Santa Rosa Junior College to celebrate 100th anniversary with big ‘old-fashioned picnic’

The “Spirit of SRJC Picnic” will take place Sept. 22, and at least 750 people are expected to attend.|

Santa Rosa Junior College is throwing a birthday bash Saturday to mark its centennial.

Throughout the year, the college has celebrated its 100th anniversary with various events, including receptions, art and history exhibits, and the unveiling of its new “Veritas” sculpture on campus. But its largest event will be Saturday’s picnic, which will feature an antique car show, barbecue, games, music and a birthday cake.

The picnic, open to the public, will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the graduation lawn at the Santa Rosa campus.

At least 750 people are expected to attend, said event co-chair Debbie Weatherly.

“We’re trying to make this a step back into time, to encourage that old-fashioned picnic feel,” Weatherly said.

Since 1918, about 1.7 million students have graduated from the college, said Sarah Laggos, Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation director. About 35,000 students enroll at the college annually.

The Mill, a local band that played at the college’s 50th anniversary, will reunite for the first time in five decades to play on the John Surryhne Outdoor Stage during the picnic. The band members are Randy Paige, Greg Anderson, George Bursick, Mike Ferrell and Steve Morris.

Morris, who sings and plays lead guitar in the band, graduated from SRJC and served as a counselor at the Santa Rosa campus for 25 years. Most of the band members attended the college and went on to successful careers in various fields.

“We’re really looking forward to this,” said Morris, who’ll lead the audience in singing “Happy Birthday” to the college around 2:30 p.m.

The college’s 1968 homecoming queen, Diane Dennis Keegan, will join the band on the ukulele for a song, Morris said.

Attendees are encouraged to bring picnic blankets and chairs. Although the event and parking are free, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, lemonade and cookies will be available for purchase.

Around 1 p.m., SRJC President Frank Chong will dedicate the Veritas sculpture and a time capsule to be reopened in 2118. Students gathered for the time capsule a VHS tape, books, drawings, flyers, newspapers, letters and a Trans Pride armband. They also included a junior college T-shirt created after October’s wildfires that read “The love in the air is thicker than the smoke.”

The homecoming football game between SRJC’s Bear Cubs and the College of the Sequoias also will kick off at 1 p.m. at the Santa Rosa High School field.

“The college has really banded together to make it happen and we’ve been very enthusiastic,” Weatherly said about the picnic, which took roughly a year to plan. Attendees can RSVP at

You can reach Staff Writer Susan Minichiello at 707-521-5216 or On Twitter @susanmini

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