Louis Firth – First Graduate of Setonia

We are currently poised to celebrate the latest Seton Hall commencement in creative ways during this time of COVID-19, but even without a formal communal ceremony we are proud to honor the graduates of the Class of 2020 nonetheless.  We offer them congratulations, but also pause to remember several thousand others who received degrees from Seton Hall over the last few centuries.  In looking back at the history of school commencement exercises and alumni rolls, a common question often arises.  Have you ever wondered who was the first individual to receive a diploma from the Seton Hall?  The answer takes us back to 1862 when a young man by the name of Louis Firth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and became the first to set a trend that lasts to the present day.

When Louis Firth crossed the Hudson River to New Jersey from his New York City home to attend Seton Hall College as a freshman in 1857 he knew that a seven-year academic journey (Prep and College divisions were combined at this time) that a unique intellectual awakening awaited him.  What he experienced followed a set of prescribed and orderly goals that he and his fellow Setonians took to heart: “The object of the Institution is to impart a good education in the highest sense of the word – to train the moral, intellectual, and physical being.  The health, manners, and morals of the pupils, are an object of constant attention.  The system of government is mild and paternal, yet firm in enforcing the observance of established discipline.  No pupil will be received from another College without unexceptional testimonials, and none will be retained, whose manners and morals are not satisfactory.”

After graduation, Firth moved back to New York City and lived most of his life at West 37th Street in Manhattan as one of a growing number of alumni who remained in the metropolitan area. In an interview conducted during the early 20th century, Firth opened up to the local press about his days at Seton Hall and some of the memorable figures he encountered during his halcyon days on campus.

Early in the article the reporter noted that: “Mr. Firth who is hale and hearty and as active as a man twenty years his junior, paid a tribute to the work of the first president (Father Bernard McQuaid) when the college was at Madison, where he first saw him in 1857, and at South Orange when the college was established there.”  Of Reverend McQuaid, Firth marveled at his “vigor” and went on to recount that: “. . . this remarkable man had a wonderful influence over the boys at college . . . the holy and learned men with which he surrounded himself and taught us imparted the qualities which fit a man to live.  Character was formed at Seton Hall, because of the environment.”

Rev. Bernard J. McQuaid, President of Seton Hall College (1856-57 and 1859-68)

When it came to recollecting his graduation day, Firth colorfully illustrated the scene and his creativity in marking this historical day . . .

“The first commencement exercises were held on an improvised stage built under the trees just east of the present college buildings.  There were but a small number present, as South Orange was but a hamlet, and there were no cars to Newark.  Through a prank played by the boys a few nights before commencement day, I came very near not being the first graduate of the college.  It happened in this way: The college bell rang every morning at 4 o’clock, and the farmers for miles around roe by it.  One night we planned to ring it at 2 o’ clock instead, and after setting the college clock two hours fast, I was selected to pull the rope.  I did it, and hustled back to bed.  The college prefect, whose duty it was to ring the bell, appeared just then, looked at the clock and went about his early morning work, wondering all the while how the bell rung.  The farmers were awakened and started in to do a day’s work.  Needless to say, when the sun did not rise at the appointed time, watches were compared, and the faculty decided that a prank had been played.”   Needless to say that despite the “time change” Firth managed to make it to the ceremony and receive his honor due.  A full overview of the ceremony can be viewed below . . .

For more information on the 1862 academic year  and other early 19th century details featuring studies at Seton Hall please consult our Undergraduate Catalog(ue) links found via the Archives & Special Collections – eRepository site at – https://scholarship.shu.edu/archives/    We are also available to assist with information on commencement ceremonies along with other research questions concerning Seton Hall and we can be reached via e-mail at:  Archives@shu.edu

WSOU-FM – The First Air Date and Researching This Milestone

Contributed By  Jack Kelly, BA ‘66,  MMAS US Army Command and General Staff College, 1981

Anyone writing about Seton Hall student organizations history can access significant material in the Archives & Special Collections Center.  This is especially true with regard to the founding and first airing of radio station WSOU-FM, the first College operated FM station in New Jersey.  On April 14, WSOU celebrated its 72nd Anniversary.

