Hours and Location

8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.


First Floor Grasselli Library and Breen Learning Center

Contact Information

Laurene DiCillo, Archives Associate



Useful Links

Records Request Form

Records Transfer Form

Records Retention Policy This is a link to a Portable Document Format (PDF) file

Digital Repository

Carroll Collected This is a link to another web site


Grasselli Library & Breen Learning Center

Drawing of TowerArchives History

Though the University Archives was not formally established until 1980, James A. Mackin, S.J., Director of Grasselli Library (1946-1977), collected a number of materials and created about five record groups which housed much of the historical information of the University. During the 1970's, librarian Marcy Milota collected photographs and news releases from the Office of Public Affairs and kept these as part of the University's historical development also. In 1980, Charles Wood, class of 1967, created a formal archives. Since then, the department has been collecting records and historical documents from all of the major administrative units and some of the academic departments of the University.

Archival Holdings and Collections

  • With more than 40 administrative, academic, and historical record groups, nearly 3000 acid free storage boxes currently fill the storage facility of this department. These records include administrative and historical information relevant to the development and continuation of the University. The records have been organized into groups according to their office of origin.Class of 1945 with Beanies
  • Many materials regarding the founding Jesuits of John Carroll University havew been maintained, as well as materials relating to the entire construction process of the current campus location in University Heights, Ohio. These records also include the papers of Fr. Frederick Odenbach, S.J., who established John Carroll's Seismology Observatory.
  • Many publications of the University, faculty, and students are housed in the Archives, also. These include copies of the Carrillon, Carroll News, brochures, catalogues, athletic programs, and various other published materials.
  • An extensive photographic collection consisting of photos of past and current Jesuits, buildings aon campus, faculty and student life are maintained. Currently, a pictorial history of some key people and events which helped create John Carroll University as we know it today can be found on a national Jesuit archival site hosted by Loyola, Notre Dame of Maryland. JCU's contribution to this site can be reviewed by clicking on the link below.

http://contentdm.lndlibrary.org/ This is a link to another web site

Policy for Accessing Records

Many of the materials stored within the Archives are available to members o the university community as well as researchers outside the University with the permission of the University Archivist, Archivist Associate, or Curator of Special Collections.

If interesting in accessing records, please fill out the Records Request Form.

Archival Collections may be used by researchers only in the specified area of the Archives office. Photocopies of certain materials may be permitted at the discretion of the supervising archivist.

The administrators of the university offices may open their corresponding archival files at any time.

Collecting JCU's Archival Records

John Carroll University Archives collects records which have historical value to the JCUvCase ProgramUniversity, including records that are essential to understanding the organization's purposes and operations. The records transferred into the Archives would no longer be current within the university departments but need to be permanently stored in theeven that access to them is necessary. Examples of records to be saved are: administrative records of corresponding offices, minutes of meetings, correspondence, publications of the University, personnel records, and university memorabilia. The Archives Retention Policy This is a link to a Portable Document Format (PDF) file explains more specifically what types of records are retained.

A Records Transfer Form is available to document the transfer of any records into the Archives. Please call Ext. 1597 if you would like to have materials transferred.

A History of St. Ignatius College and John Carroll University

 The Most Reverand Bishop Richard Gilmour, Bishop of Cleveland from 1872-1891, was the most instrumental voice in working to establish a Catholic university in Cleveland.  Amidst many obstacles, most of which were time constraints, location issues, and parish involvement, Bishop Gilmour was finally able to bring his dream to fruition in 1886 when St. Ignatius College (now John Carroll University) opened its doors for the first time.

Richard Gilmour   <Richard Gilmour

Some of the earliest details of the formation of the college are the most interesting and should not be neglected in a retelling of the history of John Carroll University.  Bishop Gilmour’s appointment of Father Henry Behrens, the Superior of the Buffalo Mission of the Jesuits and rector of Canisius College, set the wheels in motion.  Father Behrens sent Father John B. Neustich to Cleveland under the guise of a visitor to St. Mary’s Parish, when in fact he was to secretly purchase property that would house Cleveland’s first Catholic college.  Bishop Gilmour was steadfast in his wish to have absolutely no publicity until the school was ready to be opened.  The Jesuits complied with Bishop Gilmour’s wishes, including a location on the West Side though they thought the East Side would have more potential.  They would not, however, compromise the issue of opening the college as a boarding school at this time since the location was in an area where businesses such as a large brewery, livery stables, and numerous saloons were situated.  They felt this was an inappropriate atmosphere for a boarding school.

