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Marietta College celebrates its birthday, which was February 14, 1835, in February every year with a tribute called Founders Day. In 2018, the College changed the format to include a campus celebration with a birthday cake and hors d'oeuvres. It's also a time to present faculty awards and cherish what it means to be a Marietta Pioneer. The 2024 Founders Day — the College's 189th birthday — is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, February 15, in the Alma McDonough Auditorium.​ The College has been celebrating Founders Day on a consistent basis since 1921.

In the face of long odds, our founders established Marietta College to provide higher education in a frontier that was then known as the Northwest Territory. Henry Smith, one of the original faculty members and Marietta President from 1846-55, described the early times as, “a most emphatic illustration of the foolhardiness of young men and the wisdom of God in accomplishing his own purposes by just such human folly. Men of experience would have shrunk from the  work, as (a) desperate and foolhardy enterprise, the work of attempting to build a college in an almost inaccessible western town.”