Front Page of the March 5, 1948 Setonian proclaiming the creation of W-S-O-U FM

Among the archival items which provided the background and ensuing explanation of the WSOU founding were the Memoirs of Msgr. James F. Kelley ’24, the President of Seton Hall College.  The Memoirs have a section devoted to WSOU as a student run activity and can be coupled with important description of the events which took place from the inception and thought to the actual on-air event on April 14th, 1948.

As a new of enterprise, Seton Hall needed approval of the Board of Trustees and the then Archbishop of Newark, Thomas J.  Walsh for whom the Walsh gymnasium is named and the home of WSOU for its 72 year history. Msgr. Kelley described an exchange with U.S. President Harry Truman and his daughter Margaret, at which time a possible allocation of a station might be accomplished.  He merely had to educate and persuade the Board of Trustees.  In addition, the actual cost of the building of the station would be a significant amount of money, Msgr. Kelley finessed this by persuading several donors to finance the acquisition of the needed equipment, and through his many contacts, he even acquired a radio tower, which still stands today at the rear of the Walsh Gymnasium and Regan Athletic Center complex.

Cover Art of Early W-S-O-U FM Program Guide, c. 1948

Construction of the Seton Hall radio station actually began in January 1948, as reported in the Setonian, under the tutelage of Fr. (later Msgr.) Thomas J. Gillhooly ‘33 whom he had appointed the Director, in the previous December with a mission of actually getting station built.  Fr. Gillhooly organized the original staff of the station and with the help of several students, notably Thomas N. Parnham ‘50, who would remain the Chief Engineer until his death in 1994 and Victor J. Kemper ’50, later to become a noted cinema-photographer in Hollywood, the actual physical installation of the WSOU was accomplished in time to go on air as needed on April 14, even if the radio tower was not yet erected and a lower power output had to be used.

Studio Engineer “cues up” a record for broadcast within the W-S-O-U FM studio, c. late 1940s-early 1950s

The big day arrived on a Wednesday, and at 8:00 PM the first words were spoken by Fr. Gillhooly to start the event, with the Archbishop in attendance along with the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Ted Husing, a noted sports announcer of the time, and for whom the Press box in Walsh Gymnasium was subsequently dedicated.  Soon afterward the initial launch,  the “Voice of Seton Hall” would be on the air seven days a week, providing a variety of programs, including live performances, recorded music, the first nationality oriented programs and eventually remote broadcast of events such as Baseball and Basketball as well as community topics of interest in the New York Metropolitan area.

Various collections concerning WSOU-FM radio can be found via our Homepage at:  https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&op%5B%5D=&q%5B%5D=wsou&commit=&field%5B%5D=&from_year%5B%5D=&to_year%5B%5D=

Additional information about the history of WSOU-FM radio are welcome along with questions about existing resources can be found by contacting us via e-mail site at:  Archives@shu.edu


Irish New Testament and the First President of Seton Hall

The connection between Seton Hall and its tradition of Irish influences is a relationship that has been strong from the beginning and has been intertwined in various ways into the present day.  Counted among the most tangible examples can be found in the Archives & Special Collections Center and specifically within our Irish Book holdings collection. Found is a unique text that features a 19th century Irish language version of the New Testament (Tiomna Nuadh) which has specific ties to Bernard J. McQuaid, the first President of Seton Hall College.

Title Page of Tiomna Nuadh, 1830

To provide context, this volume entitled: An Tiomna Nuadh ar dTíghearna agus ar Slánuightheora Iosa Criosd : air na tharruing go firinneach as an nGréigis ughdarach (English Variation: Holy Bible, New Testament) was published in 1830.  The work is presented in Irish Gaelic script typeface and this leather bound volume with panel stamping and tooling for this 386 tome separated in two column text was formally released by P.D. Hardy of Dublin.

This detailed version is actually a centuries old translation that received proof reading treatment by the Hibernian Bible Society prior to mass production. This society (originally known as the Dublin Bible Society was founded in Dublin in 1806 with a mission to promote the circulation and access to religious tracts.  It was founded by Rev. Benjamin Williams Mathias (1772-1841) who was part of the missionary evangelical movement in the Church of Ireland.  The original intent was to circulate scriptural texts in their original form without any commentary as evident when looking through the pages of this manuscript.

