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The Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance


Founder's Day 2009

Faculty, staff, students and alumni gathered in Dingeldine Music Center to celebrate the 113th Founder’s Day on October 1.

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By Melissa Hoffman ’10

A petite, brilliant and determined woman founded Bradley University more than one hundred years ago to provide a living legacy for the community she loved dearly.

Lydia Moss Bradley established the Bradley Polytechnic Institute in 1897 as a memorial to have life and power for good and to be a living force with shielding arms and a helpful interest. 

Mrs. Bradley was a wife and mother to six children.  Tragedy befell her family, and each of her children passed away before reaching adulthood.  Her husband, Tobias, died after being thrown from his horse-drawn carriage. 

With an insurmountable level of determination, Mrs. Bradley set out to make our community and world a better place by establishing an institution of higher education.  Mrs. Bradley was able to see her wishes fulfilled and enjoyed mingling with students and staff on campus for more than 10 years before her death in 1908.

On October 1, 2009, alumni, students, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the 113th Founder’s Day to honor Lydia Moss Bradley. 

Bradley University President Joanne Glasser took the audience on a journey back in time and helped them imagine life in the late 1800’s as the strong Bradley spirit was just beginning to take root.

“Lydia Moss Bradley is our founder, but she is also our leader.  For as long as Bradley University is on this Hilltop, I believe we will strive for the kind of excellence and national distinction Mrs. Bradley saw in our future,” President Glasser said.

Teaching excellence was honored with the presentation of a number of annual awards to Bradley’s faculty, staff, and alumni. Receiving the Caterpillar Inc. Faculty Achievement Award for Scholarship were Dr. Kerrie Schattler, assistant professor of civil engineering and construction, and Dr. Alexander Hertich, assistant professor of French. Dr. Timothy Koeltzow, assistant professor of psychology, received the Caterpillar Inc. Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching. Dr. John Williams, associate professor of history, was awarded the Putnam Award for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Larry Weinzimmer ’83 MBA ’85, professor of management, received the Samuel Rothberg Professional Excellence Award. Sara Ray O’Shea ’04 MA ’07 was awarded the Frances C. Mergen Award for Public Service by the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter.

Six particularly successful alumni were recognized by being inducted into the Centurion Society.  The society was founded in 1982 to honor alumni who have become respected leaders in their field and to recognize them for achievements in business, public life and their professions.

This year, Jay H. Janssen ’59, Dr. Robin L. Kelly ’78 MA ’82, Harold “Lanny” Lamont ’60, Nancy Hunter Rakoff ’59 MLS ’93, Dr. Lindsey R. Rolston ’85, and Dr. James N. Weinstein ’72 became the newest members of the Centurion Society. Dr. Weinstein received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for his work as an orthopaedic physician and researcher at Dartmouth.

Two additional alumni received special awards. Brad R. Cohen ’96, a successful teacher, mentor, best-selling author, camp director and national speaker, received the Outstanding Young Graduate Award.  Paul Moore ’62 was awarded the Lydia Moss Bradley Award for his career that took him around the world and for coordinating fundraising efforts for Bradley’s Centennial Campaign in Asia.