Faculty and students sang ‘happy birthday’ in the George Sherman Union Wednesday to a man who has been dead for 127 years.
Despite Charles Darwin’s long-ago death, members of The Greater Boston Darwin Bicentennial Committee hosted a party to celebrate the evolutionary theorist’s 200th birthday. About 40 faculty members and students attended to watch performances from local band The Missing Link and Boston University’s improvisational troupe, Liquid Fun, and munch on food donated by the BU gastronomy department.
The party started a little before 6 p.m. to coordinate with Darwin’s birth time, 12 a.m. London time.
Liquid Fun performed sketches chronicling the life and accomplishments of Darwin based on suggestions from the audience.’ Topics included Darwin’s birth, travels to the Galapagos Islands and the Scopes Monkey Trial, a 1926 case that tested a Tennessee law forbidding the teaching of evolutionary theory in public schools.
Bicentennial committee co-chairperson Thomas Glick said he asked Liquid Fun to perform at the party last October. Vice President of Liquid Fun Johnny Lopez said he and the group were not very knowledgeable about Darwin, but tried to cover up their lack of hard biographical facts with humor.
In between the sketch comedy segments, Lopez, a School of Education senior, announced that the Church of England had officially forgiven Darwin, who had been condemned a heretic.
The BU gastronomy department catered the party and provided trifles, a favorite 19th century dessert.
The committee organized the birthday party after a student-led organization failed to organize a similar event, history professor Glick said. He said the party was aimed toward raising awareness about Darwin’s contributions to modern science.
He said the bicentennial committee scheduled activities in the Boston area focused on Darwin’s legacy. The committee is organizing a Darwin-themed art contest, and Glick said the winner’s piece will be exhibited in front of Student Village next year.
Glick said the bicentennial committee worked for almost a year and a half scheduling the birthday party and other bicentennial events. Glick said his group attempted to get students involved, but had very little luck.
Bicentennial committee member Rebecca Kinraide said she was excited about the awareness the activities were raising for Darwin’s contributions. She said the events were meant to be both fun and educational.
‘Darwin is relevant to so many fields that we are coordinating several departments to commemorate this important event,’ writing professor Kinraide said.