The Catholic University of America

Oct. 1, 2010

Alumni Memorabilia Displayed in Campus Exhibit

For those returning to campus for Homecoming and Reunions Weekend (Oct. 1-3), items in a campus exhibit may bring back some memories. “Portal to the Past: Reflections of Student Life” contains items from Catholic University alumni who attended the university between 1915 and 1959.

Visitors to the exhibit in the lobby of the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library can view items that were part of the CUA student experience in the past. The items were donated to the university by 11 alumni or their families and include beanies, pins, pennants and photographs, among other things.

Robin Pike, audio visual archivist, came up with the idea for this exhibit while working with some donors who were transferring their CUA memorabilia or a family member's memorabilia. She realized that University Archives has several small collections of alumni material that would work well for a special exhibit.

“Current and former students will be able to get a glimpse of student life from 1915 to 1959 by viewing the photographs and tokens of the past,” Pike says. “Many of the traditions represented by these objects, such as freshman rules and dance cards, are no longer used in current student life. Though many traditions have changed, a lot of similarities exist, from the camaraderie formed through dorm life to bragging about sports achievements.”

The exhibit will run through Thursday, Dec. 9. It is free and open to the public.

Below are some pieces from the exhibit.


The “Utopian” banner at the top represents the Utopian Society, a social club on campus in the 1920s. The striped hat on the left, from 1952, was known as a “dink” and all freshmen were required to wear them. The white cap on the right was worn by members of the Class of 1926. Freshmen also had to wear buttons, like the one shown here from 1954. The square Catholic University pennant in the middle and the “Catholic U” pennant at the bottom were from the 1950s. The two tickets were for homecoming dances in 1956 and 1957.
This second-place trophy from the 1915 University of Pennsylvania Relay Race Carnival was won by Carl Horn who graduated from CUA in 1916. At that time, first-place winners won watches rather than trophies.
In this track and field team photo circa 1916, Carl Horn, who won the trophy featured above, is the fourth runner from the right.
James Carroll kept a scrapbook of his years at CUA until his graduation in 1920. On the left page of the scrapbook is a list of “Freshman Rules.” On the right page are various tickets and dance cards. To see a digital version of the scrapbook, click here.
Fred Maroon of the Class of 1950 took this photo of the freshman vs. sophomore tug-of-war. Maroon was a photographer for the student newspaper and yearbook while he was at CUA. This photo was taken sometime between 1946 and 1950.



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