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!

COVID 19 exhibit

Back in March, as life across the world and at IWU’s campus changed dramatically, I sent out an open call to the IWU community, inviting reflections on their lives in this pandemic era.

covid exhibit page

An exhibit with contributions from 15 students is now available. I  also added content from IWU’s webpages and made a personal contribution to the exhibit as a way of breaking the ice.

Students were given an option to answer as many of a set of pre-determined questions (see below) as they wanted to. They were also given the option of remaining anonymous online with the understanding that their identity would be associated with their remarks in the archives’ offline files.

Additions to this collection are welcome, and anyone who wants to keep their reflections offline may still participate. Participants may use the questions below if they’d like some ideas on how to start, but truly any way that people are comfortable expressing themselves for sharing their experiences is fine. Visit the project description for details or contact me (mminer@iwu.edu) if you have questions.

[Questions on student submission form]

Name (indicate if anonymity online is desired)
Class year
Major(s)/Minors(s)
Where are you living during the Pandemic of 2020?
How did you feel when you were informed the remainder of the semester would be held online?
What has been your experience with moving classes online?
If applicable, tell us a little about your thoughts and reactions to moving off campus or out of town.
How are you staying connected to your friends and wider community, through IWU or elsewhere?
How has the virus or the precautions taken to prevent it spreading impacted your daily life?
What is giving you hope and/or strength right now?
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about what you’re feeling or experiencing right now?
Share a photo of yourself, or any photos, videos, or audio recordings you’d like to add to this historical record!

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.

June and William Eben Schultz Collection of Juvenile Literature 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.

Selections from the Schultz Juvenile Literature Collection (Click to enlarge)

This image shows selections of from the Schultz Collection of Juvenile Literature. The link opens a pdf that lists the titles comprised in this uncataloged collection of magazines, textbooks, fiction, and non-fiction works published from the late-19th to the early-20th Centuries (24 linear feet).

The books pictured are, from left to right: “Frank Merriwell’s Frolics or Fun and Rivalry at Fardale”, “Science in Your Life”, “Tip Top Weekly, The ideal publication for the American Youth”, and “Frank Merriwell in Europe.”

The collection is named for two people:
1) W.E. Schultz, who was Professor of English at Illinois Wesleyan University from 1934-1964. He is the author of the “Alma Wesleyana,” written in 1935, and sung at every major campus convocation. Schultz also donated his collection of 18th and 19th century British plays, including several editions of The Beggar’s Opera. (All of the books in this collection are cataloged.)
2) Professor Schultz’s daughter, June E. Schultz, Class of 1944 and Alpha Gamma Delta member, who taught in Bloomington, Illinois and received IWU’s Loyalty Award in 1995. She also donated an autograph collection.

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!

 

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.

 

Evans’ time capsule contents

Although many more are known to exist, only three time capsules have been opened in IWU’s 169-year history. One was discovered accidentally when the iconic arch that still led into Duration Hall, last remnant of Hedding Hall/Old Main, was torn down. All that remains of the contents of that box are pieces of bank notes it contained and the description of its other contents as reported in the 1966 Wesleyana (p. 23).

The second was a much more purposeful removal from Sheean Library.The contents of this box were in excellent condition and are reported on in previous blog posts. The third was also a planned removal, this time in honor of the 50th anniversary of its placement rather than being due to the building’s destruction. This post describes the discoveries made as a result of this recent unveiling.

As previously reported, when the Evans Observatory’s time capsule was opened in preparation for the official unveiling at Homecoming 2019, much of the content was too deteriorated to salvage. Moisture interacted with a battery and food inside the copper box and the to the other material damage was extensive!

poster of damaged objects

A poster of several of the damaged objects (clockwise from top right): the thermal battery, a microfilm reel with the Bloomington phone directory (rolled and unrolled), close-up of a rolled map (enclosed in a plastic sleeve and closed by a metal snap; unrolled map in center), a long shot of the capsule’s damaged contents. (click any image in this blog post to enlarge)

Everything that was paper-based was congealed into a solid mass but fortunately, most of these were all widely distributed publications from the University and local businesses. We were able to separate two unique paper items:

Several unique objects survived their 50-year odyssey and one even went on the Apollo 8 mission, circling the moon ten times! Astronaut Frank Borman personally added the medallion picture below before placing the capsule in the Mark Evans Observatory.

