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History Highlights: A Look Back at August Commencements from the 1960s to 1979

In looking back at the August Commencement of 1963, UC conferred 322 degrees. And at the August Commencement of 1972, the U.S. Secretary of Labor delivered the Commencement address to more than 1,200 August grads.

Date: 8/5/2013 10:15:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: UC Archives, Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

UC ingot   For about 15 years starting in the early 1960s and throughout the 1970s, archival records show that the University of Cincinnati routinely held end-of-summer August commencement ceremonies.
One time Secretary of Labor at UC's campus
One-time U.S. Secretary of Labor James Hodgson, left, with the honorary degree he received as UC's August 1972 Commencement speaker. At right is one-time UC President Warren Bennis.

It was a practice begun as the university switched from a semester-based calendar to a quarter-based calendar early in the 1960s.

In browsing through the archival records, a few highlights stand out:
  • In the August Commencement of 1963, 322 degrees were conferred.
  • In the August Commencements of 1967 and 1968, about 650 degrees were conferred each of those years.
  • In the August 1968 ceremonies, UC – for the first time – awarded more graduate degrees vs. undergraduate degrees. Of the 650 degrees awarded that August, 345 were master’s degrees.
  • In August 1969, the number of end-of-summer graduates had swelled, and up to 900 degrees were conferred.
  • In August 1972, about 1,200 graduating students attended the Commencement ceremonies where then United States Secretary of Labor James B. Hodgson delivered the summer Commencement address.
  • In 1976, the Commencement address was delivered by John H. Johnson, noted businessman and publisher, founder of the Johnson Publishing Company, which launched “Ebony,” a monthly magazine for the African-American market in 1945, and “Jet,” a weekly, in 1951.

  • Also, in 1976, the UC Commencement program – like publications and graphics across the nation – carried the official symbol of the American Revolution Bicentennial, at right. This symbol marking the nation’s bicentennial was designed by Bruce Blackburn, a 1961 graduate of UC’s then College of Applied Arts, a forerunner of the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).

Return to: UC Holds First August Commencement Ceremonies in More Than 30 Years