People Behind the Names
Alumnae Hall and Alumnae House are both named in honor of Hood College alumnae and alumni. The first degrees from The Women’s College of Frederick, now known as Hood, were awarded in 1895. To date, over 10,500 bachelor’s degrees and 2,266 master’s degrees have been awarded to graduates.
In 1897, the Hood College Alumnae Association was established. According to its bylaws, the Alumnae Association was established “to promote the well being of the college and its alumnae and further the cause of higher education.” The bylaws of the Alumnae Association define an alumna or alumnus as anyone who earned 12 academic credits and left the College in good academic standing.
Alumni have played an important role in campus life. Hood College’s long-standing traditions and Hood community outreach activities were supported by the Alumnae Association. New students have been greeted in the fall by Alumnae Association representatives, and the Alumnae Association would help sponsor the spring semester Sophomore Dinner, when class patches are distributed. A reception given by the Alumnae Association for juniors precedes the Ring Dinner, a formal occasion where juniors may wear the distinctive Hood College ring for the first time. The popular Strawberry breakfast, for graduates and their families the morning of graduation, is hosted by the association.
The Hood College Magazine has its roots in the former Alumnae News Bulletin. The content of the magazine is developed in conjunctions with an alumnae and alumni editorial board.
Alumnae and alumni return to the campus the first weekend of June for Reunion Weekend, with class reunions held every five years. Special recognition is given to the 25th and 50th reunion classes, and three awards are presented: the Alumnae Achievement Award, the Distinguished Alumna Award, and the Outstanding Young Alumna Award. Twenty-seven alumnae and alumni hold honorary degrees from Hood College.
Alumnae and alumni also play an important role in the governance of Hood. Six alumni are recommended by the Alumni Association to serve as Alumni Trustees.
The buildings named for alumnae and alumni are important hubs of activity. Alumnae Hall, popularly known as the Ad building, was conceived by Hood College’s first president, Joseph Henry Apple, and built under contract by Lloyd Culler. Margaret Scholl Hood’s gift of land and subsequent bequest enabled the College to begin construction of Alumnae Hall and Shriner Hall. Ground was broken on April 2, 1914; the cornerstone was laid in conjunction with the 1914 Commencement; and the building was occupied in the fall of 1915. The four iconic columns that grace its front were named Hope, Opportunity, Obligation, and Democracy.
Alumnae Hall currently houses administrative offices for the President, the Division of Administration and Finance, the Division of Academic Affairs, the Division of Student Affairs, the Tidball Center for the Study of Educational Environments, and the Department of Sociology and Social Work.
Alumnae House was originally built in 1920 as a home for the College president. Plans for the house had been drawn up over a number of years by Dr. Apple and his family. Funds to construct the home came largely from contributions from loyal and loving alumnae and alumni.
After the new president’s house was built in 1961, the building was used as a residence and foreign language house. In 1989 it was renovated to house the offices of Development and Alumnae Programs. Contributing major gifts for the renovation were Sylvia Weinberg of Frederick and Katharine Cutshall ’24 of Baltimore and the Cutshall Family.
Alumnae House serves as a visitor center for alumni returning to the campus throughout the year.
The names of Joseph Henry Apple and his family are inextricably linked with the founding of Hood College and early Hood history. The library, which opened its doors in 1941, was named in honor of Joseph Henry Apple, president of Hood College from 1893-1934. Members of the Apple family have always been and continue to be active in the life of the College.
Joseph Henry Apple was born in Rimersburg, Pennsylvania, in 1865, the youngest son of Elizabeth Geiger and Joseph Henry Apple, a teacher and minister. An 1885 graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, he was called to be the President of the Woman’s College of Frederick (the College did not become Hood College until 1913) in May of 1893 from Pittsburgh Central High School where he was enjoying a successful teaching career. Encouraged by his first wife, Mary Rankin Apple, to heed the call, Dr. Apple was to stay in Frederick and serve as president of the College for the ensuing 41 years. Upon his retirement in 1934, he was the oldest living college president in continuous active service at a single institution in the United States.
Dr. Apple dedicated his life to the work of establishing the campus at its current location, constructing fourteen buildings and setting the high standards for academic excellence that continue to this day. A man of great vision and high purpose, he was noted for his persistence, dauntless determination and natural leadership ability. During his tenure, Hood grew from a small female seminary with an uncertain future to a campus of 125 acres, 14 buildings, 27 administrative staff, 57 faculty, and 500 students. He awarded diplomas to 1,591 students during his presidency.
Not only did Dr. Apple give his life to Hood College, but so did the members of his family. Miriam Rankin Apple, the daughter of Dr. Apple and his first wife, graduated from Hood in 1914. She served as librarian in the library that bears her father’s name from 1914 to 1950, with the exception of a two-year leave of absence. Born in 1893, her life span coincided with the early life span of the College. She was noted in her grace, charm, and friendly disposition. The Miriam Apple Memorial Room in the library is dedicated to her memory and houses the archival treasures of the College.
A second daughter, Charlotte, died as a child. Mary Rankin Apple died in 1896.
In 1898 Dr. Apple married his second wife, Gertrude Harner Apple, who was employed by the College as an English instructor and is credited with establishing Hood’s literary magazine, The Herald. Additionally, Mrs. Apple was responsible for supervising the planting of many of the original trees, shrubs, and flowers which contribute to the extraordinary beauty of Hood’s campus.
Gertrude and Joseph Henry Apple had three children. Two of his daughters, Elizabeth Apple McCain ’23 and Emily Apple Payne ’24, live in Frederick and are active in the life of the College, including supporting the Friends of the Library. Their brother, Joseph Henry Apple, is deceased, but his wife lives in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
The dedication of the Apple family to the life and work of the College is unparalleled. We owe much to this family. Their courage, vision, leadership, dedication, and commitment have resulted in a lasting legacy.
No visitor to Hood College can escape seeing the names of Beneficial and Hodson—they grace many buildings and places across campus, including the Beneficial-Hodson Library and Learning Commons, Hodson Science Hall, Hodson Gallery in Tatem Arts Center, Hodson Swimming Pool, and Hodson Outdoor Theater.
What a visitor does not see is the Beneficial-Hodson Endowed Fund for Academic Excellence, which provides Beneficial-Hodson Scholarships for Hood’s outstanding undergraduates, and the Hodson Awards program, which makes it possible for undergraduate students from under-represented minorities to attend Hood.
“The Beneficial-Hodson Trust has steadily promoted academic excellence at Hood,” explains former President Shirley D. Peterson. “The Trust has made it possible for the College to attract distinguished undergraduates from around the country, to encourage the aspirations of under-represented minorities, and to support important academic work by members of the Hood faculty.”
The scholarships provide students—both traditional-aged and those over the age of 23—with tuition grants awarded in amounts ranging from $4,000 to $12,000 a year for full-time enrollment. Each year more than 30 new scholarships are awarded, so that during any given year more than 120 students on campus are benefiting from Beneficial-Hodson awards.
In addition, each year up to four members of the Hood faculty have been awarded Beneficial-Hodson Fellowships to carry out scholarly or creative projects. Since 1979, 51 fellowships have been awarded to members of the Hood faculty, granted in recognition of their teaching, research, and service contributions. One of these Beneficial-Hodson Fellows is the guest speaker at the annual Beneficial-Hodson Lecture, a program that enriches the intellectual atmosphere of the College and the local community.
“Wherever we turn, the Beneficial Corporation is one of Hood’s angels,” says Peterson, noting that Hood has received more than $18.5 million from the Hodson Trust since 1936, including over $3 million for the development of the Information Technology Computer Network, which links every building on campus via computer to the Beneficial-Hodson Library and Information Technology Center.
This campus-wide communications network provides access not only to the Hood library, but to an extended network of state, national and international library systems from computer terminals linked to the network. It is an integral part of the library services delivery system and is a data communications network providing such services as campus electronic mail and the World Wide Web.
“Beneficial has consistently supported and encouraged Hood’s information technology initiatives which are so vital in preparing our students for the 21st Century,” says President Peterson.
Other contributions include the Beneficial Chair in Economics, which was established in 1985. Three professors have been awarded this distinction: Edward Shafer (1985-1987), William R. Agee (1987-1993), and Joseph E. Dahms (1993 to the 2012).
The Hodson Trust was settled in 1920 by Thomas S. Hodson, a lawyer and Maryland state senator, whose son Col. Clarence Hodson, founded the Beneficial Loan Society in 1914, the predecessor of Beneficial Corporation and its subsidiaries. Today, Beneficial is a Delaware-based $15 billion New York Stock Exchange-listed diversified financial services holding company. Col. Hodson, a lawyer, bank president, and colonel in the Maryland Militia, inherited his interest in the advancement of education from his father and provided the assets for the Hodson Trust to honor his father. After Col. Hodson’s death in 1928, his interest in education was continued by members of the Hodson family.
The Hodson Trust supports three other Maryland institutions: St. John’s College, Washington College, and the Johns Hopkins University. Since the Hodson Trust was established, it has contributed more than $61.8 million to these three institutions along with Hood College.
Today, the company continues its support and advocacy of higher education.
For the last 60 years, the special connection with Beneficial has touched Hood students and faculty in direct and profound ways. Whether you’ve received a Beneficial-Hodson scholarship that helped you earn a college degree, or simply admired the beauty of a Beneficial-Hodson building on campus, you’ve experienced the generosity and support of two men who believed in the value of education, and of those who continue to uphold Colonel Hodson’s original intention.
The name of Hodson is inextricably linked and synonymous with the success that Hood College has achieved in its first century. The name is found throughout the College: Hodson Outdoor Theater, the Hodson Gallery in the Tatem Arts Center, the Hodson Science and Technology Center, and most recently, the Beneficial-Hodson Library and Learning Commons.
Funding from the Hodson Trust has had a transformational impact on the quality of our educational programs. Faculty members have undertaken research projects through Beneficial-Hodson Faculty Fellowships, and the College has a fully funded Beneficial Chair in Economics. It also established the Hodson Trust Professorship in Nursing and funding for equipment for the new nursing lab facility in the Hodson Science and Technology Center.
Through the generosity of the Hodson Trust, many students have received critical financial support from the Beneficial-Hodson Endowed Fund for Academic Excellence.
Established in 1978, the Hodson Trust Academic Scholarship is the most prestigious honor scholarship, offered to students with outstanding academic ability. Each year a limited number of students who have excelled in their secondary school programs are invited by the College to apply for these four-year awards. Both U.S. residents and international students may receive consideration for the awards.
The Hodson-Gilliam Diversity Scholarship at Hood College, named in honor of James H. Gilliam, Jr., encourages applications from students with demonstrated academic achievement and a commitment to diversity.
The Hodson Foundation Scholarship was established in 2009 and is presented annually to a student based upon academic merit.
Established in 1990, the Bonner Scholars Program provides scholarships to students who need help in paying for college and who have demonstrated a commitment to strengthening their communities through service. Hood was invited to join the program in 1993, and since then, has graduated over 75 Bonner Scholars. However, the Bonner Scholars Program does more than provide scholarships; it gives students the drive to become involved in changing their communities. Each student participates in 10 hours of volunteer service each week, choosing from a wide spectrum of projects.
Corella and Bertram Bonner established The Bonner Foundation with the hope and, indeed, the expectation, that the impact of their support would be far-reaching in the areas of hunger and education. Drawing on their own experiences, as well as the knowledge of friends and visionaries in the philanthropic and educational communities, the Bonners created two programs, Crisis Ministry and Bonner Scholars.
Both of the Bonner’s personal journeys played a significant role in the development and direction of the Foundation. Bertram Bonner was born “without a dime” in 1899 in Brooklyn,New York. At the early age of 22, after putting himself through college at night, Bertram was named head treasurer for Heda Green Banks. As head treasurer, he made many loans to New York builders, which inspired him to become involved in the real estate business.
He was successful but lost everything in the stock market crash of 1929. With hard work and a tremendous insight for business, Bertram quickly re-made his fortune. His career spanned six decades, and he can be credited with the building of more than 30,000 homes and apartments.
Corella Bonner, like her husband, was born into poverty. She began her journey in the rural south, in Eagen, Tennessee. At age 14, after living in coal-mining towns in West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, she, along with her mother, sought opportunity in Detroit, Michigan. Arriving penniless, Corella soon found work as a cashier at a cafeteria, attended Wayne State University at night and made sure that her younger siblings went to school.
She worked her way up from cashier to manager and was eventually transferred to the Statler chain’s New York hotel. It was there that she met Bertram Bonner. They were married, four years later, in 1942.
The Bonners’ involvement in community service emanated from their early work providing food for destitute families in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where they lived at one time. In 1956, they moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where they began a Crisis Ministry Program that distributes money to congregations of all faiths.
In 1990, they established the first Bonner Scholars Program at Berea College in Kentucky, working with Berea President John Stevenson. Since then, the program has become a nationally-recognized service scholarship model. In the last 11 years, the foundation has awarded more than $12 million in scholarship support to more than 3,500 students at 25 colleges. In addition, the foundation has created a $5 million endowment at seven schools to carry out the Bonner Scholars Program.
Corella continues to take an active role in the program, and has visited the Hood campus several times to see first-hand the volunteer projects being pursued by Hood’s Bonner Scholars. Bertram passed away in May 1993, but Corella continues to carry on their legacy of hope, service, and gratitude.
Brodbeck Music Hall remains the oldest building on the Hood College campus. Built in the shape of a German cross in 1868, it was a social gathering place for the early German settlers, and later served as a florist shop, a farmer’s home and a warehouse before it was purchased by the Woman’s College of Frederick for educational use in 1897. In its early years, it was a residence for faculty, staff, and even students.
