Elizabeth J. Stroble

“When the college was founded, it was started by women for women when they didn’t even have the right to vote,” said Elizabeth J. Stroble, president of Webster University. Webster was also one of the first local colleges to admit and graduate African Americans. 

With 100 years under its belt, Webster University has many stories to tell – and most of them share the backdrop of people rising above adversity, said Elizabeth J. Stroble, president of the university.

“When the college was founded, it was started by women for women when they didn’t even have the right to vote,” Stroble said. “They knew there was a need for women to get degrees in order to serve the community.”

Webster was also one of the first to admit and graduate African Americans.

“Being an inclusive community has always been Webster’s hallmark,” Stroble said.

Webster University will celebrate 100 years of global innovation and leadership with a yearlong series of free public events. The kickoff event for Webster’s centennial will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19 in downtown St. Louis’s Old Post Office Plaza.

The street party will feature a live concert by Webster alumni Erin Bode and Samba Bom, food trucks, street chess and hoops, and other activities. Webster’s mascot, the Gorlok, will be on hand with a contingent of celebrity guests to entertain attendees.

Webster University will provide bus shuttles for the Centennial Kickoff Party on Sept. 19. Bus shuttles will run approximately every half hour. The pick-up/drop-off areas are Parking Lot D behind Winifred Moore and downtown on Ninth Street on the west side of Old Post Office Plaza, just past Locust Street. Public parking is also available at the Syndicate/Culinaria garage, located at 945 Olive Blvd. The Metrolink station is also located nearby at Eighth St. and Pine Ave.

The party continues that evening with a Homecoming “Garden Glow” wine tasting and beer garden event in the Anheuser-Busch Rain Garden on the Webster University campus. From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the east side of Webster’s East Academic Building, located at 545 Garden Ave, will be illuminated with lanterns and lights. The public is invited to enjoy wine from Garland Wines in Webster Groves and St. Louis’s favorite beer company, Anheuser-Busch.

“Throughout the year, we will celebrate how far Webster has come in the last century and envision what lies ahead for the university in the next 100 years,” she said.

The university started as a small Catholic women’s college with five students in 1915, said Elizabeth Robb, a 1965 Webster alumna who is serving as chair of Webster’s Centennial Committee. Now it has more than 20,000 students and more than 170,000 alumni with campus locations on four continents, eight countries, 60 cities and 40 military installations around the world.

“Our centennial will celebrate not only our past, but our present and future as well,” Robb said.

Stroble agreed, saying that the most important part of the centennial celebration will be casting their eyes to the horizon.

“What does the world need Webster to be in the next century?” she said. “What do we need to do to be the leader we want to be?”

In addition to the Sept. 19 kickoff event, other activities planned include the “Century Through Cinema” series highlighting 100 years of cinema, with award-winning films that capture decades, define generations and evoke nostalgia.

There will also be the “Talks of the Century” faculty lecture series on topics from various academic disciplines. A worldwide “Toys for Tots” campaign at all Webster campus locations during November and December 2014 is also part of the celebration.

More detailed information on all Webster University centennial events can be found online at http://100.webster.edu.

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