MIAMI WESTERN UNION
The weekend of June 15-17, 1973, was festive on
both sides of Patterson Avenue. Under a big striped tent in Miami's
south quad two thousand alumni signed class registers, while a record number
of Western College women donned badges under a big blue banner in
Clawson Hall. These two women found their spacious campus adorned with
two new buildings--Thomson Hall and the new [Hoyt] library. Some scores of
people crossed and recrossed the long border street, husbands and wives with
affiliation on both sides.
An unplanned unofficial highlight
of the Miami reunion was a nostalgic activity on the corner of High Street
and Tallawanda. A week earlier, on the Miami Commencement day, Tuffy Potter
had served toasted rolls to the final customers in his corner sandwich shop.
For 43 years that friendly place had capped the old
High Street fraternity row. Now the fraternities were replaced by academic
halls and in the lengthening shadows of June 15 alumni overflowed that
corner. Under the old maple trees an auctioneer was raffling Tuffyana.
Going . . . going . . . gone! were the coffee urns,
the soda fountains, the toaster grills, the tableware, and 21 wooden
booths hatched and cross-hatched with Greek letters, class numerals,
and twined initials.
On Saturday, June 16, the Western
women heard four professors present "mini-units" of classroom learning.
At Alumnae Chapel while doves cooed in the great old Kumler cottonwood
they had "A Time to Remember" recalled by a 1943 graduate who was a
niece of their honored professor emeritus Isabel St. John Bliss. At
the alumnae banquet on Saturday evening Mary Lee Brandenburg, president
of the Alumnae Association, presented silver charms to 24 members of
the 50-year class of 1923. The euphoria of two new buildings and A Time
to Remember was not stifled by a brief statement from President
Spencer that Western College and Miami University were preparing terms
In the deepening June dusk while Miami alumni were lugging off their
trophies from Tuffy's auction, President Phillip R. Shriver and
President William C. Spencer held a joint news conference in Roudebush
Hall across the street. Earlier that day in separate meetings their
two Boards had passed identical resolutions. Each president was empowered
"to prepare an agreement . . . for affiliation of The Western College
with Miami University prior to the 1973-74 academic year." The Western
resolution sanctioned the sale of McKee Hall to Miami, and the Miami
resolution authorized the purchase of McKee Hall for a sum not to
exceed $300,000. To the press President Shriver at first merely reported
the agreement, leaving explanation and comment to President Spencer
. His statement reviewed recent relations between the institutions.
Following the creation of a Miami-Western Committee on Cooperation in
1970, Western students enrolled in certain Miami classes while Miami
faculty began teaching a few courses at Western. Miami hospital
and computer facilities were made available to Western , and Western
opened to Miami students library space, intramural fields and
cross-country runways. In 1971 Western suggested that 100 Miami men
be lodged and boarded in unused Western residence and dining space.
This led to Miami's leasing of McKee Hall, the admitting of men to
Western classrooms, and to the change of name from Western College for
Women to The Western College. In 1972 Western enrolled 55 freshmen among
its 350 students. On June 10, 1973 the last all-women class was graduated.
Now, five days later, came this resolution of affiliation. Spencer's
comment concluded: "During the coming academic year both institutions
will cooperatively work out details of a more permanent affiliation,
which can create a practical and distinctive bond to best serve both
The Western College and Miami University."
The press conference continued for an hour or more. Behind the kindly
word "affiliation" lay hard cold facts, but there was no specific
reference to deepening debt and importunate creditors, and only glancing
notice of laws and regulations of a state university. This was
essentially an upbeat briefing. President Spencer said he had proposed
affiliation "because of the financial needs of Western College . . . the
real financial crisis that pervades all of private higher education.
Of the various alternatives [not mentioning bankruptcy, receivership,
and public auction] an affiliation with Miami University seemed most
proper." The two presidents referred to past discussions about
having Western operate with Miami as a unit like those of residential colleges
at Yale, Michigan State, Claremont and the University of California
at Santa Cruz. If that conception could materialize, assuming
approval and support of Ohio legislators, The Western College would become,
on July 1, 1974, a new division of Miami University.
It was generally believed that to survive financially a college needs
700 students. Current enrollment at Western was 400; goal of
750 had been planned for 1975. To attract and accommodate that number
new facilities were required. So, importunate bond-holders were
fended off while new buildings went up. It was a cruel logic–go
deeper into debt in hope of future solvency. This policy had
preceded President Spencer's tenure. In the night air hung the
auctioneer's words at Tuffy's corner. Going . . . going . . . gone!
