FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington is kicking off a yearlong celebration marking its 150th anniversary.

The school is launching the celebration on Wednesday with a Charter Day commemoration in observance of the 1863 signing of the university’s charter by the Maine legislature. The school was known as Western State Normal School when it opened as Maine’s first public institution of higher education.

The university will continue celebrating its sesquicentennial with historical, artistic, cultural and academic events sprinkled throughout the 2013-2014 academic year.

At Wednesday’s commemorative event, university President Kathryn Foster will be joined by Gov. Paul LePage and others in delivering remarks.

Following the ceremony, the public is invited to a campus and community picnic lunch at the Emery Community Arts Center. The UMF class of 2014 will commemorate the 150th Anniversary later in the day by burying a time capsule on the lawn of Merrill Hall, the site of the original school.