Fr. John Neustich<Father John B. Neustich

In August of 1886, Father Behrens arrived in Cleveland to present Fathers Herman Kerckhoff, Joseph Gaechter, and John Devlin to Bishop Gilmour.  These three Jesuits along with Father Neustich were the first faculty of St. Ignatius College, named for Ignatius Loyola who founded the Society of Jesus.  Of the first class of registered students, it can be noted that nationality among the students was about evenly divided between Irish and German ancestory.  One notable name in that first class is Thomas Grasselli, son of Ceasar A. Grasselli, one of Cleveland’s industrial leaders for years.  Grasselli Clock Tower and Grasselli Library are both named for this family who generously contributed to the institution.

campus construction image< Campus Shot

The first class consisted of 76 students, a rather large number considering the secrecy behind the development of the school.  The first advertisement for the college was listed in the Catholic Bulletin on August 19, 1886.  The tuition for classes in the years 1886-1903 was $40.00 per year.  Classes offered included:  Grammar, Latin, English, Geography, Arithmetic, Penmanship, Christian Doctrine, Bible History, and German.  At the end of the first school year, on June 27, 1887, there was a convocation ceremony with a program, music, and prizes being distributed for good work in the classroom.

 Father Neustich soon realized that the wooden structure which served as the first building of the college was truly inadequate for a real college.  By 1888, he had worked hard and long to see to the construction and opening of the first wing of the new building for the college, presently St. Ignatius High School.  With the completion of this structure, Father Neustich’s work was done. 

Fr. Henry Knappenmeyer< Father Henry Knappmeyer

The college continued its growth, first under the direction of Father Henry Knappmeyer, and then with many other Jesuits to follow the lead of these first two influential and successful Jesuit presidents.  In 1890, the St. Ignatius College was incorporated under the laws of Ohio in 1890 and granted the power to confer certificates and degrees. 

 In 1891, a glass test tube exploded while teaching chemistry.  Five students were close enough to be hit with flying glass.  The next day the students and faculty convened in the Chapel and gave thanks to God for his protection during the accident.  This is just a sample of the mindset of people from such an era.

In that same year, due to recruiting efforts by Father Rockliff, the enrollment class of 120 rose to 158. 


football 1910< St. Ignatius vs Loyola  October 1911

As years passed and different Jesuits came in and out of the school, new clubs and activities began.  The Glee Club, the Orchestra, sports, and Sodalities were formed.  There are too many Jesuits to list, but some of the more accomplished priests who helped contribute early on to St. Ignatius College included Father Godfrey Schulte, Father John Zahm, Father George Pickel, Father John B. Furay, Father Joseph LeHalle, Father Frederick Odenbach, and the list goes on.  It should be noted that the majority of students who completed their studies during the early years of the University joined the diocesan priesthood. 

Fr. George Pickel< Father George Pickel

 The Lumina, a college magazine, published its first copy in 1915.  This publication continued for several years.  In 1925, the first copy of The Carroll News was published.  This publication still continues today.

By the early 1920’s, the great American sport of football finally made its way into the college as they joined the collegiate leagues.  Until this point, it was more of an intramural or local sport.  Under Father Bracken, football was soon to become a big center of interest for the college.   

Football 1929< John Carroll Football Practice 1929

This decade also saw the beginnings of some long-term changes to the University.  Negotiations began for an east side site for the University.  To go along with this change, on May 15, 1923, St. Ignatius College was renamed Cleveland University for a time.  By September of the same year, the name was changed yet again for reasons that have never been completely clear.  John Carroll University, named after Bishop John Carroll (first American Bishop) became the official name at that time and has remained ever since.

 Bishop John Carroll < Bishop John Carroll

A building campaign began in order to plan for the new east side location.  Begun under Father Thomas J. Smith, and continued under Father Benedict Rodman, a building campaign was underway.  Forty-five acres of property in University Heights was purchased (right next to the Van Sweringen property).  Thanks to the business sense of John J. Bernet, General Chairman of the Building Committee and Herman R. Neff, Chairman of the Preliminary Campaign, $1,400,000 in pledges was secured by 1929.  Though many Catholics were sought out to donate for this campaign, it should be noted that many wealthy non-Catholics contributed as well as several corporations.  The final amount of pledges in 1930 totaled $2,541,382.  Since financial success was evident, the building of the new campus began by laying the cornerstone on July 5, 1931.  Remarks for this event were made by U.S. Senator Robert J. Bulkley and Right Reverand Joseph Schrembs, Bishop of Cleveland. 

chem building<Chemistry Building     

The exteriors of five buildings were completed:  administration, physics and biology, chemistry, faculty and students’ residences.  Sadly, at this time, the Depression made its way into Cleveland and caused many investors to put their contributions on hold.  In 1932, construction on the campus was suspended.

