Oral Histories

 

Research and Scholarship

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Marcos Campillo Fenoll

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Andrea Varrichio

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Debra Bill

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Linda Stevenson

The six diverse colleges which make up West Chester University exemplify a strong academic tradition of student engagement. Unique to our university is the Teacher-Scholar Model, in which professors integrate their own scholarship into their teaching, and teaching into their scholarship—creating high-impact learning experiences that engage students. Consequently, undergraduate and graduate students alike benefit from close collaboration with their instructors, contribute to research at home and abroad, and share in professionalization opportunities.

 

Take a tour with student co-curator Julia Zahm and Museum Director Michael A. Di Giovine

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Research and Scholarship Artifacts

  • Exhibit Example

    Ruby Jones’ Class Register

    This class register was used by Ruby Johnson Jones (1912-1973) to record her students’ attendance and grades. Jones earned a bachelor’s degree from West Chester State Teacher’s College in 1940, then joined the faculty in 1961 to teach in the Demonstration School. She became an Assistant Professor of Education and supervisor of Student Teachers in 1968, making her the first African American faculty member. After her death in 1976, the Demonstration School was renamed Ruby Jones Hall in her honor.

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    Teacher’s Manual and Class Schedule (c. 1930s)

    This teacher’s manual and class scheduled scrawled on the back of a course catalog were used by education student-teachers in the Demonstration School.

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    Cochran Microscope

    This microscope was used by West Chester State Normal School science professor C. B. Cochran for botanical research with his students.

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    Nurses’ Hat and Photo of 1981 BSN Class

    This nurses’ hat was given to members of the class of 1981, one of the early graduating classes in the fully accredited BS in Nursing program at WC State College. The early 1980s was a period of transformation for nursing education. Previously, most nurses attended a 3-year hospital program and did not receive college credits. But WC State College was at the forefront of these changes, offering an attractive BSN degree. On loan from Lisa Montemuro.

  • Exhibit Example

    Ram Chefs Hat and Apron

    The School of Health Sciences prepares students for a range of professional opportunities through outreach to the community. The nutrition department sponsors the celebrated Ram Chefs program, which connects young adults with developmental disabilities with nutrition students to learn food preparation and cooking skills. It is not only a path towards independence for these young adults, but also serves to hone interpersonal communication, teaching and counseling skills for WCU’s budding chefs and dieticians. On loan from Jeanie Subach.

  • Institute on Race and Ethnic Studies brochure (c. 1970)

    Founded in the late 1960s/early 1970s by faculty including State Senator Andrew Dinniman in the 1970s, the Institute on Race and Ethnic Studies organizes cultural programming on diversity, sponsors faculty and student research, and offers a Minor in Ethnic Studies. Ethnic studies enhance students’ appreciation and understanding of race and ethnicity in their course of study, personal life, and future career, and prepares them for an increasingly diverse, multicultural, and global society.

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    Calcite Sample, Central PA

    Calcite is one of the most common minerals in the area, and is an essential component of limestone used in construction and in the production of cement. With translucent crystals, this sample’s orange hue is from the natural presence of iron. The Department of Earth and Space Science, which houses a vast collection of minerals in its Geology Museum, prepares WCU students for careers in geology, geoscience and education. On loan from the WCU Geology Museum.

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    Native American Foraging and Cooking Implements

    This multi-purpose bowl and cooking vessel was carved out of local soapstone (a soft, porous rock) approximately 3,500 years ago by the native inhabitants of West Chester. Residue from food cooked in it is still present, and has been analyzed to determine indigenous peoples’ diet in this period. The archaeology division of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology uses these bowls and other artifacts (such as the axe head and arrowheads on display) to study and teach indigenous foodways and heritage of our area.

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    Passports and Money from Around the World

    This collection of banknotes and passports represents the many ways in which West Chester University prepares today’s students to be tomorrow’s “global citizens.” The College of Business and Public Management prepares students for careers in many industries and organizations, both foreign and domestic; social sciences instill an awareness and appreciation for human diversity; and the department of languages and cultures prepares our students with the ability to communicate across cultures. Students from all colleges benefit from high-impact study abroad programs, operated by the Center for International Programs, that opens students’ eyes to the world. On loan from Michael A. Di Giovine and Leon Arredondo.

