Campus societies are a large portion of any university history, older universities such as Harvard or Yale pride themselves on their societies. The men and women who have participated in literary societies historically have found lucrative jobs and connections due to the unique experience that these societies provide to undergraduates. Literary societies were regularly founded in pairs in order to foster competition and growth. This history often brings to mind older institutions on the east coast. However, the University of Oregon is no stranger to the benefits of literary societies on its campus.
This is the ninth of a series of blog posts highlighting the ongoing work of the Documenting UO History Project within the University Archives. A major part of this project is researching and documenting the often untold and hidden histories of the university’s diverse and underrepresented communities. This year our focus will continue to highlight Black history on campus, specifically Black student activism from the 1960s to present. Prior posts can be seen here.
The Governor — and others — have complained that President Olum can’ t have it both ways — continue to assert that the University of Oregon is of the quality of some of the best public universities in the United States and argue at the same time that faculty salaries at the University of Oregon are abysmally low compared with other institutions, and that this makes it extremely difficult to compete in the hiring of the best young faculty and in retaining our leading senior faculty against very large offers from various universities. Now, the truth is that it really is both ways. Our salaries are terribly, dangerously low and yet we are surely among the best 20 public universities in the United States and, in a number of areas, significantly better even than that. -President Olum, State of the university Address, 1987
Paul Olum stepped into the role of university president at Oregon with decades of academic experience. Having just served as provost at the University of Oregon, Olum had been groomed to take over for President Boyd (see previous post on Boyd). Olum started his illustrious academic career in mathematics, even working on the Manhattan Project at one point. He earned his bachelors in physics from Princeton in 1940, an M.A in physics from Princeton in 1942, and a PhD in mathematics from Harvard in 1947. Olum later served as a very popular and distinguished professor of mathematics at Cornell, and had a short stint at the University of Texas before beginning his tenure at Oregon.
Olum quickly developed a positive repoire with both students and staff. Politically progressive, Olum publically called for nuclear disarmament and fought to make the University of Oregon more inclusive for all students. Although Olum’s tenure avoided the contention that filled the 1960s and 1970s, Olum faced recurring budget restraints and struggled to recruit more minority students to the Eugene campus.
This is the second of a series of blog posts that will explore exhibits during the 1960s at the Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, known today as the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Part of the Documenting UO History Project, this series will investigate two major types of exhibits: the Statewide Services Program and national exhibits that traveled to the Museum. The University Archives collection of the Museum’s records, cross referenced with the Jordan Schnitzer’s current holdings, reveal a unique institutional history of the Museum, its exhibits, and its employees. Though the Jordan Schnitzer’s current focus is on Asian art, and the Museum of Art also worked to complement its Asian collection, this project will focus on a variety of other kinds of exhibit subjects. See previous posts here.
Have you ever worked on a group project where no one’s role was completely clear? Institutions often have this challenge too; similar kinds of collaboration and communication needs to happen between all parties. For example, the American Educational Theatre Association (AETA) decided to hold its annual conference on the UO campus in August of 1962, and they coordinated the conference themes with art exhibits. AETA program managers worked with the Museum of Art’s employees to display theatrical art during the conference. They encountered many ups and downs along the way. The Museum of Art hosted several exhibitions for the AETA in their galleries. One of these was a large exhibit called “A Portrait History of American Acting,” and this post will explain some of the challenges involved in displaying it at the Museum of Art.
This is the first of a series of blog posts that will explore exhibits during the 1960s at the Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, known today as the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. As part of the Documenting UO History Project, this series will investigate three major types of exhibits: the Statewide Services Program, national exhibits that traveled to the Museum, and international exhibits that the Museum displayed. The University Archives collection of the Museum’s records, cross referenced with the Jordan Schnitzer’s current holdings, reveal a unique institutional history of the Museum, its exhibits, and its employees. Though the Jordan Schnitzer’s current focus is on Asian art, this project will focus on a variety of other kinds of exhibit subjects.
Did you know that art doesn’t sit still? Museums are always on the move. Pieces of art and large exhibits often travel around to different regions so that large numbers of people can see them. Because art means different things to each viewer, it is important to make art freely available to the public. The Museum of Art at the University of Oregon began to circulate exhibitions free of charge through its Statewide Services program in 1965. It could do so through the Friends of the Museum, which helped with the financial backing of the program. Statewide Services coordinator Dennis Gould and Museum employees organized the distribution of traveling exhibits. They also taught community organizations how best to use the exhibits in their regions. This blog post will highlight the methods the Museum used to circulate their art in the state of Oregon.
This is the third of a series of blog posts highlighting the ongoing work of the Documenting UO History Project within the University Archives. A major part of this project is researching and documenting the often untold and hidden histories of the university’s diverse and underrepresented communities. This year our focus will continue to focus on Black history on campus, specifically Black student activism from the 1960s to present. In this specially released post we are celebrating the life of Professor Ed Coleman. Prior posts can be seen here.
“I’ve had urine thrown on me, I’ve been through the fire… I grew up living Jim Crow — I didn’t think about it then, it was just part of life, I know life shouldn’t be that way, but I don’t look back in anger.” –Dr. Coleman, Register-Guard Interview, June, 2016
Dr. Edwin Leon Coleman II left an enduring legacy at the University of Oregon and in the Eugene community as an educator, musician, civil rights activist, writer, community and campus organizer, and perhaps most importantly, a friend and advocate of students, faculty and community members of color. His passing on Friday, January 20, shocked circles across the state of Oregon. When it comes to civil rights and activism on the University of Oregon campus and in Eugene, Professor Coleman stands out as one of the most impactful Oregon faculty members of the late 20th century.