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MSU celebrates 125th anniversary

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A marching band and fireworks over Montana Hall marked the start of Montana State University's 125th birthday celebration. Students, faculty and alumni were there to recognize the accomplishments of the state's first university.

"We saw the fireworks, and we're excited about the longevity of Montana State University," Tony Thompson said. He attended the celebration with his young sons.

MSU's birthday bash is a meeting of its history and its future.

"The next 125 years will give us the opportunity to see a lot more students graduate from Montana State University, help improve Montana and the world," MSU News Service director Michael Becker said.

The weekend-long celebration brought students together. A group of them built Chinese ice lanterns for the birthday bash.

"It's exciting. Our students were excited to make them, and it's been a group, team effort," Beth Kennedy, a graduate student and instructor, said.

A more permanent contribution is a donated 8-foot-tall Abraham Lincoln statue. The stainless-steel sculpture was donated by local artist Jim Dolan.

"It's in remembrance of the Morrill Act that gave the United States its first batch of land-grant universities. It opened up higher education to classes of people who never had access to it before, and in doing so it transformed America," Becker said.

A ferris wheel, horse-drawn wagon rides, ice skating party and a giant snow globe photo booth were brought in as part of the anniversary celebration.

"Our mission is to give back to the community, to the state and to the world. We think the last 125 years have been a wonderful opportunity to do that," Becker said.

Click here for a schedule of events for the anniversary. All are free and open to the public.

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