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Pacific University and Tualatin Academy Commencement and Convocation Program Collection

Identifier: RG-5-261

Scope and Contents

This collection primarily consists of commencement programs for Pacific University and Tualatin Academy. It also includes other events such as convocation, freshman exercises and senior honors. Included with the commencement programs for the earlier dates are commencement announcements.

The programs show how the commencement ceremony for Pacific University has changed over time. Earlier programs highlight the role of religion, as every program had a prayer component to it. The earlier programs includes notices of many orations, dissertations, musical performances and other presentations that were given during the cermonies. In the early years, the class sizes were small -- sometimes as few as 2-3 students per class year -- so each student often had a role in the ceremonies. Later programs show that as enrollment increased, less time was spent on individual student presentations, and the focus shifted towards acknowledging groups of graduates. This collection contains almost every commencement ceremony program from 1866 to the 2000s, with a few gaps in the very early years.


  • 1866-2018


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Pacific University owns the copyright to some, but not all, of the materials housed in its archives. Copyright for materials authored or otherwise produced as official business of Pacific University is retained by Pacific University and requires its permission for publication. Copyright status for other collection materials varies. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Historical Note

Pacific University was founded in 1854, six years after the founding of Tualatin Academy. While Pacific University offered college-level (and later, graduate-level) courses, Tualatin Academy was a secondary school that prepared students for college. Pacific University graduated its first college student, Harvey Scott, in 1863. Tualatin Academy functioned under Pacific University's administration until it closed in 1915, due to competition with free public high schools in the area.

Both Pacific University and Tualatin Academy participated in class exercises, convocations, and commencements. The two normally shared these ceremonies, with the exception of class exercises, which were broken up between classes. These gatherings were generally a place where students could share with one another essays and other works. Class exercises were both social and academic in nature.

Early convocation and commencement exercises would often include essays, orations, music and prayer in addition to speakers and student recognition. Gradually, the essay and oration portions of the ceremony were reduced and far less emphasis was placed on prayer. In order to accomodate much larger class sizes, later ceremonies devoted much of their programs to recognizing the members of the classes.


1 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of commencement programs and announcements for Pacific University and Tualatin Academy, plus related events such as convocation, freshman exercises and senior honors ceremonies. It includes a nearly complete set of programs from the schools from the 1860s through the 2000s.


Accruals are expected.


Guide to the Pacific University and Tualatin Academy Commencement and Convocation Program Collection
In Progress
Amy Middleswart
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.
Sponsored by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Repository Details

Part of the Pacific University Archives Repository

2043 College Way
Forest Grove OR 97116 United States