Special Worship


Founders Day

Every February, UE celebrates four important dates in the University's history with a special Founder's Day service.

About Founders Day

Founders Day ceremonies are held in observance of four important events in the history of the University of Evansville.

On February 8, 1810, John C. Moore, founder of Moores Hill College, was born. In addition to contributing $3,000 and 12 acres to the school, Moore personally paid the school's deficits until his death in 1871.

The story of the University of Evansville began over 150 years ago on February 10, 1854, when Moores Hill Male and Female Collegiate Institute was incorporated. This fledgling institution was located in Moores Hill in Dearborn County, about 40 miles west of Cincinnati.

On February 17, 1919, the school was relocated and Evansville College was incorporated. The College achieved its first major academic goal in 1931 by winning accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Rapid growth and years of dedication to meeting the area's higher education requirements were recognized by the state legislature's action in renaming the school.

On February 17, 1967, the University of Evansville was incorporated.

The Edgar M. McKown Address

The annual Founders Day speaker is made possible through an endowment from the late Edgar M. McKown.

Edgar M. McKown, PhD, was professor of Bible and philosophy at Evansville College from 1936 to 1969 and dean of the College from 1941 until 1962. From 1962 until 1966, he served as director of religious life. His first love was teaching, and during his years as dean he continued to teach at least one class each semester. For many years McKown was chair of the South Indiana UMC Annual Conference Board of Ministerial Training and Qualifications. He was a founder of the Weekday Religious Education Program of Evansville.

A major purpose of his life was to increase knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith and commitment to that faith.

The 2013 Edgar M. McKown Address will be given by the Rev. Dr. the Lord Leslie Griffiths.

The Rev. Dr., the Lord Leslie Griffiths of Pembrey and Burry Port, is the Superintendent Minister of Wesley’s Chapel, the Cathedral of World Methodism in London, England and a member of the House of Lords, Labour Party, receiving a Life Peerage in 1994.


As a regular columnist and BBC broadcaster, Dr. Griffiths has spoken extensively on various educational and social subjects, including euthanasia, the church and civic society, the relationship between Christianity and other faiths, and international affairs, including the complex world of international finance. “The foundation of my awareness of, and involvement in, international affairs was laid in the period I lived in Haiti, 1970 – 1980,” he notes.

His story begins in real poverty in South Wales and leads him, via ordination, to Haiti to work with some of the poorest people on earth. He experienced Liberation Theology before it had been articulated and was the biographer of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the Roman Catholic priest and Liberation Theologian who became Haiti’s President.

Dr. Griffiths became a local preacher in the Methodist Church of Great Britain in 1963 and completed a Master of Arts in Theology at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in 1969. In 1987 Dr. Griffiths earned a Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has served as President of the Methodist Conference in Britain, 1994 - 1995 and has been the Superintendent Minister at Wesley’s Chapel since 1996. He is the current Chair of the College of Preachers. Dr. Griffiths has written numerous books on religious and historical themes. His riveting and intense autobiography, A View from the Edge has recently been published.

Some people continue to struggle with the link between religion and politics; its clarity shines through this book. Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top, Chief Whip of the House of Commons, 2001-06

Dr. Griffiths and his wife, Margaret, have three grown children, Timothy, Jonathan, and Ruth and one grandchild.

The History of Tams

Historians of academic regalia trace the widespread use of "caps" to Oxford University in England, where the conferring of a cap on a graduate was likened to the Roman practice of using a cap to grant freedom to servants. Academic headwear signified freedom for scholarship and inquiry, and the velvet tam came to be associated particularly with doctoral degrees. The purple velvet tams given to the University of Evansville's full professors recognize the unique contributions of these individuals to the University's mission. The ritual takes place annually during our Founders Day ceremony in Neu Chapel.

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