Groundbreaking of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts, March 2014.
The fiftieth anniversary of the graduation of the first class of the Branch Normal School provided an opportunity to present a program in honor of these first graduates. Organized under the direction of Gail Duncan, then president of the Alumni Association, the Alumni Banquet of May 18, 1950 was the setting for this historic moment. All five living graduates of 1900 were in attendance. Mr. Joseph T. Wilkinson had died prior to 1950. The following evening, the Fifty Year Club was organized with Junius S. Dalley, president; Alice Redd Rich, vice president; Ella Berry Leigh, secretary-treasurer; and Amelia Dalley Green and Emma Gardner Abbott, board members.
The History of the Fifty Year Club records that no reunion was held in 1951, because Ada Bryant Leigh was the only class member who survived the 1901 smallpox epidemic. Professor Parley Dalley, a graduate of 1905, wrote the club constitution which was adopted in 1953, and the club began holding its reunions on campus in 1955. Professor Dalley was recognized as the driving force behind this organization, and was key to identifying the early graduates of the University and assisting in gathering these former students together for reunions. Spending countless hours researching former alums, Professor Dalley was in many cases the definitive expert on who and where people were located during the early years of the institution, because he had both attended the school and been a member of the faculty for so many years.
The Fifty Year Club continues to be an active and vibrant organization on the University campus today. Each year, members of this club assemble on campus for a reunion and luncheon, where new members are welcomed into the club on the anniversary of the fiftieth year after their graduation.
Taken from Southern Utah University – The First 100 Years by Anne O. Leavitt.