It has been the scene of every sort of gathering for college students, including lectures, plays, concerts, faculty skits, student reviews, Halloween parties, chapel services, campus vespers, communion services, funerals, weddings and an ordination. Brodbeck’s role in the history of the College has been varied and amazing, evoking different memories for different generations of the Hood students.
Appropriately, the building bears the name of one of Hood’s earliest and strongest supporters, The Honorable Andrew R. Brodbeck. A kind and generous friend of the College and an ardent supporter of higher education, Andrew Brodbeck was born in York County, Pennsylvania, in 1860. The son of Jessiah and Louisa Renoll Brodbeck, he lived most of his life in Hanover, where he was one of the county’s most prominent citizens. Educated in the public schools, he started teaching at age 16 and throughout his life was interested in educational institutions, even though he left the teaching profession to become a successful merchant of agricultural machinery, farm implements and fertilizers.
Active in the affairs of his community and church, Mr. Brodbeck was elected to the U.S. Congress, where he served in that capacity until his death in 1937. He was noted for his liberal and good judgment and strong and dependable convictions. In 1916, Hood renamed what was then known as College Hall in honor of “The Honorable Andrew R. Brodbeck, LLD and his family in recognition of his generosity in providing for its remodeling and enlargement.” In addition, the road leading from Dill Avenue to Brodbeck Music Hall was named Brodbeck Drive.
Mr. Brodbeck gave generously of his time not only to Hood, but to other colleges affiliated with the Reformed Church (United Church of Christ), including Catawba College. He also was named to the board of Ursinus College, which conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws on him.
Mr. and Mrs. Brodbeck had four children: a son, Winston, who died at an early age, and three daughters, Clair Brodbeck Young, and two who graduated from Hood, Estelle Brodbeck Young ’99, and Viola Brodbeck Fleagle ’08. The daughters were all musicians, which added to his interest in Hood’s music program, housed in Brodbeck, and the establishment of music scholarships.
He died at age 76 on February 27, 1937. The large attendance at his funeral attested to the place he had made for himself in the community and in educational circles. President Emeritus Apple and President Stahr of Hood both took part in the service, and the flag on the Hood campus was lowered to half staff for two days as a symbol of respect.
Brodbeck Music Hall and Brodbeck Drive on the Hood campus, Brodbeck Music Hall at Catawba College, and Brodbeck Dormitory at Ursinus College stand today as permanent memorials to the interest, dedication and philanthropy of Andrew R. Brodbeck.
Carson Cottage, originally known as the Y Hut, is currently the home of the student publications offices and music practice rooms. Built in 1923, the building was renamed the Carson-Y in 1954 in recognition of Martha Campbell Carson’s support of the College.
In 1959, the facility was completely refurbished with a sizable addition, the Helen Meixel Fox Alumnae Headquarters. Over the years, Carson Cottage has been a home to day students, alumnae, adult learners and several administrative offices on campus. In 1989, the Office of Alumnae Programs moved to Alumnae House, freeing additional space for the increasing needs of Adult Learning Services.
Martha Carson was born in Stone Mountain, Georgia, in 1875, one of the 11 children of Elizabeth Chewning and Sheldon Harris Campbell. Her father was a plantation owner and farmer who in later years also operated a store in nearby Decatur. Educated in country schools, Mrs. Carson dreamed of a college education but at that time a college education was not considered a prerequisite for a successful life for a woman. Even though her father left her money for college, her brother said it was a waste and would not let her go.
In 1898, she married Otis Mills Carson, a Charlestown-educated cotton planter and agent, and they had one daughter, Frances Carson Waring, 1921. Otis Carson died at age 44, in Greenville, North Carolina of spinal meningitis.
Faced with the responsibility of raising her daughter, then age 12, alone, Mrs. Carson sought employment in the only profession she knew, housekeeping. Her first job was with Bristol, a finishing school in Washington, where she was employed as the hostess in the French House and the director of cuisine. While working there she was called by an employment agency and told that she had been recommended for the position of college dietitian at Hood. She came to Hood in September 1914.
Mrs. Carson worked for Hood College for 34 years as the College matron and dietitian. In later years, she also taught institutional foods management laboratory classes in the department of home economics.
Many Hood alumnae remember Mrs. Carson as a gracious, genteel Southern lady who brought simple elegance and refinement to the life of the campus. She is also remembered for her ingenuity and resourcefulness. In the early days, funds for equipment for the dining facility were nonexistent. She was always improvising, decorating paper plates with rose buds when there was a shortage of china or covering ordinary kitchen bowls with flowers to serve as punch bowls. To raise extra money for the building fund, she would cater for outside groups in the College facilities during student vacations. While at Hood she published three cookbooks to raise funds for the Joseph Henry Apple Library Fund, one of which, “Selected Recipes,” has been reprinted as a fundraiser for the Hood Gerontological Society.
Mrs. Carson’s job was not only to prepare meals for students but also to manage the canning and storing operations of the College Farm. The College operated a large farm on the campus from which crops were harvested and canned to feed the students during the academic year. In the early years the dining hall was on the first floor of Shriner and the basement served as the root cellar in which Mrs. Carson stored such items as potatoes, pears and apples. Her keen business acumen and stamina served her well, and she continued to manage the food service successfully through both World War I and World War II.
She was a member of All Saints Episcopal Church, served on the Citizen’s Advisory Council of the Salvation Army, and was active in the Frederick Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy. She was also an honorary member of the Hood College Alumnae Association and the Class of 1921.
Upon her retirement from Hood in 1948, she took a part-time position at the Episcopal Church Center in Frederick, and enrolled in classes in art and creative writing. Mrs. Carson died of a stroke on September 8, 1954, and is buried in Comanche, Texas, near the Windy Hill Farm home of her daughter Frances.
You cannot leave Hood College without warm memories of Coblentz Hall. It was and is the setting for the beginning of life-long friendships, festive holiday dinners, formal dances, and the first wearing of our Hood rings. Yet few of us know about Emory Coblentz, the man for whom Coblentz Hall was named.
For 27 years, from 1914 until his death in 1941, this father of six Hood graduates and a member of the Board of Trustees, played a critical role in the growth of the College.
In his unpublished autobiography, Mr. Coblentz wrote: “Undoubtedly, the greatest service I rendered was in connection with the growth and development of Hood College. I had the distinction, and I consider it one, of having six daughters grow to womanhood and all of them graduated from Hood.” Two are still active alums: Miriam Coblentz Saur Parsons ’22 of Palm Beach, Fla., and Helen Coblentz Fox Beauchamp ’36 of Grosse Ile, Mich. Deceased are: Ruth Coblentz Swank McCollough ’17, Naomi Coblentz Winston ’18, Esther Coblentz Englesing ’19, and Mary Virginia Coblentz ’33.
According to Mrs. Beauchamp, “He was a wonderful father and always had time for us girls. He had a good sense of humor and was wise in his dealings with his daughters.” Mr. Coblentz was a familiar figure on campus and he and his wife often invited Hood students to their home.
Emory Coblentz was a prominent banker, legislator, financier, churchman and public spirited citizen who was born and lived his entire life in Middletown, Maryland. The son of Edward F. and Lucinda Betchol Coblentz, he was born in 1869 on a farm which his great-grandfather had acquired southeast of Middletown after emigrating from Germany in 1756.
In 1887, when the Valley Savings Bank was organized in Middletown, Emory Coblentz accepted the position of assistant cashier. One year later, after being admitted to the bar, he started a law practice in Frederick. While practicing law he remained affiliated with the bank as a member of the Board of Directors and as the institution’s attorney. In 1996 he was named president of the Central Trust Company, while continuing to practice law with other Frederick county attorneys, including Charles McC. Mathias and Charles Ross.
Mr. Coblentz was one of the organizers and served as president of the Potomac Edison Company, still the largest utility in Western Maryland. He also helped to develop Braddock Heights into a summer resort. A prominent civic leader, he was responsible for developing many of Middletown’s early buildings. Active in politics, he was elected in 1919 to serve one term in the Maryland House of Delegates and in 1930 he was elected for one term to the Maryland State Senate.
He was a member of the Christ Evangelical and Reformed Church, serving both the Middletown church, where he was the choir director for 12 years, and the Potomac Synod. A trustee of the Reformed Church Seminary in Lancaster, Pa., he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Franklin and Marshall College in 1926.
In 1914, Mr. Coblentz was elected by the Potomac Synod to the Hood College Board of Trustees. At the time, ground had just been broken for Alumnae Hall. Over the next 27 years he helped to direct the fund raising efforts not only for Coblentz Hall, which was completed in 1922 at a cost of $275,000, but a dozen other buildings. At a meeting of the Board on September 29, 1922, the Trustees voted unanimously to name Coblentz Hall in his honor.
As chairman of the Building Committee, he played a key role in the construction of Alumnae Hall (1915), the first President’s House, now Alumnae House (1920), Apple Library (1941), enlarging Brodbeck Music Hall (1922), Y-Hut, now Carson Cottage (1923), Hodson Outdoor Theater (1938), Martz Hall (1925), Meyran Hall (1930), Eastview Terrace, now the Georgetown Hill at Hood College Laboratory School (1921), Shriner Hall (1915), Strawn Cottage (1918), and the Williams Observatory (1924). During his tenure on the Board, the size of Hood’s endowment grew from $25,000 to $400,000, a result of Mr. Coblentz’s efforts.
It is in great part due to Emory Coblentz that we have the splendid campus and financially sound institution that we all know as Hood College. He was drawn into the very heart of the College, played a critical role in Hood’s history, and considered his involvement with the College to one of his greatest achievements. We owe much to this man for his energy, determination, foresight and vision.
Coblentz Memorial Hall, dedicated on October 8, 1965, is named for Margaret Elizabeth Pontius Coblentz, 1901, and her son, Edward Pontius Coblentz, in recognition of their dedicated efforts on behalf of the College and of a generous donation made by the family to finance the construction of the building.
Margaret Elizabeth Pontius Coblentz was born on September 7, 1880 in Cochrantown, Butler County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of the Reverend John W. Pontius and Mary Apple Pontius, and a first cousin to Joseph Henry Apple, the first president of Hood. Mrs. Coblentz graduated from Hood with a degree in mathematics. A person of boundless energy with many interests, she was an active leader in her church and in various civic and patriotic organizations, including the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Woman’s Club of Catonsville (General Federation of Women’s Clubs), the Baltimore County Public Health Association, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Baltimore Music Club, and the American Association of University Women. She was a charter member of the Baltimore Hood Club.
On April 22, 1903, she was given in marriage by her cousin, Dr. Apple, to Oscar Bechtol Coblentz, the son of Edward F. and Lucinda Bechtol Coblentz, at the Reformed Church in Middletown, Md. Shortly after their marriage the couple moved to Frederick and for a number of years lived close to the campus in a home they built on Rockwell Terrace. Margaret Coblentz died in Baltimore on May 17, 1962, following a long illness.
Margaret’s husband, Oscar, was a brother to Emory Coblentz, for whom Coblentz Hall was named. He too was a dedicated member of the Hood College Board of Trustees, serving from 1941 to 1948. Considered one of the pioneers in a modern public education in Maryland, he was a teacher, the superintendent of schools in Frederick County, a member of the Baltimore County Board of Education, and a member of the State Board of Education. A graduate of St. John’s College and the University of Maryland School of Law, he practiced law, became an engineer, and was a national success in the contracting field.
The couple had five children: Oscar Bechtol Coblentz, Edward Pontius Coblentz, Katharine Reed Coblentz, John Phillip Coblentz, and Joseph Apple Coblentz. Edward, their second son, was born in Middletown, Maryland, on April 28, 1905. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he was a successful businessman, active in community affairs and committed to higher education. Upon the death of his father in 1948, he was elected to succeed his father on the Hood College Board of Trustees, serving with distinction on the Buildings and Grounds Committee.
Edward P. Coblentz married Angela Anne Poisal and had one stepdaughter, Kathryn Glastetter.
He was president of McLean Contracting Company, a construction firm in Baltimore that had been founded by his father and that specialized in heavy engineering contracts. The company built its reputation for excellence during World War II by advising the U.S. Army of difficult construction projects. He was a member of Associated General Contractors of America, Inc. the Engineers Club of Baltimore, the Advertising Club of Baltimore, and the American Society of Military Engineers.
On February 20, 1963, at the age of 57, he died in Baltimore of a sudden heart attack. His sister, Katharine Coblentz Crook, 1929, succeeded him on the Hood College Board of Trustees.
The Coblentz family holds the unique honor of being the first family (although not the last) to graduate three generations of Hood College students. Margaret’s daughter, Katharine, graduated in 1929, while her granddaughters, Margaret Crook Arnold and Katharine Crook Heidlebach, graduated from Hood in 1952 and 1956 respectively.
Hood College owes a great deal to the generosity, commitment and dedication of the Coblentz families, whose financial contributions made possible the building of a second residence hall bearing the name, Coblentz.
Coffman Chapel is named for Andrew and Gladys Coffman, well-known philanthropists and longtime residents of Washington County, Maryland.
Andrew Kendall Coffman, known by his friends as Andy, was the son of Peter and Elizabeth Kendall Coffman. Born in 1871 in Bakersville, Maryland, he was raised on a farm and educated in the local schools of nearby Halfway, Maryland, where his family moved when he was three years old. He began his business career at an early age with the Coffman Lumber Company, eventually serving as president. Later, he decided to pursue a career as a funeral director and enrolled in Eckles College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia. After successfully completing his college courses, he returned to Washington County and settled in Hagerstown where he became a practicing mortician.
