1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Transylvania community celebrates Rafinesque’s 240th birthday

outdoor interview
painting of Raf

Tucked away inside Transylvania University’s Old Morrison administration building is a tomb covered with a slab that says: “Honor to whom honor is overdue.”

While he didn’t exactly feel honored as a Transylvania botany professor (in fact, he cursed the school when he left), Constantine Samuel Rafinesque gets plenty of love today for his 240th birthday.

Help us celebrate Raf (or at least appease his ghost) with a gift supporting Transylvania students — and join in on fun activities for prizes. Make a $24, $240 or $2,400 donation in his name to Transylvania, and you may even get a follow-up thank you from Raf himself.

Our students came up with a few ideas about what to give him for his birthday — and to keep him from cursing the school:

To get in the “spirit” of the occasion, our alumni and development office encourages you to print out a flat Raf and take a photo of yourself with him for weekly prizes throughout the month. Get the details about this and other fun activities, including a coloring contest.

Flat Raf manifested in Salem, Massachusetts.

Also in celebration of Rafinesque’s birthday, the Student Activities Board each year organizes a variety of spooky events for Raf Week, including a Haunted Hallway, ghost tour and chance to spend a night in his Old Morrison tomb. Find out what’s on tap this year.

Additionally, the Student Alumni Association is hosting a scavenger hunt around the Campus Center grounds through Oct. 30 (pick up a list of clues at the front desk).

The Campus Center is also home to Raf’s Corner, where students can learn about the eccentric naturalist’s colorful history, as well as the Rafskeller cafe.

To add to this collection of honors, the school’s mascot is named after Rafinesque’s big-eared bat, one of thousands of species he managed to name.

In fact, he’s got quite a story: