Memorial Gym/Hansen Student Center Time Capsule Revealed!

(click to enlarge all images)

In a previous post I shared images and information on the time capsule that was recovered from the Memorial Gym. This photo shows an exhibit I installed on the main court of Hansen after the opening last night. The exhibit celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Gym and 20 years of its transformation into Hansen.

When the campus photographers’  images and video of the opening are available I will link them here. For now, here is a close up view of the side that shows just the time capsule contents.

The first item removed from the box was a Bible and the second was a packet of paper that turned out to be several sheets of paper that contains different facts about IWU and names of people involved in different parts of campus. The first sheet, though was this description of what was placed in the time capsule.*

Prior to the opening, I invited people to submit guesses about what we would find and two people guessed right!

  • First year student Liam Killian’s submission included newspapers and dust, dirt or rust. I am happy to say there was no moisture so no rust! All the dirt and dust was on the outside, but there were LOTS of newspapers.
  • University Librarian Stephanie Davis-Kahl’s submission included newspapers and photos. The one photo in the box was an 8×10″ of the 1921 football team. Unfortunately it had to be folded into quarters to fit in the box. It is cracked at those folds but the image is sharp!

It is amazing how much was in the small box. As the students kept removing more and more booklets, pamphlets and paper, the image of a circus car with endless clowns exiting popped into my head! When I remove the exhibit on October 11 I will do a more thorough assessment but these few photos can act as a teaser.

*The list of contents is as follows:
Copy of Bloomington Bulletin, November 4, 1921.
Copy of Bloomington Pantagraph, November 5, 1921.
Copy The Christian Advocate, October 27, 1921.
Copy Northwestern Christian Advocate, November 2, 1921.
Copy Epworth Herald, November 5, 1921.
Copy Wesleyan Argus.
Copy Articles of Incorporation of the Wesleyan.
Copy Catalogue Illinois Wesleyan University, 1921.
Copy Alumni Roll Illinois Wesleyan University.
Copy Spaulding’s Football Rules, 1921.
List of Faculty and students, current year.
List of student organizations.
Copy of Discipline Methodist Episcopal church, 1920.
Copy Year Book Methodist Episcopal Church, 1921.
Copy Minutes Illinois Annual Conference Methodist Episcopal Church, 1921.
Photograph of Football Team, 1921.
Copy of Holy Bible.

100 year old time capsule

dedication day

(click to enlarge) The man in the light colored jacket who is facing the camera is famed local architect Arthur Pillsbury

This photo shows a large crowd gathered on November 5, 1921 to place the cornerstone in the Memorial Gymnasium. Look to the left of the man standing below the tip of the flag and you will see a small box resting on top of the stone. That time capsule will be opened Sept 30, 7PM on Kemp Commencement Plaza.*

Anyone who came to IWU after 2002 would know the building as the Hansen Student Center. The building was originally dedicated to the memory of IWU personnel who died in World War I, hence the name Memorial Gym.

This post is dedicated to honoring the efforts it took to locate that small box in a stone that’s 48″ wide x 25″ high and 17″ thick. The thickness of the cornerstone was unknown up until this week! There is a program for the event with a line that says E. Mark Evans would be “placing box in cornerstone” (pictured below).

dedication stone

The photo of the crowd (at top of this blog post) and another one from the same vantage point but without people are the only visual clues about the time capsule and stone in the University’s archives.

view with no crowd

Director of Physical Plant Jim Blumberg assigned the work of pinpointing the time capsule’s location to John Zmia, a mason with Western Specialty Contractor. After testing the thickness by removing bricks at the top of the stone on the outside of the building, Zmia determined that extensive brick removal would be needed. In consultation with our Physical Plant personnel, they concluded that the best approach was to work from the back of the stone.Memorial Gym time capsule removal

Blumberg said the effort to find the box’s location in the stone took about 12 hours over two days and then 3 hours of chiseling the cornerstone to get to it. Blumberg took this video of Zmia removing the time capsule from the stone on August 31, 2021.opening the box

This is the third time capsule we’ve recovered since 2011** and it is our tradition to pre-open the box for safety reasons and then hold a public event to remove the contents. This time the work of opening fell to Manager of Maintenance Kenton Frost (on the left) and Supervisor of Building Trades Matt Gentes.

