The Centennial celebration was held on September 6, 1864, one day before Commencement, with formal exercises in the First Baptist Church. President Barnas Sears delivered an historical discourse (57 printed pages) and the Central Glee Club sang an ode written for the occasion by Bishop George Burgess 1826. After the exercises seven hundred alumni and guests attended a dinner in a large tent on the campus, and heard speeches by ex-president Wayland and Professor Goldwin Smith of Oxford University, and a poem by Charles Thurber 1827. General Ambrose E. Burnside’s remarks were followed by a centennial poem by John Hay 1858, read in his absence by Professor James B. Angell 1849, which began:
“A hundred times the bells of Brown
Have rung to sleep the idle summers,
And still today clangs clamoring down
A greeting to the welcome comers.”
George William Curtis, honorary alumnus, responded to the sentiment, “The Adopted Sons of the University,” and Professor Caswell 1822 responded to “The Memory of the Founders and Benefactors of the University” by contributing $1000 toward endowment of a professorship as a memorial of the occasion. Several addresses, because of the lateness of the hour, were rescheduled to the commencement dinner the next day, including a 120-line poem by Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe 1828.