April 29, 2016
To All To Whom These Presents May Come...
Since we are approaching Commencement, it seems a good time to consider one of its established elements - the diploma. As a document type, diplomas represent an interesting mix of continuity and change. The diploma’s purpose, tanglble testimony that a student has met the requirements of a course of study and that a degree was conferred by a university, has endured for centuries. Its form, however, has undergone some intriguing changes.
At Western Reserve, for most of the 19th century, the diplomas were in Latin, not English. The School of Medicine voted to adopt English for its diplomas in 1883.
1842 Western Reserve College diploma - in Latin
1884 Western Reserve University School of Medicine diploma - now in English
The size of our diplomas has varied, from approximately 9x12 inches to 18x24 inches. Generally, the size of the diploma has decreased in size over time. These size changes have not been universally applauded. In 1930, the Law School students objected on the basis that the smaller diploma, “is inadequate for the needs of a professional man.” In 1966, the Law and Dental School students objected both to the size and to the simplicity of the typography and decoration of the diplomas. In supporting the students, the Dean of the Law School, Louis A. Toepfer, wrote, “...a great many lawyers take special pride in having a handsome diploma which they display in their offices.” When the issue was brought to the School of Medicine students, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, John L. Caughey, Jr. reported that, “the decision of the members [of Student Council] was that they didn’t really care enough to get involved.”
Parchment was used in the early days of WRU and Case, eventually replaced by paper. At various times, ribbons were affixed to the diplomas, as were colored and embossed seals.
Ribbon on Western Reserve diploma from the 1870s and Seal on Case School of Applied Science diploma, 1895
For many years, diplomas were rolled when presented to the graduates, such as these College for Women students in 1910.
One of my favorite diploma graphics is the picture of Leonard Case, Jr. that adorned the Case diplomas from the 1880s through the 1910s.
Leonard Case, Jr. on an 1887 Case School of Applied Science diploma
After Federation in 1967, the question of what university’s name would appear on diplomas lingered for several years. Requests for post-1967 diplomas with pre-1967 university names were considered by the Board of Trustees on a case-by-case basis through much of the 1970s. In 1981 the Trustees approved a single diploma style and size to be used by all the schools.
Diplomas have lasting significance, both for students and the university. Some students are unable to attend Commencement to receive their diplomas personally. In spite of the best efforts of university staff, it can sometimes take awhile to deliver these diplomas to graduates. The Archives has documentation of successful efforts to unite diplomas and graduates decades after the degree was awarded. The longest such effort we have identified was the 1963 delivery of his diploma to a 1909 graduate.
Congratulations to all our 2016 graduates. Cherish those diplomas - you've earned them!
April 21, 2016
Patricia B. Kilpatrick
We recently mourned the loss of Patricia B. Kilpatrick, Vice President and University Marshal Emerita on 3/3/2016. To the staff of the University Archives Pat holds a special place. While she held a number of important positions, it was her duties as Secretary of the University that made her our boss. The University Archives was established in 1964 through the persistence of Secretary of the University Carolyn Neff and the hard work of University Archivist Ruth Helmuth. When Pat succeeded Carolyn as Secretary of the University in 1979, she inherited us.
Pat with student protesters outside Haydn Hall, 1969
Pat was born 5/19/1927 in Cleveland. She entered Ohio Wesleyan University in 1945 and transferred to Flora Stone Mather College in 1947. Pat received her B.A. in 1949, majoring in History. She earned the M.A. in Physical Education in 1951. After graduation she married and started a family. She returned to Western Reserve University in 1962 as Instructor in Physical Education. She became an Assistant Professor and served as Chair of the Women’s Physical Education Department, 1970-1972.
In 1965 she became an assistant dean of Mather College. She served on the faculty until 1972, when she moved into administrative work full-time. In 1972 when Adelbert, Mather, and Cleveland Colleges merged, Pat became Associate Dean for Non-Academic Affairs and then Associate Dean for Student Affairs for Western Reserve College. She also served as Director of Thwing Center. With the looming retirement of Carolyn Neff, President Toepfer appointed Pat Assistant Secretary of the University in 1977 so she could learn the various duties. In August 1979 Pat became the last Secretary of the University.
The duties of the Secretary were important and varied. Some of the major responsibilities included administrative support of the Faculty Senate, the Visiting Committees, oversight of the University Archives, commencement, and Squire Valleevue Farm. In 1987 she was promoted to Vice President and University Marshal. The 1991 University Ball was held in her honor and Pat retired 6/30/1992.
Pat Kilpatrick at the University Ball in her honor, 1991 (photograph by Daniel Milner)
Pat served on many committees, one of the most influential being the President’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women in the University - which she chaired (1971-1973). Pat was very involved in the Mather Alumnae Association (serving as President) and the Episcopal Church, in which she held a number of positions on the local and national level.
When the sheep barn at Squire Valleevue Farm was renovated in 1992 it was named Pat’s Place in her honor. Also in 1992, the Physical Education Department created the Patricia B. Kilpatrick Award to be presented to the four-year varsity letter-winner with the highest cumulative grade point average.
Pat was involved with many other committees, awards and accomplishments. Too many for this short post. You can hear Pat discuss her career in this 2008 Case Stories interview and this interview for the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women.
A number of years ago, Pat brought to the University Archives the two original flags of the newly federated CWRU. When Barbara Snyder became president, Pat told her about the flags and that they should hold a place of honor. We selected the flag in the best shape, it was restored, and is now hanging in the first floor lobby of Adelbert Hall.
On a personal note, my last conversation with Pat was in mid-December 2015 when she called to say she wanted to take the Archives staff out to lunch. We could not get it scheduled before the holidays and agreed to set it up after the new year. Unfortunately, we were unable to have that lunch.
Goodbye, Pat. We’ll miss you.