On July 10 both Western and Miami released a Memorandum of Understanding
for Affiliation and Union. Its ten points included Western's transfer
of all physical properties and assets while Miami provided $3,300,000 to
meet Western's liabilities. To his own faculty President Shriver
explained that one-half of that amount would come from Miami's dormitory
and dining hall funds; the remainder would be sought from the state
legislature. In the second week of August the enactment of House Bill 985
included an appropriation of $1,800,000 for acquisition by Miami
University of the Western College properties.
In mid-August, normally the most relaxed time of year, Shriver appointed
a planning team on the best use of The Western College of Miami University.
Under chair of Professor Warren L. Mason with Professor Robert J. Wittman
as executive secretary, the 15 faculty and staff members were to submit
within three months three proposals for the development of Miami's
new division. To the team was added a panel of 12 consultants from
the Miami faculty, and three, to be named by President Spencer, from
Western College. Immediately the planning team began work. President
Shriver attended its first meeting, which concluded a walking tour
of the 208-acre Western campus, from Patterson
the traditional home of Western presidents, to the remote beechwoods over
looking the Tallawanda valley. Most of the buildings and much of
the grounds were new exciting territory to this committee. Exciting,
and at the same time sobering. They say sagging floors, leaky roofs,
scaling plaster, footways cracked and crumbling on the lovely
Western bridges. Inevitably the Western plant had eroded during years
of increasing debt. Although this lay outside the committee's province
it had a bearing upon their academic assignment.
Ahead of the planning team was a strenuous agenda with twice-a-week
meetings throughout September and October. Proposals had poured in
from both Western and Miami faculty and alumni (ae) and from the
interested public. The range of 112 separate recommendations is
suggested by a sampling:
Other proposals were focused upon Languages, Music,
Religion, Biblical Studies, Public Administration, Human and Natural
Resources, Health and Welfare, Continuing Education,
and "Real World" Problems.
- continue Western's program of liberal arts and
- create a 3-year resident Law School
- establish a 2-year University College of General Studies
- recreate a Women's College, emphasizing women's studies
- set up an Institute of International Studies and Foreign Commerce
- develop an Environmental Education Center
- organize a 4-year School of Creative Writing
- divide Miami's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with science
based on the Miami campus and humanities on Western campus
- create a program of Great Books and Critical Experiments
No doubt this exercise in dreams, hopes and speculations gave an educational
lift to the Oxford community. More people were giving more thought to
the goals and opportunities of higher education than ever before in Miami's
history. During the 1959 Sesquicentennial observance a panel of
visiting educators had lectured on the question "What's A College For?"
Now that question was italicized. An open meeting drew more than a hundred
faculty and students from both Western and Miami. Members of the planning
committee spoke to a general meeting of the Western faculty. Circulation
of reading lists and working papers stimulated both formal and informal
discussion beyond the huddle of the planning team. A realistic rationale
came with a scheduled visit by John D. Millett, former Miami president
and chancelor of the Ohio Board of Regents; he stressed the value of
curricular coherence and a learning sequence rather than a choice of
free electives. From visits to innovative colleges in Michigan, Iowa
and California the committee gained increased awareness of
the problems inherent in experimental programs.
With all this observation, deliberation and discussion, the planning
team put together a report widely circulated in a special edition of the
MIAMIAN. It recommended for adoption in the fall of 1974 one of four
alternate models of undergraduate liberal arts concentration.
Each model included a core curriculum of 12 credit hours per term in the
first two years, with an elective course from the main campus to be added.
The third and fourth years comprised free electives on the Miami campus
except for one or two Western seminars and an individually designed
- A program of interdisciplinary studies
- An integrated program of learning styles and modes of inquiry
- A program of intellectual heritage and human values
- A 2-year interdisciplinary program of general education
The four models were recommended equally. All were in keeping with the
traditional liberal arts emphasis at both Western and Miami. They stressed,
alike, the residential unit, the college as a learning community.
With an aimed enrollment of 250 the first year, growing in four years
to some 750, the student could retain individuality while sharing interests
with intimate tutorial groups and self-directed study. The faculty would
live on or near the campus in dormitory suites and separate residences.
