The University of the District of Columbia, after pulling together its many scattered parts into a unified institution over the past year, began a series of events yesterday designed to announce the official birth of the new school and to inaugurate its first president.
Although the inauguration of a new college president is usually a one-day, affair, UDC officials said they will use this entire week both to inaugurate Lisle C. Carter Jr. on Thursday at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and to make more city residents aware that the new unfied school exists.
"We've been telling the residents of D.C. for a long time that they would have a university," and Orieanna Syphax, cochairman of the UDC Week activities. "Now we want them to know that the university is a reality. We are here even though we're scattered around town in 17 or 18 different buildings."
The present university was formed last year through a merger of the city's three public colleges - Washington Technical Institute, D.C. Teachers College and Federal City College.
The activities of the week opened yesterday with a speech from Housing and Urban Development Secretary Patricia Harris at the Howard University Law School. Newark, N.J., Mayor Kenneth Gibson spoke later in the day at the Van Ness Campus of UDC.
Other major figures in politics and education are scheduled to speak at some 10 UDC Week events later in the week, including sympostums; receptions and a concert by the D.C. Youth Orchestra.
Harris urged UDC to be a "teaching university" for students and leave the more ivory towered scholarly pursuits of faculty members and researchers to other institutions.
"I hope that the University of the District of Columbia will see its functions clearly," said Harris, who served a brief and stormy tenure as Howard's Law School dean in the late 1960s. "This must be a teaching university of the first rank . . ."
"Let Harvard, Yale, Rockefeller University and Bell Laboratories have their scholars and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the tiny enclaves of research seeking to discover the unknown," she said, "while UDC opens its doors and windows to those who seek the experience of the known world.
Gibson was among eight speakers who participated in an afternoon symposium at the university's new college of physical science, engineering and technology. Gibson delivered a paper entitled "A Mayor's Perspective on the Role of Physical Science, Engineering and Technology on Urban Regeneration."
Today, Rep. Parren J. Mitchell (D-Md.) and Benjamin E. Mays, former president of Morehouse College and president of the Atlanta Board of Education, are scheduled to speak at a morning symposium in the college of liberal and fine arts.
This afternoon, the presidents of six area colleges and universities will participate in a symposium on graduate studies.
Also as part of the UDC Week activities, university faculty and adminstrators will visit 16 D.C. public high schools to talk with students, faculty and counselors to tell them what courses of study are available at UDC.
The cost of the week of events is $68,500, an amount that some students at the university have complained is exhorbitant. The students maintain that the funds could be be better spent on other items such as developing a university catalogue, student handbook and school symbol.
"The students want to build some school spirit at UDC and there's no way to do that without such a simple thing as a school catalogue," said Robert McNeil, student government senator-at-large. "The events this week will reach only a small number of people. A catalogue could reach people across the country."
In response to student complaints, university president Carter said that a school logo is being designed and that a school catalogue and handbook could not be printed until after consolidation of the university was completed. Now, he said, information for the handbook and catalogue is being compiled for publication later.
"I believe that most of the student leadership realizes that we have a new school and that some of these things take time," Carter said.