University celebrates John Marshall’s 261st birthday

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John Marshall will turn 261 Saturday and Marshall University celebrated with birthday cake and a quoits tournament Friday.

Teams of two, including Student Body President Matt Jarvis and Vice President Emily Kinner, competed for the Golden Quoit.

“This [celebration] is a great way to remember who [John Marshall] was, what his ideas were, and what he valued,” Jarvis said. “He’s a real person, not just a statue on campus.”

Jarvis said the “lighthearted and fun” afternoon remembers the traditions of the university and John Marshall. He and Kinner competed against quoits teams of administration, media members and other students.

“It’s the little things that make you look at history differently,” Jarvis said. “We know John Marshall liked quoits, but I just recently learned his favorite dessert was bread pudding.”

The annual outdoor birthday celebration on Buskirk field attracted members of administration, the student body and the community.

“I love seeing the university community come together and celebrate someone they never knew,” University Communications assistant Kasey Madden said.

Students walking to and from class stopped for cake, kettle corn and punch and watched their administrators play quoits with their peers.

“I think it’s a cool tradition,” Madden said. “I hope more people outside the Marshall community know about this. It shows we care and respect tradition.”

President Gilbert and his family also were in attendance and Gilbert taught his nephew how to play quoits.

Marshall’s birthday celebration is a part of the Investiture event schedule. President Gilbert specifically requested the official ceremony to be held close to the birthday of the university namesake.

“[John Marshall] left quite a legacy, since we’re still wishing him a happy birthday 261 years later,” Madden said.

 Brooke Estep can be contacted at [email protected]

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