Graduation Reflections: Mundelein Commencement Through the Years

WLA graduate assistants and Master’s in Public History Angela and Emily, pose with fellow graduate Matt before their Commencement ceremony on May 7, 2019. Angela and Emily each earned a Master’s in Public History and Matt earned a Master’s in United States History.

It’s graduation time at Loyola University Chicago, and I’ve enjoyed looking back at commencement photographs from the collection of Mundelein College. Mundelein College, founded and operated by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), provided education to women from 1930 until 1991 when it affiliated with Loyola University Chicago.

I helped reprocess the Mundelein College Paper Records and wrote the collection finding aid alongside Project Archivist Caroline. We arranged, described, and housed archival objects for patron use. The Women and Leadership Archives, in Piper Hall on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, holds the many, many boxes of processed materials from the Catholic women’s college. Today, Mundelein’s skyscraper building is known as the Mundelein Center for Fine and Performing Arts. The Women and Leadership Archives preserves the college’s memory through a variety of records.

Those records include alumnae files (see my blog post about them here), academic files, and a wonderful photograph collection (see Hannah’s blog post about digitizing the Mundelein College photos here), just to name a few. Through those photos, I’ve enjoyed learning about Mundelein’s religious traditions, faculty histories, student life, and internal structure.

I’ve worked with many other fascinating collections over the last two years, such as the papers of Marjorie Tuite, O.P. and other feminist Catholics, Lyrl Van Hyning, and the 8th Day Center for Justice. However, I’ll always remember Mundelein’s collection fondly. Since graduation is fast approaching, I wanted to share with you some photographs from Mundelein’s commencement ceremonies over the decades.

Commencement in front of the Skyscraper, Mundelein College Photograph Collection, 1969

Commencement in between the Skyscraper and Piper Hall, Mundelein College Photograph Collection, 1966

Commencement in front of the Skyscraper, Mundelein College Photograph Collection, 1961

Commencement in front of the Skyscraper, Mundelein College Photograph Collection, 1931

Commencement in front of the Skyscraper, Mundelein College Photograph Collection, 1971

Commencement hug, Mundelein College Paper Records, 1981

Summer commencement, Sr. Mary Ignatia Griffin, BVM-Dean and Sr. Mary Griffin-Assistant Dean (center), Mundelein College Paper Records, 1965

Richard Green and Barbara Loescher Green, Mundelein College Paper Records, 1963

Mundelein College graduate Mollie West, school President Sr. Susan Rink, BVM, and commencement speaker, Addie Wyatt, Mundelein College Paper Records, 1978

Angela is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is in the final year of Loyola University Chicago’s MA in Public History. Originally from the West Coast, she is enthusiastic about pub trivia and is a devoted National Public Radio listener.

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About Women and Leadership Archives

Established in 1994, the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) collects, preserves, and makes available permanently valuable records of women and women’s organizations, which document women’s lives, roles, and contributions. The WLA grew out of the need to care for the records of Mundelein College and expanded to collect papers of women leaders and women’s organizations. Collection strengths include the subject areas of activism and women’s issues; authors; education; environmental issues; public service; social justice; women religious; and the fine, performance, and visual arts. The WLA is part of the Gannon Center and Loyola University Libraries and serves a wide variety of users, ranging from students and scholars to the general public. The WLA makes records available at the Archives in Loyola’s Piper Hall, offers remote reference services, presents programs, and provides online resources. Staff include a Director, Assistant Archivist, and graduate assistants from Loyola’s Public History Program.

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