NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University commemorated its 250th birthday Thursday with a day of special activities, including guest alumni lectures and even scheduled fireworks.

In honor of the university’s many accomplishments, the Empire State Building – one of the most famous buildings in the world – will be lit in scarlet tonight to mark the occasion, the school said on it's website.

“There is a great sense of pride that comes with recognizing that your institution is one of the oldest in the country and one of only a handful that predate our nation,” Rutgers President Robert Barchi said. “And I feel even greater satisfaction in looking forward and seeing how Rutgers is empowering generations of students to become leaders in fields that our founders could never have even imagined

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There was no single celebration event and students were treating it like an average day, as many of them walked around normally on the Cook/Douglass Campus.

"I think it's cool belonging to a school with such rich history,” junior Criminal Justice major James Brinkeroff said.  “Especially because it is such a well-known and respected school.”

The school, a state university, was established in 1766 and is the eighth oldest higher education school in the nation, according to the university.

With locations in New Brunswick, Newark and Camden, the school’s 22,000 faculty and staff serve more than 69,000 students, according to the university.

Other students voiced their comments as well.

"When I first came here as a freshman, I knew I'd like it here,” Rob DeSimone, a senior Mechanical Engineering student, said. “There's so much opportunity here and that really speaks about the university as a whole.”

Students take part in more than 100 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate programs, with 300 research centers and institutes that work on an estimated $677 million annually in research projects, the school said.

"It's really a prestigious university," senior Engineer student Thomas Mullen said. "It's amazing that Rutgers has actually been around for 250 years."

Rutgers now boasts of having 480,000 alumni worldwide, the school said.

"It's definitely an interesting thing that this university has stood the test of time and predates America," junior Economics major Joe Brauner said.

The day was marked by a series of lectures from successful alumni going on through the night at Rutgers' main campus in New Brunswick.

A fireworks show above the Raritan River is scheduled to cap off the celebration.

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