Andrew Coffman was married to Gladys Rothenstein, the daughter of Augustus and Lillian Busey Rothenstein. Born in Baltimore in 1892, Mrs. Coffman was a longtime resident of Hagerstown, having moved there as a young girl.
The Coffmans enjoyed a very successful marriage and were described by those who knew them as full partners in a loving relationship characterized by complete mutual understanding, trust and warm generosity. They shared many interests.
Both were deeply interested in the community and active in various civic organizations. Mr. Coffman was a charter member of the Hagerstown Rotary Club and served on the boards of many organizations, including the Y.M.C.A., Hagerstown Junior College, the Historical Society of Washington County, the Hagerstown Chamber of Commerce, and Washington County Hospital.
A successful businessman, he was an active member of the Maryland Funeral Directors Association, at one time serving as dean of the funeral directors in his part of the United States. In 1929, Mr. Coffman was awarded a medal for outstanding service to his community. In 1969 he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Hagerstown Chamber of Commerce.
A dedicated community volunteer, Mrs. Coffman was active in many civic organizations. She supported the work of the Salvation Army and served on its advisory board for more than 50 years. She also participated in the work of the American Cancer Society, the Washington County Tuberculosis Association, the Cedar Ridge Children’s Home, and the Zonta Club. Mr. and Mrs. Coffman were devoted members of the Zion Reformed Church in Hagerstown.
Mr. and Mrs. Coffman were actively involved in the life of Hood College, with both serving on the Hood College Board of Trustees. Mr. Coffman was elected to the board in 1944, and served as chair of the Building and Grounds Committee; Mrs. Coffman was elected in 1966.
During their lifetimes, the Coffmans donated more than $3 million to educational and civic causes in the Central Maryland region. They financed and supervised the construction of the Coffman Health Center, the Coffman Research Center and the Coffman Home for Aged in Hagerstown. They provided financial support to aspiring college and nursing students, including many Hood College students.
In 1954, Hood College named its chapel for the Coffmans in recognition of the generous gift of $150,000 they gave to support its construction. The building of the chapel was fully funded with additional contributions from 2,200 alumnae, parents and friends in support of the Hood Forward Program.
The main sanctuary in Coffman Chapel seats more than 700 people while the basement includes classrooms and a choir rehearsal room. Faculty and staff offices can be found in the basement and on the second floor.
There are no direct descendants of Andrew and Gladys Coffman. Mr. Coffman died in 1968 at age 97. Mrs. Coffman died a year later in Washington County Hospital at age 77 following a long illness. A foster son, Roy NcNamee, is also deceased. Yet their legacy is a lasting one—both to Hood and the Western Maryland region.
James Henry Gambrill, Jr. was born on March 9, 1866 in Baltimore, Md., the third son of five sons and four daughters of James Henry and Antoinett Frances Staley Gambrill. Raised in Frederick County, he was educated in the local public schools, the Frederick Academy and Frederick City College.
On October 31, 1889 he married Susan May Winebrener, the eldest daughter of Col. D. C. Winebrener, a leading citizen of Frederick. She died 13 years later, in 1902. The couple had two children, James Henry Gambrill III and Susan May Gambrill.
Mr. Gambrill was a prominent and well-respected businessman, who had a productive career in the milling and grain business. An avid agriculturalist, he helped in 1898 to organize a farmer’s truck association to improve the marketing and distribution of the county’s agricultural products. In 1902 he helped to organize the Frederick County Farmer’s Exchange, which operated a grain, flour, feed, fertilizer, and implement business. He was general manager of the prosperous Mountain City Mill and of the G.L. Baking Company, a successful wholesale bakery. He was president of Dietrich and Gambrill, Inc., the Frederick Hotel Company, the Glade Valley Garber Company, the Maryland Milling and Supply Company, and the Gambrill Grain Products Company, and was vice president of the Garber Baking Company, the Monocacy Broadcasting Company, and A.C. Krumm Company.
Mr. Gambrill served as a director of the Citizens National Bank, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Home for the Aged, and was a member of the Governor’s Commission to study relief and old age pension matters. He was active in the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, Federated Charities, the Community Chest, the Monocacy Battlefield Association, the Frederick City Park Board, and the Rotary Club.
He was a member of All Saints Episcopal Church and served many years as a church vestryman. In 1946, a wing in Frederick Memorial Hospital was named in Mr. Gambrill’s honor.
Active in politics, he was a member of the Democratic State Central Committee, the Frederick City Board of Zoning Appeals, the Frederick Board of Alderman, and the commission to revise the charter of the City of Frederick in 1910.
Mr. Gambrill was an avid sportsman. He served as chairman of the State Game and Inland Fish Commission and was active in the Woodmont Rod and Gun Club. As the state’s leading conservationist, he was a strong advocate for soil and water conservation as well as forest preservation. He was president of the Confederation of Western Maryland Communities, Inc., which fought to preserve the area’s natural resources and beauty. Gambrill State Park, the site of many Hood outings, was named in his honor.
Mr. Gambrill was elected to the Hood College Board of Trustees in 1916, was named vice president in 1942, and served until his death in 1951. At the time Gambrill Gymnasium was being built, he served as chairman of the building and grounds committee. It was his 33 years of service and devotion to Hood that led the College to name the gymnasium in his honor in November 1949.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held April 17, 1947. Built at a cost of $420,000, a substantial portion of the money came from gifts of alumnae over a 25-year period prior to the building’s construction.
A number of Mr. Gambrill’s descendants attended Hood: Virginia Gambrill Hendrickson ’44, Eleanor Gambrill Bowers ’72, Virginia Bowers Bachtell ’83, and Philip W. Bowers ’83. Hood and the people of Maryland owe a great deal to the foresight of James Henry Gambrill, Jr.
The name of Hodson is inextricably linked and synonymous with the success that Hood College has achieved in its first century. The name is found throughout the College: Hodson Outdoor Theater, the Hodson Swimming Pool in the Gambrill Gymnasium, the Hodson Gallery in the Tatem Arts Center, the Hodson Science and Technology Center, and most recently, the new Beneficial-Hodson Library and Information Technology Center with its Beneficial-Hodson Computer Network, a campus-wide, state-of-the-art communications network which provides access not only to the Hood library, but to state, national, and international library systems.
Students have pursued their academic interests with the Beneficial-Hodson Scholarships provided by the Beneficial-Hodson Endowed Fund for Academic Excellence; faculty members have undertaken research projects through Beneficial-Hodson Faculty Fellowships; and the College has a fully funded Beneficial Chair in Economics. The scholarships, fellowships and buildings are named in recognition of Clarence Hodson, the founder of the Beneficial Corporation and his second wife, Lillian Brown Hodson.
Hodson was born in 1868 in Laurel, Del., the son of Thomas S. Hodson, a lawyer and state senator from Crisfield, Md. Raised in Crisfield, he was educated by private tutors and attended the Crisfield Academy. In 1889 he was admitted to practice law, serving with his father under the firm name of Hodson and Hodson.
In 1893, the same year as Hood’s founding, Hodson was elected president of the Bank of Crisfield, the youngest bank president in the United States at the time. The title of colonel was acquired when he was commissioned into the Maryland Militia in 1896. Throughout his 40-year business career, he was director for more than 40 banks, trust and mortgage companies, and public utilities. A pioneer and a man of vision, he sought to provide the average American worker, whose only asset was a weekly paycheck, with the opportunity to borrow money for any worthwhile purpose. He founded the Beneficial Loan Society in 1914, and at his death it had grown from one office to more than 200 offices across the United States.
In 1893 Hodson married Sarah M. Payne, and the couple had three children: Lelia, Clarence Jr., and George. Sarah Payne died in childbirth in 1898. In 1901, he married Lillian M. Brown, the daughter of a prominent Winston-Salem family who was educated at the Mount Vernon Seminary and attended Agnes Scott Institute, now Agnes Scott College. They had no children.
Hodson inherited his interest in education from his father, who settled the Hodson Trust in 1920. After Hodson’s death in January 1928 at the age of 59, his interest was carried on by Mrs. Hodson and her stepdaughter, Lelia Hodson Hynson, who died in 1992 at the age of 93.
Lillian Brown Hodson was particularly interested in the welfare of Hood College. She and Hodson first became acquainted with Hood when they visited the College on a trip through western Maryland in the 1920s. Mrs. Hodson was appointed to the Hood College Board of Trustees in 1955 and served in this capacity until her death in 1969. She generously supported the College, giving both of her time and her financial resources. Gifts from Mrs. Hodson, as well as from the Hodson Trust, made possible the construction of the Hodson Science Center, which is named in her honor.
The Beneficial-Hodson Trust has supported Maryland higher education for 80 years. Since the Trust was established in 1920, it has awarded more than $49 million to four Maryland institutions: Hood, Washington College, St. John’s College, and The Johns Hopkins University. Gifts to Hood have totaled $80 million since 1936.
Margaret Elizabeth Scholl Hood was born on July 7, 1833, the only child of Daniel and Maria Susan Thomas Scholl. A lifelong resident of Frederick County, Margaret was raised and lived most of her life at Manchester Farm on New Design Road.
Her formal education began in a school operated by Hiram Winchester on North Market Street. She later attended Thorndale, a boarding school in Carroll County, Md. From 1847 to1849 she attended the Frederick Female Seminary as a boarding student, graduating in 1849 at age 16.
After graduation, she lived with her parents, helping with household affairs and farm activities, and carrying on an active social life with many friends. Although she had many suitors in her younger years, she did not marry until she was 40 years old, and only after both parents’ deaths in 1873. On October 21, 1873, she married James Mifflin Hood, a native of Baltimore who was a carriage maker by trade. Mr. Hood had moved to Frederick in the 1840s. He had three children by his first wife, Sarah Ann Boggs from Philadelphia, who died in 1869 at age 45. James and Margaret had no children.
Mr. Hood was regarded as one of the most enterprising and successful men in Frederick County. He owned a carriage-making firm, Hane and Hood, on South Market Street. He died at the City Hotel in Frederick in April 1894, following a long illness.
Interested in civic affairs, her church and education, Mrs. Hood was a charter member of several local organizations, including the Art Club, the Historical Society of Frederick County, Inc., the Home for the Aged, and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Home for the Feeble Minded in Owings Mills, Md. She was vice president and a member of the Executive Bard (and later named honorary president for life) of the Frederick City Hospital Association; a member of the Board of Managers of the Home for the Aged; president of the Mite Society; and a longstanding and devoted member of the Frederick Female Seminary Alumnae Club. In her will she gave land to the City of Frederick to be used to help her aunt, Mrs. C. Burr Artz, establish a public library.
A believer in responsible stewardship, she prided herself in being well-informed on all the activities of her church, now the Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ. The schools, colleges, theological seminaries, and orphan’s homes sponsored by her church, and the church’s home and foreign missionary operations were all objects of her philanthropy.
She was particularly generous in her support of Franklin and Marshall College (which has an observatory named after her father); Mercersburg Academy; the Boards of Home and Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church; Lancaster Theological Seminary; and the Woman’s College of Frederick, which now bears her name.
To help with the establishment of Hood College she gave initial funds ($25,000) to institute the College’s endowment and made provisions for the purchase of the land on which the College is now built. In her will she gave an additional $30,000, which was the impetus for President Joseph Henry Apple to begin building Shriner Hall and Alumnae Hall. On October 31, 1912, a ceremony was held to announce the renaming of the College to Hood College in recognition of her support and generosity.
Mrs. Hood was characterized by those who knew her as joyous, lively, generous-hearted, simple in her taste, thoughtful in the use of her wealth, interested in others, intelligent, discriminating in her philanthropy, proper, kind, sympathetic, a good friend and co-worker, cheerful, and earnest and zealous in her wish to support good works.
She died in Baltimore on January 13, 1913, and is buried with her husband and her parents in Frederick’s Mount Olivet Cemetery. Today, Hood College prospers as a testament to her constant faith and unwavering support.
Virginia E. Lewis is remembered for her passionate belief in the political process, for introducing “Fieldwork in Politics,” a hands-on course she first offered her students in 1958, long before most colleges awarded credit for experiential learning, and for starting the Law and Society program at Hood College. She was a formidable scholar with an sharp wit that could both inspire and intimidate her students. Dr. Lewis, who taught generations of students to take an active role in the election campaigns of both parties, is also remembered for telling her students to “vote early and often.”
In her baccalaureate address to the Class of 1984, Dr. Lewis said, “Successful government, if it is to endure, must rest on a foundation of democratic citizenship and an active sense of personal responsibility. A good citizen is an active citizen.”
An astute political analyst, Dr. Lewis advised dozens of leaders in Maryland and the nation. Politically active, she invited John F. Kennedy to visit the campus during the 1960 primary campaign, and Edmund G. Brown Jr. in 1976, events that brought hundreds of visitors to the Hood campus. She was an advisor to Maryland’s U.S. Senators, Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski. She served on a number of panels, including the Governor’s Commission of the Status of Women, the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 6th Judicial District, and the Advisory Commission for the Women’s Political Campaign Fund.
Born in Memphis, Tenn., Dr. Lewis was a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. She received a law degree from George Washington University in 1948 and her doctorate from New York University in 1955. A former lawyer with the U.S. Treasury Department, she joined the Hood faculty in 1947.
The Giles Chair in Education was established in 1987 to recognize Hood’s outstanding role in educating teachers since the College’s founding in 1893.