Example of text page from Tiomna Nuadh, 1830

The Tiomna Nuadh proper was translated by Uilliam O’Domhnuill (William Daniel O’Donnell) and edited by Earpug Thuam (Edward O’Reilly).  The lead on this project, O’Domhnuill whose life predated this work was a native of Kilkenny who was a clergyman and made history as the first appointed scholar and later one of the original elected fellows of Trinity College, Dublin during the 17th century.  His work here led to the creation of the translation above which was preceded by an earlier and less prolific published version from 1602.  O’Domhnuill followed this up with an Irish version of the Book of Common Prayer.  Along with his translation works, the most enduring legacy for O’Domhnuill came during his tenure as Archbishop of Tuam for the Church of Ireland (Anglican) from 1609 until his death in 1628.

In addition to the content, the 1830 tome is particularly special as it features a bookplate that our copy was originally donated by Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid (1823-1909) to the now defunct St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, New York which he had founded in 1893. The circuitous route of this book has found its way to our collection with strong connections to the original donor who was noted as a solid advocate of Catholic educational endeavors.  Upon ordination in 1848, McQuaid whose parents came from Tyrone and raised in nearby Powel’s Hook (now known as Jersey City) was a young priest who was first assigned a parish in Madison (the original home of Seton Hall) and later the first rector of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Newark for the Diocese of Newark of Newark when the See was established in 1853.

Father McQuaid was then assigned by Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley as the first president of Seton Hall College upon its founding in 1856, and he also became the inaugural rector of the Seminary from 1860-62.  He left the school for two years, but came back for a second stint as chief executive at the college from 1859-67.  More introductory information on McQuaid can be found via the following link –  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09507b.htm or through various resources in our collection including his Presidential Papers – https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/273

The Tiomna Nuadh is unique from many standpoints including its being in a vernacular aside from Latin so it could be read by those especially those who were literate in Irish. Today there appears to be under 30 library copies worldwide that possess this particular print volume along with our institution.  This book (Call Number BS2151 1830) can be referenced in our reading room upon request during business hours.  In addition, more information about more of our Irish-oriented resources can be found via our Irish Library Guide – https://library.shu.edu/Irish-studies

For more information about this topic or related subject matter please contact University Archivist and Irish Studies liaison Alan Delozier via e-mail: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu

African American Studies – 50th Anniversary of Distinction

The legacy and importance of formal African American Studies curricular development on campus goes back five decades.  Originally known as the Center for Black Studies, its founding date of August 1, 1970 heralded the start of a unique and valuable learning opportunity for the Seton Hall University academic community which continues to this day.

Student Artist from the African-American Studies program, c. early 1980s

From its adoption, the early vision of Dr. George Jackson who was appointed the first Director of Black Studies combined with strong administrative support from Msgr. Thomas Fahy, University President and Bishop John Dougherty, President Emeritus, the program had a successful launch and solid foundation from which to build further recognition.  The Center for Black Studies offered students the choice of a certificate, or degree-bearing option of study which included a Bachelor of Arts in Black Culture or Black Community Studies upon successful completion of coursework.  This program has continued to evolve over time and from the 1980s forward changed its operating title and is now focused on offering diplomas centered on both African American and Africana Studies in particular.

The ongoing mission of the Center for African American Studies has been well-documented throughout its history via the existence of various writings produced by the institute from its planning days during the late 1960s forward.  The following passage captures the philosophical approach created by the founders and developed upon over time: “The Black Studies Center seeks to encourage Black scholars to develop vital skills in the interest of the Black community . . . It also recognizes that part of its mission must be to operate in a manner which will promote humane application of contemporary knowledge and skills to the Black community and to society in general.  If scholarship is to be one of the tools by which total freedom is to be obtained then the Black scholar and those who guide his development must accept no compromise for excellence.”  This all tied into the prime objective of training individuals who would continue to promote research and create publications related to African American themes for present and future generations to explore in more depth.

