Representatives of The Dennis Farm and Keystone College gather at a planning session for the upcoming June 28 event celebrating a special semi-quincentennial Bell Presentation ceremony honoring The Dennis Farm as one of the nation’s most revered historical landmarks in anticipation of the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026. From the left, The Dennis Farm Vice President of Development Darryl Gore; Keystone Vice President of Institutional Advancement Fran Langan, Ed.D.; President and CEO of The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust Denise Dennis; Keystone College Alumni Representative Lucas Taylor; and Keystone College President John F. Pullo, Sr.
For the last 11 years, Keystone College has enjoyed a proud relationship with The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust. This summer, that affiliation is being taken to an even greater level.
On June 28, The Dennis Farm will be honored during a special semi-quincentennial Bell Presentation Ceremony as one of Pennsylvania’s most revered historical landmarks in celebration of the nation’s upcoming 250th anniversary in 2026. The ceremony will take place at The Dennis Farm in nearby Brooklyn Township, Susquehanna County, followed by a luncheon at Keystone beginning at approximately 1 p.m. In addition to members of the Keystone community and officials from The Dennis Farm, the event will include numerous local, state, and national public officials and dignitaries.
The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of The Dennis Farm. The 153-acre historic farm was purchased and settled by the ancestors of Denise Dennis, free African Americans who journeyed to northeastern Pennsylvania from Connecticut in the late 1700s. Today, The Dennis Farm serves as a living tribute to the lives and accomplishments of this remarkable family and Ms. Dennis serves as president and CEO of the Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust. In 2012, Keystone began hosting The Dennis Farm Symposium and Field Tour, an annual on-campus conference which also included guided tours of The Dennis Farm conducted by Keystone students.
“Keystone College is truly honored to host a luncheon honoring The Dennis Farm, recognizing the vital role it has played in our nation’s history,” said Keystone College President John F. Pullo, Sr. “We look forward to celebrating with everyone from The Dennis Farm, as well as our many guests from the local community and beyond. This will truly be a special day for the entire Keystone community and our entire region.”
Under Ms. Dennis’ leadership, The Dennis Farm, which is open to the public, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places; featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture; honored by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Historical and Museum Commission and Department of Agriculture, and listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s map of rare African American historical sites in the Northeast United States.
“There are very few places like The Dennis Farm, where we can walk for acres and acres and know that when the nation was young, free African Americans owned and worked this land – by and for themselves – and that even today it is in the stewardship of the same family,” Ms. Dennis said. “‘The Farm’ as we call it, represents a little-known chapter in the story of the United States, and with our partners we are working to ensure that the property with its rich history and natural environment is preserved for future generations.”