Throughout the College’s history, thousands of graduates have entered the teaching profession, including elementary, childhood education, secondary education, and special education. Two major areas of study are offered at the graduate level, curriculum and instruction, and educational leadership.
For Sophia Meredith Libman, in whose memory and honor the Sophia M. Libman National Endowment for the Humanities Professorship is named, “education opened a door to the world.”
Sophia, (pronounced Sophie) was born Aug. 21, 1916, in Pulaski County, Va. When she was four years old, she moved to Westminster, Md., where her father had purchased a Coca-Cola franchise. Sophia attended Western Maryland College for one year before transferring to Hood, where she majored in English. In 1937, she became the first member of her family to graduate from college. Following graduation, she studied at Yale University for a year and then took courses at a secretarial school and worked in Washington, D.C.
“But it was Hood that opened the world to her,” said her husband Frank Libman of Westminster. “She had a thirst for education.”
Frank, who was born Oct. 7, 1919, in New York City, met Sophia at Hoffman’s Boarding House in Westminster. Sophia was staying temporarily at Hoffman’s while her parents traveled. Frank had moved to Westminster to work for Congoleum-Nairn after graduating with a degree in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The couple was married Dec. 11, 1944, and had three sons: David, William, and Frank.
In 1948, Frank assumed a leadership role in the family business, managing the Coca-Cola franchise until it was sold back to Coca-Cola upon his retirement in 1991.
“I was busy at work, and Sophia was busy raising the children,” he explained. “Sophia was also active with the American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters. She developed a passion for art, and took painting lessons for almost 50 years,” said Frank. “She painted everything, and in all media.”
In the fall of 1999, Sophia became ill while on a cruise, and upon returning home, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Prior to her diagnosis, her art teacher had arranged for a one-woman art exhibit sponsored by the Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore. Fifty of her paintings were chosen for the exhibit, “Beyond Vision,” an art show for the visually impaired in recognition of the fact that Sophia, an artist, had continued to paint even though she suffered from macular degeneration.
“It was fabulous for her,” said Frank, noting that the Baltimore Sun had published a feature on her and the exhibit.
Sophia died March 4, 2000, and in recognition of her love for Hood, Frank established an endowed chair at the College. Beginning this fall, Genevieve S. Gessert will serve as the first Sophia M. Libman National Endowment for the Humanities Professor. For Frank, it is a fulfillment of his wish to honor Sophia, and reflects his dedication and appreciation of the liberal arts.
Frank continues to reside in Westminster, where he is active in his community, serving as a director of the YMCA and involved in fundraising for the Carroll County General Hospital. He is also an active member and fundraiser for the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.
Over the years, his business interests led to real estate land development and the purchase of a local hardware store which he developed into a flourishing plumbing business. He also takes pride in having helped to design the airport in Westminster.
“Sophia and I both loved to fly,” he said, explaining that both of them were pilots, often flying in and out of the Frederick airport.
But for both Sophia and Frank, the Libman legacy at Hood College reflects their appreciation and support of education and the creative arts. Thanks to Frank’s vision, Hood now has in place a program which will support, on a rotating basis, a scholar, who will be at Hood for three years, teaching and developing a series of cross-disciplinary programs.
“Sophia believed, as do I, that education is the key to opportunity,” said Frank.
The Beneficial-Hodson Library and Information Technology Center supports scholarship at Hood College by serving the research, teaching and learning needs of students and faculty.
The library is located conveniently near the academic buildings on campus and online through the library’s home page. From the website, students can access full-text scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, electronic books and other digital content. In addition to the 170,000-plus volumes housed in the library, Hood students and faculty have access to print materials at other area universities through the library’s membership in the Maryland Interlibrary Consortium. Materials borrowed through the MIC arrive within 24-48 hours. For materials held outside the MIC, the library has a robust interlibrary loan program, which facilitates borrowing from libraries across the country.
Students have a choice of study environments in the library. Study carrels, computer stations, lounge chairs and large tables offer varied settings for individual study. The library also has a number of group study rooms available; some offer small, intimate spaces, while others offer large, collaborative spaces.
Knowledgeable and friendly library staff are available to assist students through in-person sessions, both walk-in and by appointment, or virtually through text messaging, instant messaging, email and telephone. Subject-specific research guides are available on the library website, as well as citation guidelines, copyright and privacy policies, and other instructional tools. Group library instruction is provided by the reference staff both in the classroom and in the library computer lab. Faculty may arrange information literacy sessions at any time during the year.
Students also have the opportunity to explore and conduct research on Hood College history, through historical school records, photographs and related documents held in the Hood College Special Collections and Archive, located on the 2nd floor. The Hood History Museum showcases Hood’s past for current students, prospective students, alumni and the general public.
Library hours vary to accommodate campus needs throughout the year. The hours can be found on the website here.
Located on the east side of campus, the Marx Center is named in honor of Lawrence Marx, Jr., of Purchase, New York, who became interested in the College when his daughter, Lynn Marx Silverman ’64, enrolled at Hood in 1960.
Mr. Marx’s interest in the College continued to grow, and in return, the College asked Mr. Marx to serve on the Board of Associates, and later, the Board of Trustees. The Lawrence Marx, Jr., Resource Management Center, dedicated in 1983, is named in recognition of his outstanding leadership to Hood.
Today, the Marx Center serves as the Honors House- with rooms designated for students in the Honors Program- as well as a meeting space. The facility includes Driscoll Commons, a classroom, office, and three apartments.
Mr. Marx was born in New Rochelle, New York, on April 16, 1915, one of the two children of Lawrence and Estelle Marx. His brother’s name was Albert. He is a graduate of the Horace Mann School and Phillips Exeter Academy, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1936.
Mr. Marx and his wife, Jane, were married in 1938 and had two children: Lynn, and Lawrence Marx, Illinois, who graduated from Stanford University. Mrs. Marx, a devoted mother and philanthropic community leader, died in 1987.
A successful businessman, Mr. Marx followed his father’s footsteps into the family business now known as United Merchants and Manufacturers, a textile-processing firm with offices in New York and Teaneck, New Jersey. He has since retired as executive vice president.
Mr. Marx was named a member of the Board of Associates in 1965. In 1967 he was asked to serve on the Board of Trustees and was elected chair of the board in 1974. He was noted for his uncanny ability to understand the role of a board in the governance of an institution. It was during his tenure as chair of the board from 1974 to 1979 that Hood underwent its greatest growth, nearly tripling its enrollment. Under Mr. Marx’s leadership, the College strengthened its undergraduate and graduate programs, reaffirmed its two-fold mission as a residential college for women and an educational institution for all citizens in the region, rededicated itself to community service, and quickly moved to the national forefront as a leading liberal arts institution. Mr. Marx was also instrumental in establishing the College’s financial aid office, the continuing education program (now known as Adult Learning Services), and in bringing Martha Church to Hood in 1975, the first woman chosen to serve as the College’s president.
An avid believer in philanthropy, Mr. Marx was active in fundraising for Hood, providing leadership to the College’s Diamond Anniversary Campaign in 1968, and the New Horizons for Hood Campaign in 1978.
In 1985 the College awarded him an honorary doctor of humanities degree. In 1990 he received the Distinguished Service Award in Trusteeship given by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges at the National Conference on Trusteeship at its annual meeting in San Diego, California.
Mr. Marx has been an active member of the Dartmouth Alumni Council and active in alumni fundraising and recruitment for his alma mater. He is a member of the Stanford Associates of Stanford University and former chairman of the Parents Fund at Stanford.
Generous and caring, Mr. Marx is a public-minded individual with deep convictions about the need for community service. He has been a trustee of the United Hospital in Port Chester, New York; a trustee and chair of the board for the Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged; a former vice president of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies in New York; and a founder and member of the executive committee for the Westchester Classic Golf Tournament.
An avid sportsman, Mr. Marx was captain of his tennis team at Dartmouth as well as a squash racquets champion. He was a golfer with a 1 (one) handicap and a five-time champion of the Quaker Ridge Golf Club. A skilled sailor, he was a member of the crew that represented Long Island Sound in the Men’s Nationals and was a subscriber of the syndicate that built the yacht Intrepid, the successful defender of the America’s Cup in 1967.
Mr. Marx has a passion for photography, and many of his photographs can be found in the Marx Center.
An emeritus trustee, Mr. Marx is still active in the life of the College and often attends trustee meetings. Hood is grateful for his splendid leadership and his continued involvement with the College.
The McCardell name has been associated with Hood College since its founding in 1893, with A.C. McCardell, one of the five founders of the College.
For more than 108 years, members of the McCardell family have supported Hood in numerous ways, from presenting scholarships and awards to students and faculty, to special gifts for the College’s Centennial celebration in 1992-1993.
Recently, Robert C. McCardell of Frederick, the grandson of A.C. McCardell, presented a gift to Hood to endow the Hood College Board of Associates Professional Development Grants program in honor of his family’s long association with the College. The McCardell Professional Development Grants provide financial support to faculty and staff for professional development, research, or curriculum development. Since the beginning, with the awarding of $5,600 to six faculty members in 1980, this respected, well-established program has been instrumental in supporting the excellence of Hood’s faculty and staff. To date, more than $379,000 has been awarded for 220 grants.
Robert C. McCardell
A banker and civic leader, Robert C. McCardell is now retired, having worked for 35 years as a national bank examiner with the Comptroller of the Currency, U.S. Treasury Department. He attended Washington and Lee University and served with the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945.
In 1990, he was elected to the Hood College Board of Associates and was awarded honorary status upon his retirement in 1999. During the College’s Centennial celebration, he supported various programs and provided historical background as the College documented its 100-year history. A lifelong resident of Frederick, he lives in the family home on Rockwell Terrace.
In 1893, Robert C. McCardell’s grandfather, Adrian Ceolfrid McCardell, was one of the five founders of The Women’s College of Frederick, now known as Hood College. For 20 years, he was a member of the Board of Directors and treasurer of the College’s endowment fund. A businessman and banker, he established a retail and wholesale confectionery in downtown Frederick, and served as president of Frederick County National Bank. He and his wife, Alforetta Stonebaker McCardell, had seven children, one of whom was Robert’s father, Adrian LeRoy McCardell.
Adrian LeRoy McCardell, a lifelong resident of Frederick, also served as president of Frederick County National Bank and managed the family confectionery business after the death of his father. In 1908, he was one of several businessmen who purchased, developed and built homes on a tract of land known as Rockwell Terrace, just blocks from the future Hood campus. He and his wife, Eleanor Clingan McCardell, had four children: the late Claire McCardell; Adrian L McCardell Jr., of Baltimore, Md., former chairman of the board and chief executive officer, First National Bank of Maryland; Robert; and John Malcolm McCardell of Hagerstown, Md., former president of Potomac Edison Company.
Claire McCardell, a 1927 alumna of Hood, was one of the nation’s most influential fashion designers and creator of the “American look.” She attended Hood for two years before enrolling at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.
In 1994, Robert McCardell and his brother, Adrian L. McCardell Jr., established the McCardell Family Scholarship Fund at The Community Foundation of Frederick County. Monies from this fund are awarded to Frederick County residents attending Hood College and Washington and Lee University.
McCardell Hood Alumnae
Several members of the family are graduates of Hood: Nellie McCardell was in the first graduating class of the College in 1897, Pauline McCardell graduated in 1906, and Phyllis Green McCardell of Baltimore, Md., graduated in 1945.
The year was 1929. The stock market had recently crashed. Financial times were difficult. Yet Joseph Henry Apple in his self-described “providential ignorance” was still dreaming of the Greater Hood College. The College was literally bursting at the seams. Dormitories were full and the College was by necessity operating out of two locations—the current campus and the Winchester Hall buildings downtown. The College operated a shuttle bus to link the two campuses. Dr. Apple and the trustees wanted to consolidate the activities on the main campus and that necessitated building a dormitory at an estimated cost of $200,000. They wondered how they would ever finance a building in such tough economic times. Yet it happened. Alumnae and friends donated over $50,000. A bond issue was floated and Louis and Marie Meyran, strong supporters of education and the work of the church, pledged $25,000. It was the largest contribution the College had ever received.
Louis Albert Meyran was a prominent businessman in early twentieth century Pittsburgh. Born June 23, 1859, he was the son of Charles H. and Sophia Flowers Meyran. His father, a native of Hamburg, Germany, was a man with valuable business foresight and a pioneer in Pittsburgh industry.
Educated in Pittsburgh’s public schools, he attended Western University of Pennsylvania (now the University of Pittsburgh), and graduated in 1878 from one of the leading colleges in Hamburg, Germany. He began his career as an iron and steel broker in Chicago. In 1880 he joined the Canonsburg Iron Company Limited (later the Canonsburg Iron and Steel Company) serving as secretary and treasurer. This was followed by employment with the Parkersburg (W.V.) Iron and Steel Company of which he was an executive for many years.
Additionally Mr. Meyran was an official in various manufacturing concerns and was connected with a number of Pittsburgh’s leading financial institutions. He was vice president of Manufacturer’s Heat and Light Company; vice president of the New Cumberland Water and Gas Company; vice president of Venture Oil Company; and vice president of Citizen’s Bank. In all his business endeavors, Mr. Meyran was respected for his intelligence, business insight, fair dealings, and progressive ideas.
In 1885 Louis Meyran married Marie Herrosee, daughter of Charles F. and Marie Henriette Herrosee, who were of German descent. Little is known about Marie Meyran. The only glimpses we have of Marie are found in her will and mentions of her made by Mr. Meyran in his correspondence with the College. In addition to Hood, she also left money in her will to her church, a number of Pittsburgh hospitals, relatives in Germany, and a number of friends.