The archival records that correspond to the Center for African American Studies contain materials documenting the operation of the institute from 1970 until the late 1980s.  Included within our holdings connected to this area are examples of budget data, office memoranda, course offering overviews, meeting minutes, newsletters, notices, and various operational files that show the inner-workings of the Center.  More details about this collection can be found by consulting the following finding aid:  https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/repositories/2/resources/316

In addition to the Center for African American Studies proper, the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center holds a number of other resources related to the African American experience.  More details on specific collections and relevant holdings can be found via the following site:  https://library.shu.edu/collections-guide/african-american-studies

For more information on any aspect of African-American or University History you can contact us by phone: (973) 275-2378, or via e-mail at: <Alan.Delozier@shu.edu>

Xmas and The Setonian During the Late 1920s and Early 1930s

During the second and third decade of the 20th century, the student press became the primary herald of written news, information, and creative expression to the wider college community.  The first issue of The Setonian was founded in 1924 and had been growing in terms of size, publishing schedule, quality, and other factors since that time.  Gracing its pages were many pieces that dealt with theological and philosophy-centered prose, but also included varied accounts of club life, concerts, sporting news, and other memorable events of note along with regularly featured columns, editorials, and creative caricatures that celebrated cultural and societal trends of the day.

With the onset of the Great Depression-era of the early 1930s, the scale of The Setonian became more modest in presentation with only a few issues published per academic year between 1931-32.   Additionally, the size and content resembles more of a literary journal approach than a straight news organ.  This was especially evident with the presence of the “Christmas Number” issues which would become a semi-fixture in latter editions of The Setonian over time

The Yuletide season provided added extra inspiration especially during the December publishing cycle which signaled a natural Christmas and year ending theme found in the pages of editions produced during the late 1920s and 1930s in particular.  This resulted in scores of poems, short stories, and messages from the administration that captured the spirit of the season in various ways.  Included here are some examples that exhibit the thoughts and feelings of the student body written by students of yore . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These and other examples are found not only during the earliest days of The Setonian, but in later editions and other expressions around campus even through the latest edition of the paper and as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the memorable Tree Lighting this year, the spirit of this time of year and meaning of the season are documented for the ages.  Happy Holidays everyone!

Illustration from The Setonian, December 1928

For more information about Seton Hall history please feel free to contact the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center via e-mail at:  Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378

Thanksgiving at Seton Hall During the 19th Century

The Thanksgiving holiday has traditionally been a time of celebration and remembrance within the American experience.  The modern observance of Thanksgiving Day began in 1863 during the Civil War and promoted by President Abraham Lincoln as a means of spiritual reflection and call for national harmony.

Seton Hall was no exception in this regard as the school formally celebrated this commemoration in various ways during the 19th century.  Honoring the day typically resulted in a release from classes during the morning and afternoon on Thanksgiving Thursday.  After a special repast for those remaining on campus a musical program that featured vocalists and instrumental solos typically completed the day.  Other offerings depending on the year included lectures or theatrical presentations that typically centered on classical themes were presented by students, faculty, and others connected with the college.  Those in attendance often included the few boarding students on campus, clergy, and local citizens the night of Thanksgiving, or on a special date close to the holiday.

During late November, the school also celebrated the feast day of St. Cecilia who was the patroness of music and musicians on November 22nd.  Seton Hall held various events to celebrate this art form and the importance of melodic expression especially choral groups that served as an important extra-curricular option for the student body.  This was one of the primary activities that distinguished student life during the earliest days of Setonia with the emergence of choral groups and popular student programming that became a regular feature not only for Thanksgiving or St. Cecilia day, but throughout the academic year.

For more information about holiday observances and any aspect of Seton Hall University History please feel free to contact us via e-mail at:  Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.

“Ever More” – Edgar Allan Poe & Rare Book Holdings

With the calendar pointing to late October, reading trends this time of year often focus on tales of mystery and mayhem connected with the observance of Halloween.  Counted among the most famous authors who represent this time of year so vividly is Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49).  Among his varied literary accomplishments, Poe is often credited with being the first to create and popularize the genre of science fiction.  Many of his stories touched on the darker side of human nature, but his writing style was unique and captured the public imagination.  Within an academic context, the short stories penned by Poe are still assigned by many professors as required reading for their students to study and learn from in turn.

Illustration from “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” (New York: Brentano’s, 1923)

When it comes to learning more about Edgar Allan Poe, biographical information and introductory information on some of his more famous writings can be found via the University Libraries Search page at: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/results?vid=0&sid=c0971814-1a94-41d1-b97c-87b36a01b8dc%40sessionmgr101&bquery=Edgar%2BAllan%2Bpoe&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPXNzbyZ0eXBlPTAmc2VhcmNoTW9kZT1BbmQmc2l0ZT1lZHMtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d

Inside the Archives & Special Collections are different historical anthologies and special edition volumes that capture the written legacy of Poe in greater detail.  Included are the following titles under his authorship:  Eurkea, Marginalia; A Chapter on Autobiography (Boston: L.C. Page, 1884);  Poetical Works With Original Memoir (New York: J.S. Redfield, 1858);  Poems and Essays (Boston: L.C. Page, 1884);  Prose Tales (Boston: L.C. Page, 1884); and Tales of Mystery and Imagination (New York: Brentano’s, 1923) among other works of scholarship that have endured the test of time.

