The University Mall was once fields filled with rows of orange groves; 125 years later, on April 27, that space was brought to life with music, food and games as the community gathered to celebration of the University of La Verne’s Founders Day.
La Verne residents also joined the festivities to enjoy a day commemorating ULV’s past and appreciating its present.
Before the celebration the University held a ground breaking ceremony for the new dormitory and dining hall being built between the Campus Center and the parking structure.
Guests sat at orange and green linen covered tables as Chairman of the Board of Trustees Luis Faura took the stage as the first speaker of the evening to welcome the community. He stood in front of orange balloons forming a large “125.”
“One hundred and twenty-five years ago they would have never had ring tossing over wine bottles,” Faura said.
President Devorah Lieberman followed Faura.
“Major in a mission, live that purpose, and make a major impact on the world,” Lieberman said.
She also emphasized that while the event is celebrating the University’s great accomplishments over the years, she hopes that the future to celebrate Founders Day every year.
La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick, also took spoke to highlight the University’s beginnings.
ULV used to be Lordsburg Hotel, although it did not succeed and later became Lordsburg College in 1891, Kendrick told the crowd.
Rick Garcia, director of admissions at the College of Law and a ULV alumus, said he feels proud to be a Leo and praised individuals like Associate Dean of Student Affairs Ruby Montaño Cordova for choosing a career in higher education.
“When I was a student here I was actually hitch hiking to get to class,” Garcia said.
“A few of my admissions counselors were checking in on me and they were able to put me in a room with another fellow on campus, and it was the first time in my life I ever made straight A’s.”
Senior public relations major Vanessa Oceguera said that one thing that resonated with her throughout her years at ULV was how much she has grown as a person.
“I will always be proud to be a Leo,” Oceguera said. “I have seen progress in terms of community building and growing, making partnerships with nonprofits and organizations and leaders in our surrounding areas.”
Alumnus and Admission Counselor Jeremy McWells added: “This is really like my second home,” McWells said. “I have a sister that goes here, I also met my wife here.”
“The sky is the limit, truly,” McWells said. “As an admissions counselor I get to go out and (learn) what the people think of the institution and I can tell you right now that we are on a good path.”
Humberto Fabian can be reached at email@example.com.