The Meyran’s were active and committed members of Pittsburgh’s Grace Reformed Church (no longer in existence). They frequently are mentioned in newspaper accounts and minute books chronicling church activities.
In addition to their gifts to Hood, the Meyrans also gave money for the construction of Franklin-Meyran Hall on the Franklin and Marshall College campus. Meyran Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh is named in memory of Louis Meyran’s father, Charles.
Mr. Meyran died in October 1941. He and Mrs. Meyran, who died in May of 1942, are buried in a mausoleum in the historic Homewood Cemetery near Pittsburgh’s Frick and Schenley Parks. The Meyrans had one son, Carl, who died in South Africa in 1963. A grandson, William, was killed in action in World War II. A granddaughter, Gloria, may survive, but the College has lost contact with her.
The only building on the Hood College campus named for a faculty member is the Onica Prall Child Development Laboratory. Laura Onica Prall was born on February 24, 1905, in Chamberlain, South Dakota. Miss Prall was the second daughter of Thaddeus M. Prall, an insurance adjuster, and his wife Laura Prall.
Educated in the public schools of Emmitsburg, Iowa, she graduated from Iowa State University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in home economics and did further graduate work at Cornell University, Columbia University and the University of Chicago. She came to Hood from Iowa State University in 1929, and taught at the College for 40 years, retiring in 1969.
As a member of the home economics department at Hood, Miss Prall managed Strawn Cottage, then known as the home management house, and initiated a child development program for the home economics curriculum. It was Miss Prall who developed the program where orphans from the Frederick County Aid Society, known by Hood students as “Strawn babies,” were cared for by students living in the home management facility. This experience was designed to permit students to observe the physical, mental and social development of a child, and at the same time provide practical experiences in child care.
During her tenure at Hood, the child development program grew to be one of the best-known and well-respected programs in the country. Miss Prall was considered an expert on child development and served as a consultant to many organizations, including television’s “Romper Room” and the Greek Ministry of Higher Education. She also established Hood’s connection with the Merrill-Palmer Institute in Detroit, Michigan.
Energetic and resourceful, Miss Prall was a pioneer in child development. In addition to her work establishing the laboratory school at Hood College, she also organized the Child Life Program at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore in 1943. Designed to alleviate trauma and ease the hospital stays of young children, the program was revolutionary at the time. It is still in existence today and is one of the most-respected child development programs in a health care facility in the United States.
During 1944 to 1946, as part of the war relief effort, Miss Prall worked for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, setting up child feeding programs for Greek refugees, first in Palestine and later in Greece. These programs fed more than 1,000 children a day. After the war she was offered a Fullbright Fellowship by the Greek Ministry of Higher Education and spent a year in Greece developing a home economics education program at the college level for the Greek government.
At Hood she served on many committees, including curriculum and code, the advisory council to the president, and the trustee committee.
Active in community and professional organizations, Miss Prall served on fundraising committees for the local YMCA, the Salvation Army, and the Frederick Memorial Hospital. She was a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the American Association of University Professors, the American Association of University Women, and the American Home Economics Association. She is a past president of the Maryland Home Economics Association and a former president and member of the Zonta Club. Miss Prall is also a member of Omicron Nu and Delta Kappa Gamma.
The Onica Prall Child Development Laboratory is located on the west end of the campus in a brick building formerly known as West View Cottage. Built in 1921 by the College’s workmen, it was a residence for the vice president, Charles Wehler. The building was renovated as a child development laboratory school after Miss Prall’s arrival at Hood and was further renovated in 1966. Miss Prall’s life was devoted to improving the quality of early childhood education and in 1971 the building was named in honor of her pioneering work.
According to Susan Bertram ’78, director of the school and assistant professor of education, “The school has contributed significantly to the quality of the early childhood education teacher preparation program by providing an ideal setting for the first student teaching experience. Not every college or university can boast that it has a laboratory school; due to financial retrenchment, many lost their laboratory schools. Today there are approximately 100 lab schools in the nation.”
Miss Prall’s vision still guides the lab school: the curriculum is centered on the social, cognitive and physical development of the preschool child. Director Marisel Torres-Crespo with Clinical Instructors Debra Smith and Debra Hanley are responsible for classroom worlds in which children’s experimentation with blocks and computer software coexist. Classroom observation of the three-and-four-year old children provides an introduction for sophomore-level students and student teaching provides practice for junior-level students. The school also serves as a resource for advanced students in education and other disciplines.
“No wonder that when the children are asked what school they attend they like to brag, ‘I go to Hood College!’” said Dr. Bertram.
The facilities center at Hood College is named in honor of Col. Joseph Anthony Pastore, U.S. Army Retired, former vice president for administration and finance and treasurer of the College. Col. Pastore was born June 1, 1919, in Pittsfield, Mass., the son of Nicolas and Frances Pastore.
He was married in 1949 to Florence A. Brazeau, now deceased, with whom he had three children: Dennis, Margaret, and Gerianne. In 1991 he married Patricia Masser of Feagaville, Md., former assistant to the registrar and immigration liaison officer in the office of the registrar at Hood College.
Col. Pastore attended public schools and the Berkshire Business College in Pittsfield. He attended the University College of the University of Maryland and the University of Kentucky. He also graduated from many Army-sponsored courses including a number of computer sciences courses, the Advanced Career Course, and the Army Logistics Management Course.
Col. Pastore enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1941 and served in every enlisted and commissioned officer grade from private through colonel. During his 35 years of military service he was with the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps where his major areas were logistics, hospital administration, and computer operations. During World War II, Col. Pastore served in field medical units in Iceland, England, and France. He received a direct commission in France in 1945.
Following World War II, Col. Pastore accepted assignments at the U.S. Army Reserve Training Center in Harrisburg, Pa.; the U.S. Army Chemical Center in Edgewood, Md.; the U.S. Army Medical Supply Control Office in Brooklyn, N.Y.; the Louisville Medical Depot in Louisville, Ky.; the Office of the Surgeon General in Washington, D.C.; and the U.S. Army Material Agency in Phoenixville, Pa. In 1974 he was named Commander of Fort Detrick at Frederick, retiring in March 1976.
Overseas assignments included the U.S. Army Medical Supply Control Agency in Orleans, France, and the commander of the Army’s largest medical depot in Okinawa, Japan.
Among his awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
He also won the Meritorious Unit Citation awarded to the Medical Depot in Okinawa for its outstanding support of our forces in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
Shortly after his retirement from Fort Detrick, Col. Pastore was named director of College support services. His task was to direct and oversee all business activities and physical plant matters. Three months later his title was changed to vice president for administration and finance to more effectively describe his role at Hood. He was the first vice president to oversee physical plant activities and served the College for 16 years. In addition to the responsibilities already mentioned, he also provided the principal staff support for the trustee committees on buildings and grounds and finance.
During his tenure he made the campus a model for safety and cleanliness and supervised numerous campus renovation projects costing more than $25 million. Upon his retirement, he was granted emeritus status by the Hood College Board of Trustees, the first administrator so honored.
Construction projects during his tenure included the Beneficial-Hodson Library and Information Technology Center, the Marx Center, the Hodson Science Link, and the ParCourse. He also oversaw renovations to Coblentz Hall, Hodson Science Center, Williams Observatory, Alumnae House, the Apple Academic Resource Center, and the Counseling Center. He played a major role in obtaining an “A” rating from Moody’s Investors Service in connection with the sale of bonds for the construction of the Beneficial-Hodson Library and Information Technology Center and other projects.
He was also responsible for upgrading electrical and telephone systems in the residence halls and removing PCB transformers and asbestos from the College buildings.
Col. Pastore enjoys music, plays the organ, and is an honorary member of the American Federation of Musicians. He is active in the Frederick Rotary Club, the Friends of Catholic Education, and was a member of the board and former treasurer of St. Johns Regional School, Inc.
The Joseph A. Pastore Facilities Center was dedicated on November 17, 1988. Located on the west side of campus, the center houses the staff of the physical plant as well as serves as a multipurpose building used for storage and provides a garage for college vehicles, equipment and supplies.
Mention the name of Hildegarde Pilgram ’31 and few will be able to remember a time when she wasn’t serving Hood College in some way. From the first day she walked onto Hood’s campus until her death in 1995, Hil Pilgram was an enduring figure for the College.
It was her wish that the Pilgram name live on at Hood with the establishment of the Hildegarde Pilgram Endowed Chair in History. A student of history herself, Pilgram thought it fitting that her $1.2 million bequest to Hood establish a chair in history dedicated to the memory of her parents. In a 1989 letter to Hood she wrote, “I am so happy that I am able to repay in a small way all that Hood gave me.”
Dr. Robert Pilgram describes his sister’s devotion to Hood in this way: “The more you put into something, the more you get out of it. For Hil, working her way through school as a waitress, competing in sports and excelling in academics—she put a lot into Hood and she got a lot out of it.”
Pilgram stood out among her classmates; she was a champion track and field athlete and tennis player. Her abilities on the playing fields and in the classroom earned her the honor of White Blazer Girl for her class. Years later, Pilgram served several terms as a member of the Hood College Board of Trustees. Pilgram even chaired her 50th class reunion and led a record-breaking fund-raising drive.
Honors seemed to follow Pilgram wherever she went. In 1982, she received Hood’s Alumnae Achievement Award. In presenting the award, the late Anne Funk Maxwell ’54 said, “She has represented Hood with grace and skill in her community, her church and the wider world. We are proud and grateful to this fine woman for her many years of distinguished service to Hood College.”
Hil Pilgram’s final act of generosity to Hood has allowed the College to hire Dr. Emilie Amt, visiting professor, as the first Hildegarde Pilgram Professor of History.
Bruce Bigelow, vice-president for development and external relations, explains how important such gifts are to the future of the College: “Endowments in general are what give Hood the financial foundation for the future; they allow us to build our academic quality, provide support for our students and maintain our campus.”
The Current President’s House—East Cottage
The house at 273 Dill Avenue was constructed in 1900. Hood College originally purchased the house in 1920 for use as a residence for the vice president, Charles E. Wehler, and the house was called East Cottage. In the summer of 1921, Wehler relocated from East Cottage to a newly constructed home—Westview Terrace—directly behind the property, now the Onica Prall Child Development Lab School, and East Cottage became the College infirmary. Use of East Cottage was discontinued during the 1924-25 school year, and after that school year, the College sold the property to William T. and Janie H. Delaplaine, a 1908 alumna. In 1979, Janie Delaplaine sold the property to her adopted daughter, Natalie Colbert Bowers ’52. In 2014, Hood College purchased the property for the College’s presidents. The house was again named East Cottage in 2015.
The Second President’s House
The second President’s House, which sits just north of Alumnae House, was built in 1961 and was home to five Hood College Presidents. It was renovated in 1995 before Hood’s eighth president, Shirley D. Peterson, and her husband, Donald M. Peterson, moved into the house June 30, 1995.
During its renovation, the first and second floors of the house were remodeled, with several interior walls moved to provide a more open and formal atmosphere for entertaining. The entrance hall was made wider, with a gracious, formal dining room to the left, complete with several of the silver tea services belonging to the College. The renovated kitchen, designed to be functional for preparing and serving food to large groups, opened into a spacious family room. The renovations also included painting throughout the house, a forced hot air and air conditioning system and wood floors in the entrance hall, dining room and living room. With the addition of a ramp and new restroom on the first floor, the President’s House became accessible to people with physical disabilities.
The presidents who lived in this house were: Randle Elliott (1961-71), who moved in when house was completed in late 1961 or early 1962; Ross Pritchard (1972-75); Martha Church (1975-95); Shirley Peterson (1995-2000); Robert Funk (2000-01); and Ronald J. Volpe (2001-15).
The First President’s House
The first President’s House (now Alumnae House) was built in 1920 as a home for Joseph Henry Apple and his family. Other presidents who resided in the first house were: Henry I. Stahr (1934-48) and Andrew G. Truxal (1948-61).
Rayford Lodge, located on Rosemont Avenue and behind Rosenstock Hall, has served the students of Hood College since 1944, first as a residence hall for undergraduate women and since the early 1970s as a center for undergraduate commuter students.
Rayford Lodge was named in recognition of Raymond Isaac Ford, treasurer and business manager of Hood from 1921 to 1949.
A lifelong resident of Frederick County, Raymond I. Ford was born in Ijamsville, Md. on September 12, 1895. The son of Charles and Minnie Anderson Ford, he was a graduate of the Frederick Boys High School.
Mr. Ford married Helen A. DeLaughter and the couple had three children: Raymond Jr., Dorothy Ford Krieger ’44, and Miriam Ford Cantwell ’39, deceased. His wife died in 1952 and in 1960 he married Alice Oden Brown.
Mr. Ford began his career at The Frederick Post in June of 1914 and continued to work for the paper after it merged with The News in 1916. He then was employed as a bookkeeper with Thomas and Company in Gaithersburg, Md., and then as the superintendent of a newly established cannery.
In an article in the Hood College Magazine, Mr. Ford recalled his first interview with Hood President Joseph Henry Apple when he joined the administration in 1921. After telling Dr. Apple that he didn’t know a thing about colleges, but that he was willing to try, Dr. Apple said, “If you would like to try, I’d like to try you!”
Mr. Ford served as treasurer of Hood College for 28 years. Faithful, genial and conscientious, he oversaw the College’s financial operations under three presidents: Dr. Apple, Henry I. Stahr and Andrew G. Truxal. When he assumed his responsibilities Coblentz Hall was under construction. Other buildings constructed during his years at Hood included the Joseph Henry Apple Library, Carson Cottage, Gambrill Gymnasium, Williams Observatory, Martz Hall, and Meyran Hall. He oversaw the College’s financial operations during the critical years of the Depression and World War II when resources were scarce. During his tenure the income of the College increased from $156,000 a year to more than $750,000 a year, and he saw the student body double in size from 225 in 1921 to more than 450 in 1949.