Because the building is now a student-centered space, Student Senate is conducting the opening event. Stay tuned for an event announcement!

*Student Senate is hosting the event and we are hoping Tom Hansen will be on hand since the Gym-to-Hansen renovation is 20 years old. The event will be livestreamed as part of virtual Homecoming activities, so be sure to sign up!

**The other two were removed from Sheean Library and the Mark Evans Observatory, which was named for the person who placed the time capsule in the Memorial Gym!

Commencement history

Today’s Commencement marks a new milestone in IWU history. Due to the pandemic, Titans are gathering online across the globe to celebrate. This is definitely a first! This post traces the other ways in which IWU Commencement has changed over the years.

Commencement_19501960

ca 1950-60 in front of Duration Hall in the center of the Quad (click to enlarge)

Although Commencement is sometimes held inside due to inclement weather, IWU has a tradition of holding the ceremony outdoors going back to the early 1900s. The second building IWU built served as backdrop and it was positioned on the northern end of what we now know as the Quad. It was first known as Main and Old Main (1870), the Hedding Hall (1936) and finally Duration Hall (1943).

Commencement1970

Commencement 1970

Sometime between 1960-1970 the location changed to McPherson Beach, on the north side of the School of Theatre Arts.

In 1990, the location for Commencement changed from McPherson Beach to its present location.

ca. 2002 In our current Quad location but note the arches of Sheean Library in the foreground

 

The backdrop for Commencement from 1990-2011 was Sheean Library until it was razed in 2011 and replaced with State farm Hall, which was built on Sheean’s footprint. This location was named Kemp Plaza in 2013, the same year that State Farm Hall opened.

Commencement 2019

State Farm Hall, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a selection of Commencement photos from days gone by. We have also made it possible for programs and some recordings from 70 Commencements of IWU’s 170 year history to be available online.

Below are some fun facts about IWU customs and graduation requirements. In looking at how they have changed over the years, just imagine what will happen in future Titan times!

Did you know that

  • Commencement festivities used to last for a week? They involved performances, Baccalaureate sermons, Class Day celebrations (for Juniors AND Seniors), alumni reunions, and dinner at the President’s house.
  • students used to be required to deliver a speech, without notes, as part of the ceremonies? The text had to be 1000 words long and a faculty member had to hear it in advance!
  • classes sometimes issued their own elaborate invitations, created Class mottos and chose Class colors?
  • alumni from the 1930s-1966 had to pass a swimming test?

Named places: Munsell Hall

Munsell Hall is named for two brothers: Charles W. C. Munsell and Oliver Spencer Munsell. Both are credited with seeing IWU through its first financial crisis in 1857, growing student enrollment, and securing funds for the second campus building (1870). Charles served as IWU’s financial agent, in charge of raising funds for the struggling school, and Oliver served as second president of the University. President Munsell’s tenure also saw positive Board of Trustee action on admitting African American students (1867) and female students (1870). He resigned in 1873 due to questions raised about inappropriate contact with student. No criminal charges were brought but the incident was investigated by both the Methodist Conference and the Board of Trustees. Minutes of the latter are available in the University Archives.

Charles W. C. Munsell

Oliver Spencer Munsell

Named places: Buck Memorial Library

Buck Memorial Library is named for Rev. Dr. Hiram and Martha A. Buck. The Bucks became benefactors of the University starting in the 1890s with a donation of farmland. Hiram served as a trustee and Martha became IWU’s first female trustee on his death. On Mrs. Buck’s death a gift to the University included a request that funds be designated for a library and World Culture Center

HiramBuck

Rev. Dr. Hiram Buck

MarthaBuck

Martha Buck

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buck was IWU’s first free-standing library and served our community in that capacity from 1923-1968. It continues to fill Martha Buck’s wishes as home to IWU’s World Languages, Literatures and Culture department.

