It might be too difficult to fit 161 candles on the birthday cake, but UF will still recognize its 161st today.
On Sunday, UF social media specialist Bruce Floyd commemorated the event by starting a hashtag, #HappyBirthdayUF.
Floyd said although 161 was an odd anniversary to recognize, the university’s birthday offered an opportunity to share a quick tidbit about the university’s history while also getting current and past students involved.
“We’re always trying to come up with ideas to get people engaged in UF’s history,” he said.
He said he loves seeing responses such as J.B. White’s tweet, “Decades later, graduating from the University of Florida remains one of my proudest moments.” Highlights from responses to the hashtag will be showcased.
“We have all these people tweeting about how UF has been important in their lives,” Floyd said “It’s almost as if the university is this living, breathing being.”
As of press time, the hashtag has received 154 responses.
UF spokesman Steve Orlando said the university has no official plans to celebrate its birthday, but it’s good that students are being made aware of its anniversary.
He said the university celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2003, but there aren’t any plans currently in place for its upcoming birthdays.
Orlando said the university originated from an institution in Lake City before moving to Gainesville.
“It’s especially important for new students to recognize that the university has such a long history,” Orlando said.
Christina Bonarrigo, UF’s Student Body president, said there will be a piece about the university’s birthday on her blog, studentbodyprezuf.blogspot.com.
“It’s so amazing to see how far the university has come,” Bonarrigo said.
A version of this story ran on page 14 on 1/6/2014 under the headline "Happy birthday to U(F): School turns 161, celebrates with tweets"
This shot, taken in October 2013, shows UF’s campus from above. On Jan. 6, 1853, state Governor Thomas Brown signed a bill giving public support to higher education.