On this day, 241 years ago, the Virginia General Assembly chartered the first institution of higher learning west of the Allegheny Mountains — what is today known as Transylvania University.
We celebrate this day each year not to dwell on the past, but rather as a reminder that this university, through its long, rich history, has endured due to its ability to innovate and grow while remaining steadfast in its mission of delivering a life-changing liberal arts education to its students.
That mission is the lifeblood of our community, the reason generations of Pioneers have chosen to live, learn, teach and work on this campus.
Our Charter Day happens to fall on May the 4th, and as a well-documented fan of the Star Wars universe, I would be remiss not to recognize today the wise words of the great philosopher Yoda as spoken to Luke Skywalker, words that should sound particularly familiar to my fellow Pioneers: “Pass on what you have learned.”
That charge is what we celebrate today. “In that light, we pass on the light,” as we have for 241 years, and as we will for countless more.
Happy Charter Day — May the Fourth be with you!