John Carroll University students might be wondering what they see when they stroll through the campus and see an oversized plaque displayed outside of Grasselli Library between the Administration Building and Dolan Center for Science and Technology. This plaque is an Ohio historical marker that has been granted to JCU to celebrate and honor the 125th anniversary of the University. Sept. 6, 2011 marked the anniversary of the first day of classes 125 years ago in 1886. The marker was revealed and celebrated during a ceremony on Oct. 28.
Among many other universities in Ohio, John Carroll has received a historical marker, being the 104th in Cuyahoga County, for its dedication to serving and educating the greater Cleveland community. A historical marker represents dedication, identification, and commemoration in honoring important people, places, and events that have contributed to the state’s rich history. There are a total of 1,346 markers in the state of Ohio.
In order to receive a historical marker from the state, JCU’s 125th anniversary committee, a group formed earlier this year, was required to fill out an application. Specifically, Dora Pruce, the University’s director of government and community relations, completed a grant application and personally delivered it to the Historical Society of Ohio. “We made the determination to go through with the marker, I kind of spearheaded the grant application,” said Pruce. The application was submitted to the society at the end of March and the committee received a response in late April.
The committee decided this was the perfect time to implement a marker here on campus. With the 125th anniversary fresh in the JCU community, “The committee thought it would be good to pursue. I don’t know if this has come up in discussion before, but the time is now to do this,” said Pruce.
The eligibility for a historical marker includes a specific identification of where the marker will be located and why the place is significant at a local, state, or national level. The statement of significance was an important aspect of the application because it told the Historical Society why JCU deserves to receive a marker, according to Pruce. The statement emphasizes the historical importance of JCU, and how it was the first successful Catholic institution of higher learning in Northeast Ohio. “We gave a little history, we further talked about what we have been committed to which is academic excellence and social justice and we further talked about our economic impact to the Cleveland area, which is roughly $115 million,” Pruce said.
The historical marker is placed outside of the library with the Administration Building being the backdrop. It was placed in this location because the 125th anniversary committee wanted it to be near the roots of the University. The Ohio Historical Society “preferred that historical markers don’t turn into just a drive by situation,” which is why it was not placed near any parking lots or driveways, Pruce explained.
“They want it to be more of a place where you can stand and reflect. Being our tour route, it is a well-traveled spot and we thought it would be the best place.”