From the four recommended curricula the University Senate chose
the program of interdisciplinary studies focused upon a concept of the
Creative Self. Its freshman courses were Selfhood and Personal Identity,
the American Society and its Critics, and Principles of Order and Disorder
in the Natural Universe. The sophomore courses were The Measure of Man,
Comparative Cultures, and The Artist's Expression of Man's Ideas.
The merging with Western brought Miami University into the midst of a
widespread interest in the relationship of private colleges to the State.
In 1972-73 there came 29 closings of private colleges, seven
institutional mergers, and six assimilations by state institutions.
The adopting of a program of interdisciplinary studies reflected a
growing concern over the supplanting of liberal arts by vocational and
career education. The New York University philosopher Sidney Hook,
who in 1969 had lectured to an impatient audience in old Benton Hall,
averred that student violence and political action threatened humane
scholarship and academic freedom. Now, just four years later, it seemed to
many educators that the enemy of liberal education was neglect. In the
calm that has come over our campuses, said an official at Columbia
University, it may seem melodramatic to still speak of the university
crisis, but a creeping crisis finds liberal education taking second place
to career training. The Western College was in part a protest and an
attempt at rescue.
The chosen program of interdisciplinary studies called for an eventual--in
four years--16 fulltime faculty headed by a Dean and an Associate Dean. So
that the dean could choose his people there was an immediate search,
nationwide, for that appointment. On March 21, 1974, President Shriver
announced the selection from three hundred applicants of Myron J. Lunine,
age 44, "a teacher and administrator of varied experience." Since 1972 he
had been dean of Hampshire College, the fifth institution in a cluster of
Smith College, Amherst College, the University of Massachusetts, and
Mount Holyoke College. Hampshire itself was a new venture in education,
an experimental college occupying an airy site on high ground above
the Connecticut River valley. All its students lived in coed dorms;
they determined social regulations on the campus and were represented
on all faculty committees. They chose their courses without restrictions.
The College stressed independent study and not grades were given.
It enjoyed certain cooperative measures with its neighbors–library,
laboratory, visiting lectures, inter-campus transportation. In that
consortium the dean of newly created Hampshire most have coped and
collaborated with a large state institution and three private colleges
of moderate size and distinguished reputation.
Mike Lunine--a first-name man--never told why after just two years at
innovative Hampshire he sought the post of dean at innovative Western
College. He did say, more than once, that he hoped to see "some
liberalizing" at Miami. His background indicated a bent for mobility and
change; he had brief stays at Iowa, Colorado, the University of Delhi,
India, and the University of Istanbul, Turkey, and Fisk University. At
Kent State, 1968-72, he was dean of the Honors and Experimental College.
Described as "a man who had worked in a remarkable way to wed living
and learning in new modes of academic programming," he liked "verbally and
self-defining students." At Western College the Lunine family moved into
historic Stillman-Kelley the studio-cottage between Patterson Place and
Dean Lunine immediately began recruiting faculty for the Western College
program. An interim committee had advertised in educational media:
the Bulletin of the American Studies Association, the
Chronicle of Higher Education, Science, The Black Scholar,
and Spokeswoman. The advertisement stated: "Miami University,
Oxford, Ohio, will open a new division, the Western College, in the fall
of 1974. Directly adjacent to the main campus of 14,000 students,
the Western College will provide a revolving curriculum in interdisciplinary
studies, with initial emphasis in American Studies and Environmental
Studies. We seek faculty with completed degrees, multiple competencies,
interdisciplinary orientation, and a willingness to collaborate in a
variety of teaching-learning situations. The Western College will be a
distinctive intellectual community, stressing high teacher-student
contact clustered living-learning facilities serving a four-year under-
and graduate experience." Within a few weeks this notice drew more than
five hundred applications. From that number the interim committee selected
sixty leading prospects for consideration by the new dean. Of those
chosen one-third were women and all had specialties in either humanities,
social science or physical science. It was generally a young and
unmarried faculty, a majority with degrees from Eastern universities.
During the first years tentative evaluations of the program were
inconclusive. After four years President Shriver appointed a Special
Task Force on Evaluation of the Western College of Miami University.
