University of Nebraska - Lincoln

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The University of Nebraska was founded on February 15, 1869. At that time the state legislature met in Omaha and unanimously approved a University charter in order to claim federal lands allocated under the Morrill Act of 1862. The University's location in Lincoln was provided for in an act of 1867 which also located the state capital there.

From the description of General University records, 1871-2000. (University of Nebraska - Lincoln). WorldCat record id: 44422439

The University of Nebraska held its first commencement ceremony in June 1872, at University Hall where an honorary Doctorate of Law was presented to the Right Reverend Bishop Clarkson of Omaha. In 1873 the first students, William H. Shell and James Stuart Dales, graduated. Alice M. Frost became the first female graduate in 1876. Over the years notable commencement speakers included Booker T. Washington (1902), William Jennings Bryan (1905), Roscoe Pound (1917), John J. Pershing (1921), Phyllis Bentley (1934), Norman Cousins (1950), Trygve Halvdan (1952), Gerald Ford (1976), Harry A. Blackmun (1983), and Barbara Jordan (1995). In 1917, during the 50th anniversary of Nebraska statehood, honorary degrees were presented to Theodore Roosevelt, Willa Cather, Roscoe Pound, John Neihardt, Edith Abbott, and John J. Pershing among others.

From the description of Commencement Programs and Records. (University of Nebraska - Lincoln). WorldCat record id: 150461278

The University of Nebraska held its first commencement ceremony on Wednesday, June 26, 1872, at University Hall. Although there were no graduates to participate in the exercises, an honorary Doctorate of Laws was presented to the Right Reverend Bishop Clarkson of Omaha. In 1873, the first students, William H. Shell and James Stuart Dales, graduated from the University. This commencement is considered the first official one for the tabulation of annual ceremonies. The 1876 commencement included Alice M. Frost, the first female student to graduate from the University.

Although graduating classes were small during the University's early years, commencement soon became a highly anticipated social event for the citizens of the state. By the end of the 1870s, commencement had grown from a one-day event into a week of social activities closely followed by local newspapers and widely attended by the public. Commencement week traditionally began with a Sunday baccalaureate ceremony followed by musical programs, theatrical productions, alumni activities, review of military candidates, and numerous receptions and balls. The week culminated with the commencement ceremony itself, which included a formal procession of faculty, students and dignitaries; a commencement oration, military commissioning of officer candidates; the conferral of degrees; and the presentation of awards and honors.

Over the years, commencement exercises have been held at various locations throughout the campus and city including the Opera House at 12th & "O" (1877-1892), Lansing Theater (1893-1898), Lincoln Auditorium (1900-1911), St. Paul's Methodist Church (1912-1926), University Coliseum (1926-1963), Pershing Auditorium (1964-1975) and the Devaney Center (1976 to present).

Notable commencement speakers in the University's history include Booker T. Washington (1902), William Jennings Bryan (1905), Roscoe Pound (1917), John J. Pershing (1921), Phyllis Bentley (1934), Norman Cousins (1950), Trygve Halvdan (1952), Gerald Ford (1976), Harry A. Blackmun (1983), and Barbara Jordan (1995).

One of the University's most memorable commencements was in held in June of 1917 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Nebraska statehood. Among the legendary figures who received honorary degrees were Theodore Roosevelt, Willa Cather, Roscoe Pound, John Neihardt, Edith Abbott, and John J. Pershing (in absentia). Pershing had been scheduled to give the commencement speech. With the United States entry into World War I two months earlier, the general was called upon to serve as Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces. The annual address was given instead by Roscoe Pound and following the ceremony, university officials traveled by train to Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Minnesota, where they conducted a special war commencement, awarding 33 degrees to students enrolled in the Reserve Officer's Corps who were already leading the war effort.

From the guide to the Commencement Programs and Records, 1873-2004

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf University of Nebraska--Lincoln. Student life records, 1871-2001. University of Nebraska - Lincoln
referencedIn Nash, Katherine, 1910-1982. Katherine Nash papers, 1910-1982. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Margenau, Henry, 1901-1997. Oral history interview with Henry Margenau, 1964 May 6. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Anderson, Albin T. (Albin Theodore), 1911-. Selected essays on Turkey [manuscript] / Anderson, Albin T., comp. University of Nebraska - Lincoln
referencedIn Allington, R. W. (Robert W.),. Oral history interview with Robert W. Allington 13 November 2001 Chemical Heritage Foundation, Othmer Library of Chemical History
creatorOf Commencement Programs and Records, 1873-2004 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library
creatorOf University of Nebraska--Lincoln. University of Nebraska collection, 1909-1958. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn Card, Fred Wallace, 1863-1941. Fred Wallace Card papers, 1890-1902. Cornell University Library
creatorOf University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Commencement Programs and Records. University of Nebraska - Lincoln
referencedIn Alice Tuttle Clark, Papers, 1879-1928 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library
referencedIn Storrs, Lucius Seymour, 1869-1957. Lucius S. Storrs papers, 1891-1952. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Bessey, Charles E. (Charles Edwin), 1845-1915. Papers, 1870-1985. Iowa State University, Parks Library
referencedIn Walter Kiener, Papers, 1848-1959, 1912-1959 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library
creatorOf University of Nebraska--Lincoln. General University records, 1871-2000. University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allington, R. W. (Robert W.), person
associatedWith Bentley, Phyllis Eleanor, 1894- person
associatedWith Bessey, Charles E. (Charles Edwin), 1845-1915. person
associatedWith Blackmun, Harry A. (Harry Andrew), 1908-1999 person
associatedWith Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925 person
associatedWith Card, Fred Wallace, 1863-1941. person
associatedWith Cather, Willa, 1873-1947. person
associatedWith Clark, Alice Tuttle, 1879-1922 person
associatedWith Clarkson, Robert H. 1826-1884. person
associatedWith Cousins, Norman person
associatedWith Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006. person
associatedWith Jordan, Barbara, 1936-1996 person
associatedWith Kiener, Walter Bigler, 1894-1959 person
associatedWith Margenau, Henry, 1901-1997. person
associatedWith Nash, Katherine, 1910-1982. person
associatedWith Pershing, John J. (John Joseph), 1860-1948 person
associatedWith Pound, Roscoe, 1870-1964. person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919. person
associatedWith Storrs, Lucius Seymour, 1869-1957. person
associatedWith University Archives corporateBody
associatedWith University of Nebraska corporateBody
associatedWith University of Nebraska (Lincoln campus) corporateBody
associatedWith Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915. person
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University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Subject
Baccalaureate addresses
University of Nebraska
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English

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