More information on the Bucks is available in IWU’s Historical Sketch and Alumni Record (1895) pp. 50-53 available online at https://bit.ly/2QX8865

Named places: Harriet House

Harriet Rust

Harriett House completes the Dodds/Dolan/Magill housing quadrangle. It opened in the Fall of 1997 and was the first new residence hall built on the IWU campus since 1970. At first only known as “New House,” the hall was renamed on May 10, 1999 to honor Harriett Fuller Rust, an Illinois Wesleyan trustee and president of the Illinois Wesleyan President’s Club from 1983 until her death in July 1997.

Mrs. Rust was actively involved in the campus and local community. At the time of the hall’s naming, then-president of the Board of Trustees Craig Hart said, “Her enthusiasm and energy has helped IWU in so many ways, but especially her strong commitment to our students makes this tribute especially appropriate.”

Named places: Hansen Student Center

Hansen ribbon cutting

The Hansen family is shown in the center at the ribbon cutting at the dedication on January 12, 2002

Hansen Student Center is named in honor of lead donor Tom Hansen, Class of 1982. His gift made it possible to remodel the Memorial Gymnasium, the first athletic facility on IWU’s campus, which was built in 1922. The building was dedicated to IWU students who died in World War One and their names can still be seen at the entry to the main court, across from the Information Desk. The basement, now Tommy’s, once contained IWU’s first swimming pool. A dedication ceremony for Hansen took place on January 12, 2002.

The campus announced Hansen’s gift in an October 28, 1999 press release and the IWU Magazine ran a post-renovation feature story titled A Place to Call Their Own in the Summer 2002 issue.

Photo selections from the Memorial Gym’s early days are available online; more of these and of Hansen are held in the University’s archives online.

Examining a scale model of the Memorial Gym/Hansen renovation

Student Senate President Harold Gauthier, Class of 2000 sharing renovation plans with other students. October 25, 1999

Named places: Wilson Atrium

President and Mrs. Wilson

President and Mrs. Wilson, November 16, 2010

The Wilson Atrium in the Center for Natural Science Learning and Research (CNS) is named in honor of IWU’s 18th President Richard F. Wilson (2004-2015 and interim in summer 2019) and his wife, Patricia L. Wilson. Wilson gave special attention to developing a strategic plan for Illinois Wesleyan, strengthening the University’s financial position, and conducting the largest fund-raising campaign in the school’s history. Along with financing The Wilson Atrium seal, plaques and lettering, members of the Board of Trustees furnished the atrium with new chairs and couches to make the space more comfortable and functional in honor of Richard and Patricia Wilson.

Wilson Atrium seal unveiling

Unveiling the seal at the Wilson Atrium dedication, May 7, 2018.

Named places: Shirk Center

Shirk_Horenberger_1999

Russell Shirk and Jack Horenberger at the dedication of Horenberger Field, 1999.

Russell O. Shirk was a member of the Class of 1943. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1989 and was the Distinguished Alumnus in 1971. The Shirk Center opened in 1994 and is named in honor of him and his wife and Betty J. Shirk. Shirk is pictured here (on left) with his friend Jack Horenberger, who the Shirk Foundation honored through funding the improvement and expansion of IWU’s baseball field.

“The Shirks wanted a center for use by the students and faculty and also something they could be proud of. They were very pleased that the community was able to enjoy the facility as well, and that it has been such an asset to the community,” Ben Rhodes, then- director of development said in 1999.

ShirkCenterOpening_1994

Shirk Family at ribbon cutting ceremony in 1994. Also pictured are Athletic Director Dennie Bridges (L) and BOT Chair Hugh Henning (R).

Named places: Stevenson Hall

Dr. Edgar M. Stevenson

Dr. Edgar M. Stevenson

Stevenson is the home of the School of Nursing and is currently IWU’s oldest building; when it was built in 1910 it received partial funding by the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. It was originally called the Science Building and was renamed for local doctor Edgar M. Stevenson after being renovated in 1965.

 

Dr. Carolyn Jarvis

Dr. Carolyn Jarvis

The Jarvis Center for Nursing Excellence was completed, along with several other updates to the building, in 2016. It was named in honor of Professor of Nursing Carolyn Jarvis, whose lead gift provided substantial funding for these renovations.”