The Administration building, though not closed off completely, was already housing some rather costly seismology and weather equipment.  Father Frederich Odenbach made the choice to move into the tower of the building to watch over the equipment until it could be safely protected when construction some day would continue. 

 clock tower2

clock tower at night

< Grasselli Clock Tower

clock tower sketch

 The construction finally resumed in May of 1935.  The administration, chemistry, and physics and biology buildings were prepared for classes to begin in the fall. October 7, 1935 saw the 456 students coming to classes on the University Heights campus. The beautiful Grasselli Clock Tower graced the sky, and excitement was evident.  The Carroll Seal is embedded in the entrance under the tower with the inscription, “Universitas Joannis Carroll, 1886-Lobo Y Olla.” Tradition said that if anyone stepped upon this seal, he would earn a verbal onslaught by a faculty and other students.  Everyone avoided desecrating the seal so as to not be subjected to that! By December, the students’ residence hall was ready for occupancy.  A new era had begun.

first class< The First Class on the New Campusseal< Seal

students 1930s< Students 1930s

Things progressed rapidly during the decade, and the Carillon, the University year book, was published in 1938.   This has been published every year since with the exception of six years during World War II.  Up until this point, the college only admitted men, but the Evening College and Graduate Division in the 1930s admitted women.  (In the 1920s female nuns attended Sunday classes.)

carrillon< Carillon 1938

In 1943, Father Thomas Donnelly discussed the issue of the Jesuits teaching women. At this point, John Carroll University had already given 82 undergraduates degrees to women who attended the summer, evening, and Saturday sessions.  The first female graduates of 1927 were three nuns, and the first laywomen graduated in 1936.  In 1946, Father Edward McCue advocated for allowing women in at least the business school.

female students 1941< Female Students

In 1943, with the war in full swing, the campus had shut down to students, but opened its doors to the Navy, when its V-12 program was established.  This ran until 1945.

V The Pink Barn

the pink barnv-12 navy< V-12

In 1945, upon reopening the school after the war, the School of Business, Economics, and Government was established.    In 1949, the Evening College was established. At this time also, a lay advisory board of community leaders was formed. The growth of the University continued to flourish.

v-12 salute    < V-12 v12 put in

The look of campus appeared to change constantly for many years.  In 1947, a temporary gymnasium was erected on the original chapel foundation.  This building also served as the School of Business, and was called the “Pink Barn” due to its brick color which did not quite match the brick on the rest of campus.

The Military Science Building (1950), Pacelli Hall (1952), Dolan Hall (1955), the new gymnasium (1957), and the Student Activities Building (1959) were all results of a successful decade. 

dolan< Dolan Hall pacelli construction 

pacelli constructionpacelli palace<^ Pacelli Hall

Freshmen were subjected to some typical ribbing.  The freshman students were required to wear beanies which helped identify them on campus.  This beanie was replaced in 1961 by the “duffer” or “Morgie” as it was sometimes referred to in honor of Dean Leonard Morgan Lavin.  Freshmen are no longer required to wear such hats.  Other student traditions included a Stunt Night in which the seniors produced a tongue-in-cheek show pointing out some of the foibles of Carroll’s policies, sports, and administration.  Even the campus cop was exploited during these shows.  This fun tradition continued until 1977.

Beanie Photo1945 class with beanies< Freshman Beanies

 1940 stunt nightstunt night and entertainment<StuntNight                    Library Statue being Place on Grasselli< Library Construction

In the late 1950s, under President Hugh Dunn, S.J., a Blueprint Committee was established to project the future and its needs for John Carroll.  This led to the Decade of Progress Development Program which was launched with $19.5 million to expand academic, recreational, and residential facilities.  In 1961, Grasselli Library opened its doors.  Murphy Hall opened its residence in 1964, with Bohannon Science Building to follow in 1967, thanks to the generous contribution of James Bohannon.  At that same time, the Evening College was discontinued and renamed University College.  From the late 1950s, support for coeducation seemed to increase, though the debate still continued. 

