Skip to Top NavigationSkip to ContentSkip to Footer
Ferris State University BulldogFerris State University Logo

A Finding Aid for the Centennial Committee Records 1952-1953

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Centennial Committee Records

Creator: Ferris Institute. Centennial Committee.

Dates: 1952-1953

Abstract: The Centennial Committee records detail the anniversary celebrations of the birth of founder Woodbridge N. Ferris in 1953. Organized by a committee, the celebration was split into the actual birthday commemoration on January 6, 1953 and a later celebration in May 1953. The records consist of correspondence, minutes, programs, publicity and other organizational materials.

Language: English

Quantity: 0.2 cubic feet; 1 Hollinger box

Identification: UA 31.10.3

Repository: Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program

Historical Note

In January 1952, a committee of four faculty appointed by President Brophy met at the home of Dr. William A. Pearson to plan the centennial celebration. Chairman Pearson had been a faculty member during Ferris' tenure and had recently returned as an instructor for the pharmacy program. Harold Wisner (Speech and Registrar) was elected secretary. Other members included Karl Merrill (School of Commerce) and Roy Newton (English and Alumni Secretary) . They met on a monthly basis and proposed a series of activities including assemblies, articles in local publications and an exhibit of "Ferrisania" on campus.

The final celebration plans included the placement of a bronze memorial tablet near the mausoleum. An exhibit was placed in the library, and letters were gathered as testimonials of people who had "intimate recollections of Mr. Ferris."

The celebration consisted of two major events. The first, a centennial assembly, took place on the actual birthday date - January 6, 1953. The program featured music by the Ferris Institute Band and a number of short remarks. The featured speaker was state senator Donald Vander Werp. Other speakers included: President Victor Spathelf, Big Rapids mayor Donald Rankin, Board chairman Raymond Starr, student government president Ernest Kyte, Alumni Association president Lewis Hull and William A. Pearson. Following the speeches, a procession, led by the Ferris bus drove out to Highland View cemetery for a wreath laying ceremony.

Because of weather, and scheduling difficulties, a second centennial convocation was planned for May 25, 1953. It was coordinated with the baccalaureate ceremony. Again, the schedule began with an assembly in the Alumni Building, followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the Ferris family mausoleum. Featured speakers for this ceremony included Michigan Governor G. Mennen Williams and Carleton G. Ferris, son of Woodbridge N. Ferris.

Scope and Content Note

Chairman William A. Pearson noted in his speech at the centennial assembly that while Woodbridge N. Ferris had passed on, his character lived on through his students and through the mission of Ferris Institute. Celebrating anniversaries relating to the founder has been as important to the university as celebrating anniversaries of the institution itself.

The records primarily detail the two separate celebrations which took place on campus. They include programs, publications and news clippings about the celebrations, transcription of remarks made and correspondence. Photographs of the celebrations may also be located in the University photograph collection. Committee minutes detail the planning process which preceded the celebrations.

One of the major projects/publications of the celebration, the gathering of recollections about Ferris, is not included in the records. The committee minutes note that the final bound volume was to be given to the State of Michigan, however no such volume exists in the state archives. Some individual reminiscences about Woodbridge Ferris can, however, be found as individual collections within the university archives. Because some are dated from the early 1950s, they are likely to be related to this project. Another project included the gathering of Ferris objects/correspondence for the purpose of an exhibit. What was placed in this exhibit, and what materials were added to the Ferris Papers is not known.


The papers are divided into a single series.

Access Information

Conditions of Access

The Centennial Committee Records are open for research to all users in accordance with University Archives and Records Management access policies. It is available in the reading room of the Ferris State University Archives.

Conditions of Use

Requests for permission to publish material should be directed to the University Archivist. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Copyright interests for this collection have been transferred to Ferris State University. For more information, contact the University Archivist.

Subject Headings

Below are a list of names, organizations and subjects relating to the collection. Names have been taken from Library of Congress Authority headings whenever possible.

Related Materials

Photograph collection.

Administrative Information


Footnotes and bibliographic references should use the following format:
[Item], Folder, Box. Centennial Committee Records. Ferris State University Archives. Big Rapids, Michigan.

Provenance (Acquisition Information)

The Centennial Committee Records were donated by Roy Newton (Public Affairs office), Big Rapids, Michigan, who had obtained them from committee chair William A. Pearson at an unknown earlier date. Additional material was added from materials transferred by the Office of the President in 1983.

Processing Information

The Centennial Committee Records were processed to the folder level by Melinda McMartin Isler in March 2005. A finding aid was prepared in a word processing format and converted to EAD 1.0. A revised finding aid was created in January 2008. A collection level MARC-format record was prepared and placed in the library online public access catalog. Description was based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004).

Separated Materials

During processing, duplicate materials were discarded. There were no other materials placed in other collections.

Technical Requirements

This collection consists of paper based materials. No specialized hardware or software is required for viewing.

Content Listing

Series 1. Administrative Records. 1952-1953.

These records are organized into a single series. The files contain administrative information about the Woodbridge N. Ferris centennial celebrations and related activities.

The records are arranged alphabetically by subject or name and are arranged and chronologically within folders.

Box Folder Contents
1 1 As I Remember Him. Tribute letter. 1952.
1 2 Centennial Assembly. May 1953. Program schedules. 1953.
1 3 Centennial Committee. Minutes. 1952-1953.
1 4 Correspondence. 1952-1953.
1 5 Ferris, Carleton G. Correspondence. 1952.
1 6 Ferris, Carleton G. "My Father in Retrospect." Address. May 1953.
1 7 Gilbert, Donald. Address. 1953.
1 8 Hull, Lewis. Address. 1953.
1 9 Kyte, Ernest. Address. 1953.
1 10 Notes. Undated.
1 11 Pearson, William A. Address. 1953.
1 12 Proclamation. William, G. Mennen. (Michigan.) 1953.
1 13 Programs. 1953.
1 14 Publications; newsclippings. 1953.
1 15 Rankin, Donald F. Address. 1953.
1 16 Spathelf, Victor. Address. 1953.
1 17 Starr, Raymond V. Address. 1953.
1 18 State of Michigan. Senate Resolution. 1953.
1 19 Vanderwerp, Donald. Address. 1953.
1 20 Williams, G. Mennen. Address. 1953.