Other items found in the capsule were donated by the Bloomington branches of several companies. Noteworthy among the survivors are a miniature engine, supplied by Caterpillar Tractor Co.; a vacuum tube and circuit board from the Admiral Corporation; a selection of electric relays from General Electric; and an integrated circuit, the kind which made putting a computer on the Apollo 8 flight possible, supplied by General Telephone.

Other views of the objects contained in this post are available in our Historic IWU photo collection. The objects themselves will be on permanent display in the Mark Evans Observatory.

list of time capsule contents

Contents list that was read by President Eckley on the day of the time capsule’s placement.

Join us for the Kindred collection opening!

On Friday October 4, 2019 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. we will celebrate the opening of the Dave Kindred Papers.

Dave stands next to his 20-shelf collection! (click to enlarge)

Dave Kindred, IWU Class of 1963, and others in the IWU community will offer remarks and selections from his vast collection will be available for viewing. Guests may also tour the repository in Tate Archives & Special Collections on The Ames Library’s 4th floor.
 
After a 50-year sportswriting career, the archive of Dave’s work contains more than 300 of his reporter’s notebooks; articles he’s written; scrapbooks from his trips to cover the Olympics; materials related to the 12 books he’s written; and correspondence with colleagues, readers, and research subjects.
Dave’s work continues and as his collection continues to grow, researchers and the general public will benefit from being able to access his award-winning insights!

Kindred holds the caricature presented to him by colleagues on staff at The National on the occasion of his work being recognized with the Red Smith Award.


Dave Kindred’s legacy as a sportswriter was cemented when he became the recipient of the Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement in sports journalism in 1991. He was the youngest winner of the prestigious award at just 50 years old. Other awards that he has received include the National Sportswriter of the Year (1997), The Curt Gowdy Media Award (2000), The Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism (2011), The Nat Fleischer Memorial Award (2012), the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award (2013), the Dan Jenkins Medal for Career Achievement in Sportswriting (2018), and the PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing (2018).

Only Frank Deford and Dave Kindred have won the Smith, Jenkins and PEN/ESPN awards–the three highest awards in sports journalism!

Kindred shown looking at the contents of a folder in his collection.

Dave also recorded this interview about his career with journalist, New York Time best-selling author and Stanford lecturer Gary Pomerantz.
For details on this event or accessibility assistance, contact Meg Miner (309) 556-1538 and mminer@iwu.edu

A report on our Summer 2019 intern

Cynthia O’Neill standing ready to examine audiovisual media from the Arends Collection

Earlier this summer, University Librarian Scott Walter posted news on the start of Cynthia O’Neill’s graduate school internship.As Scott stated, we view the library as “the site for research, internships, and community projects that demonstrate our commitment to engaged learning, both for our undergraduate students and for graduate students working toward a future in library work.”

During her 150 hours in Tate Archives & Special Collections, Cynthia accomplished her internship goal of putting classroom experiences to work in a real-world environment.

Tulasi (left) and Cynthia stand in a row containing the Arends Collection at the completion of their work.

The largest project Cynthia undertook was conducting a preservation assessment of the media contained in the Leslie Arends Congressional Collection. She also created a framework of analysis for Special Collections Student Assistant Tulasi Jaladi (’20) as she conducted an assessment of the papers held in over 5,000 folders in this collection. Tulasi also re-boxed the collection, replacing from 80 records-storage boxes that had become acidic over time with the smaller document boxes you see on the left in their photo.

Throughout this work Cynthia and I discussed the kinds of preservation analysis resources available and how these sources could apply to the work at hand. The result of Cynthia and Tulasi’s work will guide me to the specific parts the collection, some of which is over 80 years old, that need preservation treatments. Most of the paper (the bulk of the collection) is in good condition, but the audiovisual content on older media (like 35mm film and reel-to-reel tapes) is quickly becoming inaccessible because the technology needed to play it is no longer widely available. Some of these recordings are also showing tangible signs of age-related damage. With these details, I will estimate costs of the preservation actions needed.