 

Clubs

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Steven Kendikian

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Neibyou Elias

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Safoora Siddiqui

 

Clubs Artifacts

  • Exhibit Example

    First Annual Debate Booklet, The Aryan Society (1916)

    This booklet commemorates the inaugural debate between WCU’s Aryan Literary Society and freshmen from Swarthmore College in 1916. The Aryan Literary Society began in the Fall of 1879 and the Moore Literary Society began in 1871, making them the oldest clubs. Both lasted until 1940.

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    The Amulet (1910) and The Quad (2017) Newspapers

    One of the longest-running organizations on campus is the student newspaper, which provides creative and practical experience to budding writers and journalists. Completely student-run, it has always provided reporting on campus events, local and global news, and editorial commentary. The student newspaper has gone through several names—The Amulet (1892-1920); The Green Stone (1924-1928); The Quad Angles (1932-1975); and The Quad (1975-present)—but always has been a reliable source of information for the campus community. While the Amulet combined literary articles and news, written by members of both the Aryan and Moore Literary Societies, today’s Quad is a large and independent organization in its own right.

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    The Quad Angles (1945) Newspaper

    One of the longest-running organizations on campus is the student newspaper, which provides creative and practical experience to budding writers and journalists. Completely student-run, it has always provided reporting on campus events, local and global news, and editorial commentary. The student newspaper has gone through several names—The Amulet (1892-1920); The Green Stone (1924-1928); The Quad Angles (1932-1975); and The Quad (1975-present)—but always has been a reliable source of information for the campus community. While the Amulet combined literary articles and news, written by members of both the Aryan and Moore Literary Societies, today’s Quad is a large and independent organization in its own right.

  • Exhibit Example

    Fire Brigade Extinguisher

    Some clubs were organized around professional interests and real needs on campus. This fire extinguisher is similar to those used by the Main Hall Fire Brigade club that was active from 1925 to 1959.

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    YWCA Club Membership Ledger (1909)

    This ledger for the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) records the dues paid by each member throughout the year. It apparently was not cheap—25 cents per trimester, which would be nearly $25 per year today!

  • Exhibit Example

    Minute Book, Knights of Temperance (1885)

    This notebook records the meeting minutes from the Knights of Temperance club that was active from 1885 to 1932. One of several temperance clubs founded in the period leading up to Prohibition, and founded by a Normal School professor, the Knights of Temperance was unique in that it also drew members from the greater West Chester borough. Like the others, members would meet to reaffirm their vows to abstain from drinking alcohol (“except in emergencies”), to hear talks on the evils of liquor, and to mobilize for the abolition of drinking. They would succeed for a time—the U.S. ratified the 18th Amendment prohibiting alcohol in 1917, but repealed it through the 21st Amendment in 1933, signaling the death knell for these organizations.

  • Exhibit Example

    Golden Rams Boxing Club Memorabilia

    Founded in 1955, the Golden Rams Boxing club reached its height in 1971, when Al McChesney and Dean Plemmons began co-coaching. Students fondly recall their coaches’ passion for boxing and belief in the lessons the sport could teach inside and outside of the ring. Yet as popular interest in boxing waned at the turn of the millennium, the club disbanded in 2001.

  • Exhibit Example

    Rocket League and Super Smash Bros Video Games

    Over the last decade, competitive gaming (esports) has becoming popular among college students. Clubs built around playing Rocket League (2015) and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018), have been active on campus, and have even hosted extramural esports competitions. On loan from Michael Cassidy, and Alexander and Sebastian Di Giovine.

  • Exhibit Example

    "I Love Anthropology" Lanyard and Anthropology Day Pin

    These artifacts were distributed in 2018 by the Anthropology Club, one of many academic clubs on campus where majors, minors, and other students interested in this discipline can enjoy relevant extracurricular experiences such as field trips to area museums and cultural institutions, networking opportunities, and study sessions. Often partnering with other academic organizations, the Anthropology Club also significantly contributes to enhancing the campus climate with its longstanding Speaker Series, which brings national and international experts to the university.