Mr. Ford was an active and devoted member of the Calvary United Methodist Church. He served on the church’s board for 46 years and was president of the Leaders Bible Class. He also served on the church’s building committee.
Active in the Masons, he was a past master of Pentalpha Lodge No. 194, AF & AM, in Gaithersburg, Md., a member of Enoch Royal Arch Chapter No. 23, and Commander of the Jacques deMolay Chapter No. 4 of the Knights Templar. He was a member of the Frederick Rotary Club and served a term as treasurer. He was active in the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers, and served one term as vice president.
Mr. Ford died at 87 in 1982 and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick.
Rayford Lodge is actually two homes connected by a passageway. East Rayford was originally the home of the Ford family. The College purchased the property from Mr. Ford in 1944. At the time, the College was in need of additional dormitory space for a burgeoning campus population. The name Rayford was suggested by Lilly Parker, a housemother in Meyran Hall. After the Fords moved out of the house, it was renovated as a dormitory for 16 students and a housemother.
West Rayford was purchased by the College in 1960 from the Schildknecht family. The College’s maintenance men built a passageway to connect the two dwellings, known as East Rayford and West Rayford, and the building continued to be used as a residence hall.
In 1974, with a growing number of commuter students, the administration decided to renovate Rayford Lodge into a center for commuter students to provide them a place to study and socialize. It then served as the Commuter Student Union (CSU) and its leadership group, the Commuter Council (CC). Meetings were held in the living room or the conference room. Commuter students enjoyed the same opportunities and responsibilities as residence hall students in creating and providing leadership for the community in which they lived. A commuter representative is elected to the Student Government Association, and of course commuters are active in many college organizations.
Rayford Lodge contained a kitchen, a small vending room, a dining area with tables, and several living spaces that opened into each other. The second floor included study rooms, lounge areas, a conference room, and an office that served as the base of operations for the Commuter Council and the Commuter Student Union. During exam week and after selected social events, the house was available for commuters to stay overnight.
The existence of Rayford Lodge has enabled commuters to become more active in campus-wide positions and activities. And, beginning in the spring of 1994, graduate students also have been welcomed to Rayford.
Rosenstock Hall is named for the late Samuel Heidelberger Rosenstock and Henrietta Kaufman Rosenstock, well-known local philanthropists and longtime residents of Frederick.
Mr. Rosenstock, affectionately known as Mr. Sam, was the son of Lewis and Ettie Rosenstock. Born on July 14, 1885, in Baltimore, he was educated in Baltimore’s public schools, and attended Marston University School in Baltimore, Stratton Business College, and Lehigh University. His father died when he was young and he was raised by his mother.
Mr. Rosenstock was a noted industrialist who reached national prominence in the canning industry. His first job was working in the canning business owned by his two uncles, Jacob and Aaron Rosenstock. His wages were four cents an hour. After leaving his uncles’ business, he got a job as a runner for a Wall Street investment firm for $5 a week. At age 19 he was named manager of the Frederick City Packing Company and the 662-acre Richland Farms. At 21 he purchased one third interest in the company and eventually became the sole owner. In 1946 he sold the company to the Jenkins Brothers. In 192 he purchased the Thurmont Canning Company which became known as the Western Maryland Packing Company. In 1941, to meet the needs of the war effort, he built the largest string bean canning plant in the United States in Belle Glade, Florida, which he operated until 1943.
Not only was he an expert in the canning industry, he was also an expert in raising leghorn chickens, breeding and raising trotting horses, and raising wolfhounds.
Samuel Rosenstock was married to Henrietta Kaufman, the only daughter of the three children of Michael D. and Pearl Morris Kaufman. She was born in Tarboro, North Carolina, on May 7, 1896. Mrs. Rosenstock, one of the first women to ever work on Wall Street, was a secretary/analyst in New York when she met Mr. Rosenstock. She also served in the U.S. Navy as one of eight women chief petty officers during World War I.
Mr. Rosenstock was interested in community affairs and was active in several civic organizations. He was a charter member of the Frederick Kiwanis Club, and a member of the Frederick Lodge BPOE, and served on the Advisory Council of the Visitation Academy. He served on the boards of many organizations including the Frederick County National Bank, Frederick Memorial Hospital, the Salvation Army the Girl Scouts, and the Royal Poinciana Chapel in Palm Beach, Florida. He helped launch the Board of Associates at Hood College and served on the Board for many years. Mr. Rosenstock was awarded the “Others” award by the Salvation Army, given to local business people whose service rises to the standard of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. During World War I he served on the U.S. Food Administration and was given a certificate of appreciation by the then food administrator, Herbert Hoover.
Mr. and Mrs. Rosenstock played an important part in the growth and development of Frederick County, providing financial support to a number of organizations including Frederick Memorial Hospital, Goodwill, Inc., and the Girl Scouts. They were major benefactors for an effort to build a Baptist college at Walkersville. Unfortunately, this effort failed and the chapel which they funded was sold as part of a housing development.
In recognition of his dedication to the College, Hood awarded Mr. Rosenstock an honorary doctor of humanities degree in 1976. A staunch supporter of education, he provided financial support to many college students.
In 1970 the Rosenstocks were honored when Rosenstock Hall was named in recognition of their gifts to the College. The building houses an auditorium, computer laboratories, faculty offices, and classrooms for the departments of economics and management, English and communication arts, psychology, and history and political science.
There are no direct descendants. Mr. Rosenstock died at age 95 on March 22, 1981; Mrs. Rosenstock died on April 18, 1975. Both are buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick.
Shriner Hall, the oldest residence hall at Hood College, opened its doors in the fall of 1915, one of the two new buildings on the sprawling 150-acre campus west of Frederick.
Built at a cost of $68,000 and originally known as Residence Hall A, it was later named in memory of Edward A. Shriner and his first wife. Margaret Elizabeth Derr Shriner, in recognition of the generosity of their son, Edward Derr Shriner, Sr., to Hood College.
Mrs. Shriner was a close friend of Margaret Scholl Hood, for whom Hood College is named, while her husband, Edward A. Shriner, was Mrs. Hood’s first cousin.
The oldest of seven children, Mrs. Shriner was born December 4, 1832, to John Derr, a descendant of German immigrants and a prominent local farmer, and his wife, Elizabeth Lugenbeel Shriner, on the family homestead on the west bank of the Monocacy River. Diaries kept in the 1850s by her friend, Mrs. Hood, and her sister, Mary, describe her as a kind woman, engaged in pursuits typical for a woman of her day. She sewed, gardened, canned, and cooked; she rode into town to call on friends and family; she attended church and taught Sunday School. She also kept a diary (no copies have survived) and regularly corresponded with family and friends.
Edward A. Shriner was the only son of Cornelius Shriner, a prominent miller and businessman, and Rebecca Scholl Shriner, the sister of Margaret Hood’s father, Christian. A descendant of German and Swiss immigrants, he was born on January 24, 1830, on the family homestead adjoining the family business, the Ceresville Mills, on the banks of the Monocacy River north of Frederick.
Mr. Shriner entered the milling business after completing his formal education at Mercersburg College. In 1850, his father sold him a partial interest in Ceresville Mills; after his father’s death in 1855 he bought the mills from the Cornelius Shriner estate for a cost of $14,600.
In the mid-nineteenth century, the Ceresville Mills were thought to be the finest south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The mills ground sixty barrels of flour per day and were driven by water wheels powered by the waters of the Israel Creek which empties into the Monocacy River. As a result of the mills’ success, Mr. Shriner enjoyed substantial wealth.
Avidly interested in the welfare of his community, particularly its transportation system, he was instrumental in the early development of turnpikes in Frederick County, serving as president of the Frederick and Woodsboro Pike Company and the Liberty and Frederick Pike Company. He was a director of the Frederick County National Bank and was connected with a number of enterprises and institutions that were influential in the development of the county. He was an active member of the Reformed Church.
Margaret and Edward Shriner’s paths often crossed as children, for their fathers, John Derr and Cornelius Shriner, shared a common business, community and transportation interests. In 1858, following a long courtship, they were married. Mrs. Hood’s diaries indicate that the first years of their marriage were happy ones. Three years after their marriage, Margaret died at the age of 31, nine days after the birth of her son, Edward Derr Shriner, born January 13, 1862.
Edward Derr Shriner was raised by his mother’s sister, Mary Derr. Upon completion of his education, he entered the family mill at Ceresville as bookkeeper. After purchasing the business from his father, he established the E. A. Shriner Milling Company. Like his father he was a director of the Woodsboro Turnpike Company, the Frederick County National Bank, and was active in the Reformed Church. He also was well-known for his involvement with the Sons of the American Revolution. He was a generous contributor to Hood, and in 1916 the college named its first residence hall in honor of his parents.
The high value the Shriners placed on love for family and friends and their strong commitment to community is evident in all that has been written about them. Shriner Hall exemplifies their lives and is symbolic of Hood’s similar values.
Paul Smith was born on January 25, 1889 in Woodsboro, Md., the oldest of eight children of Charles Edward and Florence Burnetta Smith. Educated in the local schools, he entered Walkersville High School in 1904 with 14 classmates, yet was the only one to graduate four years later. He spent one year at Blue Ridge College in New Windsor, Md., where he and his brothers cleaned rooms in order to pay room and board.
In 1912 he married Henrietta Foust Menges and they had three daughters: Jeanne Smith Gardes, Polly Smith Moyer ’48; and Lois Smith Harrison ’45, chair of the Hood College Board of Trustees.
An extremely successful businessman, Mr. Smith started in 1909 as secretary to the manager of the Washington, Frederick and Gettysburg Railway Company, a local trolley line. Three years later he was made general agent of the railroad’s successor, the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway Company.
In 1914 he became a pioneer in the commercial and residential use of electricity when the company named him head of a newly established department created to handle a neophyte commercial and residential electric business. In the early 1900s, use of electricity was almost solely limited to railways. The business grew quickly and in 1923 became known as the Potomac Edison Company. Mr. Smith was promoted to president in 1932 and served in this capacity until his retirement in 1957. He also helped establish, and then served as president of, the Southeastern Utilities Exchange, as association of utility companies serving the Southeastern area of the United States. Well liked and respected by his employees and business associates, he was known for his high standards, sound business principles, belief in teamwork, and open door policy.
Mr. Smith first became affiliated with Hood when he was appointed to the Hood College Board of Trustees in 1937 to fill the unexpired term of Andrew Brodbeck. A true and sincere friend, he was an ardent supporter, trusted advisor, and visionary builder who stayed involved with Hood for 27 years until his death in 1964 at age 75. He was appointed president of the board in 1948 and served with three presidents: Henry Stahr, Andrew Truxal, and Randle Elliot. Under his leadership, Hood’s enrollment increased 40 percent and four buildings were erected and equipped: Gambrill Gymnasium, Lillian Brown Hodson Science Building, Coffman Chapel, and Smith Hall, the residence hall that bears his name. He was also instrumental in guiding the establishment of the College’s retirement program which was implemented after his death.
A public-spirited citizen and great humanitarian, he was known as “The First Citizen of Western Maryland.” A charter member of the Frederick Rotary Club, he was vitally interested in young people and was drawn to service through the Frederick YMCA. When transferred to Hagerstown, he became active in the community, holding leadership roles in the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, YMCA, Washington County Hospital, and Washington County Community Chest. He was active on the boards of the Union Manufacturing Company, Mutual Insurance Company of Frederick, the Francis Scott Key Hotel, and the Frederick printing firm of Marken and Bielfeld, and was a member of the Masonic Lodge and the Southeastern Engineering Society.
He was instrumental in raising money for the newly established Hagerstown Junior College and was active with the Maryland State School Survey Commission. He was a founding member and served until his death on the Maryland Port Authority.
A lifelong member of the Reformed Church, Mr. Smith once taught a men’s bible class of more than 350 members. He helped establish the Washington County Council of Churches, served on the Committee of the Potomac Synod of the Reformed Church, was a delegate to the Home Missions, and was active in the Hagerstown Roundtable of Christians and Jews. He also was on the board of Lancaster Theological Seminary and served as vice president of the board of Massanutten Academy.
Progress and excellence were his goals for Hood and all his business, personal and humanitarian pursuits. He believed in responsibility to the community and working hard to achieve worthy goals. According to his daughter, Lois Smith Harrison ’45, “He and my mother encouraged us by example and counsel to give of ourselves fully to our community—to give our time, service and money for the good of others.”
Strawn Cottage, the fourth oldest building on the Hood College campus, is named in honor of David Gates Strawn, a philanthropist who became interested in Hood when his niece, Ruth Strawn Moncrieff ’18, was a student at the College.
Dr. Strawn was born on October 2, 1842, in Jacksonville, Ill., the fifth child of Jacob Strawn, a land and cattle baron, and Phebe Gates Strawn.
Educated in the public schools of Jacksonville, he graduated from Illinois College, pursued post-graduate studies throughout Europe, and earned a degree in chemistry from Harvard University.
On July 18, 1866, he married Laura Eliza Holmes, a niece of Oliver Wendall Holmes, who was born in North Adams, Mass., on December 14, 1843. They had one son, Ferdinand Ludwig, and made their home in Boston. While living in Boston, Dr. Strawn practiced dentistry and was engaged in commercial real estate ventures. An avid traveler, he visited many European countries and was fluent in several languages, including French, Italian, and German.