It was asked to make a firm recommendation as to whether the program should
be continued, modified or discarded. The result, a 74-page report,
for consideration by the Faculty Council, University Senate, and the
Board the of Trustees, was distributed January 12, 1978, and published as a
special edition of the MIAMIAN. Its most persuasive pages came from two
visiting consultants who in November 1977 had approached
the Western College without previous knowledge or attitudes, except that
they were attached to experimental divisions of their own institutions.
The two referees were Howard R. Bowen of the Claremont Graduate School
in California and Theodore N. Newcomb of the University of Michigan.
What they had to say was bracing indeed to the Western College staff and
arresting, at least, to the Miami faculty at large. Dr. Bowen immediately
remarked upon the national importance of Western College and its resistance
to large, impersonal and bureaucratic organization. He wrote: "The unique
place of Miami University in American higher education is due largely
to its unusual commitment to undergraduate education conducted in a
human setting and with concern for personal development of its students
as individuals. This is seen in the rural setting, the stunningly beautiful
campus, the emphasis on undergraduate study, the deep commitment to liberal
education, the rich extracurricular life, and the limitation on the overall
size of the institution." Looking more closely at the Western College he
declared it "an astonishing success despite considerable constraints under
which it has been working." He found the faculty fully qualified, dedicated
and hard-working, the students somewhat superior to Miami students in their
test scores and performance, and the program imaginative, rigorous and
consistent with excellent liberal education. Western College, he concluded,
is off to a good start though it needs more student enrollment. Students,
he suggested, could be attracted by public information about the program
and clarifying of its separateness and autonomy. He also stressed the
value of the old tradition behind the new venture. To see in the new Western
an evolutionary outgrowth of the old Western would involve alumnae and
friends of the old western in a forward-looking rather than
Dr. Newcomb from Ann Arbor deliberately sought Miami faculty members who did
not favor continuation of the Western College–members who believed that
interdisciplinary studies lacked the depth and rigor of academic disciplines
and who considered Western College a financial failure. At the same time
he found other non-Western faculty who had been impressed by occasional
Western students in their classrooms and by Western colleagues with whom
they had genuine acquaintance. Those who knew most about Western were more
sanguine about its success. This observer found the Western faculty
knowledgeable, broadly informed, and critical-minded; he judged them to
be devoted and effective teachers. Overall he thought them a
more competent faculty than their counterparts in the Residential College
of his own (Ann Arbor) university. The best indication of success would be
found in the post-graduate experience of Western's students, but only time
could provide that judgement. Dr. Newcomb concluded with an affirmation.
"If it turns out that Western can be continued I would have
considerable optimism about its future. . . . I believe it could become one
of the few outstanding ones of its kind in the United States."
The result of the Task Force Evaluation was recommendation from the University
Senate that the Western College program be continued and its divisional
status be maintained. When Dean Lunine resigned in 1980, moving on to
San Francisco State, Professor Curtis Jellison, a veteran of Miami's
American Studies department, became Dean of the Western College, in 1981.
Meanwhile there had come some physical changes of the Western campus.
When built in 1907 the Miami steam and power plant on Spring Street was
comfortably distant from the Slant Walk campus dominated by Old Main Hall.
Seventy years later its tall smokestack marked the very heart of the Miami
campus. Now the needs of the Western College and of the greatly expanded
Miami were met by a modern, efficient and economical plant on the edge of
Bull Run valley beyond Peabody Hall. It was out of sight and out of
mind, with miles of underground tunnels linking more than a hundred university
Western's decrepit Alumnae Hall was graced by an attractive bell tower where
the Heath Chimes rang in all seasons. When it proved to be impractical to
preserve the bell tower, Alumnae Hall was razed, while a free-standing
Carillon Tower, built by gifts of Western alumnae and friends, rose on
the Peabody Green. In the circling foundation wall are two cornerstones
preserved from the original tower. On twin stone lamp posts bronze tablets
memorialize alumnae leaders and faculty members who touched the lives of
many generations of Western students. The chime is played from a console
in Kumler Chapel. Its fourteen bells rang
out on Sunday morning June 17,
1979. In the midst of change they echo the spirit and traditions of
The first Miami academic building erected on Western grounds was
Bachelor Hall, dedicated on a bright fall afternoon in 1979. It memorializes
a Miami teacher who, despite his name and gender, befits the Western scene.
