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150th birthday parties to honor RC alumna Jane Addams

Wednesday, September 01, 2010  
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For immediate release – 9/1/10
Contact: Chuck Brown, Rockford College Communications, 815-226-3374; Cell: 815-742-4506 

ROCKFORD -- Jane Addams, a pivotal force for social reform in Chicago and the rest of the U.S., will be remembered on her 150th birthday at a celebration September 14, 11 a.m. to noon at the Belvidere oasis on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. 

The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Rockford College, where Addams graduated in 1881 as the class valedictorian, and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago, site of her extraordinary efforts on behalf of new immigrants in the late 1800s and early 1900s.   

It will feature a birthday cake for attendees, free food and beverages, singing of happy birthday led by the Rockford College Vocal Collective, informational displays, and local Jane Addams re-enactor Amy Nyman. There will also be remarks from Rockford College President Robert L. Head and representatives from the Jane Adams Hull-House Museum and Illinois Tollway Authority. Area governmental leaders have also been invited.    

"We are pleased to celebrate the birthday of one of our most illustrious alumna,” said Head. "The trail that Jane blazed created a legacy of civic engagement, which is demonstrated every day by our students, graduates, faculty and staff.”

Addams won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 for her work to promote world peace, primarily as president and founder of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She was the first woman to be so recognized and the only Rockford College graduate so honored.

As a social reformer, Jane Addams was a force to be reckoned with. Her efforts led to Illinois’ first child labor law; the first eight-hour work day law for women; the first public kindergarten; the first playground; and the first juvenile court. As a suffragette, she championed women’s right to vote. As a humanitarian, she devoted her life to the causes of peace, freedom and justice.

"While we can’t do the job of Jane Addams, we are her legacy,” said Clarence Wood, president and CEO of the Jane Addams Hull-House Association. "We are trying to stay true to Addams’ legacy, not just as a deliverer of services but as an agent of change.”

Other celebrations of Jane Addams 150th birthday are also planned. On September 7, Rockford College students will host a birthday party from noon to 2 p.m. in the college’s Lion’s Den. 

Fans of Jane Addams will also throw a birthday party with a gigantic cake at noon on September 8 at Daley Plaza in Chicago. That will be followed by a "People’s Block Party” sponsored by the Jane Addams Hull-House Association and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the University of Illinois-Chicago.  

For more information about Jane Addams 150th birthday celebrations, contact the Communications Office at Rockford College, phone 815-226-3374.

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