Save the date

Katie Yurkewicz

Katie Yurkewicz

Katie Yurkewicz, assistant director for communications, wrote this column.

Fermilab is turning 50 … in 2017!

This may seem like a really early save-the-date for a birthday party, but when you’re celebrating the birth of a 6,800-acre lab with 1,700 employees, 20 bison and the nation’s largest particle accelerator complex, you need to start planning early.

Creating a brand-new national lab involves many steps, and lots of stops and starts. Many dates could (and in the past, have been!) celebrated as the lab’s birthday. But after close consultation with Fermilab archivists Valerie Higgins and Adrienne Kolb, a suite of three milestones has been identified that will bracket a year of golden anniversary events.

On Dec. 7, 1966, the Weston site was selected as the site of the new National Accelerator Laboratory. The offices in Oak Brook — which served as the nerve center of Fermilab until offices were ready on site — were occupied for the first time on June 15, 1967. And on Nov. 21, 1967, President Johnson authorized the first funds for the construction of NAL.

A 50th anniversary advisory committee has been formed to explore the many people and groups that have a stake in the lab and that should be involved in the celebrations. The committee will also develop goals for the lab’s anniversary and a prioritized set of activities and events. The group is surveying other labs and universities to see how they celebrated their major anniversaries. We are talking with employees, users, contractors, neighbors, and national and international partners about ways to engage and inform them through activities at Fermilab and elsewhere.

We need your help and ideas now so that we can prepare the best possible proposal for the lab’s management team by the end of October.

If you have ideas about ways the lab could celebrate its 50th birthday or suggestions for people and groups that should be involved or engaged over the course of the birthday year, please contact me at x4112 or by email.

And mark your calendars — it’s going to be a great birthday!