Lorimer keeps quiet on cost of Tercentennial

For Yale’s atypical birthday celebration, University Secretary Linda Lorimer oversaw some unorthodox purchases, including a gigantic cake on Beinecke Plaza, a Yale Bowl laser light show and a Counting Crows’ concert.

But Lorimer is not divulging the cost of the Tercentennial celebration — the largest fete she will probably ever throw — claiming traditional manners are behind her silence.

“You don’t go around talking about the costs of parties you are invited to,” said Lorimer, the coordinator of Yale’s Tercentennial — a project that has dominated her agenda for the last few years.

While the official festivities surrounding the Tercentennial may be history, Lorimer’s office is focusing its efforts on documenting the event for posterity and relocating members of the Tercentennial Office to other positions on the Yale campus or elsewhere.

While Lorimer did not get into cost-specifics, she did point out that Col. William K. Lanman ’28 generously endowed the Tercentennial celebration. Last year University officials told the Yale Daily News that Lanman’s gift was under $10 million and was a nearly perfect match for the celebration’s cost.

Provost Alison Richard said the event reached out to the community and alumni and pointed out that there was a “huge party.”

“I think it was an opportunity to look back with pride and to look to the future with excitement,” Richard said. “It was an affirmation of the institution but it took an interesting form.”

The planning for the Tercentennial began in 1995, Lorimer said, and her office is now concentrating on compiling information about the celebration for archives to be used at Yale’s 350th anniversary. The “Archives 300 Project” will be complete in June 2002.

Lorimer’s office is now overseeing the digitization of the DeVane Lectures, which are also going to be produced on audio tapes.

In addition, Lorimer said several books by Yale professors about the legacies of Yale’s 300 years are to be completed in the next year. Authors and editors include professor emeritus Gaddis Smith, famed art critic and professor emeritus Vincent Scully, and Nobel Prize-winning scientist and biology professor Sidney Altman.

Lorimer said the event held many great moments for her.

“Like a proud parent thinks about one’s child, I can’t isolate one or two moments as my favorite of the Tercentennial, but there were innumerable special moments I will always remember,” she said.

Still, Lorimer said the event’s conclusion did give her a sense of calm.

“When President Clinton finished his remarks as the final major Tercentennial event, my overwhelming emotion was one of relief,” Lorimer said.

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