Like the faculty of the old Western he lived with his students. For
thirteen years he was head resident of storied Fisher Hall, where
residential learning was a fact of life. An honor graduate of Miami in 1911,
Joseph M. Bachelor went to Harvard for advanced linguistic study. His work on
English vocabulary made him known to the Century Company, a leading
publisher. For ten years he was a New York editor, contributing to the big
new Century Dictionary. During that time Miami President Hughes repeatedly
asked Bachelor to set a date for his return to Miami as a member of
the English Department. In 1927 the Century Dictionary was published,
and Fisher Hall, newly acquired by Miami University, was opened as a
Freshman residence hall. Its faculty head was young Bergen Evans, class of
1924, who needed an associate proctor. So Bachelor settled there.
The next year Evans went to an older Oxford, as Rhodes Scholar, and Bachelor
became head of Fisher Hall; his assistant was a newcomer named Havighurst.
During the 1930s Bachelor acquired various tracts of marginal farm land
northwest of Oxford. In 1940, after thirteen years with Fisher Hall
freshmen, he moved to the solitude of a weathered farmhouse on those country
acres. There, on a gray December morning in 1947 he was found slumped over
a lapboard of books and papers on his rocking chair beside the cold stone
Unlike most college teachers Bachelor was only half-academic. The other
half was man-of-the-world. Sitting on the west porch of Fisher in the
autumn sunset or beside his fireplace on winter nights, he brought to
the weathered old hall a sense of the vibrant, restless, kaleidoscopic
world beyond the campus horizons. Fifth Avenue, Washington Square,
Madison Square, Greenwich Village, the Broadway theater and ferry boats
criss-crossing the harbor were his talk–along with memories of his Miami
student years a generation past. From his faculty colleagues in Fisher
Hall as well as from the stream of freshmen there he won a special respect
as a man of Manhattan as well as of the ivy halls.
On the first day of term the freshmen trooped in. They came to Oxford by
train, lugging their bags down High Street, past upper and lower campus,
to remote Fisher Hall. All the lower campus was deep woods; Fisher was the
only college building beyond Elliot and Stoddard halls. Below Miami
Field lay the 30-acre grounds of Fisher Hall with the old towered
building rising through the trees. It was off by itself, a separate and
special place in its own serene setting. Bachelor never tired of reminding his
freshmen that they had a campus of their own, which should draw and hold
That reminder became a part of the Bachelor tradition. After the first
dinner in the high-ceiled room, with 170 boys still at table, he addressed
them. "This," he declared, "is a time you will never forget.
All your life, in distant years and distant places, you will remember this
September evening." Already the restless boys were quiet; they listened
closely to the stocky man in rumpled clothing. "In a few minutes," he said,
"you will leave this old building–some of you in groups, some in pairs, some
walking in silence. You will go through these memory-haunted grounds,
past the campus woods and on up to the old Slant Walk where students have
dreamed and reveled for a hundred years. You will begin life-long
friendships and loyalties. You will discover Miami University. In the
moonlight you will feel the old college brooding on the endless questions
of truth and error, right and wrong, ignorance and knowledge. With the
discovery of Miami each of you will begin to discover himself. When you
return to this hall at midnight you will be enlarged and uplifted. You
will be more of a person than every before. This is the beginning. Good
luck to every Fisher Hall man."
That was Joe Bachelor–paternal, avuncular, trailing cigar smoke and sentiment,
tritely nostalgic and emotional–and unforgettable. He was just forty years
old but he seemed a wise and venerable professor. On those first few
evenings he worked a kind of magic. For all those youths he changed what
would have been a noisy parade uptown into a personal pilgrimage. He told
them it was a time they would never forget, and saying that made it memorable.
In a word, he took Freshmen seriously. Believing in those boys, he made
them believe in themselves.
Bachelor liked a glowing fire on the hearth of his front room. At night he
met students there, alone or in groups. But he did his work in his bedroom,
at a battered desk beside the window. On the windowsill he kept a
hot-plate, a teapot, and a box of cigars. He didn't seem to need much
sleep. Always up for breakfast, he habitually worked past midnight–drinking
strong tea, eating strong cheese, smoking strong cigars. He blew smoke
rings-three, four, five rings drifting up through the lamplight. After
a cigar he packed his pipe, and more smoke rings ascended. On his desk was
the Shakespeare text, its margins filled with his neat square handwriting,
and a pile of small squares of yellow paper. The yellow papers were his
daily Shakespeare quiz–a two-minute answer to a single question. His
students dared not come to class with the assignment unread. In the
classroom he read Shakespeare like an actor; his voice could command,
intone or murmur as he became Macbeth, Falstaff, Mercutio. In that northwest
room of Irvin Hall sixty students held their breath, while others, outside
the door, listened in the hallway.
