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.

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.  


Welcome to Archives Month!

What is an archive and why is it important?

Well, an archive is defined as “a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people” – but it is so much more than that.

Archives are where our stories go to be preserved.  Archives are where our photos go, so that we can share them with others.  Archives are keepers of history that might otherwise be lost.

Even more than that, we are part of the records retention plan every major institution has.  We are a part of critical business functions.

We hold records of operational importance, as well as historic interest.  We hold annual reports, a nearly complete collection of course catalogs (dating all the way back to 1949).  We have photos of the Pope and Neil Armstrong.  We have memos that detail the massive 280% increase in student enrollment from one semester to the next, and letters detailing tragic accidents and amazing triumphs involving both students and faculty.

The Archives hosts visits from faculty, staff, and students.  We answer a wide variety of questions, everything from: do you have information on our Nuclear Program? To: what is the origin of our logo?

 We assist in information requests from various departments such as: Communications, Human Resources, and Legal Services.  As a matter of fact, internal customers are our most frequent requests – and the information and items we provide are in everything from Town Halls to Achievers. 

We were responsible for gathering resources for both the 70th Anniversary display and the 70th Anniversary Europe display.

And we are only 3 people strong.  Yet, we all feel compelled to preserve the storied history of this extraordinary institution. There is no other University like UMGC – we were global before others even envisioned offering education overseas and we have dedicated ourselves to our nation’s military from our very beginning. Somewhere, somehow, the story of who we are and who we serve should be preserved and shared, and that is why the UMGC Archives exists.

In an effort to continue our mission to collect and share UMGC’s story we encourage all of you to consider donating. 

We take everything from stickers to files.  We are interested in everything having to do with UMGC.  Old logo items, information on the implementation of D2L, business cards, files on the creation or name change of a department, mugs, stress balls, meeting minutes, project meeting agendas and everything in between.  If you have anything you want to get rid of, please reach out!

1960's work van with, "University of Maryland Wants You!" and "Army Education Center" written on the side of it.

UMUC in Bosnia

Did you know that, once upon a time, UMUC held courses in Bosnia?  

Beginning in 1995, U.S. troops were stationed in Bosnia as a peacekeeping force after the Dayton accords were signed. By April 1, 1996, UMUC had begun courses for United States troops stationed in Bosnia.  

Classes were generally held in tents and makeshift buildings assembled with plywood. Some of the courses that were offered in Bosnia included Business and Management, Government and Politics, General Science, English, Sociology, and History.2  

This was certainly not the first time, nor would it be the last, that UMUC faculty went downrange to teach courses to our troops. For those of you who aren’t familiar with military slang, “Downrange” means to be deployed in a war zone. Other downrange locations at which UMUC professors were present include Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Kuwait, to name a few.  

All of the faculty that headed down range to Bosnia, first had to undergo four days of military training in Germany. “The training, conducted by the U.S. military, includes briefings on the countries, cold weather training, courses in mine awareness and detonation, and classes in how to react to booby traps, ambushes and sniper fire.”3 Talk about a crash course! 

Steve Holowenzak was a UMUC professor who was assigned to teach in Bosnia. According to an article in the Washington Post,  Holowenzak’s situation in Bosnia “is typical for UMUC professors stationed with troops in dangerous places. He wears military fatigues, a flak vest and helmet; he sleeps on a military cot, in a military sleeping bag; he eats the same food as the soldiers; and he treads a careful path when venturing off base, for mines do not discriminate between people with weapons and people with PhDs.”1 

It should be noted that we have two separate photograph collections of Bosnia. In this post, the standalone photos are from Steve Holowenzak’s collection, and the sleeved photos are from a collection donated by Jim Moss.  

(I apologize for the glare on the photographs; it’s hard to take good photos on a cell phone!) 


1) Mass, P. (1996, April 12). Join the Faculty and See the World. The Washington Post, pp. B7 

2) Brown, L. (1996, March 25) U.S. troops in Bosnia, Hungary and Croatia Take College Courses Thanks to University of Maryland University College.  

3) Brown, L. (1996, March 25) U.S. troops in Bosnia, Hungary and Croatia Take College Courses Thanks to University of Maryland University College. 

The Big Sort

Within the cold depths of the University Archives, we are undergoing what we have dubbed The Big Sort. This project involves combing through all the, as yet, unsorted boxes within the archives; boxes that haven’t been opened since they were first placed on our shelves many moons ago. You see, before Renee Brown became our Archivist, materials sent to the archives were merely packed up and put downstairs, devoid of any clues concerning their contents. We finally decided it was time to figure out what’s in these poor, neglected boxes.  

The Big Sort entails opening each non-archival box, pulling out every document, folder, and binder, and determining where, in the archive’s many collections, they belong. It also entails finding documents that do not belong in the archives, such as timesheets with social security numbers on them, which must be properly disposed of. 

The purpose of The Big Sort is not merely to satiate our burning curiosity, although I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a factor. We intend to achieve a number of goals with this project that will benefit the archives. First and foremost, we are hoping that we will be able to make enough room on our shelves for the newly acquired Asian Division collection. This goal can potentially be achieved by meeting another goal: finding and extracting materials that do not belong in the archives and disposing of them. By doing this, we are ensuring that everything within the walls of the archives is, indeed, archival material that can be used to document the history of our university.  

Another major goal of The Big Sort is to make old materials newly available. While these documents have been in the archives for years, we haven’t known precisely what they are or what information they provide. By establishing what collections these documents belong to and ensuring their proper placement, we are making these materials available for future use. We are excited about the opportunity to flesh out some of the collections that have been lacking materials, such as the Human Resources collection which went from being barren to chock full of folders. 

Finally, The Big Sort is providing us a much-needed opportunity to reorganize the archives. While the archives may look like one big mess to the uninitiated, it is all sorted into collections and each collection has its place within the archive. However, as many of these collections continue to grow, they need more shelf space. Therefore, once the big sort is complete, we will shift the collections around to better fit their needs and accommodate those that continue to increase in size.  

So, if you happen to pop down to the Archives in the near future, please excuse the mess. As we continually tell ourselves, it is going to get worse before it gets better!