The Defiance College Class of 1919. Trowbridge Hall, the women’s dormitory, is in the background.
Class of 2019 members may wonder what it was like to graduate from DC 100 years ago. We don’t have a Commencement program from that year in the DC Archives, but the 1921 Oraculum has a page that lists the various activities in the week leading up to the 1919 Commencement on Tuesday, June 10.
Included were music recitals, a baseball game versus the alumni (DC’s varsity squad won), oratorical contests, Alumni Association meetings and a banquet, and an art exhibit. During the Alumni Association banquet, the 1919 grads were mock initiated into the Association, and everyone dined on veal loaf and mashed potatoes.
Some of the orations were on topics like, “The College Woman,” “Opportunity,” and the Commencement address by Dr. Allen Stockdale of Toledo was called “Making Life.” Commencement speakers 100 years ago gave life advice to graduating seniors just as they do today.
One of the big events during that week was the dedication of the new Tenzer Hall. Here’s an image of the cover of the dedication program:
Here’s a couple photos inside the program that show the new physics and chemistry laboratories, state of the art for the time:
But it would take some research to find out which rooms in Tenzer today housed these labs.
“Closing exercises” were held on the lawn in front of old Defiance Hall after Commencement, in which the 1919 graduates took off their caps and gowns and handed them over to the junior class, for their use the following year. I wonder if that’s what the 1919 grads are preparing to do in the photo at the top of this article.
If you would like to read more about the 1919 Commencement, the June 20, 1919 issue of the Defiance Collegian in DC Memory contains several articles with more information about the activities.
Lead Librarian and Coordinator of Metadata and Archives