In 1930 Professor Bachelor began his unique course in "Words." A rigorous
course it was always over-enrolled, with students waiting to get in. Now,
when many college students seem deaf to their own language it is good to
remember what Bachelor could do with English vocabulary. He began with
the simplest things: how it happened that a hand-hold became a handle
while a foot-hold became a pedal; how lamb in the meadow was still lamb
on the table while a sheep in the field became mutton on the platter, and
the "cold shoulder" was an unwarmed joint for an unwelcome dinner guest.
This wordlore Bachelor worked into his textbooks, even into anthologies of
readings where he opened the doorway of word derivations. An indelible
impression, for example, is older than an indelible pencil, and older still
is the Latin in (un) plus delire (destroy), hence
indestructible. From the statement "Those plans were canceled," he recalled
that a cancel was an Old French lattice, and canceling came to mean
eliminating by drawing crossbars through something written; in time a
cathedral chancel was so named for its latticed crossbar windows. One word
led the word– man to another: indelible meant lasting, cancel meant
eliminate, and eliminate was at first a purely physical verb–ex
(out) plus limen (door); an offender kicked out of the door was
truly eliminated. For the culprit that was uncomfortable, but comfort
originally denoted things that were combatic rather than easy: con
plus fortis made up a word of strength. Perhaps, the professor
added, the softened meaning in our use of comfort has some bearing
on the progress ( or retrogression) of our society. Words, he insisted,
should arouse enthusiasm, and saying that he was off again–on a great word
from the Greek en (in) and theos (God), meaning inspired by
God, acting as if God were in you. From such words, Bachelor wrote in
the textbook, we may remember the great statement of Archbishop Trench: "For a
young man, making his first discovery that words are living powers is like
the dropping of scales from this eyes, like acquiring of another sense,
or the introduction into a new world."
Bachelor's inexhaustible word-lore sometimes made conversation among his
colleagues in the faculty corridor of Fisher Hall. One night there was talk
about surveying a farm tract Bachelor had hoped to buy, and that led to
"boxing the compass," a phrase that began when the compass card was floated
in a bowl of glycerine, the word compass itself coming from the
Old French compasser, to go around. Somehow that led to the odd
combinations in the names of English pubs and inns: the Devil and St.Dunstans,
the Elephant and the Castle, the Goat and Compass–names pictured on the
swinging sign over a tavern doorway. The Goat and Compass was most
puzzling, until Bachelor recalled 17th century writers who reiterated "God
Encompass Us"–a profound and reverant concept. But carelessly and
ignorantly repeated God Encompasses became Goat and Compass, bizarrely
pictured by innkeepers and publicans in many shires.
There was ripe cheese, red apples and encompassing conversation around the
Bachelor fireplace on winter nights. Often it began with the Broadway
stage and ended with words, a moveable feast of many-colored English language.
Joe Bachelor had shared with Bergen Evans his long-range project of a
dictionary of English idioms, a dream that Bachelor left unfinished but
Evans carried it on in his prime-time television show "The Last Word" and
in his Dictionary of American Usage and his vastly eclectic
Dictionary of Quotations.
To his students a teacher like Bachelor brings the ardor and texture of the
life he has lived–life warmed and fused by fires of thought and learning.
Thirty years after his death a Miami woman graduate of 1938 remembered,
from six hundred miles away, "Tuffy's rolls and coffee, the Campus Owls,
broken romances, pop tunes of the '30s . . . Mr. Bachelor and his
Shakespeare class which opened doors that have never closed and his WORDS
that began an endless interest in the history of language."
This man with far-ranging mind loved the Four Mile valley, even its snakes and
barn owls. Bachelor, he glossed through the smoke rings: from Latin
bacca, a cow, and baccalaris, a vassal farmer. Through
the Fisher Hall years he kept buying parcels of woodland, field and pasture.
At his death he left to Miami University 400 acres of Wildlife Refuge.
More than that, he left in thousands of students a bequest of indelible
In early years Western College and Miami University were separated by the
country road that became Patterson Avenue. It was frozen in winter, mired
in spring, dusty in summer–until the first brick pavement was laid in 1916.
