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Commencement programs now available in UMBC's Digital Collections

A new school year is now upon us and what better way to celebrate than to reminisce about years past at UMBC! Let's be honest. How many of you remember your commencement speaker? Your valedictorian? How about the name of the person who handed you your diploma? If you are a UMBC alum, you can now answer all these questions by visiting UMBC's Digital Collections - commencement programs from 1970 to 1996 are now available!

Even if you aren't (yet) an alum, you might still be interested in this collection. The citations within each program highlight the achievements of many notable scholars, artists, authors, journalists, and Marylanders. Filled with photographs and writings, the commencement programs also provide a great insight into the evolution of UMBC's campus, both in terms of its academic and physical growth. These programs reveal that although technology, fashion, academic majors, and UMBC's campus have all changed over the years, there is continuity in UMBC's traditions and values, which can be found in the rituals of each graduation.

Interested in testing your UMBC knowledge? Here is some trivia that can be answered by looking at the commencement programs.

1) In what year was UMBC's first commencement?
2) Which undergraduate major had the most graduates in UMBC's first graduation?
3) Which famous psychologist, who invented the operant conditioning chamber, spoke at UMBC Commencement in 1973?
4) In which UMBC commencement did the University grant is first doctorate?
5) Which UMBC Chancellor graduated Phi Beta Kappa from University of Maryland College in 1958 and was listed on the Who's Who in America?
6) Which 1979 Nobel Prize in Economics winner, known for his focus on the underdevelopment and poverty in third-world countries, gave the commencement address in 1983?
7) Which 1959 Nobel Prize in Medicine winner, who is known for his research on the biosynthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), received an honorary degree from UMBC in 1991?
8) Which U.S. Senator, who is the longest serving woman in the Senate, gave the commencement address in 1993?
9) In which year does UMBC's mascot, True Grit, first appear in the commencement program?

Cover of the first UMBC commencement program.

Cover of the 1995 commencement program. Notice the 0s and 1s in the background, indicative of the 1990s technology boom. The introduction of the program declared the 1995 commencement exercises to be a "high-tech production."

Answers: 1) 1970; 2) History, followed closely by Psychology; 3) B.F. Skinner 4)1976 5) John W. Dorsey 6) Sir William Arthur Lewis 7)Arthur Kornberg 8) Barbara Mikulski 9) 1989

Written by Johanna Schein, Special Collections Graduate Assistant. These items were digitized in partnership with the Office of Institutional Advancement.