Illustration connected to the Poe short story: “The Raven” from “Poetical Works With Original Memoir”(New York: J.S. Redfield, 1858)

These and other works by Poe and different authors who specialize in suspense and other genres can be found through within our collection.  For more information about Edgar Allan Poe, Rare Book holdings, and research opportunities please feel free to contact us to arrange an appointment via e-mail: <archives@shu.edu> or by phone at:  (973) 275-2378.

The Latino Experience & Seton Hall University – From Pioneering Students to the Unanue Institute

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month and the 45th Anniversary of the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute, the Archives & Special Collections Center is proud to present an exhibit that honors the contributions of this Center and its varied accomplishments.

First Page of the 1856-57 Student Register

The historical course of Seton Hall has been enhanced with the presence of Latino students from its foundation years to the present day.  Within the earliest college registers it has been discovered that Mr. Ernesto Regil, a native of the Yucatan Mexico was the 20th student ever enrolled at the school on October 20, 1856.  This milestone led the way to a number of other students from across Mexico along with future classmates from the Latin American countries of Cuba, Ecuador, and Panama among other lands who would consistently fill class rosters during the mid-late 19th century.  Their example led the path, but over time countless students, faculty, administrators, and friends of the Latino experience have also contributed to the positive growth of Seton Hall in their own respective ways.

More formal recognition of the contributions made by the Latino community came about in 1974 with the creation of the Puerto Rican Institute (which would later come to be known as the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute) at Seton Hall University.  Their objective has been to promote scholarship, culture, history, and build further recognition of the value connected with this unique area of study as shown in part through various examples found within this exhibit and within our collective research holdings.

Various reproductions from original texts found within the Archives & Special Collections Center have been included to highlight the early days of the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute in order to show in part the educational mission, cultural support, and overall vibrancy and value of this organization across campus and to the wider community.

Examples from our collection will be on exhibit from September through December of 2019 in the First Floor foyer of Walsh Library located across from the stairs and elevator.

  • For additional background and more information on this topic and other aspects of Seton Hall please feel free to contact University Archivist, Alan Delozier at: delozier@shu.edu or by phone: (973) 275-2378.

Student Perspective on Junot Diaz and “Poetry in the Round”

This week we highlight the reflections of Rutgers University student Julia Bonavitacola on her internship in Special Collections this summer . . .

One thing that I have learned from my time in the Walsh Library archives is how close twenty-six miles really is. It has amazed me how often Seton Hall University and Rutgers University have overlapped in the past, not just on the basketball court but in the people that have frequented both places.

The past few weeks of diving through Seton Hall University’s archives has presented an interesting perspective on how Seton Hall has thrived the past twenty-five years as well as provided me with interesting posters and programs to pore over. But I’m an English major at Rutgers University, my heart has always been in finding anything pertaining to literature and the campus on the banks of the Raritan. I have not been disappointed.

While sorting through archival papers, a program caught my eye. The annual “Poetry in the Round” was held at the Bishop Dougherty Student Center on April 29, 1996. And who should be the featured author but Rutgers alum Junot Diaz, come to read from his then newly released book of short stories Drown and snippets from works in progress.

Junot Diaz was often talked about in my creative writing classes. A story of someone from New Jersey becoming a writer, who took the same classes as we did and, perhaps, even sat in the same seats. When Creative Writing students felt like they couldn’t make it, we could always look to Junot Diaz. His Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is always stocked in the bookstore and English majors around campus recommend it any time you need a new book. The mentions of Rutgers, the EE bus, Demarest Hall and College Ave sprinkled throughout the novel gave us Rutgers students a chance to relate. A chance to relate to a man whose career started just the same as ours.