  • Exhibit Example

    Banana Day T-Shirt

    This T-shirt commemorates Banana Day, a unique tradition at WCU that mobilizes the entire campus in a fun rite of spring. Begun as a stress reducer before finals by WCU student Rodolfo “Rudy” Tellez in 1996, it has grown into a celebration of school pride. Over 3000 free bananas are given out at almost every corner of campus, people are dressed up in gorilla and banana costumes, clubs host various activities, music groups perform, and students compete in games to win coveted limited-edition Banana Day t-shirts like the one on display here. Banana Day has even won first place in the National Association for Campus Activities’ “Your Best Campus Tradition” Competition! Learn about Banana Day by watching a video on this page. Donated by Jennifer Yost.

Since its founding, the university has encouraged its students to become active on campus. Involvement in clubs builds leadership skills, allows for the exploration of different interests, provides rewarding extracurricular experiences, creates networking opportunities, and develops long-lasting friendships. Today, our community is enriched by over 280 student organizations active on WCU’s campus. These diverse clubs—academic, athletic, social, political, professional, and ethnic—spring up spontaneously, reflecting the needs and interests of the times in which the students live: From temperance groups in the late 1800s to sophisticated gaming clubs of today, they have a life history of their own.

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Take a tour with student co-curator Chelsey Moore

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Learn about WCU’s Banana Day tradition:

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Gender and Sexuality

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Liam Lair

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Lynn Klingensmith

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Breanne Canedo

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Jacqueline Hodes

As a Normal School, West Chester’s student population always included a significant number of women, but society at the time did not treat gender and sexuality equitably. As society has become more progressive, and WCU’s community has grown and diversified, the university has become more inclusive; today, 60% of the study body identify as women. Thanks to visionary leadership and collaboration among students, faculty, administration and guests from the community, the university is working towards equity in the treatment of women, people of all gender identities and sexualities, and under-represented groups.

Exhibit Example

 

Take a tour of the exhibit with student co-curator Madelyne Maycheck

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Gender and Sexuality Artifacts

  • Exhibit Example

    American Association of University Women flyer

    Founded in 1881, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) have advocated for gender equity and economic security for women who work in universities. As this pithy flyer shows, despite great strides in the inclusion of women in our society, women continue to make roughly 25% less than men do – roughly 70 cents for every dollar earned by men. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, employee unions such as APSCUF, outside organizations such as the AAUW (of which many faculty are members), and other organizations on campus, work to ensure fair pay and fair treatment of all in the campus community.

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    Women’s Conference

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    Feminism quilt

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    Signed Rugby Ball and Poster

    This poster and rugby ball celebrates the first women’s rugby game between two NCAA teams in history, which took place on September 17, 2007. Because rugby has traditionally been male-focused, there are few NCAA universities that sponsor women’s rugby teams. Consequently, WCU and Eastern Illinois University would often play club-level teams. This ball was signed by Eastern Illinois’ team and given to WCU, and WCU’s team did the same. In 2019 the WCU team would win the national championship. On loan from WCU Athletics.

  • Exhibit Example

    LGBTQA+ Activism T-shirts

    This collection of T-shirts represents the variety of ways that students have advocated for LGBTQA rights and representation on campus. Often humorous and eye-catching, they serve to convey the wearer’s pride in being who they are. On loan from Jacqueline Hodes / WCU Dept. of Women and Gender Studies.

  • Exhibit Example

    Activist Pins

    This collection of pins were used by students throughout the years to publicly advocate for equality, LGBTQIA+ rights, and women’s choice. On loan from Jacqueline Hodes / WCU Dept. of Women and Gender Studies.

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    Philadelphia Inquirer Article Introducing Women and Gender Studies Major

    This article, by Peter Smolowitz, announces the elevation of West Chester University’s Women and Gender Studies minor to a major. In xxx, West Chester University was one of the first in the nation to offer a full major in women’s studies—an important step towards gender equity. The major originally had ten interdisciplinary courses, including classes on women authors, women in economics, and women in politics. Today, nearly thirty undergraduate courses are offered in the major; two minors encompassing sexuality and gender are offered, and graduate opportunities are available.

  • Exhibit Example

    “The Feminist Scholar” (1982)

    This collection of materials represents a diversity of outreach efforts by the Women and Gender Studies Program over the years. In particular is “The Feminist Scholar” (right), a journal published by West Chester University in the 1980s. The journal advocated for greater representation and voice to women in academia, as well as their scholarship in curricula. It argued that women must have a place in the curriculum that would allow for positive images of achievement and aspiration comparable to the place given to white middle-class males. On loan from Jacqueline Hodes / WCU Dept. of Women and Gender Studies.