Cynthia’s experiences in both a museum and public library led us to interesting cross-institutional discussions about policy needs, patron types and research and staffing concerns. Her passion for material culture also resulted in a timely exhibition on the Apollo 11 moon landing. Cynthia proposed the idea based on her survey of the Congressman’s collection, which contains additional material on the Apollo program. She also reached out to a museum in the region to make a connection between us for a larger exhibition she knows they are doing in the fall. I appreciate having the opportunity to collaborate outside of academia!

The processing project Cynthia undertook for a recent donation by artist and alumna Marjorie Kouns (’79) was small enough—and had enough unique aspects to it—that we were able to dive into theory vs. practice discussions right away. There was so much variation in this personal “papers” type of collection that we could consider strategies for different types of arrangement.

Afterwards, Cynthia conducted a thorough assessment of materials and presented me with her observations and ideas about their organization and preservation needs. After I approved a final arrangement plan, I taught her how to use ArchivesSpace to make a record for the collection. To enhance our understanding of this artist’s work, Cynthia agreed to conduct an oral history interview with the donor.

One day I mentioned receiving a fairly typical-to-the-archives donation from a long-time staff member who just retired. I outlined how this would be a different collection from the artist’s. On her own initiative, Cynthia offered to assess and process this material. She readily made the transition from the concepts we discussed about arrangement for a personal collection to a professional one.

To enhance her understanding of book history, Cynthia capped off her experience by creating a tutorial on historical book construction techniques and their preservation needs. She used selections from Special Collections to provide examples of these works, and so we now have a resource to help prepare visitors about what they can expect to find in special collections, how book history relates to these specific items, and how they can interact with them to help preserve them for the future.

Exhibits: Apollo 11 at 50

astronaut with lunar test equipment

Aldrin sets up seismic test equipment. (click to enlarge)

No doubt, news outlets everywhere are noting the 50th anniversary of this milestone in human achievement. This post also commemorates the lunar landing and provides me with a chance to highlight both the work of our summer intern Cynthia O’Neill and one of the collections she’s been working on: The Leslie Arends Congressional Collection.

In a previous post, University Librarian Scott Walter profiled the range of learning experiences Cynthia is engaging in this summer. In the course of her preservation assessment on the Arends material, she found many Apollo program items, including a clipping that describes Arends as one of only three Illinoisans named on the 1.5″ silicon Goodwill disk left on the moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

Close-up of canceled first-issue stamps commemorating the Apollo 11 Moon landing

Close-up of President Richard Nixon and Postmaster General Winton Blount’s signatures on a commemorative print of the Earth as seen from orbit and a first-day-of-issue stamp created in 1971. The Armstrong quote printed at the bottom of the Moon photo states “…one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

That clipping, commemorative photos and stamps are on display in the John Wesley Powell Rotunda on The Ames Library’s entry level from now through August. (see a selection of images from the exhibit below)

Arends received these and items from other Apollo missions in thanks for his support of the program. A copy of the speech he gave on July 21, 1969 is part of this exhibit, too. In it he makes note of historic and contemporary global contributions that led to the success of Apollo 11. Visitors are invited to reflect on the broader implications of this achievement.

Another exhibit case just beyond the rotunda commemorates Arends’ involvement in the visit that Apollo 8 Commander Col. Frank Borman made to IWU in March 1969.

I will share more details on Cynthia’s internship in a future post, but I will add one additional benefit we gained by hosting her this summer. Cynthia’s full time work is as the Program Coordinator at the Eureka Public Library and she recently arranged a visit to her library by a museum director from Peoria. Cynthia shared her insights into the Arends collection with that person, and I am hoping we can arrange a loan of some materials from the Arends Collection for their Apollo-related exhibition this fall.

We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with others and readers should know that the Arends Collection and other materials located in Tate Archives and Special Collections are available for use by both the IWU community and the general public. So stop by the library’s first floor for a look at our Apollo exhibits M-F, 8-4 now through the end of August and let me know if you are interested in exploring this or any of our other collections!