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Graduate School records

 Collection 0031-UA

The Graduate School was established in 1918 with the appointment of the first graduate dean. The records in this collection document the functions and responsibilities of the Graduate School and consist of minutes, correspondence, reports, newsletters, and news clippings.


  • 1940-1959

Use and Access to Collection

This collection contains restricted material, please check the series and folder listings for additional information.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the special collections reading room staff.


1.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Graduate School records span the period 1926 to 1962; the bulk of material dates from 1940 to 1955. The collection consists of the administrative correspondence of Deans Appleman and Bamford and of the Chairman of the Graduate Faculty, Dr. William J. Svirbely. Reports, minutes and administrative materials of the Graduate Faculty figure prominently in the 1955 period and cover such areas as establishment and organization of the Graduate Faculty, functions of the Graduate Faculty Assembly, and criteria for elected membership. Enrollment statistics for 1953 and 1958; Graduate Council minutes; newspaper clippings; journal article reprints; and newsletters are also included.

Administrative History

The history of the Graduate School at the University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP) has been one of rapid, at times explosive, growth. Established in 1919 with an enrollment of 12, the Graduate School has developed into one of the nation's largest. In the fall of 1990 approximately 9,000 students were en-rolled in graduate programs at UMCP, 60% at the masters level, 40% at the doctoral or non-degree levels.

The Graduate School's mission is to provide for the education of students in the scholarly methods of intellectual inquiry and critical analysis; to train them in the discipline and skills necessary for beneficial research; and to foster in them a dedication to creative thought and the search for knowledge.

In order to shape and participate in national policies and developments in graduate education, the Graduate School maintains close contact with other graduate schools and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the Association of Graduate Schools, and the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States.

The Graduate School was formed during academic year 1918-1919 and was administered by the Graduate Council, which consisted of the president of the university, director of the experiment station, the dean and secretary of the school, and six members experienced in graduate school administration. Twelve graduate students were enrolled at that time, with five departments offering graduate courses.

The Graduate School had general jurisdiction over graduate work offered by various departments of the university. Its policies for establishment of standards and requirements for degrees relied upon precedents set forth by the Association of American Universities, an association of United States' graduate institutions of which the UMCP graduate school became a member in 1970.

Departments offered standard graduate work and sought to place the quality of work on par with the best graduate schools in the nation. Work in accredited research labs such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies was accepted as partial fulfillment of the resident requirement for future degrees. Fellowships and assistantships were made available. Theses and dissertations were required, with one year committed to the Master's Degree and three years to the Ph.D. Summer School courses and courses offered in Baltimore were also incorporated into the graduate program.

Advanced degrees conferred during the Graduate School's early years were the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy for work in Agriculture and the natural sciences; Master of Arts for work in Liberal Arts, Education, and Home Economics; Doctor of Philosophy in Liberal Arts; and advanced professional degrees in Engineering. Agriculture, the Sciences and English were most widely represented during this period.

Charles O. Appleman was Dean of the Graduate School from its inception until 1949. By 1930, the Graduate School included all faculty members at the university who gave instruction in approved graduate courses. The general administrative functions of the Graduate Faculty were delegated to a Graduate Council of which the Dean of the Graduate School was Chairman.

By 1938, the Graduate School had grown to include the departments of Business Administration, Chemical Engineering, Poultry Husbandry, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology.

An excerpt from Dean Appleman's speech to the Board of Regents on June 21, 1940 states:

The graduate school has been called the invisible university. It permeates nearly all divisions and departments of the university, but there are very few signs of its existence. The graduate school has general jurisdiction over the graduate work offered by the various departments of the university; it also establishes and administers the general formal requirements for advanced degrees.

Following Dr. Appleman's tenure, the Graduate School was headed by Dr. Ronald Bamford, who served as Dean from 1949 until 1965. Under his guidance, the Graduate School expanded to meet the university's and the community's widening post-war needs.

To support the Graduate School during this expansion, the Graduate Faculty was formally organized in 1955-1956. Its constitution, amended in 1968 and again in 1974, provided "a means for the graduate faculty to discharge its functions with respect to educational policies and procedures of the Graduate School." The Graduate Faculty was comprised of the Graduate Faculty Assembly and the Graduate Council. The Graduate Faculty Assembly consisted of all full and associate members of the Graduate Faculty who, through their participation in research and graduate instruction, displayed a capacity for individual research or creative and scholarly work at the highest levels. The Graduate Council consisted of members of the Graduate Faculty elected by the Assembly as well as appointed and ex officio members. Working together, these bodies established policies governing admission to graduate study and minimum requirements to be met by all students seeking advanced degrees. Dr. William J. Svirbely served as Chairman of the Graduate Faculty during this period.

During the decade 1955-1965, Graduate School enrollment increased from 2200 to 6000, placing rigorous demands upon Graduate School administration. By the fall of 1965, enrollment exceeded 8000, only 1000 shy of its current level.

With the appointment of Dr. Michael J. Pelczar, Jr. in 1966, a new era began for the Graduate School when it was placed under the administration of the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. By 1970, this office had become part of the university's central administration.

Under this reorganization, Dr. David S. Sparks was appointed by Chancellor Charles E. Bishop to the position of Dean for Graduate Studies and Research at UMCP and Dr. John P. Lambooy was appointed to the same post for the Baltimore campuses. Dr. Pelczar served as Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research until 1977.

The following committees were appointed by Dr. Pelczar to oversee graduate studies and research: Committee on Academic Standards, Committee on Elections and Procedures, Committee on Fellowships, Committee on Graduate Faculty, Committee on Language Requirements, Committee on Programs and Courses, Committee on Publications, Committee on Research, and the Committee on Student Welfare.

Dr. Sparks became Vice President of Graduate Studies and Research in 1977 following Dr. Pelczar, a position he held until 1991. The current Dean of the Office of Graduate Studies and Research for the College Park campus is Dr. Jacob Goldhaber, who came to the post in 1987 following the terms of Dr. Rose-Marie G. Oster (1980-1984), Dr. Irwin L. Goldstein (1984-1985) and Dr. Arnold Thackray (1985-1986).

The Office of Graduate Studies and Research at UMCP continues its twofold mission of enlightening and preparing students for the future and coordinating administration of the various graduate programs. While a great deal of autonomy rests with individual academic departments, the Office of Graduate Studies and Research supervises the overall program and provides the administrative functions of admissions, record keeping, coordination of research proposals and grants and the management of the fellowship program.

The Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Associate Dean for Research, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs complete the official body. Auxiliary offices of the Office of Graduate Studies and Research are the Graduate Minority Affairs Office, Research Administration and Advancement Office, the Laboratory Animal Care Office, and the Technical Liaison Office.


This collection has been organized as one series:


Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Graduate School records were originally transferred to the University of Maryland at College Park Libraries in 1973. Additional materials were transferred by Alice Piper of the Graduate School in 1977. Additional materials separated from various university archival record groups during processing were incorporated into the collection in January 2000.

Related Material

Materials related to this collection may be found in the University Senate and General Administrative Board record groups, in the graduate school catalogs and newsletters available in the university publications collection, and in the book, A History of the University of Maryland by George M. Callcott.

Processing Information

One series has been created from the records of the school. Duplicate reports, agenda and minutes have been discarded. Paper clips and staples have been removed and replaced with plastic clips. All materials have been placed into acid-free folders and boxes. Records belonging to the General Administrative Board and the University Senate originally included with the collection has been separated from the collection for transfer to their respective record groups.

Guide to the Graduate School records
Guide revised by Mary Anne Greenwell-Plautz.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742