case western reserve university



Public Affairs Discussion Group

"Notes on the History of Case
Western Reserve University

March 18, 2005
Crawford Hall, Room 14

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.


Richard Baznick


Director of the Case Western Reserve University Institute for the Study of the University in Society



Dear Colleagues:

After 35 years as a university administrator at Case Western Reserve, including 18 years as a vice president, Dick Baznik changed his focus in 2003 to researching the history of this institution and the role and emergence of research universities generally.  He is in the process of writing an updated history of Case Western Reserve and its predecessor institutions, emphasizing the relationship between their evolution and the major issues and trends in the larger society.

Dick will join us on this Friday to share some of his findings about our history and to respond to questions and comments from all of you.  So whether it’s something about the gargoyle on Stone Chapel, or the about John D. Rockefeller, or how Case and Reserve wound up side by side in University Circle, or how and why they finally chose to merge (oops, “federate,”) or virtually anything else you’d like to discuss, join us this Friday, March 18, at 12:30 p.m. in Crawford Hall Room 14.

For those wanting an advance look at some of the information Dick will review at the Friday Lunch, check his web site at:

As usual, beverages and cookies will be provided.

Best regards,
Joe White

About Our Guest

CWRU has launched an Institute for the Study of the University in Society to  which examine show the University has influenced, and in turn been influenced by, the forces at work in society and in this region.

Richard Baznik, is the director of the CWRU Institute for the Study of the University in Society which examines how the University has influenced, and in turn been influenced by, the forces at work in society and in this region.

The central tasks of the CWRU Institute for the Study of the University in Society are to research and write an updated history of the University-last issued almost 30 years ago-and to offer courses on CWRU's history and on the emergence and role of research universities in society.

"An institution that does not understand how it has come to its current state is unlikely to be able to move itself to a higher level of performance and impact," the institute's prospectus states. "This University has an opportunity at to examine its development over nearly two centuries in ways that will benefit its current and future initiatives and will also help illuminate the relationships between internal and external factors that have been important to the institution's emergence as a major private research university."

The institute will consider the CWRU's entire history, with special attention to the factors leading up to the 1967 merger that formed the current institution, and will examine changes within the University since then in the context of the cultural, social, economic, demographic and political trends of the period.

In addition, the project will look at the institution's impact on its community, on all of higher education and on the larger society. A key outcome of the project should be a more accurate understanding of the University's unique heritage and a more widely shared awareness of its prospects for the future, including a strengthened capacity to achieve its new vision.

Elements of the vision include several items that are consistent with important characteristics of CWRU's history: partnerships, such as affiliations with University Circle institutions; transformation, the merger of two predecessor institutions; experiential learning, long integral to graduate and professional programs; and community, including town-gown relationships.

"The University has a remarkable history, combining tradition with youth and reflecting many of the most notable innovations and debates in society over a period of nearly two centuries," Baznik said. "It is the story of that unusual institutional life that I seek to tell, complete with its connections to events and trends in the larger society."

Along with an updated history, to be published in 2006-07, the institute will create an interactive Web site plus CD/DVD versions of an interactive presentation of the University's updated history, presentations to on- and off-campus groups, and a database on CWRU history and related phenomena, to be developed in collaboration with University Archives.

In addition to working with University Archives on the database, affiliations are already in place with the history department in the College of Arts and Sciences, where Baznik will be appointed a lecturer, and with the Western Reserve Historical Society which, like University Archives, has offered special access to its holdings and services. The Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations also has expressed interest in collaboration.

During his 35 years at CWRU, Baznik has written and edited literally thousands of institutional documents, including policies, plans, presentations of institutional needs and priorities, reports and profiles of CWRU programs. He has served in a succession of administrative roles and has held the rank of vice president since 1987. In the 1970s he was also a lecturer in the English department.

"This is a project that I have been planning for nearly four years and for which I feel I've been preparing for some 35 years," Baznik said. "It's an exciting prospect."

Spring 2005 Semester Schedule

March 25, Crawford Hall 14: Amos Guiora, Visiting Professor of Law and Lt. Colonel, Israeli Defense Forces,  “Morality in Armed Conflict."

April 1: Toepfer Room: Sharona Hoffman, Associate Professor of Law, “Race and the Law.”

April 8: Toepfer Room: Robert Clarke Brown, Member of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and Capital Markets Advisor at the U.S. Department of Transportation: “The Politics of Airports.”

April 15: TBA

April 22: Toepfer Room: Robert Walters Ph.D., “Responding to Humanitarian Emergencies – What a Geologist Learned at the State Department.”

Parking: People who due to mobility concerns need to make special arrangements for parking for the Public Affairs Discussion Group Friday Lunch Series can send their request for parking to, or you can call 216-368-4440 and speak to Pat or Fay to make arrangements.


Case Center for Policy Studies | 11201 Euclid Avenue | Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7109 |
Phone: 216.368.2426 | E-Mail: | Part of the: College of Arts and Sciences
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