dcsimg Major Taylor Velodrome Celebrates World-Class African American Cyclist

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Marian University to Sponsor a Workplace Bullying Prevention and Awareness Seminar

Chris Lytle

Marian’s Adult Programs (MAP) at Marian University recently announced a workplace bullying seminar to be held at the Marian University Theatre on August 12, 2015. This is a free event and open to the public. The topic—workplace bullying and prevention—is applicable to employees at any level including managers, supervisors, human resources personnel, and business owners. It is scheduled for 6-8 p.m., with registration beginning at 5:30 p.m.

This “Work Shouldn’t Hurt” seminar is the result of a collaborative effort between The Chris Lytle Foundation and the students and faculty of MAP’s current Meeting and Event Planning concentration. Classes within this concentration, as well as 31 other courses in MAP, are partnered with local businesses or non-profits to provide creative solutions for actual business challenges. MAP students have worked with organizations like Indy Parks, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Indy Eleven, and Broad Ripple Village Association...read more

Pilgrims - Susan Jennifer Ellen

Five days into our time in Assisi, the pilgrims from Marian University have all experienced in new ways what our Franciscan sponsorship values mean—for us as individuals and for the Marian community.

Prayer has been a constant for us. Daily Eucharist—whether in small chapels, large basilicas or our hotel--has become the centering experience of our journey. More than half of us are not Catholic, but this most significant of all Catholic rituals has embraced all and engaged us in the formation of a community of individuals renewed in our commitment to the mission of Marian University—to be a great Catholic university dedicated to excellent teaching and learning in the Franciscan and liberal arts tradition.

Major Taylor Velodrome Celebrates World-Class African American Cyclist

by Katie Bradley | Feb 20, 2014

In celebration of Black History Month, we are highlighting Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor, namesake of the Major Taylor Velodrome, a part of the Lake Sullivan Sports Complex of which Marian University became manager in 2011.

“To call the Major Taylor Velodrome our home track is such an honor and a reminder to always strive to be the best. His name gives us greater significance,” said Dean Peterson, head coach of Marian University’s 24-time national championship cycling team and executive director at the Indy Cycloplex.

Taylor was an American cyclist who won the world one-mile track cycling championship in 1899 after setting numerous world records and overcoming racial discrimination. He was the second African American man to win a world championship.

One of eight children, Major Taylor was born to Gilbert and Sophronia Taylor, on November 26, 1878, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gilbert Taylor, a Civil War veteran, worked as a coachman in the home of a wealthy Indiana family, the Southards. Because Taylor’s father often brought his son to work with him, Taylor became close friends with the Southard’s son who was the same age. From the age of eight to twelve, Taylor lived with the Southards. During this time, he received a bike from the family and quickly became an expert trick rider.

When the Southards moved to Chicago, Illinois, Taylor had to fend for himself and earned money staging exhibitions and performing cycling stunts outside a bicycle shop. It is believed that Taylor performed the stunts wearing a soldier’s uniform, hence the nickname, “Major.”  

By the age of 13, Taylor won his first bike race. By 15, he beat the track record for a one-mile race. In 1895, he won a 75-mile road race outside Indianapolis, after which he was banned from the Indianapolis track for racial reasons. The same year, Taylor moved to Worchester, Massachusetts with his employer and racing manager Louis “Birdie” Munger.  

Taylor quickly became a professional cyclist, at one time holding seven world records. He traveled the world competing and winning despite frequent encounters of racism and attempts to ban him from or sabotage him during, races. He prevailed, setting world records in all races distances on the track and road.

 “He was a pioneer. The significance of what he did when you consider the true prejudice and plots to take him out of competition that he encountered, is nothing short of incredible. He worked against all odds and continued to win. He was committed to excellence, strength, and perseverance,” said Peterson.  

The velodrome opened in 1982 and was a facility required to host that year’s National Sports Festival. It was the first building built with public money in Indianapolis to be named for a black person and has played host to many national and international competitions, including the 1987 Pan Am Games. 
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