Developing an Alumni Class History
Throughout BGSU’s history, student life has reflected the economic and social history of our state and nation. Just as the university evolved from a teacher training college to a liberal arts university with nationally-known programs, the student experience of the university has also changed. Homecoming and the Centennial offer special opportunities to gather and record the answers to frequently-asked questions about our past and to relate the unique perspective of each class to the larger university history.
What kinds of information would make a good Homecoming/Centennial history? Where can you find the information? We can offer some suggestions. Not all the suggestions below will be useful for each class.
A class history doesn't have to be anything elaborate. Over the years, the traditional four-year block of attendance has become more flexible and non-traditional students (returning veterans, women re-entering the workforce, etc.) have begun to make up a larger part of campus life; and of course, every class overlaps some time with the classes that graduated before and after their year. Some of the information about your class has probably already been researched. General information about current events in the state and nation will help put your class history in context. Class information can include the enrollment size, class or student government officers, influential faculty or administrators, athletics and athletes, and theater and music programs, for example.
- Outstanding class members
- Class officers
- Student Government officers
- Outstanding athletes and coaches
- Influential faculty and administrators
- Residence halls
- Fraternities and sororities
- Student Government
- Black Student Union
- Latino Student Union
- Service organizations, fund raisers; other student clubs
- Musical programs and concerts (students)
- Theater productions
- University-sponsored concerts, lectures, film series
- Intercollegiate athletic teams
- men’s teams
- women’s teams
- win-loss records
- major tournaments and titles
- Intramural sports
- Student discipline rules
- Falcon’s Nest and Student Union
- Buildings constructed, remodeled or torn down
- Outstanding service projects
- Favorite hang-outs in Bowling Green and elsewhere
- watering holes and restaurants
- Homecoming, graduation, holidays, dances, dating
- Miscellaneous and fun information
- Events off-campus which affected student life
- Controversies on-campus which affected student life
All the sources listed below are available at the Center for Archival Collections, 5th Floor, Jerome Library. In addition, classmates may have collections of photographs, scrapbooks, and diaries.
Overman, James R. History of Bowling Green State University. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Press, 1967.
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Written for the 50th Anniversary, covering the entire university and its administration, with much detail about early faculty, staff, and programs.
Givens, Stuart. The Falcon Soars: Bowling Green State University: The Years of Growing Distinction, 1963-1985. Bowling Green, Ohio: Popular Press, 1986.
LD 4191 .O62 G5
Written for the 75th Anniversary, carries on where the Overman book leaves off, describing political and administrative issues
Annual Catalog. 1914-present. Departmental introductions evolve as the departments grow. Faculty and department officers are often listed, sometimes with their areas of specialization
Board of Trustees Minutes. Available from the earliest years of the university, they cover formal administration of BGSU, founding of departments, establishment of programs, finance, policies, etc. A general card index is available at the CAC.
BG News. Since 1920, the student newspaper has recorded changes in programs, activities of student organizations, carried obituaries of faculty, students, and staff, and reflected the tone of student life. An online index is available for most of the run of the newspaper, and a card index at the CAC supplements it. The online edition of the BG News (since November 2000 )is also available and separately searchable.
Key Yearbook. Since 1918, the yearbook has carried photographs of faculty, students, buildings, and activities on campus along with a brief synopsis of special events.
Commencement Programs. 1914-present. Lists all degrees granted to individuals, commencement speakers, etc.
The Monitor. A faculty newsletter published since 1973 and available online since 1997 contains information about faculty, administrative, and classified staff, events, and policies.
Alumni magazines. Published under various titles since 1942, usually includes longer feature articles about departments, faculty, alumni, programs, buildings, etc.
Student Handbooks. Including particular handbooks geared to women students or freshmen, these handbooks discuss campus living, rules, and organizations.
Directories. Telephone directories and other lists of students and faculty.
Manuscript Collections. Letters, journals, scrapbooks, and other material gathered by individual faculty, administrators, and students. A bibliography is available online.
University Archives Photograph Collection. Organized by topic or activity, the collection is especially strong from the 1960s-1970s, but includes many historic photographs of faculty, campus, and student activities.
University Archives. Records of permanent administrative or historical value are maintained here, including information on administrative, business, and academic matters; faculty and student organizations; many university publications. Records of previous anniversary celebrations. Some departmental and organizational records inventories are available on line.
Other university publications. Including alumni and department newsletters, campus maps, dedication programs, official policies, correspondence, and financial records.
Historic Campus Tour. Available online, documenting every building used by BGSU throughout its history, includes aerial views of the campus by decades.