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April 27, 2012

Namesakes - Kent H. Smith and Case Quad

The Case Quad, the Main Quad -- these are titles given to the area bounded by Crawford Hall, Rockefeller Building, Albert W. Smith Building, Bingham Buiding, White Building, Olin Laboratory, Nord Hall, Sears Library Building, Wickenden Building, Yost Hall, and Tomlinson Hall. The formal name of this space is the Kent H. Smith Quadrangle. You may notice a plaque identifying the area mounted on the plaza area of Crawford Hall.

Kent Smith was born 4/9/1894 in Cleveland to Mary and Albert Smith. He graduated from East High School before attending and graduating from Dartmouth College in 1915. He continued his education at Case School of Applied Science, graduating in chemistry in 1917. His father, Albert W. Smith, was a faculty member at Case as well as an alumnus, class of 1887. The Albert W. Smith Chemical Engineering Building was named for him. Kent’s brother, Albert Kelvin, was also a Case graduate, class of 1922. The Kelvin Smith Library was named in his honor.

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Edith Stevenson Wright painting of Kent Hale Smith

Kent Smith was elected to the Case Board of Trustees in 1949, serving until he was named honorary trustee in 1966. He served Case as Acting President 1958-1961 when President T. Keith Glennan was on leave as first administrator of NASA. He served on numerous committees, such as the Case Alumni Council, Diamond Jubilee Campaign, and Case Building Fund. Mr. Smith received the Case Alumni Meritorious Service Award in 1952, the honorary degree of engineering degree from Case in 1954 and an honorary doctor of law degree from Western Reserve University in 1960. A special dinner was held in his honor in 1961 at which his formal portrait was unveiled.

Mr. Smith was a founder of the Lubrizol Corporation and president 1932-1951. He was a member of the American Chemical Society and served on the boards of Euclid Glenville Hospital, Cleveland Council on World Affairs, Cleveland Trust Company, and the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.

The quad underwent complete redesign in the early 1970s. William A. Behnke Associates was retained as landscape architect. There was no parking allowed on the quad. Old Case Main was razed. The Michelson-Morley fountain was installed. The Tony Smith sculpture, Spitball, was installed. The entire area was re-landscaped. In 1974 the Quadrangle won the Landscape Design Award of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Cleveland Growth Association for an educational institution.

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Kent H. Smith Quadrangle looking towards Bingham Building

The Kent Hale Smith Engineering and Science Building was dedicated 9/16/1994 in his honor. This building is commonly referred to as the Macro building or Macromolecular Science building.

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April 13, 2012

Case Western Reserve University Press

Although Western Reserve University did not formally establish a university press till much later, as early as 1895 WRU published scholarly articles, in the form of a serial titled The Western Reserve University Bulletin. The April 1895 announcement explained the publication was:

“designed to serve as a medium of communication between the University and its alumni, friends and the general body of scholars engaged in teaching or research. It will contain a report of the most important acts of the Board of Trustees and of the Faculty, a record of the publications and public lectures of the Faculty and of the more important accession to the library; accounts of special research work in prosecution; original contributions from the Faculty or advanced students dealing with subjects of scientific or educational interest; ... and such other matter as shall be deemed suitable for the ends in view, which are the diffusion of information in regard to the work of the University, the preservation of a permanent record of its activities and the promotion of science in the broadest sense, by the publication of original contributions to knowledge.” [1AB1 1:1 The Western Reserve University Bulletin volume 1 number 1 (April 1895): 1]

The range of topics treated in the Bulletin was quite broad in scope. The first year’s issues included Edward Gaylord Bourne’s “Phases of the Development of Western Reserve University,” Edward W. Morley’s, “The Atomic Weight of Oxygen,” Samuel Ball Platner’s “Bibliography of the Younger Pliny,” Arthur Hull Mabley’s “Bibliography of Juvenal.” The Bulletin continued publication until 1931.

It was not until 1928 that Western Reserve University investigated the feasibility of establishing a university press. The conclusion then was to print only the University’s own catalogs and subsidized books. Ten years later President Leutner appointed the Western Reserve University Press committee to work out the details of a university press. This committee recommended instead of a separate body, that a University Committee on Publications be established to approve all WRU publications. During the next few decades recommendations for a more vigorous scholarly publication program were occasionally made but financial constraints seem to have limited such expansion. The Committee on Publications continued to advise the University Editor, who directed the broader publications program.

In 1959, Willis T. Thornton became the first full-time Press director. The following year the Trustees established an endowment fund for the University Press, with an initial gift of $5,000 from Thornton. In 1962 a $200,000 gift from the Leonard Hanna Fund was added to the endowment fund. But the Press remained a small operation, publishing only three or four titles each year. By 1970 approximately 25 titles were published annually, but expenses had reached approximately $300,000 annually and much of the endowment principal had been expended. A three-year fundraising campaign was launched in 1971 with a goal of raising $250,000. By early 1973 less than $85,000 had been received. Annual deficits were over $100,000. As part of university-wide efforts to reduce deficits, the Trustees voted in February 1973 to close the Case Western Reserve University Press.

Records in the University Archives document the many efforts to create, operate, and expand the university’s Press. Correspondence with authors, printers, and reviewers document the sometimes complex and lengthy process of nurturing an idea into a published book.

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