In honor of this year’s 175th anniversary celebration of Taylor’s history, the Taylor 175 committee partnered with the Taylor Archives to create a time capsule.
Current Taylor students and employees were invited to submit digital content to be set in the capsule and opened at Taylor’s bicentennial celebration in 2046.
The Taylor community had opportunities to be engaged in various ways for the creation of the time capsule.
Specifically, all of the Personnel Assistants of campus were reached to write about wing/floor traditions, but any current student or employee were invited to submit content for inclusion until April 17.
The prompts for the time capsule included a letter to the writer’s future self, what aspects of the Taylor campus the writer thinks will be different, an image that reflects the writer’s Taylor experience, as well as a few others.
President Michael Lindsay, Provost Jewerl Maxwell, Student Body President and senior Sarah Mangan and others were also able to provide letters to the 2046 Taylor community.
According to Will Hagen, vice president for strategy and chief of staff, the involvement of the Taylor community exceeded his expectations.
“I had hoped this would be a way for us to tangibly take stock of what the Lord has been doing on campus,” Hagen said. “I couldn’t be more impressed by how our community is represented in the time capsule and am particularly impressed by the ‘Because It’s Friday!’ shirt.”
The time capsule holds the well-known, original Friday shirt as donated by junior Brigham Johnson.
Johnson collaborated with the alumnus JR Briggs (‘01) and Taylor’s 175 committee to put together and even place the shirt in the capsule during chapel on April 22.
“I was approached by the first Friday guy, (Briggs), a few months ago to retire the original shirt and get a new one,” Johnson said. “A few weeks passed and during the week of the 17th of April, the university archivist and others approached me with putting the shirt into the 175th anniversary time capsule.”
Briggs, before graduating, started the tradition during his time at Taylor with the same shirt that Johnson just retired.
Johnson has confirmed that a new Friday shirt is set to appear in the near future.
Of his time being the Friday guy, Johnson’s favorite part of carrying on the tradition has been rallying every Taylor student into each weekend by yelling at the top of his lungs.
“Long live the Friday tradition and all those who have worn the shirt before me!” Johnson said.
Along with the Friday shirt, the time capsule contains documents, images and other relics.
The documents include the letters from key Taylor leaders, wing/floor traditions and individual community submissions.
Images were received from members of the university marketing team that they felt captured key moments throughout this year as well as photos of events of the 175 celebration.
Relics include a Taylor medical mask, a Chick-fil-A bag, a program from President Lindsay’s inauguration, a Taylor towel, the special issue of the Taylor magazine and other items related to the 175-year celebration.
The idea for the time capsule began with the 175th celebration committee, of which Ashley Chu, university archivist and special collections librarian, is a member.
The purpose of the 17th celebration committee was to bring together a variety of campus areas and departments for planning and executing commemorative events and initiatives in recognition of 175 years since Taylor’s founding.
“We discussed various ideas related to commemorating this year, and determined that creating a time capsule that would capture key aspects of the 2020-2021 Taylor community and culture would be most appropriate,” Chu said. “The timeframe of 25 years until the time capsule’s opening may seem quite short, as some are buried for hundreds of years, but we are excited to think about current Taylor students returning in 2046, nearly 25 years after their graduation, to reflect on their Taylor experience as we celebrate 200 years since our founding.”
According to Chu, this is not the first time that time capsules have been a part of the university’s history.
The first capsule was buried in the cornerstone of H. Maria Wright Hall in 1893. This hall was the first building constructed on the Upland campus and was destroyed by fire in 1960, which is when that time capsule was opened.
Inside that capsule were materials related to the cornerstone laying ceremony including train schedules, programs and other memorabilia. These items are accessible in the university archives.
Another time capsule was developed in 1996 for the university’s 150 celebration and was incorporated into the construction of Samuel Morris Hall. This capsule is scheduled to also be opened in 2046.
“For future students, such as the students of 2046 who will be here when the time capsule is opened, we hope that it is a fun time of considering what Taylor was like in 2021-22, and reflecting on what has changed and what has remained the same,” Chu said. “We hope that when students read the traditions of their wing/floor, they will see elements of the culture and community that they still recognize 25 years later.”
The Archival team enjoyed collaborating with areas across campus for this initiative and preserving a snapshot of the Taylor community at what appears to be a significant “hinge moment” in Taylor’s history.
The contents of the time capsule will be available for viewing in the Archives exhibit case until commencement.