Third Round of Bicentennial Grants Announced

Sunset Trail spruce-up, solar eclipse shades, an ancient language hunt and more receive funds.


Grants approved by the Bicentennial Advisory Committee are intended to encourage all members of the Kenyon community to take part in this year of bicentennial celebration. On April 8, even the sun will be getting in on the fun. 

The solar eclipse, expected to be the longest totality on land for over a decade according to, is not, of course, sponsored by the bicentennial — but the eclipse glasses to view it will be. While Cleveland is projected to get nearly 4 minutes of totality, on campus the darkness will be marked in seconds, but glasses are still mandatory for viewing. They’ll be made available on campus the week before the event.

Other projects funded by the committee do not require the participation of the solar system, but will have impacts that last more than a few seconds. Those projects funded in this third round of grants are:

In Memoriam: The Latin and Greek Inscriptions of Kenyon College

Proposed by: Professor of Classics Adam Serfass

Have you ever noticed how many Latin and Greek inscriptions there are across campus? Serfass has. In his proposal he wrote: “Once you start looking for Latin and Greek inscriptions at Kenyon, you notice them everywhere: on the college gates, snippets of Latin poetry that serve as a nineteenth-century college mission statement in verse; in Ascension Hall’s Campbell-Meeker Room, three lines from Virgil’s Aeneid carved in wood as a memorial by a grieving father for his young son; in Old Kenyon, an aphorism attributed to Rutherford B. Hayes, with a typo that offers an object lesson in the importance of proofreading; on a gravestone in the cemetery, the twenty-third Psalm incised in Greek.”

In his project, Serfass will engage two students to help examine the inscriptions they already know about and hunt for new ones. All inscriptions will be documented for a new database: the Catalog of Latin Inscriptions of Kenyon College or, to use its Latin title, Corpus Latinarum Inscriptionum Collegii Kenyonensis—CLICK, for short. (Serfass notes: “We’ll include Greek inscriptions, too, but adding the word Graecarum would ruin the acronym.”)

The second phase will include research on the inscriptions: when they were created, their location on campus, the people who commissioned them, the classical sources quoted, the message they seek to convey, and their historical significance. In the final phase, they will produce a bilingual pamphlet with a selection of the most significant inscriptions, for use on  walking tours during Homecoming, Family Weekend and Founders’ Day.

Restoration of Sunset Trail

Proposed by: Office of Green Initiatives

This project will invite student participation as timing allows to help restore a trail between College Drive and South Campus. It will involve constructing stone steps from the edge of the road down to the trail, which will be cleared and widened to the point where it crosses a deep erosion channel behind Higley Hall. This culvert will be spanned by a footbridge or large stepping stones. The trail will be rerouted and widened to a safe access point west of the Taft Apartments.

Climbing the Hill Together: Celebrating 200 Years of Resilience

Proposed by: Dean of Student Development Robin Hart Ruthenbeck

This year-long series, which kicked off with a tea Feb. 15, provides opportunities to normalize struggle, strengthen connection and build resilience. Recognizing that students need opportunities to see the growth that comes with failure and reminders that everyone is imperfect. One component, “Tea and Empathy,” invites faculty, staff and alumni to model vulnerability and growth by sharing an experience that tested their resilience. Giveaway items that will be distributed at pop-up events throughout the year will serve as a reminder to each of us that we are in this together, and that we are enough, and that Kenyon is a place where we strive to support one another through growth and change.