The first meeting of the Committee on the Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration was held on December 16, 1924, under the chairmanship of Frank J. Goodnow, President of the University. Charles K. Edmunds was selected recording secretary of the Committee. The goals of the Committee in planning the celebration were to establish closer relations with alumni and to secure endowments of approximately eleven million dollars. The Board of Trustees created the office of Provost to oversee this venture and appointed Edmunds as the first person to hold that title.
The Committee decided there were two occasions that warranted commemoration: the installation of Gilman as the first president on February 22 and the beginning of formal instruction in the fall of 1876, which had been marked by an address by Thomas Huxley. Therefore, on February 22, 1926, speeches were given by Michael I. Pupin of Columbia University and others commemorating Gilman's inauguration. On October 22 and 23 a more elaborate celebration took place, which included departmental conferences, a banquet, a garden party, and the formal openings of the Walter Hines Page School of International Relations and the School of Hygiene and Public Health. Several subcommittees were appointed to arrange these events, most notably the Citizen's Committee, appointed by the Governor of Maryland on March 12, 1926.