Miami was chartered in 1809. It's one of the oldest public schools in the country.
Miami was chartered in 1809. It's one of the oldest public schools in the country.

Happy Birthday, Miami

Written by Sarah Guenther, news and communications intern

Happy Birthday, Miami University. Chartered by the state of Ohio on Feb. 17, 1809, Miami is one of the oldest public schools in the country.

Through the years, Miamians gathered to celebrate the historic date.

In 1916, celebrations of Miami’s charter began as a Founder’s Day that consisted of religion, songs and history lectures. This type of celebration continued until 1922.

From 1925 to 1937, the celebration was known as Miami Day and featured a 90-minute broadcast of speeches and songs on various radio stations.

Former President John Millett re-established the celebration of Miami’s birthday as a formal campus event in 1958, with a university convocation in Withrow Court featuring an historical address. It was intended as a rehearsal for the university’s sesquicentennial the following year. The Sesquicentennial Convocation was the first event named Charter Day.

The tradition continued and in 1976, Former President Phillip Shriver introduced a new event to commemorate the U.S. Bicentennial - the Bicentennial Ball. The ball took place in Millett Hall and was later renamed the Charter Day Ball.

Now the formal affair is a triennial event and one of the longest standing traditions on Miami’s campus. This year’s Charter Day Ball takes place from 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at Millett Hall.