Given the inexplicable relationship Rutgers English and Creative Writing majors have with Junot Diaz, it was astounding to me to see he had come to read at Seton Hall. Of course, Rutgers doesn’t have exclusive rights to Diaz; his work is out in the world for all to read. But the idea that Diaz could be championed by New Jersey natives from all walks of life, whether they were born in New Jersey or in another country like Diaz, made me realize that we can all relate to the themes of Diaz’s work. The feelings of not knowing our identity, trying to fit in, the fear of dying before we’ve really lived. These themes aren’t exclusive to the creative writing classrooms in the basement of Murray Hall, these are themes that run across all of the United States, a whole generation of students currently sitting in classrooms just like the ones that Diaz himself sat in.

Yes, twenty-six miles isn’t all that big. So, in 1996, when Junot Diaz was reading his short stories, the distance between Rutgers and Seton Hall became insignificant. Literature connects us like no other medium, bringing age groups from across vast distances together like no other. That night in 1996, Diaz was shrinking the cultural gap, the language barrier and the twenty-six-mile gap between Seton Hall and Rutgers, until everyone was boiled down to their simplest form: human beings experiencing the same world that Diaz encountered. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters more than any distance.

A Moment in Space and Time – Seton Hall Honors A Pioneering Astronaut

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first successful Moon Landing by humankind, this month has been a time of reflection in regard to the wonders of inter-galactic exploration that have made history.  The American space program was very active during the 1960s as a number of different astronauts and support staff completed memorable missions beyond the borders of Earth made it possible for scores of individuals to learn more about our solar system as a result of their collective efforts.  Those connected with Seton Hall were no different in its fascination with astronomological  studies through the sharing of news updates, course content, and seeing what would come next in the evolution of space travel and discovery.

In light of the popularity of the cosmos created through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its successful work made those associated with the program not only trailblazers, but also heroes and role models.  This led Seton Hall to bestow an honorary degree of science on James Alton McDivitt (b. 1929), a United States Air Force Brigadier General (Ret.), Aeronautical Engineer, and Astronaut whose work with various programs between 1962-72 as part of NASA led to command of the Gemini 4 mission which included the first U.S. spacewalk and the Apollo 9 mission of April, 1969.  This latter endeavor encompassed the testing of Lunar Modules and hardware that would be used a few months later on the famed mission to the Moon that achieved success and renown two months later.

McDivitt himself made history as the first Roman Catholic to soar into space.  Along with this milestone, his  accomplishments on the whole were recognized by University President, the Most Reverend John Dougherty in his last official act before retirement when he introduced then Colonel McDivitt at the morning commencement ceremony of June 7, 1969 with the following words . . .

“Mother Earth is a Jealous Guardian, and Few are the Men who have been privileged to free themselves completely from her embrace.  Yet he whom we honor here has done so twice . . . Were it not for the knowledge gleaned from the experiments with Apollo 9, of which he was the command pilot, we would not now – – actually and vicariously – – be standing on the threshold of the moon and, perhaps, beyond.  Stalwart in honor, upright in integrity, steadfast in bravery, devoted to his family and his country and his God, he was but a natural choice to become an adopted son of Seton Hall.  For he is of the stuff of heroes.”

Seton Hall University Commencement – 1969 (From Left to Right) Bishop John Dougherty, University President; Senator Gale W. McGee, (D-WY); Colonel McDivitt

Before a graduating class of 1,887, Colonel McDivitt noted to those in attendance that: “You are entering into another form of life, and there is a lot to be done . . . With luck, skill and hard work I am confident we will land on the moon this year.  I am also confident that in your lifetime you will see men on Venus and Mars.  Landing on the moon is only the first step in space exploration.  Perhaps in your lifetime you will be called upon to solve problems on Mars and Venus along with those on Earth and the knowledge we gain will help the lot of people all over the world.”  He also urged the graduates to keep both their standards and ideals high as they made their way in the world.  Another revelation came when Colonel McDivitt mentioned that he carried a relic of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton on his Apollo 9 flight that was sent to him by a nun who prayed for his success and in the process made the bond closer between the honoree and his fellow alumni.

With his words as a prelude to the Moon landing and the exploration of Mars that is currently being undertaken, the words of Colonel McDivitt live on and have provided the Seton Hall community and others who heard his message with a hopeful note moving into the future of time and space discoveries yet to ensue.

For more information on Seton Hall history please feel free to contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist by e-mail: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or phone: (973) 275-2378.