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Founders of the Buffalo Female Academy in 1851 had a bizarre idea for their time and place - young women should be schooled in traditional academic subjects, just as young men were.

That visionary thinking has been perpetuated and expanded at the Buffalo Seminary, as the school, now a culturally and religiously diverse college preparatory day school for grades 9 through 12, soon became known, and its 150th anniversary will feature a celebratory series of events throughout 2000-2001.

Naniscah Becker Koessler, class of 1962, and Ellen S. Goldstein, '70, are general chairwomen for the year-long program of lectures, symposia and gala events marking the sesquicentennial of the oldest secondary school for women in Western New York and one of the oldest in the country.

Inaugurating this year's celebration will be Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Anna Quindlen, a noted novelist and social critic, who will speak at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 in Kleinhans Music Hall. Her topic will be "Choices and Change in the 21st Century."

A patron reception at 5 will precede her program. Penny Munschauer and Louise Kreiner are chairwomen.

Television political commentator Mary Matalin, a co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" and host of "Midweek with Mary Matalin," will be the speaker April 25 in Kleinhans Music Hall at 7 p.m. and a talk by Elisabeth Griffith, historian and headmistress of the Madeira School, is being scheduled for March 1.

Climaxing the celebratory year will be a three-day round of events June 7-9. There will be recording of a commemorative CD by students and alumnae that will be done at St. Joseph's University Catholic Church June 7.

A symposium of distinguished alumnae is planned for June 8, addressing women's roles in the next millennium. Graduating classes in years ending in 1 and 6 will have a reunion dinner.

A birthday party celebration is planned for June 9, starting with a parade that will include dignitaries, alumnae, students, faculty and families, a marching band, antique cars and mounted police, and ending with a picnic at the Larkin House.

That evening, there will be a gala formal dinner and dancing under a tent at Larkin Field. There will be an archival exhibit of photographs and memorabilia and the planting of 150 trees and shrubs in the Olmsted Crescent of Delaware Park. A commissioned artwork by noted alumna artist Christy Rupp, class of 1967, will be unveiled.

Rupp also has designed the Colby Sesquicentennial Art Project, a permanent installation of cast bronze elm leaves that will be placed into the sidewalk along Bidwell Parkway. Sale of commemorative elm leaf jewelry will help fund the project.

Another project is the compilation of a cookbook that not only includes favorite recipes of alumnae, parents, faculty and students but biographical material that notes their accomplishments as women of the 20th century.

Information will be gathered for a sesquicentennial edition of the alumnae directory, highlighting the professional diversity of the alumnae.

Invitations to each event will be sent separately and all enquiries may be directed to the Buffalo Seminary Development Office.

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