A Look At Our Past: What's in the Box?

by Micah D. Saxton

On December 1, 1962 the Iliff School of Theology laid the cornerstone for Schlessman Hall. On June 15, 2016 that very cornerstone was removed in preparation for the razing of Schlessman Hall; behind it, much to everyone’s delight, was a sealed time capsule.

As word of the time capsule spread among Iliff community members who were on campus that day, a sense of Indiana-Jones-like excitement was palpable. What could be contained in that sealed metal box? Ancient gold? A treasure map? A long forgotten about will or contract?

Ok, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but everyone was curious to see what was sealed inside that box. It was no surprise then that as Tom and Jerry… er… that is, Tom Wolfe and Jerry Eno struggled to open the time capsule a number of folks gathered to see what was inside.

There was no gold, treasure maps, or wills, but what was inside was a treat nonetheless: course catalogs, Iliff publications, a roster of students, newspaper clippings, a list of recent library applications, and a strategic plan involving many more buildings that never came to fruition (for a compete inventory of what was contained in the time capsules, see bellow). These documents provide an interesting glimpse into what Iliff was like in the early 1960’s. There are some things that make us cringe (the use of the term “man” to refer to all humanity), some things that make us proud (that Iliff was working to provide a progressive theological curriculum), and some things that make us grin (one article in the Iliff review is entitled “Was Albert Schweitzer a Christian?”). 

A flyer advertising scholarships at the Iliff School of Theology

A flyer advertising scholarships at the Iliff School of Theology

It is a good thing to glimpse into our institutional past, to see from where we have come; In fact it may help us see where we ought to be going. Time capsules, like the one found in Schlessman, allow us to do this and for that we are grateful. Many of the items found in the time capsule will be on display in the fall as students return to campus. We invite everyone to come and take a look at our intuitional past.

An inventory of items from the Schlessman time capsule:

·      Pamphlet outlining a development program

      3 issues of the Iliff Review

       18:3 (Fall 1961)

       19:1 (Winter 1962)

       19:2 (Spring 1962)

      Pamphlet for Summer School (1962)

      Academic Catalog 1962-63

      List of Officers of the Board and other committees (1962-63)

      Student Roster 1962

      List of presidents of the board of trustees

      List of presidents of the Iliff School of Theology

      Ross Rall 1962-1963

      5 photographs of the construction of Schlessman

      Program for “The Laying of the Cornerstone of Schlessman Hall” (Dec. 1, 1962)

      Program for “The Service of Inauguration of the President of the Iliff School of Theology (Dec. 2, 1962)

      Invitation to the “Cornerstone Laying for Schlessman Hall” and the “Inauguration of Lowell Benjamin Swan as President"

      Article from Denver Post, “Presidential Installation, Rites At New Building Slated for Iliff” (Dec. 1, 1962)

      Article from Rocky Mountain News, “President to Be Installed At Iliff School of Theology” (Dec. 1, 1962)

      Article from Rocky Mountain News, Cornerstone Rites Set At Iliff (Dec. 1, 1962)

      Student Handbook dated Sept. 17, 1962

      Promotional Pamphlet “A Quality Education For A Ministry Relevant To The Space Age"

      2 Issues of the Iliff Reporter

       14:1 (July 31, 1962)

       14:2 (Oct. 31, 1962)

      Flyer advertising scholarships and grants available at the Iliff School of Theology

      List of the Board of Trustees (Dated July 18,1962)

      List of recent acquisitions to the library covering June to Nov. 1962

      Financial Statements for fiscal year ending May 31, 1962

Thank you to everyone involved in this fun project!