His marriage to Laura was short-lived. On February 6, 1879, she died suddenly in Boston at the age of 36. A short time later, Dr. Strawn moved with his son back to Jacksonville, Ill., where they made their home with Dr. Strawn’s widowed mother, Phebe. Abandoning his dental practice, Dr. Strawn engaged in farming and raised thoroughbred horses, a love he acquired while living in Europe.
A generous philanthropist, Dr. Strawn donated the funds for the Strawn Memorial Library at Illinois Woman’s College (now MacMurray College). In 1915, he purchased his brother’s interest in the family home on West College Avenue in Jacksonville and gave the spacious three-story house to the Art Association of Jacksonville to be used as an art gallery in accordance with the wishes of his mother. Dr. Strawn also provided an endowment to ensure the upkeep of the gallery. H was known for his self-effacing generosity to individuals and many were the recipients of his kind and good deeds.
He was interested in Hood because his niece, Ruth, the daughter of his half-brother, was a student at Hood in the home economics department, which was experiencing rapid growth under the capable direction of Edith Mathias Thomas ’01. It was Miss Thomas who organized the College’s first School of Home Economics in 1911 and developed the plan to build a home economics practice house, with the lower floor to be used as a model home, and the upper floors as a residence for students engaged in managing the home.
David Strawn agreed to first give $1,000. Later he gave an additional $5,000. The gifts paid for the construction of the first floor of the building. The upper floors were to be constructed as an investment. According to President Joseph Henry Apple’s memoirs, some of the items in the building were difficult to obtain because of war shortages.
The home management facility, one of the first of its kind in the nation, was dedicated in 1918 in connection with the College’s 25th anniversary. It attracted considerable media attention, including an article in “School Life.”
The building was occupied for the first time on December 18, 1918, and served as a home economics practice house for generations of students over the next 60 years. Most of the home economics students lived in the house for six weeks during a semester while taking the home management course.
In 1978, a fire (the first and only major fire at the College since its founding in 1893) severely damaged the building. However, following extensive renovations, and with the decision to build a new technical resource management facility (The Lawrence Marx Jr. Resource Management Center opened in 1983) to replace Strawn as the home economics management house, it was decided to use Strawn Cottage for administrative offices.
Dr. Strawn’s great-niece and Ruth Strawn’s grand-daughter, Heather M. Moncrieff ’85, is also a Hood graduate. (See “Walking in Granny’s Footsteps,” Hood College Magazine, Winter 1984.)
David Strawn died on May 30, 1924, in Jacksonville and is buried in the Strawn family mausoleum in Jacksonville’s Diamond Grove Cemetery.
Tatem Arts Center is named in memory of Minnie Antoinette Moore Tatem, a well-known and highly respected teacher and civic leader. Mrs. Tatem was born on November 30, 1867, in Philadelphia. At age four she moved to Hammonton, N.J., and later moved to Haddonfield, N.J. Mrs. Tatem was educated in the private schools of Haddonfield, received a teaching certificate from Trenton State Teachers College, and taught in the Haddonfield schools for ten years.
On September 10, 1896, at age 28, she married Joseph Fithian Tatem, a lawyer and developer who was President of the Wildwood Power Company in Philadelphia. They had five children: Joseph Moore, Mary Theodasia, Antoinette Ware, Sylvia Jane, and Robert Moore.
Mrs. Tatem was active in church, philanthropic and civic organizations in Haddonfield. A member of the Federation of New Jersey Women’s Haddon Fortnightly Club, she served as chair of the building committee, spear-heading an effort to raise funds to purchase and renovate a Methodist Church as a headquarters for the club. Now known as Artisan’s Hall, it serves as a hub of community activity and is one of the biggest public meeting places in Haddonfield.
Mrs. Tatem also served as president of the Wildwood Civic Club. During World War I she organized the First Woman’s Liberty Loan Committee and was chair of the Haddonfield Woman’s Victory Loan Committee. She organized committees to raise money for the New Jersey Federation of Women’s Clubs Social Club House at Camp Dix, the Camp Dix Hospital, the Red Cross, and the Near East Relief Society.
A member of the First Presbyterian Church in Haddonfield for 82 years, she was president of the Women’s Missionary Society, was active in the International Sunday School Association and the YMCA, and traveled abroad to attend church-sponsored conferences. Mrs. Tatem was Vice-Regent and Regent of the Haddonfield Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was a member of the Colonial Dames of America and the Haddonfield Historical Society.
Interested in education, Mrs. Tatem established scholarships for seniors attending Haddonfield and Collingswood high schools and provided numerous scholarships through her affiliations with the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Presbyterian Church.
Mrs. Tatem took great interest in her children and grandchildren. The Tatem family had a summer place in Maine where she took the grandchildren for two months every summer, often without their parents. Her grandchildren love to tell stories of how she could beat them at Scrabble. An avid botanist, she knew all the Latin names for plants and loved gardening.
Built at a cost of $870,000, Tatem Arts Center was financed entirely from private sources, including gifts from alumnae, foundations and friends, as well as the Tatem family. The Center houses the Hodson Art Gallery, Price Auditorium, Avalon Speech Studio, the College Bookstore, an art studio, art and language laboratories, and the departments of Art, Education, and Foreign Languages and Literatures.
Though not a Hood graduate herself, a number of Mrs. Tatem’s descendants are Hood alumnae: her daughter-in-law, Edith Gladwin DeChant Tatem ’23 (a member of the Board of Trustees from 1933-1939); her daughter Antoinette Tatem Driscoll ’26 (a member of the Board of Trustees from 1955-1972, an honorary trustee from 1972 until her death in 1985, and winner of the Alumnae Achievement Award in 1975); her granddaughter, Patricia Driscoll ’55 (a member of the Board of Trustees from 1978-1990); granddaughter, Mary Edith Tatem Williams ’45 (winner of the Distinguished Alumnae Award in 1983); a cousin, Katharine Tatem Brody ’64; great-granddaughter, Edith Gay Williams ’75; and great-granddaughter, Julia Driscoll ’84.
Minnie Tatem died in December 2, 1963 at age 96. Yet her memory lives on in Tatem Arts Center. Hood College is grateful for the longstanding support and loyalty of the Tatem family.
In the classic holiday movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” we are shown what a community would have been like without the presence and contributions of one man. In real life, it is difficult to imagine Hood College without the generosity of The Hodson Trust and the people whose vision and leadership have built the Trust into one of the nation’s premier philanthropic organizations.
Thomas S. Hodson (1837-1920) was a teacher, minister, lawyer, newspaper publisher, and politician. In 1883, he was elected to the Maryland State Senate. A widely respected businessman and strong advocate of education, he settled The Hodson Trust in 1920.
Col. Clarence Hodson (1868-1928) was a director of more than 40 banks, trust and mortgage companies, insurance companies, and public utilities during his 40-year business career. In 1914, he founded the Beneficial Loan Society, which grew from one office to 200 offices across the United States. His ideas and continued business accomplishments read as a case study for business and modeling.
Lillian Brown Hodson (1868-1963), the wife of Col. Hodson, shared her husband’s interest in education and was particularly interested in the welfare of Hood. She served on the Hood College Board of Trustees and her gifts, in addition to those from The Hodson Trust, made possible the construction of the original Hodson Science Center in 1957.
Finn M. W. Caspersen H.D.L. ’83, chairman of The Hodson Trust since 1976 and a national leader in the field of education, has continued to honor Col. Hodson’s interest in higher education. In 1983, Hood honored Caspersen with an honorary doctor of laws degree, and what was said then still rings true today: “You have discovered that a company is only as alive as the people it employs, that the vitality of the economy rests with the vision of its leaders, and that tomorrow’s future rests with those being educated today.”
He is the second-generation member of the Caspersen family to serve on the Board of Trustees of The Hodson Trust, following in the tradition of his father, Olaus W. Caspersen, chairman of the Trust from 1928 to 1971. In 2000, Finn M. W. Caspersen Jr., became the third generation to serve on the Board of Trustees of The Hodson Trust.
Each year, The Hodson Trust awards grants to four Maryland colleges: Hood, The Johns Hopkins University, St. John’s College, and Washington College. Under the stewardship of Finn Caspersen, the Trust’s donations to the four colleges have grown from $12.6 million to more the $118 million over the past 25 years. In addition to student scholarships and internships, the grants are used for professor endowments, research grants, information technology initiatives, athletic programs, large construction projects and endowment funds.
During a luncheon in Baltimore in December, the Trust awarded $2.4 million to Hood for the renovation and construction of the new Hodson Science and Technology Center. The money is part of The Hodson Trust’s $13 million pledge toward the $17 million center.
In accepting the gift, President Ronald J. Volpe said, “Our new science and technology center recognizes the increasing importance of science and technology in the Washington, D. C., and Baltimore regions. It will help contribute to the advancement of Hood’s students and to the economic progress of the region and the state of Maryland. From the first gift it gave to Hood in 1936, to the very generous gift today, The Hodson Trust continues to play an important role in making Hood College a premier educational institution.”
The Hodson name is almost synonymous with Hood College. It is linked to scholarships for students, fellowships for faculty, a lecture series, and an endowed professorship. Some of the named buildings and facilites are: Hodson Outdoor Theater (1938), Hodson Swimming Pool in Gambrill Gymnasium (1949), Hodson Science Center (1957), Hodson Gallery in Tatem Arts Center (1966), Beneficial-Hodson Library and Information Technology Center (1992), and the Hodson Science and Technology Center (2002).
Since 1936, The Hodson Trust has given more than $33 million to Hood.
Four members of the Thomas family are memorialized at Hood College: Ella Virginia Thomas, her son George Frank, her daughter Julia Elizabeth, and her son-in-law Clyde Eugene Thomas. Lifelong residents of Frederick County, Md., the Thomas family are descendants of John Thomas, who migrated to this country from Klein-Schifferstadt, Germany, in 1730.
The Rosemont Avenue gateway to Hood College is named in memory of Ella Virginia Thomas, and was a gift from Julia E. and Clyde E. Thomas and G. Frank Thomas. Born in Adamstown, Md. on April 29, 1860, she was the daughter of D. Peter and Elizabeth R. Remsburg Thomas. On November 12, 1885, she married Stephen Albert Thomas, and they lived on the Thomas family homestead in Adamstown, a 189-acre farm near Sugarloaf Mountain.
The Thomases had four children: William H., who died shortly after birth; George Frank; Julia; and Genevieve. Mrs. Thomas’ interests centered on her family and she was a devout member of Trinity Evangelical Reformed Church in Adamstown. She died in 1956 at age 96 and is buried in the Church Hill Cemetery in Adamstown.
The Magnolia Avenue gateway and the Thomas Athletic Field behind Coblentz Hall are named in memory of George Frank Thomas, known by his friends and family as G. Frank. A well-known and respected businessman, he was born in Adamstown in 1886, attended Frederick County Public Schools and was a summa cum laude graduate of Western Maryland College. Inheriting a love of farming from his father, he took an interest in the feed, grain and canning business and founded the Adamstown Canning and Supply Company. Later he bought and operated several canneries in Gaithersburg. His companies specialized in canning peas, corn, tomatoes and sauerkraut. The Frederick Trading Company, a well-known Frederick hardware distribution company, was founded by G. Frank Thomas as a subsidiary of the original Thomas Company.
Active in civic, cultural and religious affairs, G. Frank was a trustee of Western Maryland College and the Home for the United Church of Christ, serving as an elder, treasurer, a member of the Consistory and Sunday School teacher.
Six months prior to his death he married his secretary, Catherine Betson. Proceeds from the estate of G. Frank and Catherine Betson Thomas established the G. Frank Thomas Foundation which has funded scholarships at Hood College. G. Frank Thomas died June 18, 1965, and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Julia Elizabeth Thomas was born on August 7, 1893, in Adamstown. A 1914 graduate of Hood College, she was active in community and civic affairs and an active member of Calvary Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday School. She married her cousin, Clyde Eugene Thomas, who was born June 26, 1891, the son of Curtis William and Abbie Lavina Thomas. Clyde Thomas graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 1912, where a residence hall is named in his honor.
Interested in real estate and farming, Clyde Thomas was a founder with his brother-in-law of the Frederick Trading Company and served many years as chairman of the board. He was also a member of the Board of Directors and contributed generously to Frederick Memorial Hospital and was an active alumnus of Franklin and Marshall College. Prior to going into the hardware business he had worked in his brother-in-law’s canning business. He was a Rotarian and active in numerous service organizations. A devout member of Calvary Methodist Church, he was a trustee, chairman of a drive to build the Christian education building, and a member and teacher of the Leaders Bible Class.
Mr. Thomas was president of the Hood College Board of Trustees from 1964-1966. The annex to the Apple Academic Resource Center (formerly the library), completed in 1962, was named in honor of Julia E. and Clyde E. Thomas.
A foster daughter, LaRue Thomas Bryce, graduated from Hood in 1936.
Clyde Thomas died June 18, 1965, and is buried beside Julia, who died May 19, 1987. Both are buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Frederick.
The sister of G. Frank and Julia, Genevieve Thomas Fravel, graduated from Hood College in 1916; a cousin, Lucille Thomas Sykes, graduated from Hood in 1937.
Andrew G. Truxal, a widely respected educator who became the College’s third president in 1948, strengthened the College’s academic curriculum and established strong ties with the Frederick community. He served for 13 years, retiring in 1961.
