What’s in a name?

When dealing with an institution name change it can be a delicate balance especially for an Archive. It is important to embrace the new name and brand in order to move forward, but in the Archives history is just as important as the future. So, we have to find a way to represent the historic name and yet move forward with the rest of the University to embrace the new name. With that in mind we’ve established a guideline to help guide us through the name change.

Archives Guidelines on UMUC/University College Name

The name University of Maryland Global Campus became official on July 1, 2019. The branding and identification for the UMGC Archives website and web-based platforms was updated on September 30, 2019, along with the UMGC Library website. Because the Archives exists to document the history of the institution, any materials created before July 1, 2019, will retain the UMUC/University College name to accurately reflect the historical period in which they were created. Materials added to the Archives and Archives website/repository will be reviewed for their creation date, and only items that were created after July 1, 2019, will be identified as UMGC/Global Campus. The name UMUC/University College will be used in historical context when identifying and describing archival materials on the Archives website, repository, and blog. Postings on the Archives blog created before July 1, 2019, will also be left as-is to reflect the time at which they were created.

Ehrensberger's European Diary Part 1

As I was first organizing the President’s Collection, I happened upon a bound book title European Diary. Intrigued, I opened it to find a 1949 letter from a Lieutenant Colonel to the University of Maryland’s President Harry Byrd praising Dr. Ray Ehrensberger, head of the Speech department at the time, who he worked with extensively at the Pentagon. The letter was followed by a short 1950 letter, addressed to Dr. Ehrensberger appointing him the University of Maryland’s Director of the European program of the College of Special and Continuation Studies, and two articles about Dr. Ehrensberger’s work in Europe. Finally, the rest of the book is made of diary entries beginning February 20, 1950, and ending September 8, 1950, written by the man himself, Dr. Ray Ehrensberger. Dr. Ehrensberger would go on to become the University’s Chancellor, in his post from 1970 to 1975 But this diary depicts the first few months Ehrensberger spent in the European program. Over a few weeks as I read through the diary, I learned about Dr. Ehrensberger, his travels, and his extensive work establishing the University in post-war Europe. Over the next few blog posts, I will document some of the more interesting stories Dr. Ehrensberger shared in his European Diary. 

His story, well detailed, begins on a very cold morning in which Dr. Ehrensberger is traveling from Washington to Frankfurt, Germany. The trip is several days long, bitterly brisk, but highlighted by several moments in which soldiers praised the University of Maryland’s programs with servicemen abroad. Upon arriving in Germany, he travels across Eastern Germany. He weaves stories of traveling the Autobahn, leading a German band in a Sousa march, and drinking good Bavarian beer. To me, though, the most interesting thing he narrates is the state of post-war Germany. He notes that Darmstadt is one of the most destroyed cities in Germany: 

It is a rather large place and was destroyed in one air raid by the British which lasted for 45 minutes. It is estimated that 45,000 people were killed in 45 minutes and over 80 percent of the city is completely burned out. The raid was in retaliation to the killing of two British aviators that had parachuted down. The British came over and dropped notes telling them to observe the rules of war, but the burgomaster took the two aviators in a public square and shot them. A few days later the British came over and dropped fire bombs which burned out the town. I was told by people who survived the raid that you could not walk in the streets for three days afterwards due to the fact that the asphalt was still boiling. You can drive for blocks even today in Darmstadt and not see a single whole building, just shells everywhere. 

As a daughter of a Veteran myself, I lived 4 years in Germany and have traveled through Darmstadt, as well as the other towns he mentions, like Garmisch, and Heidelberg. These towns I know are fully intact, restored, and distinctly German (I.e. a lot of brick and stone featuring some wondrous street markets, particularly in the Winter), so hearing Dr. Ehrensberger’s entries regarding these towns so shortly after WWII is starkly different than my own lived experiences in Germany. He also details how quickly the Germans worked to rebuild their towns, beginning with cultural buildings like churches and theaters that were damaged. 


Drazek's Goody Goody Letters

I’ve been processing the president’s collections and just went through Stanley Drazek’s collection of letters, reports, and articles. Stanley Drazek served the University for over 30 years and served as the Chancellor from 1975 to 1978. I found parody articles, humorous letters, and many, many speeches from around the world.

I also came upon a folder titled “Goody-Goody Letters.” Inside were hundreds of letters from students, colleagues, and peers and partners from other organizations and universities, all positive or praising in nature. There is even a Christmas card saved!

Additionally, there were a few letters from Mr. Drazek and his predecessors, Ben Massey and Ray Ehrensberger, themselves congratulating and recognizing students and staff for completing their degree or for their effort on a project.

Mr. Drazek might have saved these letters as a reminder of the good work being done by the University or as needed evidence of the accomplishments of students and staff. Some of the letters were even circulated to staff as an appreciation post for their hard work.

I imagine these letters were appreciated during particularly stressful seasons and gave Mr. Drazek a chance to get to know students more. See a selection of goody-goody letters below.


