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!
  • 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?

Interactive view of IWU’s multicultural history

Check out this compilation of sources in a timeline of the currently known events in IWU’s multicultural history.*

*Note: Records by and about student groups and events are sparse after the 2010s. If you have information to share, contact archives@iwu.edu!

Earth Day @ 50

Argus issue with complete schedule for IWU Earth Day events (click all images to enlarge)

On April 17, 1970 Argus writer Paul McVicker (’72) introduced readers to the IWU activities planned for the first-ever United Nations Earth Day by saying, “The purpose of the program is to educate students and the community…about what they can do to help solve environmental problems.” McVicker was also a member of the College Republicans and the Chairman of the Intercollegiate Information and Programming Commission and so must also have been at the planning meeting for the event on March 20th.

March 20, 1970 announcement, briefly previewed on page 3.

The meeting announcement in the Argus on that date shows this was a student-driven effort organized by a “Special Pollution Committee” but that group is only mentioned once in IWU’s digitized news sources and the extent of its members is not know. The April 24, 1970 Argus reported on all the campus activities that took place that first year.

Curiously, the only student to list Earth Day as an organization he wanted commemorated in his yearbook list of activities is Kevin Jones, whose entry in the 1971 Wesleyana shows he was a Sophomore.

clip from 1971 WesleyanaThe 1971 Wesleyana carries a story by Kathy Larey Lewton (’70) that sets Earth Day into the larger context of student activism taking place in the 1969-70 academic year. The close ties between IWU and ISU are apparent in this article, and IWU also holds primary sources that we can consult to get a broader view on community activities involving the environment.

 

This April 23, 1971 issue is the first time The Argus reports on the community-based organization Operation Recycle.

Sophomore Vicki Wenger is the only student who lists Operation Recycle among her activities in the 1971 Wesleyana or any of the yearbooks that were published afterwards. But Anne McGowan (’76), community activist and spouse of Emeritus Professor of English Jim McGowan, provided an interview in 2013 about her experiences. The excerpt below contains just the part of her remarks that include her involvement with the community-based Operation Recycle and the origins of her interest in recycling.

IWU’s archival holdings also include contributions from Abigail Jahiel, Professor of Environmental and International Studies, who led a May Term 2003 course on Environmental History in which her students interviewed local citizens who influenced the ecological health of our community. Dr. Jahiel deposited these materials to complement IWU’s existing special collections that are related to Environmental Studies. An online collection is now available of the recordings that could be digitized and whose subjects gave permission for their interviews to be released:

If you have additional information about these people or groups, comment on this post or send an email to archives@iwu.edu. And visit this page if you would like to know more about the records of local organizations that are held in Tate Archives & Special Collections.

Share your thoughts and experiences with the future!

sharing-thoughtsIllinois Wesleyan University’s archives is creating a digital record of IWU community members’ (students, staff, faculty, alumni and trustees) experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic beginning with the first campus communication on February 3, 2020 (or earlier, for Titans who are further afield!) and extending through the time that in-person activities resume on campus.

CURRENT IWU students may complete this brief form and/or submit reflections by the methods below. (Note that the form allows you to request a copy of your responses.)

Everyone in our community is invited to share reflections on this global public health emergency:
What are you doing during your time away from campus? How are you staying connected with people you care about? Where are you getting information from about IWU, your extended community and the larger world? How is distance learning affecting your perspectives on your classes? How is telecommuting affecting the way you view your work? Anything else you’d care to share?

Other ideas are welcome and physical items may be accepted at a later date, but here are a few ideas on how you can make contributions now:

  • recollections–in text, audio or video (for video, please limit submissions to <5 minutes);
  • photographic images of physical art you create; and/or
  • copies of digital art or performances.

You may only submit material created entirely by you and not copied from or based, in whole or in part, upon any other photographic, literary, or other material, except to the extent that such material is in the public domain, or you have permission of the copyright owner, or its use is allowed by “Fair Use” as prescribed by the terms of United States copyright law.

Please include a signed copy of this form with your submission to archives@iwu.edu. IWU’s archives is not obligated to include your content in this project or preserve it in perpetuity.  Decisions to decline submissions will adhere to the guidelines of our collecting policy.

