Local Quakers Behind Plaques Highlighting Building Namesakes

September 15, 2022
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Project Featured as Part of College’s 150th Anniversary

Names like Boyd, Pyle, Watson and Pickett permeate the signage on Wilmington College’s campus facilities, but who are those persons behind the building namesakes? Since many have Quaker connections, the Wilmington Yearly Meeting’s College Committee expressed an interest in producing plaques highlighting those whose names resonate daily as destinations in the College community.

(PICTURED) Plaques featuring information on the namesakes of campus buildings and facilities such as the T. Canby Jones Meetinghouse will be install this fall.

Consider these namesakes for Boyd Cultural Arts Center, Thomas R. Kelly Religious Center and Pickett Hall.

Oscar F. Boyd, known by many as “Mr. Wilmington,” committed his entire professional life to his beloved alma mater, where he taught chemistry from 1914 through 1965. Upon his death, the College bell tolled 53 times in honor of his 53 years on the WC faculty.

Quaker theologian, educator and mystic Thomas R. Kelly grew up across from the Wilmington College campus on College Street with his mother and siblings. He graduated from the College in 1913 and went on to teach at WC, Earlham and Haverford colleges. Quaker minister and Earlham College Professor Clarence E. Pickett served as executive secretary of the American Friends Service Committee for 22 years beginning in 1929. The AFSC, founded in 1917, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for humanitarian service during and after World Wars I and II.

Christine Hadley Snyder, a member of the WYM’s College Committee and WC Board Chair emerita, suggested the idea for the building plaques several years ago. Connecting the project to WC’s sesquicentennial celebration seemed like a good idea. College Committee members and WC students in the Quaker Leader Scholar program got the ball rolling by conducting research on many of the building namesakes.

This fall, the project is quickly coming to fruition with an expectation the plaques will be produced and installed yet this fall semester.

Douglas Woodmansee, emeritus professor of biology and chair of the College Committee, believes the plaques will be an enduring reminder of the contributions many Quakers made to the success of Wilmington College’s first 150 years.

“We hope the plaques will help Wilmington College students and others know more about the people for whom buildings and other structures on campus are named, as well as the history of the College and the Yearly Meeting working together to move Wilmington College forward.”

 

 

 

 

 

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