"Tattoo ceremony" recognizes TU president's mark on community

By Sean Welsh on August 11, 2018

Towson University President Schatzel took part in a "tattoo ceremony" at Fort McHenry in Baltimore.

President Schatzel and TU students
President Kim Schatzel and Towson University students who volunteered as members of the Fort McHenry Guard for Saturday's 'tattoo ceremony' in Baltimore.

The mark Towson University President Kim Schatzel has made on the greater Baltimore community—in just three short years—was recognized in a “tattoo ceremony” Saturday night at Fort McHenry.

No actual tattoos were created at the changing of the guard event—called a Navy tattoo ceremony—but the president and Towson University were recognized for efforts—specifically the BTU initiative to put partnerships to work for the community—that make TU a key player in the Baltimore region.

President Schatzel was the guest of honor for the annual event, in which military units performed in the parade grounds inside the fort. Schatzel was named an honorary colonel of the Fort McHenry Guard during the ceremony. She was presented a flag, which earlier in the day had been flown over the fort.

Schatzel opened her remarks by expressing her appreciation for the honor, and said: "This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to visit Fort McHenry, and I can say this: you all know how to put on a ceremony."

President Schatzel spoke about the brave soldiers who defended the fort more than 200 years ago, and thanked those in the service that continue to preserve Fort McHenry today, sharing the fort's history with the public.

"It’s in that same spirit of pride and love for the city that Towson University has built its BTU partnerships at work for Greater Baltimore," Schatzel said. "BTU stands for Baltimore/Towson University, but if you’re familiar with science you may also recognize it as a unit of energy.  And that’s exactly what it is—talented Towson University students and faculty putting their energy into lifting up the communities in Greater Baltimore."

In fact, three current Towson students were among the volunteers acting as the Fort McHenry Guard during Saturday's festivities.

Schatzel presided over the ceremony with National Park Service Superintendent Tina Cappetta. The ceremony always includes a citizen who is making a larger contribution to society. In inviting President Schatzel, Cappetta said Schatzel was being recognized for her distinguished career in higher education and her service to the Baltimore region. Cappetta added that Schatzel’s BTU initiative “is producing tangible results for the larger community.”

The United States Navy Band, Drill Team and Color Guard performed military drills and musical performances inside the historic, star-shaped fort on the waterfront. The Fort McHenry Guard presented musket and cutlass drills, before visitors joined the guard for a salute of cannon fire and taps outside the walls.

The ceremony is a nod to a tradition from more than a century ago, when residents would watch the military review of soldiers at the fort.

President Schatzel joined Superintendent Cappetta to walk parade grounds before she read the Presidential Proclamation on the Fort McHenry Flag.

During the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814, Baltimore residents making up the city's militia helped to defend the fort against a British invasion. The defense inspired Francis Scott Key to pen "The Star-Spangled Banner" while held captive aboard a ship off shore. More than 100 years later, TU alum Charles Linthicum helped make the song the national anthem.

Today, the fort is a National Monument and Historic Shrine sitting on more than 40 acres along the Patapsco River.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University: BTU-Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore and TU Matters to Maryland.