If you would like to refer or nominate material which you do not own, please contact Meg Miner at mminer@iwu.edu.

The 50th Anniversary of “The Last Shot”

ISU_scoreboard

Scoreboard image captured from the film linked in this post.

January 13, 2020 marks an historic day in Titan Basketball history. Fifty years ago IWU’s annual cross-town rivalry came to an end with a last second shot by team Captain Tom Gramkow, Class of 1970. His top-of-the-key jumper was called “The last second, last shot, last game!” by the editors of the 1970 Wesleyana.

According to the January 16, 1970 coverage in The Argus, “This victory gave the Titans a final 69-42 .series lead. In coach Jim Collie’s first year at ISU and in this his last year, the Titans beat State by one point. In 1958, Collie’s first year, the score was 62-61, IWU.”

This silent film shows segments of the last half of the last game IWU played against ISU. The creator of the film is unknown but at some point a copy was made on VHS and this file contains all of the game that was donated to the archives.

This link leads to photos of the team in the locker room after the game and an additional link to the film. The film is also briefly shown during an interview Dennie Bridges and Coach Jack Horenberger recorded in 1991 about the history of IWU athletics. Other items related to athletics history are available online through the University Archives’ collections of photos and documents as well as the official IWU Athletics website.

If you have additional photos or more information about this event, please contact archives@iwu.edu or 556-1538.

 

Research Files: The Mission of IWU

This post records an answer to a question regarding the process for drafting the most recent IWU Mission Statement. It extends that question further to explore the origins of the phrase “liberal education” that appears in the IWU Mission statement.

Most recently, CUPP was charged with revising the Mission Statement as part of the Strategic Planning work done from 2000 to 2003 (see Record Group 10-2/16/6 Strategic Planning Committee, 2003-2004 (Folder1). The first page lists all committee members for the final year and even though the minutes reference a draft revision being circulated, there isn’t one in the packet.

[N.B., Many governance records, like CUPP minutes, are accessible online. If using the site from off campus, an IWU login is needed. I have summarized my findings for those who lack the necessary credentials.]
     We have to go to the CUPP Minutes from August 27, 2003 that note Wes Chapman was taking on the revision work of an earlier version. I have not attempted to find what version they started out with in their minutes because it must have been the published version from the 1990 catalog which shows the most recent wording differences. The only real discussion I saw recorded on the work is in the Faculty Meeting for September 8, 2003 (see pdf p. 5). Most minutes just mention discussion and don’t detail them but a few refer to minor word changes that have nothing to do with the use of the word liberal.
The Board of Trustees made minor revisions at the October 20-21, 2003 meeting and then approved the version adopted by the Faculty (see RG 1-2/9/29 : 2003 Oct. 20-21
Board of Trustees Meeting Packet). The Faculty minutes on this topic are for October 6, 2003 (see p. 3).
AACU Statement on Liberal Learning

The first paragraph of the “AAC&U Statement on Liberal Learning,” 1998 (the complete document is at https://bit.ly/2tZIeFL)

This image is from a document in the Feb. 9-10, 2004 Board of Trustees Meeting Packet. It is part of what the Academic Affairs Committee presented to the full Board for approval of the recent Mission changes. The fact that the back of the AAC&U document has the BOT approved version signifies a relationship between what the AAC&U advocates for and what the Board approved.

     Regardless, the phrase “liberal education” in the context of IWU curricular offerings predates all of this. Skimming backwards from 1989 in the printed catalogs, I find the mission statement using the phrase going back to the 1960s (where I stopped looking).
     I conducted a search of our old catalogs (1851-1954 are freely available online) and the first use of the phrase “liberal education” is in regards to offerings listed by the Women’s Education Association in 1879-80 catalog (p. 50). The next area of IWU to use the phrase is the School of Music in the 1891 catalog (p. 62). Our Home Economics program used it in 1916 (p. 70) and the first use in describing the University as a whole is in 1920 (p 25).
So if the question is how long have we embraced the phrase “liberal education” I’d say it’s been a good, long, time!
1920 Type of Institution statement

1920 Course Catalog, p. 25 (click to enlarge)

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

Research files: MLK Day Teach-in history

This post provides a timeline for the student and faculty activism that led to the designation of an annual Teach-In day in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

[N.B., Many governance records, like Faculty and Student Senate Meeting minutes, are accessible online. If using the site from off campus, an IWU login is needed. I have summarized my findings for those who lack the necessary credentials.]