  • Exhibit Example

    Quest Lecturers Books

    These books are all authored (and autographed) by guest speakers sponsored by the Women and Gender Studies program as part of the Quest Lecture Series in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Speaking on the challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community, these speakers gave hope and representation to many WCU students. On loan from Spencer Pyle.

  • Exhibit Example

    LGBTQA 40th Anniversary Flyer

    This flyer celebrates the 40th anniversary of LGBTQ advocacy on campus, beginning in 1975 as LGBTQA Services. In the late 1990s, it changed into the Safe Space Alliance, which helped LGBTQIA+ students. It is now part of the Center for Trans and Queer Advocacy. No matter the name, since its inception, the organization has – and continues to – provide a variety of services to LGBTQIA+ students, and helps them feel safe and welcomed. On loan from Spencer Pyle.

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    “Pride” by Spencer Pyle

    Painted by Spencer Pyle in 1997, this painting conveys pride in embracing one’s sexual identity. Marked by the AIDS epidemic, the 1980s saw a dedicated push for equality and safety for queer people, culminating in Ellen DeGeneres’ public coming out in 1994. Those were formative years for Pyle, and this work represents the joy in being who you are. On loan from Spencer Pyle.

  • Exhibit Example

    Rainbow graduation cord

    A contemporary tradition during graduation is to don cords representing the student’s affiliations. The rainbow cord on display is given to WCU students who are involved in LGBTQA ally-ship and organizations. On loan from Jacqueline Hodes / WCU Dept. of Women and Gender Studies.

 

Race and Ethnicity

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Hiram Martinez

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Angela Howard

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Anita Foeman

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Cecilia Chien

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Cristobal Cardemil-Krause

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Tracey Robinson

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Erica Walters

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Gopal Sankaran

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Valerian DeSousa

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Idna Corbett

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Jasmin Tahmaseb McConatha

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Larry Dowdy

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Lisa Wright Bryant

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Mit Joyner

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Sendy Alcidonis

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Suzanna Au

Race and Ethnicity Artifacts

  • Exhibit Example

    Carson Carr Letter

    Alumnus Carson Carr (’58), associate VP for academic affairs at the University of Albany, sent this letter to President Madeline Adler, suggesting that WCU issue a formal apology for the treatment of African Americans in the past, modeled on his own university’s practice. This became the Reaffirmation of Civility and Equality Day, held on September 20, 2008.

  • Exhibit Example

    Reaffirmation of Civility and Equality Day Booklet

    On September 20, 2008, West Chester University issued a historic apology for the treatment of African Americans in the past, and reaffirmed its commitment to equality and civility. An “exceptional moment” in which graduates recounted their stories of racial discrimination and institutional segregation, and in which then-President Madeline Wing Adler asked them to accept her apology, recounted James Trotman, Founding Director of the Frederick Douglass Institute, in this booklet. The event was attended by over 300 living black graduates; the oldest, Leroy Murray, was from the class of 1939. Today, 11.6% of WCU students identify as Black or African American. On loan from Larry Dowdy.

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    Asia Month Proclamation

    This original proclamation by President Madeline Adler designates October 1997 as WCU’s first Asia Month. It later came to be known as Asian Awareness Month. 2.6% of WCU students identify as Asian. On loan from Cecilia Chien.

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    Chinese Calligraphy

    This small banner was produced by a member of the Asian Student Association to celebrate the Lunar New Year. It says “good fortune” yet when displayed upside down is a pun saying “good fortune has arrived.” On loan from Cecilia Chien.

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    Pellet Drums

    Placed in front of the calligraphy are hand-held pellet (or rattle) drums—traditional musical instruments in Asia. The pellets attached to a cord make music when the drum is rotated back and forth between the musician’s palms. On loan from Cecilia Chien.

The realities of race and ethnicity on campus, and the struggle for civil rights, are unavoidable parts of our history. Like the nation as a whole, the university has struggled with how to address the equitable inclusion of different races and ethnicities, especially as it expanded and its student body diversified. But through the work of activists at all institutional levels, the past fifty years have been characterized by progress amid the continued search for equity. The Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as student organizations offer a number of programs to foster a more inclusive and representative campus climate.

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Take a tour with student co-curator Aaron Stoyack

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