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Summa cum Laude…Educators honor Stephen Mather Archived correspondence from Eight American College Leaders

Updated: Apr 12

The Mather Homestead archives hold Stephen Mather’s honorary degrees and academic hoods worn for ceremonies at the University of California and George Washington University.


In correspondence archived at the Bancroft Library are letters and acknowledgements from eight university Presidents and Chancellors, representing The University of California  (2), George Washington University, Goucher, North Carolina State, Stanford, Tufts, and William & Mary.   Brief excerpts from three…


David Barrows, President University of California, 1919-1923

“…My friendship with you, during the last ten years, has brought so much pleasure and delight into my life, and through your hospitality, which has made us your frequent companion in places of rarest beauty and interest, that I have a constant succession of memories of you and your wonderful qualities which have won you so many friends…”


David Robertson, President Goucher College, 1930-1948.

“…I have read the appreciations which are appearing in the many papers.  May I add my declaration that your friends have been very proud of the great public service you have rendered so unselfishly during your tenure of that office…”


Cloyd Marvin, President, University of Arizona 1922-1927; President George Washington University 1927-1959.

“…It must be a great satisfaction to you, as you have had time to review the splendid work that you have accomplished, to know what a great Christmas present you have given to the American people...To think of all they (the National Parks) will mean to our nation in the way of a great stabilizing force for good and in the way of enjoyment because of beauty impresses itself more and more upon the minds of those who love this land…”


The letters may be from academics, but their thoughts reflect a shared appreciation of Stephen Mather’s desire and determination to make the National Parks accessible, affordable, and inspiring for the widest audience possible.  

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