First mention of the issue being raised is in January 17, 2000 (pdf p. 3) by Faculty Meeting by Jared Brown. The minutes note that “a large number of faculty supported closing the university on this date. Other faculty spoke against closing fearing a lack of student participation in the many events the university plans to celebrate this day. “

Corresponding Student Senate minutes for March 5, 2000 (pdf p. 5) ask for a Senator’s participation on CC to draft a proposal.

There is a call-to-action in a January 20, 2006 Argus (p. 4) Editorial that provides some comparisons to the 2000 proposal but emphasizes that classes should be canceled on this national holiday as is the practice elsewhere.

A Faculty Meeting packet dated February 13, 2006 (pdf p. 17) contains a CC proposal from 2000 that suggests several ways in which the holiday might be celebrated:
“Curriculum Council recommends that IWU expand its current celebration by creating a three-day symposium that would celebrate King’s life and values in a variety of ways.”

Discussion on Martin Luther King day continues at the March 6, 2006 (pdf p. 8) Faculty Meeting.

Political Science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha sponsors a teach-in, reported in the January 19, 2007 Argus (p. 1) and some faculty bring their classes.

The issue is brought up in Senate again February 25, 2007 (pp. 10-12) and in the March 11, 2007 (p. 6) minutes, the Senate President announces the group reached a consensus on their desires for the day that will go to the President’s Office but the statement is not explicitly defined. At the October 7, 2007 (pp. 8-9) meeting, Senators state they want to revisit the issue.

The Action Research Center and Pi Sigma Alpha sponsor the next Teach-in. The January 18, 2008 Argus Editorial (p. 4) again calls for a day off.

The Teach-in became a regular, cross-campus offering in 2010. (See Argus article on January 22, 2010.) The class schedule for the day remained unchanged but the Argus notes that “Students came in waves from their classes….”

Beat Writers Collection in Special Collections

Within The Ames Library’s 4th floor department called Tate Archives & Special Collections are thousands of unique materials and all are available to benefit people in the IWU and surrounding communities.

Click to enlarge

This image contains parts of a collection consisting of books and periodicals (24 linear feet) published by members of the avant-garde literary movement known as “Beat Writers,” whose counter cultural and non-conformist attitudes helped shape the hippie culture of the 60’s. Some of the writers represented in this collection are Diane diPrima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones, and Jack Kerouac. There are approximately eighty others.

The items displayed in these posts are just a small portion of the kinds of materials found in Tate Archives & Special Collections. These collections are in a variety of languages and formats (artifact, book, manuscript, and media) and creation dates range from the 11th-21st centuries. Some collections are completely described and identified and some have yet to be thoroughly organized or examined.

Although many holdings do have a direct connection to the University, many are distinct and unrelated to the others such as the supporting materials for research on the people who created and collected the pottery and basketry items displayed in the entry level rotunda.

Curious minds seeking inspiration for creative works and original research are welcome to stop by and explore the possibilities!

 

Our digital collections are now part of DPLA!

Thanks to our membership in the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), the collections they host for us are now part of the

Visit their homepage at https://dp.la

In 2010, DPLA was founded with the idea of providing “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current and future ­generations.”

As of this writing, DPLA holds the records for 15,247,823 items. Of that total, 8,033 were acquired from our own IWU collections and through our outreach to campus and community partners. DPLA also contributes records to European organizations that work in these collaborative ways. It is an honor to be in this mighty company!

Rather than hosting content themselves, DPLA took on the task of pulling together collections held on individual and consortial websites in order to bring them together into one searchable location. As they do this, they are able to leverage the power of our work on descriptions that provide individualized but structured data.

Look to the top of their pages for ways you can visualize and search for interesting connections to your past!

Ways to change browse features.