The Andrew G. Truxal Chair of Economics and Sociology was endowed by alumnae and friends of the College in 1959, as part of the College’s “Hood Looks Ahead Program.” The Alumnae Association chose to honor Dr. Truxal through the establishment of an endowed professorship as its contribution to the three-year campaign. When asked to state his preference of the department in which the chair would be established, Dr. Truxal chose sociology, since that was the field in which he taught for many years.
“The gift of this endowed professorship established more than the generosity of Hood’s alumnae,” noted President Shirley D. Peterson. “The endowed professorship honored a greatly beloved Hood president while at the same time paying tribute to the very heart of the College—the faculty who teach.”
One of the strengths that Dr. Truxal brought to Hood College was his academic background. He was a sociologist, professor, and an ordained minister.
In reflecting on the tenure of Dr. Truxal, Lois S. Harrison ’45, former chair of the Hood College Board of Trustees, said, “Dr. Truxal was accepted by people of all generations. His genial manner, distinguished appearance, and interest in Hood, all served the College very well.”
During Dr. Truxal’s tenure at Hood, several buildings were constructed, including Hodson Science Hall, Coffman Chapel, Gambrill Gymnasium, the President’s House, and Fox Alumnae Headquarters (an addition to the Y-Hut now known as Carson Cottage). The tennis courts were completed and West Rayford was purchased.
Dr. Truxal came to Hood from Dartmouth College where he had taught sociology for 20 years and served as chairman of the department. He was interested in family relationships and co-authored two books, “The Family in American Culture and Marriage” and “Family in American Culture.” Recognized as an authority in his field, he was awarded honorary degrees from three colleges: Dartmouth in 1936, Franklin and Marshall in 1948, and Western Maryland in 1961. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a member and former national president of Phi Kappa Psi, and a member of the American Sociological Society, the National Council of Family Relations, and Rotary International. He lectured throughout the country and was active in national professional organizations.
He was born February 2, 1900, in Greensburg, Pa. Dr. Truxal received his bachelor’s degree in 1920 and his master’s degree in 1923, both from Franklin and Marshall College, and earned a bachelor’s degree in theology in 1923 from Eastern Theological Seminary in Lancaster. He was an ordained minister of the Evangelical and Reformed Church. In 1928, he earned his doctorate at Columbia University. Earlier teaching posts included Millersville State College and Franklin and Marshall College.
In 1923, Dr. Truxal married Deldee Groff, who continues to reside in Frederick. The couple had two children, John G. Truxal and Noradel Truxal Wilson ’53.
After leaving Hood College he served until 1968 as the first president of Anne Arundel Community College, where the college’s library is named in his honor. Dr. Truxal died February 4, 1968.
The Ronald J. Volpe Athletic Center is named for Hood’s 10th president.
In the summer of 2001, Ronald J. Volpe was appointed as the College’s 10th president. Prior to his appointment, he held numerous positions at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, including professor of management, chair of the department of business and economics, dean of the graduate school of administration, co-director of the center for the advancement of the study of ethics, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, provost and interim president.
Before joining Capital, he held a number of positions at his alma mater, Gannon University in Pennsylvania, including serving as a tenured faculty member in business, director of the Small Business Institute, director of the Small Business Development Center, director of the MBA program, dean of admission and dean of the Dahlkemper School of Business.
Born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, he earned his bachelor's degree in business administration at Gannon University, a master of business administration at Xavier University, his doctoral degree in higher educational administration at the University of Pittsburgh and completed post-doctoral studies in academic leadership at Carnegie Mellon University. While pursuing his doctorate, he also worked in the Institute for Higher Education at the University of Pittsburgh.
In addition to his more than 43 years of experience in higher education, President Volpe has served as a labor arbitrator; consultant to a number of businesses, governmental and higher education institutions; and has taught for the American Institute of Banking. His teaching and research areas are in marketing, leadership and business ethics, and he has made presentations and directed many professional seminars and workshops in these areas.
During his tenure as president, the College transitioned to co-education, increased its enrollment more than 50 percent, established new academic and athletic programs, made numerous campus improvements and strengthened its financial health.
Ron Volpe was a tireless fan of athletics, especially Division III college athletics, the Hood College Blazers and the concept of the scholar-athlete. But most importantly, he understood the big picture and how athletics fits into higher education—that it’s not just about the game: “Hood College is committed to a philosophy that values athletics as an important part of one’s overall education and that excellence in athletics and academics is not mutually exclusive,” wrote President Volpe in the Winter 2004-05 Hood Magazine.
By the fall of 2014, there wasn’t a field, court, playing surface or space on Hood’s campus that hadn’t in some way been replaced or improved under Ron Volpe’s leadership, including the athletic complex, the crown jewel of the Hood campus completed in the fall of 2011 and home of the president’s favorite sport, basketball. His vision had always included a multipurpose center for recreation, athletics, academic programs and campus events.
To honor Ron for his leadership in athletics at Hood, for his support of the student-athlete and for knowing and advocating athletics as part of the bigger picture in higher education, the board of trustees voted to name the athletic center in his honor. A naming ceremony was held March 27, 2015.
In 1951, Uncas A. and Helen F. Whitaker of Harrisburg, Pa., encouraged their daughters to enroll at Hood College, the beginning of a relationship that continues to this day, supported by Ruth Whitaker Holmes ’55 of Naples, Fla.; Portia Whitaker Shumaker ’55 of Bonsall, Ca.; and The Whitaker Foundation.
From the beginning, Mr. and Mrs. Whitaker were keenly interested in the College. “They visited us frequently and especially enjoyed Hood’s traditional events, such as Campus Day and Strawberry Breakfast,” said Dr. Holmes.
“Our parents believed in education, and were especially pleased with what Hood offered,” said Mrs. Shumaker.
“Even when we were students, our father impressed on us the fact that we owed a debt to Hood, as our tuition did not nearly cover what it cost the College to educate us,” added Mrs. Shumaker.
The Whitakers’ interest in Hood continued after their daughters’ graduation. In 1957, Mr. and Mrs. Whitaker and their daughters gave more than $100,000 to Hood for an endowed professorship in chemistry, an amount to which they added in subsequent years. In his letter to the Whitaker family acknowledging the gift, President Andrew G. Truxal wrote, “One of my greatest ambitions since coming to Hood has been to see established the beginning of endowed professorships. You can have no idea, therefore, how excited I am at the prospect of being able to announce at Commencement-time this year that we have the first such professorship.”
“These chairs are important to the College fore several reasons,” explained Hood president Shirley D. Peterson. “First, the use of endowment income helps to support a senior faculty member, freeing additional College resources for other uses, such as scholarships. At the same time, an endowed chair enables the College to honor outstanding faculty.”
Throughout the years, the Whitaker family and The Whitaker Foundation, founded in 1975 for the purpose of improving health through the application of engineering science to solve biomedical problems, have continued to support Hood. In 1989, The Whitaker Foundation awarded a $225,000 grant to Hood to enhance its science program and to strengthen both the department of biology and the department of chemistry, physics, and astronomy. A similar grant for $342,000 was awarded in 1994 and included the department of mathematics and computer science.
“The Whitaker Foundation continues to make it possible for Hood to upgrade its scientific equipment, to support research opportunities for faculty and students, and to develop new pedagogy for teaching science and mathematics” said Sharron W. Smith, Whitaker professor of chemistry at Hood.
“Hood’s science and math programs are outstanding due in large part to these gifts, enabling the College to continue to attract a strong faculty and to provide students with excellent preparation for careers in science and mathematics,” said Dr. Smith.
In 1994, The Whitaker Foundation gave a $2 million gift to the Hood Campaign for the Second Century, to be used for a new $6.1 million campus center. This gift gave Hood the impetus to turn a long-held dream into a reality. Full funding of this project was completed and the College broke ground in the spring of 1996.
“Hood has needed a campus center since I was a student,” said Dr. Holmes. In addition to housing the division of student affairs, with its Center for Leadership and Service, the building will house the Book Center, the Commuter Services Center, the Post Office, a Campus Commons, and eating areas.
U.A. Whitaker was the founder and chief executive officer of AMP Incorporated in Harrisburg, Pa., the world’s largest manufacturer of electrical connectors. As an inventor and engineer, Mr. Whitaker recognized the promise that engineering held for improving medical care. Born in 1900, the son and grandson of college presidents, he was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Institute, and Cleveland Law School. As a philanthropist, he strengthened the emerging field of biomedical engineering by urging engineers, scientists and physicians to collaborate and by supporting their research. Mr. Whitaker contributed to other educational institutions, such as M.I.T., Carnegie Mellon University, and Boston University, but always with a specific purpose in mind. The Whitakers also supported human service agencies and educational institutions in the Harrisburg area.
Mr. Whitaker died in 1975 and The Whitaker Foundation continues his philanthropic work.
Mr. Whitaker was supported in his philanthropy by his wife, Helen. A life-long supporter of the arts, she died in 1982, at which time the Helen F. Whitaker Fund was established in her honor. Mrs. Whitaker was a trustee of Naples Community Hospital, a life member emerita of the Corporation of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a trustee of Carnegie-Mellon University, and a board member of both the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra and the Fort Lauderdale Symphony.
Ruth Whitaker Holmes, who was awarded an honorary degree during Hood’s Centennial commencement in 1993, earned her bachelor’s degree from Hood in 1955, her master’s degree in nutrition at the University of Massachusetts in 1971, and a doctorate in higher education from Boston College in 1979. A registered dietitian, she received her degree from Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in 1956. She is a retired professor of home economics at Framingham State College, where she served as coordinator of the Food and Nutrition Division and director of the Coordinated Undergraduate Program in Dietetics. She was named to “Who’s Who of American Women” in 1982 and 1983 and is a volunteer for a shelter for abused women and children. Dr. Holmes served on the Hood College Board of Trustees for 12 years, was a member of the Hood Board of Associates, and has been active with the Hood Alumnae Fund.
In 1979, Dr. Holmes was elected a member of the Governing Committee of The Whitaker Foundation. After several years she was elected to the Executive Committee and in 1990 she was elected chair of The Whitaker Foundation, a position she held until 1994 at which time her husband, Dr. G. Burtt Holmes, succeeded her. As immediate past chair, she continues to be active with the Foundation.
Portia Whitaker Shumaker, who earned her bachelor’s degree in 1955 from Hood, and her husband John L. Shumaker, Jr., run a successful avocado ranch in California. Until several years ago, they also bred and raised horses on the ranch. Mrs. Shumaker, who inherited her mother’s love of classical music, is especially interested in opera and is active with the San Diego Opera Company. She is also a member of a local community chorus.
Mrs. Shumaker became a member of the Governing Committee of The Whitaker Foundation in 1985. Each year she travels to Washington, D.C., to meetings of the Foundation and represents the Foundation at the national level at its meetings around the country. She is an active Hood alumna, currently serving as a magazine reporter for the Class of 1955.
The Williams Observatory, named in honor of John H. Williams, a prominent Frederick banker, opened its doors to students in January 1925. A lifelong resident of Frederick County, Williams was born in Flat Run, Md., south of Emmitsburg, on April 19, 1814, the son of Captain and Mrs. Henry Williams. His father was a farmer and a prominent Revolutionary War hero and a personal friend of Washington and Lafayette. John Williams attended public schools in Emmitsburg and later graduated from Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pa.
Williams married the former Eleanor C. Shriver, the daughter of Judge Abraham Shriver, a Frederick County Circuit Court judge for more than 40 years. The couple, married for 55 years, had two children, Margaret Janie (Jeanette), known as Janet, and Henry Eleanor who died on March 8, 1892.
Williams began his career as a lawyer, coming to Frederick in 1833 to study law with a prominent Frederick County lawyer of the time, William Schley. Schley was one of the most competent and successful barristers and pleaders of his time. He had a reputation for being an excellent judge of character, full of common sense, plain-speaking and logical. In Schley, Williams had an excellent mentor. During the time he practiced law, he acquired a large and influential clientele, representing some of the most prominent interests in the county at the time.
He practiced law until 1846 when he began working at Frederick County National Bank. In 1849 he also became the editor of the Frederick Examiner, the local newspaper. In 1864, while working as a cashier at the bank, the city of Frederick paid a $200,000 ransom to the Confederate Army to save the town. Funds were provided by the city’s five financial institutions. Williams became president of the bank in 1867, a title he held until 1887. He had a reputation for directing the bank with foresight and possessing excellent executive capacity.
Well-represented, he was characterized by those who knew him as a considerate, thoughtful, just and generous gentleman. From his father he inherited the spirit of colonial citizenship. At one time he was the last surviving son in Maryland of a Revolutionary War officer.
The Williams family lived in a mansion on South Market Street in Frederick, and Williams was very family-oriented. His home life was one of affection, culture, refinement and books. He was active in the Presbyterian Church and was known for his support of community causes.
Williams died Nov. 11, 1896 of a stroke after an illness of several years. He is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick next to his wife.
Williams Observatory, built in 1924 to honor his memory through a bequest from his daughter, M. Janet Williams, was dedicated in conjunction with the 1925 Commencement.
The building was renovated in 1985 and was used as a laboratory and teaching facility by students enrolled in astronomy. The observatory, the only one available for the study of astronomy in Western Maryland, features an 8-inch telescope built by Alvan Clark and Sons, an observation deck, classrooms and a library. The lens of the telescope was originally made for the Harvard College Observatory in the early 1870s and was used for some of the earliest photographic studies of stellar spectra. The telescope’s objective lens is still in excellent condition and having been designed for visual rather than photographic use, is actually better for elementary astronomy than some modern refractors.
Hood opens the observatory to the community for special events or whenever favorable viewing conditions for planets or other popular sights are present.