The pavement extending through the village High Street was a collaboration
of President Boyd of Western and President Hughes of Miami. Older than
paved highway was the bond of families. Tappan Hall, now looking across a
wide green fairway to the gray stone tower of Kumler Chapel, holds mingled
memories. David S. Tappan, a Miami graduate of 1864 and president in 1900,
was the father of eight children. His oldest daughter married a Miami
professor who in 1902 moved to Hiroshima, Japan, as a religious editor.
Forty-four years later Hiroshima made history as the tragic target of
the world's first atomic bomb. The youngest Tappan daughter, Anna Helen,
was graduated from Western College in 1909. She became a Mathematics
instructor, then professor, eventually a beloved Dean of Western
College. Now preserved in beautiful Tappan Hall are ties with both Western
Similarly family ties, many of them including the Covingtons and Williams,
the Brices, Brills, Berrys, Fittons, Molyneaux, Becketts, Whitcombs,
Liggetts, Listermans, Weidners, and Wallaces--link the two colleges.
Patterson Place, the traditional residence of Western presidents and now
the home of the College Alumnae Association, was built by James H. Patterson,
a Miami graduate of 1857. Romantic relations of Western women and Miami
men began in the early years. In 1857 Miami sophomore Abner Jones reported
in his diary: "This evening at a Western parlor party I met the finest,
and prettiest, and most intelligent girls I ever saw. . . . I think this is
the place to choose a perfect wife." Since then Abner's thought has been
embraced by a long list of grateful Miami men.
Finally one may recall a Western-Miami collaboration that has made
educational history. A striking innovation in American colleges is to
have a working artist on the campus. The rationale is simple: if it is
important to study artistic work, it is imperative to support creative
artists. There are now scores of artists-in-residence in American
universities. The practice originated here in Oxford seventy years ago,
when Edgar Stillman-Kelley was composing oratorios and symphonies while
Percy MacKaye was writing lyric narratives and poetic dramas. In London in
1908, during a long residence abroad, the Kelleys attended the first
European performance of MacKaye's poetic drama Jeannae D'Arc, and so
began a lifelong friendship. In 1910 Jessica Stillman-Kelley took
charge of the Western College Music Department, accompanied by her
distinguished composer husband. They lived in Peabody Hall, where
Jessie taught piano in a "music parlor." Her husband worked beside a
kitchen stove in a Western College farmhouse near the Oxford Cemetery.
In 1916 President Boyd built them a studio-residence across a tiny stream
from Patterson Place. That studio is now a registered Historic
When President Hughes planned to bring a creative artist to the Miami campus,
the Kelleys urged him to invite MacKaye. For his "studio" Miami built
a one-room cabin with broad fireplace in the wooded lower campus. Students
dubbed it "the Poet's Shack." The MacKaye family, from Cornish,
New Hampshire, settled in a frame house on Maple Street, the site of
present day Hamilton Hall, just across a pasture-meadow from the Kelley home.
So the two pioneer artists-in-residence were neighbors, until 1924 when the
illness of MacKaye's mother compelled their return to Cornish, New Hampshire.
In Oxford in 1934, Stillman-Kelley's 77th birthday was celebrated by a
festive production of his famous PILGRIM'S PROGRESS oratorio. It was
performed by a Miami-Western chorus and the Miami University orchestra.
That year the Spring Number of the OXFORD CRITERION was dedicated to Edgar
A quarterly magazine of the 1930s, the OXFORD CRITERION was a unique bonding
of Miami and Western. With no official connection to either institution,
it was created and sustained by a group of students and faculty from both
colleges. Copies are now collectors' items. Along with essays by a blind
student, Mitchell Darling, and of "Prince Ned" Suhksavasti, a nephew of the
King of Thailand, it contained portraits by Philip Ronfor, Arvia MacKaye and
Marston Hodgin, poems from E. C. Ross, Marion Boyd, Lucile Hodgin, Eleanora
Handschin, and Margaret Hay, criticism by Dorothy Duerr and Dee Roth, the
fiction of Louis Whipple, John Rood, Edward Sill, Walter Havighurst, and of
Fletcher Knebel whose novels would be read forty years later in twenty
languages around the world. This ambitious, exciting little magazine
brought together the talent and aspirations of both campuses--a union
that is still at work today.