Yelnats Kezard

Stanley J. Drazek was the President of the University of Maryland University College from 1975-1978. But before he was president, he was quite the comedian! In a box of official paperwork and correspondences, I found a folder marked “Humor – Dad Jokes, etc.” and inside, pages of jokes like the one below:

I assume Mr. Drazek liked to pepper his correspondences, speeches, and articles with a bit of humor. Further into the box, I found an article titled “Next Galaxy Conference… 1999?” by Yelnats Kezard. Assuming it was misfiled, I set it aside to find its rightful place. However, I was drawn to this article for some reason and decided to read into it further. What I read was an odd story of a Dean that dies in a plane crash and finds himself in Hell speaking with Satan. While in Hell, he has to argue the definition, meaning, and extent of Continuing Education and grows angrier and more confused in his arguments. But, he’s shaken awake by a stewardess at National Airport, who apologizes for waking him, to which he replies, “Not at all, not at all, Miss. I was having a ‘hell’ of a nightmare.” This humor reminded me a lot of the folder of jokes I had found earlier, so I took another look at the name Yelnats Kezard… or Stanley Drazek backwards. Stanley Drazek wrote quippy articles under a pseudonym Yelnats Kezard. I can only imagine his staff meetings were filled with soft chuckles and eye rolls at the dad jokes that must have streamed from Mr. Drazek’s mouth. You can find the entire parody article below: 


UMGC Teams

You never know what you’re going to find in the Archives! While going through the President’s Collection, I found a bit of sports history. In a box of awards, medals, and German yearbooks from the 1960s, sat two trophies and a photo of a softball team from 2006 and 2007. After some research, I discovered that UMGC has sponsored a softball team since 2005. The UMGC (previously UMUC) Tigers are made up of students, alumni, faculty, and staff. The Tigers still play at Fletcher’s Field in Riverdale.

As it turns out, the Tigers aren’t the only recreation team that UMGC sponsors. They also sponsor a 20-person Dragon Boat team called the Virtual Dragons, and some of the medals from the team are located in the Archives!


Happy Birthday, European Division!

Today, we celebrate exactly 70 years of education in the European Division! 

While processing correspondence from European Division Director Mason G. Daly, I came across a memo dated 31 October 1979.  

The purpose of the memo was to commemorate “thirty years of continuing education for the overseas American military communities”. 

Thus, today, exactly forty years after this memo was circulated, we once again celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the European Division! 

Many of you may know the story of how the European Division was begun. For those that do not, it’s a fascinating history! 

After the end of World War II, continued military operations made it clear that military presence in Europe would not only continue, but increase.  

Army and Air Force leaders realized that allowing their overseas troops to continue their education would not only supply them with better educated men but would also provide something productive for the men to do during their off-duty hours. Thus, a call was put out by the U.S. Department of Defense to universities, asking if any would be willing to provide courses in Europe.  

The College of Special and Continuation Studies, who was already providing courses at the Pentagon, answered this call.  

A mad scramble ensued to find qualified faculty who would be willing to move to Germany the following week. The famous first 7 faculty members, Lyle V. Mayer, Bruce Melvin, David S. Sparks, Phyllis B. Sparks, Warren L. Strausbaugh, Verne E. Chatelain, and Martin Moser, agreed to go.  

Thus, the European Division of the University of Maryland Global Campus was created, and today we celebrate that noble experiment!  



On Thursday October 24, Renee and I attended UMGC’s second annual Homecoming, and let me tell you, they went all out! 

There was a photo booth, a chocolate fountain, and an honest-to-goodness marching band!  

President Miyares gave an excellent speech about the change to UMGC and what that really means. He was then followed by an inspiring keynote speech by Christine Ross, president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and UMGC alum.  

Renee and I were so glad to be able to participate again this year! We were even happier when people recognized us as being from the Archives!  

We even got some cool swag to add to the Homecoming collection! 

I can’t wait to see what they do next year!


Archives Month: Part Two

The University Archives contains the history of the University of Maryland Global Campus, from the fun stuff like photographs and memorabilia, to the serious and important stuff, such as records that show how the University’s operations have changed and improved over time, including numerous reports and the evolution of distance learning.  

In addition to all these historically valuable records, we also have the original research materials used by Sharon Hudgins to write her fantastic books, Never an Ivory Tower and Beyond the Ivory Tower; two books which contain the history of the University of Maryland Global Campus. 

Never an Ivory Tower covers the first 50 years of the University, and Beyond the Ivory Tower covers the first 60 years, from 1947-2007. 

These books start off discussing the origins of the College of Special and Continuation Studies (CSCS), which is what we were originally called in 1947, when we were still a part of the University of Maryland. 

The books progress through time, covering the “noble experiment” of the European Division and the creation of the Asian Division in 1956, as well as the other overseas programs overseen by the University, such as the Atlantic Division and the Russia Program.  

Also discussed is the progression of the University from CSCS to University College, to the reorganization of the University of Maryland system from which we emerged as the University of Maryland University College!  

Fun fact: Sharon Hudgins performed a fair amount of research within the University Archives in order to put together the information in her books. Additionally, many of the pictures within Never an Ivory Tower and Beyond the Ivory Tower were received from and currently reside in the Archives.