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July 4, 2020

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Ada and ONU depicted through memorabilia

(Dave Devier, Ph.D., attended ONU and lived in and around the community for 45 years. He taught at Northern for 15 years. Currently, he is President of Glen Oaks Community College in Centreville, Mich. While in the Ada area, he and his wife Patty collected Ada/ONU memorabilia. He will write an occasional column for the Ada Icon describing some of their "finds" that pertain to the town and gown.)

By David H. Devier

This is the fourth installment of the history of Ada and ONU as depicted through the collectable pieces of memorabilia. 

Schools of all types have held their commencements as students celebrate their academic successes and begin their next phase of their journey. Of the numerous pieces I have collected over the years, I have many examples of commencement programs for both Ada High School and ONU. 

These pieces of memorabilia are usually saved because of their significance to the graduates. I will describe two of each.

The two Ada commencement programs I show are very different. The 1898 version is very fancy with parchment paper cover with a hole in it so to show the ‘CLASS 98’ on the inner page and the booklet is tied together with a light blue ribbon. The location of the commencement is the Whiteside Theatre which I have never heard of before. As you can see from the first of the two pages showing the program, all the graduates gave an oration or perform a musical piece. This must have made the evening go very late indeed! 

The second Ada program is for 1929 and is only one long narrow page. The number of graduates performing is greatly reduced. Maybe the earlier long programs were too much for the roaring twenties. See the pictures of each here.

The two ONU commencement programs shown are for 1933 and 1938. They are very similar in shape, size, and contents. The one significant difference is the material used for the cover. 

The 1933 is heavy cover stock paper that is embossed with an image of Hill Building and the words ‘Ohio Northern University 1933’ also embossed. 

The 1938 cover is black leather that is embossed just like the ‘33’ version so the printer must have used the same letterpress embossing dies. Both programs are tied together with leather passed through three close together holes punched through the total booklets. 

See, below, the pictures showing these delightful keepsakes.