murphy hall and millar< Father Millor and Students outside of Murphy Hall

women on campus joan h< Women on Campus

Finally, in 1968 the College of Arts and Sciences officially became coeducational.  Women were also permitted to become on-campus residents in 1968.  Murphy Hall (1964) became their first residence on campus. This was truly an historical moment for John Carroll University.  This signified many changes, including an attitude change as the men on campus had to accept the new feminism which came with these female students.  Rather quickly, a women’s Glee Club was established and a female became editor of the Carroll News.  A dean of women was hired as well as a female athletic director to get intercollegiate sports teams for women going.

women in jcufemale students 1941< JCU Women

With that major accomplishment in hand, 1969 saw the completion of a Student Activities Annex which included a student bar known as the “Airport Lounge,” Little Theater, Development and Alumni offices, and Military Science).  University governance was reorganized under a new board of trustees, with three-fourths lay people and one-fourth Jesuit membership. The John Carroll University Jesuit Community is separately incorporated. Yet again, many changes were brought forth during this decade.


Theater Image< Theater at John Carroll

Activity continued during the 1970s under the direction of Father Henry Birkenhauer as president with 1972 graduating the first group of women from the College of Arts and Sciences.  In 1971, the Fritzsche Religious Center opened and the William H. Johnson Natatorium was built to house the campus swimming pool.  Carrollodge was completed in 1976.  This property in Russell Twp., OH includes the main house, caretaker’s cottage, a pavilion, and barn and is used for Campus Ministry and meetings.  In 1978, a new dormitory was built and named North Hall.  In 1982, Cleveland businessman Walter Sutowski’s gift of one million dollars brought the American Values Campaign over its goal of $8.4 million.  With that gift, North Hall was rededicated as Sutowski Hall.  Several rather important Commencement speakers also graced John Carroll’s campus during this decade, including George Herbert Walker Bush, Bob Hope and Don Shula.

Fritzsche Religious Center< Fritzsche Religious Center

 Women Walking on Campus Campus Shots 1940 graduation

   kite running < Kite Running

Cleveland’s Jesuit college remained a strong educational force in Cleveland into the 1980s. Father Thomas O’Malley was a strong school president who saw many changes as the school entered its second century.   In 1984, a $2.1 million grant from the Mellen Foundation of Cleveland endowed a chair in finance in the School of Business.    The completion of the Recreation Center Complex in 1985 was a highlight for many students during this decade.  This complex includes Schott Atrium, Student Activities Offices, an indoor track, an intramural center, and the Student Union Offices.

 1986 marked an amazing accomplishment as John Carroll University celebrated its Centennial.  Centennial Festival Week was its highlight, and the second century of the school began.  In 1987, St. Francis Chapel was completed soon to be followed by East Hall, the Bruening Hall addition, the Natrhan Dauby Plaza, and the renovation of the School of Business.  Schott Hall was also completed allowing additional dining facilities to seat several hundred people.

student studyingstudent reading< Students Reading

As the 1990s came to be, new additions and dedications kept the campus alive.  In 1990, New Hall (dedicated on November 13, 1993 as Campion Hall named after Edmund Campion who was a Jesuit Martyr) was built next to East Hall (later named Hamlin) near the football field.  Completion of Schweickert Field (baseball field, spectator stands, press box and storage) and Ralph Vince Fitness Center in 1991 brought new interest to campus.  In 1994, the T.P. O’Malley, S.J. Center for Communications and Language Arts was opened and dedicated.  This addition onto the Administration Building gave students a nice new space for studying and taking classes.  The John G. and Mary Jane Breen Learning Center, an addition to Grasselli Library that doubled its size, was dedicated in 1995.  In 1996, the John M. and Mary Jo Boler School of Business was dedicated. 

new science centerdolan science center 2

^ Dolan Science Center

The jewel in the crown of the present decade, nestled next to Grasselli Library and Breen Center, is the very impressive state of the art Dolan Science Center.  This structure was the reward of a very successful campaign entitled “Choosing the Greater Good” followed by the “Kresge Challenge.”  An additional jewel that was added to campus in the form of a donation is the Prophets Edition of The Saint John’s Bible.  This gift, which is beautifully displayed in the library’s foyer, was made possible through a donation by Target in honor of retired Target Executive Vice President John Pellegrene, Class of 1958.

st john bible< The St. John's Bible

At present a master plan is being considered to add more student apartment-style housing and additional sporting fields.  Thousands of students have been fortunate enough to graduate from John Carroll University, and as the decades move on, it looks as if the next generation can look forward to further constructional and educational improvements from the University.            

classroom< Classroom Shots >classroom and colleran