By Jack Shafer, Staff Writer
Tucked underneath the staircase of the basement level of Sacred Heart Hall, there is a room filled with artifacts from Newman’s past: 3D models of forgotten buildings, University scrapbooks, old athletic team posters, and even cookbooks dating back to 1997.
That room is the Newman University Archives, and Archive Director Sue Koenig and her student volunteers have been in the process of digitizing mounds of history, even the cookbooks. A process that began when Koenig started working in the archives almost two years ago.
“It is a lot of fun when you find what things fit into place. We are organizing by sports, music and theatre, enrollment...so we can compile all the artifacts where they can be located easily, online or in person,” Koenig said.
Making Newman’s history easily accessible has been a goal of Koenig’s since she started, and senior Dakota Heard has helped as well.
“The archives are important because they preserve the heritage of both Newman University, and its wider community,” Heard said.
“We’ve had a number of alumni from when the university was Kansas Newman College and Sacred Heart visit and reminisce about old friends and shared experiences through our collection,” Heard said. “Our archival information also assists a number of departments on campus, particularly our Advancement and University Relations Departments.”
Past issues of The Vantage have been recently added to the digitized archives.
“We’re still missing 4 or 5 issues of The Vantage,” Koenig said. “We are hoping somebody maybe finds them someday.”
The newspapers are a particularly important piece of history that neither Koenig nor Heard take for granted.
“Access to old newspapers is a great way to allow the Newman community to remember their time at the university/college,” Heard said. “The papers contain everything from Homecoming festivities to major sporting and fine arts events. We thought it’d be a great thing to make the newspapers accessible online, so the community can access them whenever they wish.”
Koenig also said she wants more students to physically visit the archives.
“If you are coming out of the mailroom, you may be invited into the archives if I see you,” Koenig said.
“I want it to be like a museum, I love being able to have things on display where people can come visit and see the history about their university,” Koenig said.
She needs your help, too.
“At some point, we are going to post pictures of people we don’t know...with a feedback option where people can respond in hopes that someone may be able to identify them.”
If someone needs a search done on a specific person or event, Koenig can help via email or in person to track any past articles or artifacts containing the person of interest.
To access the digitized archives, visit Newman’s website. From there, click on the “Life at Newman” tab, followed by “Dugan Library,” and finally “University Archives” to find the Libguide link. Koenig’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTO: Courtney Klaus, Editor-In-Chief