April 28, 2011
Commencement is the capstone for the academic year. Students, faculty, and dignitaries arrayed in academic dress in convocation to confer degrees is the usual image of commencement. However, CWRU, throughout its long history, has hosted a range of social, performance, athletic, and ceremonial events as part of its commencement activities. The Hudson Relay itself began in order to fill an empty day during commencement week!
Hudson Relay, 1911
150 years ago...
...at Western Reserve College commencement was held on Thursday, July 11, 1861. The Commencement Concert was the big event, performed the evening of July 11. The concert was given by the Handel Society, assisted by the College Orchestra and the Hudson Brass Band. The evening began with Captain Cole’s Quickstep and concluded with The Star Spangled Banner.
100 years ago...
...at Western Reserve University commencement was held on Thursday, June 15, 1911 at 10:30 a.m. However, commencement week activities began the preceding Saturday, June 10. The week’s activities included alumni class reunions, luncheons, meetings and the Alumni Parade; the performance of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera The Princess Ida by the Adelbert and College for Women Glee Clubs; the annual baccalaureate sermon was given by President Thwing; the second Hudson Relay race was run; the university trustees met; dedication of Amasa Stone Memorial Chapel was held; the cornerstone laying ceremony for the Flora Stone Mather Memorial Building took place. Annual meetings of Phi Beta Kappa and the Alpha Omega Alpha honorary medical society were held. There were sing-outs, breakfasts, dinners, receptions and a prom. Somehow the actual commencement convocation and university reception were fit in to the schedule. To start the cycle of university life again, entrance examinations for Adelbert College and the College for Women were held the following week (June 19-24).
...at Case School of Applied Science commencement was held Wednesday, May 29 at 10:00 a.m. Commencement week activities included Society of the Sigma Xi open meeting, annual trustee and faculty meeting, the Case-Reserve baseball game (which WRU won), fraternity receptions, the commencement reception, and the alumni meeting and banquet.
50 years ago...
...at Case Institute of Technology Senior Week activities began Thursday, June 8 with a dinner dance and ended Monday, June 12 with a date picnic. Other activities included a golf tournament, the annual stag picnic, fraternity open houses, and a beach party. (Case only started to admit women to the regular undergraduate program in 1960. Therefore, the class of 1961 was all male.) Commencement was held Tuesday, June 13.
Case class of 1902 at 25th reunion, 1927
April 20, 2011
Namesakes-William E. Wickenden Electrical Engineering Building
William E. Wickenden and the Wickenden Building
As President of Case School of Applied Science from 1929 till 1947, William E. Wickenden led Case through the Great Depression, World War II, and the first years of the G.I. Bill enrollment surge. Case’s enrollment at the beginning of Wickenden’s presidency was 689; it had tripled by the end.
While many honors were bestowed on him during his lifetime, Wickenden did not live to see the construction of the building named for him. His unexpected death came mere hours after his retirement was official.
The William E. Wickenden Electrical Engineering Building was constructed in 1953/54, at a cost of $1.65 million. It was part of the post-World War II building boom that saw Case Institute of Technology construct several classroom-office-laboratary buildings, its first dormitories, its first on-campus athletic center, a library-humanities building, and a student center. The difference between Case’s campus in 1950 and 1960 are striking.
The Wickenden Building boasted a closed-circuit television system, with camera and receiver outlets in all labs, classrooms, and conference rooms. Special-purpose labs were designed for illumination, transmission, high voltage, small motors, measurements, servomechanisms, and machinery, as well as industrial electronics, computers, communications, microwaves, acoustics, networks, and vacuum tubes.
In his dedication remarks, Case President T. Keith Glennan said of William Wickenden, “...he exemplified the high ideal that the profession of engineering was not merely a means of livelihood but was a means for employing knowledge and skill to contribute to human welfare... In recognition of a great leader and with renewed confidence in the ability of future generations to apply technology for the good of mankind” the new electrical engineering building was named the William E. Wickenden Electrical Engineering Building on April 18, 1955. 
[1 1K 10:20 T. Keith Glennan, “Dedication of Electrical Engineering Building,” 4/18/1955]
April 14, 2011
Namesakes - Thwing: the man and the building
“The rocks crumble; bricks dissolve; some day another building will stand here in place of this one. But it is pleasant to have one’s little day, to know that this building will bear the name of my family.”
So spoke Charles Franklin Thwing at the dedication of Thwing Hall on 11/9/1934. Dr. Thwing was the 6th president of Western Reserve University, serving from 1890-1921, the longest term of any CIT, WRU, or CWRU president.
Charles Thwing, ca. 1930s and Thwing Hall, 1934-1957
Though he retired as president in 1921 he continued to live “on campus” at 11109 Bellflower Road until his death in 1937. He also continued to be involved in campus activities such as athletic events, teas, lectures, and reunions.
Thwing had stated that if a building was ever named for him, he wanted it to be a library. In 1929 WRU purchased the Excelsior Club for $650,000. In 1934 it was converted to a library and dedicated on President Thwing’s 81st birthday. It was the first WRU university-wide library building.
Thwing Hall library periodical room and reference room, ca. 1935
In his speech at the Thwing Hall dedication, WRU President Winfred Leutner said, “When the question of the naming of this building came up for discussion there was only one possible solution. With a unanimity which speaks the affection in which we hold him, the trustees of both the university and the Case Library, and later the faculty of the university, approved the decision to name it for our loved Dr. Thwing.” 
Thwing Hall served as the university’s library until Freiberger Library was built in 1956. At that time the building was converted into a student union and an Open House was held to show off the new space on 2/10/1957.
In 1972 Thwing Hall was named the Charles F. Thwing Student Center, incorporating Thwing Hall and Hitchcock Hall. After remodeling, the addition of an atrium connecting it to Hitchcock Hall, and the addition of a bookstore, the Center was re-dedicated in 1980.
According to CWRU historian C. H. Cramer, Thwing was known as the “last of the great personal presidents....because of an impressive physique, an intense interest in students and their problems, a phenomenal memory, an optimism that was euphoric, and a dramatic quality that sometimes bordered on the euphuistic and the ‘hammy.’”  Thwing was committed to making the university a warmer place for students. He knew the names of the students and their families; he was a friend and advisor; and was affectionately known as Prexy long after his retirement. It is fitting that after a library, a student center was housed in Thwing Hall.
 “Dr. Thwing sees hall dedicated” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/12/1934
 C. H. Cramer, Case Western Reserve. A History of the University, 1826-1976 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1976)
April 05, 2011
Namesakes - Hatch Library and Henry R. Hatch
J. Colin Forbes painting of Henry Reynolds Hatch
At his death in 1915, the Western Reserve University Trustees honored Henry R. Hatch with a memorial resolution which read, in part, “Through a long and successful and highly honorable business career he showed an ever developing interest in whatever tended to the betterment of life, both intellectual and spiritual, and so it was that he brought to the service of this Board not only great business acumen but high ideals and a most generous self-giving.” 
Henry Hatch served on the Adelbert College Board of Trustees, 1895-1915, and on the Western Reserve University Board of Trustees, 1897-1915. Above and beyond 20 years of service as a Trustee, Hatch was the donor of the first WRU building constructed as a library.
Hatch Library, 1895-1898