Centenary University is celebrating a milestone in 2017.

The Hackettstown institution was founded 150 years ago, in 1867.

The Centenary Collegiate Institute was started by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church in Hackettstown and funded by $10,000 and 10 acres of land from 10 local residents, according to the university’s website.

It went through many changes over the course of the next century and a half. Its main building burned down in 1899, eventually replaced by the golden-domed administration building seen today. It was exclusively for women for more than 75 years, becoming co-ed in 1988. And with the offering of its first doctorate program, Centenary went from a college to a university just last year.

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The campus is also said to be home of a wandering spirit: The ghost of Tillie Smith, who was murdered on campus in 1886, is rumored to mess with electronics.

The university is planning events throughout the year. A “Way Back Wednesday” event next week will focus on the cost of food in the dining hall 150 years ago. Next month, a talk is planned on the history and rebuilding of the President’s House — it was built in Morristown and shipped by rail to Hackettstown in the 1940s. The house was ravaged by fire in 2015 and later demolished, with plans to rebuild announced last year.

Steve Novak may be reached at snovak@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @type2supernovak and Facebook. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

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