audience of 375 alumni and friends of the College in Remsen Bird Hillside Theater. Today, he said, "Occidental matters because it has engaged us in the highest calling of a liberal arts education: the provision of a life lived in reflection on the questions we must ask ourselves and the choices we must make in order to flourish as human beings."

Board of Trustees chair John Farmer also announced three major gifts at the dinner: $5 million from Sonnet and Ian McKinnon '89 toward the McKinnon Family Center for Politics and Global Affairs; $4 million from the Ahmanson Foundation (thanks to Bill Ahmanson '85 and his sister, Karen Hoffman '77) for the renovation and expansion of Swan Hall; and $3 million from Steve Hinchliffe '55 and his wife, Ann (Hoffmann) Hinchliffe '57, to endow student scholarships.

Now, that's how you start a party.

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