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December 18, 2013

Namesakes - Carroll Cutler and Cutler Hall

Carroll Cutler, 1861

it is ironic that a reluctant president should have presided over two of the most controversial changes in Western Reserve College's first hundred years - the move from Hudson to Cleveland and the college’s establishment of undergraduate coeducation. Not to mention the Civil War.

Educated at Yale, Carroll Cutler came to Western Reserve College in 1860 as Professor of Intellectual Philosophy and Rhetoric. During his nearly thirty years at WRC, Cutler taught metaphysics, logic, ethics, political science, history, rhetoric, and German. His exacting standards met with some disfavor among students. Thomas Day Seymour's 1884 memorial address explained, "The students were not accustomed to such pungent criticisms of their English compositions." Nevertheless, Cutler continued teaching while serving as president from 1871 to 1886.

Cutler reluctantly accepted a three-year term as president in 1871. When he attempted to step aside from the presidency in 1874, the Trustees refused to accept his resignation. What was intended as a three-year presidency lasted fifteen years. Cutler’s History of Western Reserve College During Its First Half Century, 1826-1876, offers his own perspectives on the issues of the first years of his presidency.

When Cutler resigned from Western Reserve College he accepted a professorship at Biddle University in Charlotte, North Carolina. He also taught at Talladega College in Alabama. Both are historically black colleges.

Cutler Hall and Pierce Hall, 1883

Cutler Hall was one of Western Reserve’s original University Circle buildings. Adelbert Main was the classroom and office building. Adelbert Hall, later Pierce Hall, was the student dormitory. The third building was the President’s residence, named Cutler Hall in 1934 to honor Carroll Cutler’s service as president. The student and president’s residences were very close neighbors, as the 1883 image shows. Over time Cutler Hall housed the Home Economics department, the School of Library Science, the Business School, and the School of Architecture. It was razed in 1960 to construct the Millis Science Center, now a component of the Agnar Pytte Center for Science Education and Resarch.

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December 04, 2013

President’s Christmas Walk

A university as old as CWRU establishes and discards many traditions, particularly around major holidays such as Christmas. The President’s Christmas Walk was an annual event for most of Louis Toepfer’s ten-year CWRU presidency.

When Toepfer became president in 1970 his previous campus-wide experience had been somewhat limited in his role as dean of the Law School. There were buildings and departments he had never visited. He wanted to rectify this situation and so, started his annual Christmas walk around campus to greet the staff.

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Richard Baznik and Louis Toepfer on Christmas Walk

It began as a one day event, but soon became an event held over two or three days. President Toepfer accompanied by Special Assistant to the President Richard Baznik, attempted to visit every campus building. By the mid-1970s departments began to check the schedule ahead of time and attempted to arrange their department holiday parties to coincide with the president’s visit. Since this was the time of year for college bowl games and NFL playoff games, there was also betting on games and various pools. The president joined in the spirit and participated in the betting. From the notes in the Archives they were $1 bets.

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Schedule for 1978 Christmas Walk

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