Category: University History

A Brief History of UO Commencement

On Monday, June 17th, the graduating class of 2019 will participate in the 142nd annual spring commencement.  This event, held at Matthew Knight Arena, is the culmination of years of hard work and academic achievement.

This year’s commencement speaker, Governor Kate Brown, is the 5th Oregon governor and 13th woman to deliver the spring commencement address. Antonia Brico, conductor and pianist, was the first female keynote speaker at the 1976 spring ceremony. Other female speakers include Hanna Holborn Gray, Corazon Aquino, Ann Curry, and Marian Wright Edelman.

The style of the commencement address evolved over the years. First, it was an address to the graduating class comprised of only five students in 1878. Then it evolved into an address before the university in 1882, and to a commencement address beginning in 1913. In the 1950s and 1960s, the speech was referred to as a charge to the graduating class.  In recent decades, a designated keynote speaker delivers the commencement speech. Since 2001, the speakers have almost exclusively been UO professors or UO alums.

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UO Athletics: Women’s Basketball

We will be cheering on the UO women’s basketball team as they compete in this weekend’s NCAA Division I Championship.  Led by record-setting junior Sabrina Ionescu, the team reached the Final Four for the first time in the program’s history. Read more about this historic accomplishment in a recent article on Around the O.

Sabrina Ionescu and head coach Kelly Graves, 2019
[Paul Harvey IV, UO Athletics Photographs, UP_WBB_20190106_28]
The history of UO women’s basketball extends back to the 1894-1895 school year, when students competed infrequently on interclass teams.

Sophomore class team, 1894-1895
[UO Athletics Photographs, A_ATHBBW_1890_1910_0002jc]
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Exhibit Highlight | UO Women’s Track and Field

We proudly celebrate the recent accomplishments of the UO women’s track and field team winning third place, winning 1st place in the distance medley relay, and winning the 3,000m individual title at the 2019 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships.

The current exhibit, “Oregon Spirit: The Legacy of Track and Field,” highlights some key moments in the history of women’s track and field. The Women’s Athletic Association was founded in 1913, which offered additional opportunities for women to engage in athletics beyond physical education courses. According to the 1914 edition of the Oregana:

The first athletic organization ever to be perfected in the University in the interests of women’s athletics is the Women’s Athletic Association, which was organized during the past year. The purpose of this association is to encourage athletics among the women of the University and to develop a physically more efficient Oregon woman. (p.261)

Women participated in intramural, interclass and intercollegiate contests.  The exhibit includes two field day programs featuring track contests held on the hockey field, and on cemetery ridge.

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New Exhibit | Oregon Spirit: The Legacy of Track and Field

And her spirit’s always loyal,
And we’ll have the world to know
That the bonds can ne’er be broken,
Formed in the dear old U.O.

—“There’s a Pretty Little Village,” circa 1910

University of Oregon Libraries is pleased to announce an exhibit titled Oregon Spirit: The Legacy of Track and Field, now on display from January 7th to March 22nd in the Special Collections and University Archives Paulson Reading Room.

The University of Oregon proudly celebrates over 100 years of track and field.  Led by illustrious coaches, student-athletes defied the limits of human performance before an audience of devoted fans. Drawing upon 20 collections, these curated items reveal a palpable spirit that transcends generations. The legacy of track and field is built on enduring tradition and dynamic innovation.

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New Acquisition: World War I Vignette Collection

In recognition of the upcoming 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, we are highlighting a recent acquisition of two short sketched vignettes in watercolor documenting University of Oregon student life during and after World War I.

“Over Here: A Striking Scenerio [sic] of Present Day Events,” 1918 (18 pages)

A vignette of a day in the life of a young woman living in Eugene during World War I. The sketches depict a morning routine, Villard Hall, the Rex Theatre.

 

“When the Boys Came Home: A Scenario in One Act,” 1919 (11 pages)

Depicts the expectations and realities of soldiers returning to campus. Each page contains a perception of those on the home front and the actual scenario of soldier reintegration into civilian life. The sketches include Eugene City Hall, and Obak Amusement Co. (a student favorite for billiards and bowling).

 

—Lauren Goss, Accessioning and Processing Archivist