Marylander Monday!

This week, I am showcasing a few of the comics from the Marylander newspaper called Little Man on Campus!

Most editions of the Marylander contain a Little Man on Campus panel within its pages and they are definitely funny.

They are also quite unique as they reflect many of the idiosyncrasies of UMUC, with its emphasis on the military and the overseas programs.


Fun Donations!

Last week, we received a couple of rather unique items to add to the Archives’ collections!

A UMUC hard hat with the original logo and one of the golden shovels that was used at the groundbreaking for The Leroy Merritt Center for the Art of Joseph Sheppard were both donated to the Archives by Achiever Editor Chip Cassano.

The groundbreaking for the Center took place on December 2, 2008 in Adelphi, where it was added to the Inn and Conference Center.

The really cool part of this donation is that the shovel is actually signed by Joseph Sheppard himself!

Women of UMUC Part 4

Dr. Phyllis Sparks: the woman, the professor, the UMUC legend.

In 1949, Phyllis Sparks was the first female faculty member to hop a plane to Germany in order to take up a teaching position for the College of Special and Continuation Studies, which later came to be known as University of Maryland University College.

Phyllis earned her PhD in History from the University of Chicago in 1948 and subsequently taught history at a university in Kansas for a year.

In the summer of 1949, Phyllis married David Sparks and in the fall of that same year, they were asked, along with five others, to move to Germany in order to teach with the overseas program. Viewing this as a sort of extended honeymoon, Phyllis and David accepted.  

Overseas, Phyllis taught economics as a part time assistant professor, rotating amongst the six teaching locations until the end of her year long contract.

After returning to the States, she taught American history and social studies at DuVal High School in the mid-1960s, co-edited the book United States History in Stamps (1974) with David, wrote the book A Brief History of the Town of University Park 1936-1976 (1976), and was on the University Park Town Council. In 1982, she won The St. George’s Day Award “for her history of the growth and development of University Park.”

It is unfortunate that not much is known of Phyllis Sparks’ year in Europe with the University. From what we know of her early life, she was clearly an ambitious, intelligent (how many people get a PhD in history?) and adventurous woman! It would be quite interesting to know what Phyllis’s experiences were like in Europe, following so closely on the heels of World War I.

Thankfully, the memory of Phyllis’s invaluable contributions to the beginning of what would one day become UMUC lives on and in November of 2018, UMUC introduced the Sparks Internship Program, named after Phyllis in order to honor her pioneering spirit.

Today we, too, honor Dr. Phyllis Sparks.


Women of UMUC Part 3

Today we are showcasing a remarkable woman: Lt. Col. Dona R. Hildebrand, “a pioneer in the U.S. Air Force, [who] served in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1968. Her military career not only spanned 24 years, from 1951 to 1975, it also spanned the globe, with Hildebrand serving at duty stations in Spokane, Washington; Alaska; Germany; France; England; Thailand; Japan; Washington, D.C.; California; and Alabama.”1

Dona Hildebrand is special to UMUC for multiple reasons. She was the fourth woman to graduate from the University of Maryland University College, during the 1957 commencement ceremonies in Heidelberg, Germany.

In 2008, she established the Floyd G. Hildebrand Endowed Military Scholarship, in honor of her husband, Colonel Hildebrand, and continues to support this scholarship. And in November of  2016, Dona gave a $500,000 gift to UMUC, a donation in recognition for which the Student Veterans Lounge was renamed the Col. Floyd G. and Lt. Col. Dona R. Hildebrand Student Veterans Lounge. This generous gift was used to provide support for military students at UMUC through various funds and scholarships.

Due to her continual support of UMUC, as well as both her professional and personal accomplishments and outstanding service record, in 2014 Lt. Col. Hildebrand was awarded the Distinguished Alumna Award.

UMUC’s President Javier Miyares said of Hildebrand “She is a true pioneer, a role model for women everywhere, and epitomizes the spirit of service that distinguishes our graduates around the world. We are proud to count her among our most distinguished alumnae.”2

The point of all of this is to say that Lt. Col. Dona Hildebrand is an amazing woman who contributed both to the university and to the world at large in pretty awesome ways! I am very happy to be able to honor her today.


  1. UMUC (2016, November 11). Honoring Col. Floyd G. and Lt. Col Dona Hildebrand on Veteran’s Day. Retrieved from:
  2. Ibid.

Women of UMUC Part 2

Ellie Sidel

Ellie in 1949

Ellie Sidel is a personal hero for some of the Archive staff.  She’s been featured on the blog before, but deserves to be revisited in honor of Women’s History Month.  Ellie was hired as the assistant for the Far East Director (Mason Daly) way back in 1959.  Later, when she came back to the U.S. she became the first woman on the stateside professional staff for University College.  She eventually became the assistant for our first President, Dr. Ray Ehrensberger, and stayed with UMUC for the rest of her career, becoming a student, alumna, administrator, and Alumni Association Board member.

She was more than just her job, though.  Ellie’s presence in the Archives, by way of notes, letters, and memorabilia shows us just how much of an influence she had on the University.  She knew everyone, and everyone knew her.  She was witty and personable, sweet and charming.  Every letter penned by her not only gave us information on the development of the university, but the development of the friendships she was making through the university.  She was indispensable to those she worked with, and had a memory that was still going strong when she came to the Archives in 2009.  With her help we were able to figure out why some office files stopped at one point only to start again a year later (the man in charge of the office went on sabbatical – so the work was routed through another office). 

Ellie passed away November 28, 2017 – but she will live forever in our Archives. 


Women of UMUC Part 1

For Women’s History Month the Archives Blog will take a look at some of the women who have made a difference in the history of our institution.  Two students, a teacher, and a staff member will be featured this month – through their commitment to higher education helped create the university we know and admire today. 

1st EU Graduate

Today a woman getting a degree isn’t unheard of, but back in 1955 it was a pretty big deal.  Back then it was typically an all male class dressed in regalia and tossing their mortarboards into the air.  Women were taking care of the house and children, not getting an education. 

That is why it is so dramatic that our 1st female graduate from Europe got a B.S. in Military Science in 1955.  In Heidelberg, Germany no less!

Sadly, we don’t know much about her except that Thelma Politte was a former WAF officer who married a civilian working for the Air Force.  She took classes in England, and she graduated from UMUC. 

If you can help us complete our picture of our 1st European female graduate, please let us know!

New Donations!

During February the archives have received two excellent donations to add to our collections!

First off, the wonderful Julie Hamlin donated to the archives several boxes of records concerning the Improving University Teaching (IUT) conferences. These conferences were first organized by Ben Massey in 1975. “Massey’s original aim was to stimulate discussion and improve the teaching skills of American university faculty and their European counterparts;” now over a dozen countries participate in the conference. “The conference emphasizes dialogue and sharing among participants through thought-provoking keynote addresses, interactive theme sessions, workshops, concurrent paper sessions, poster presentations, and a digital showcase”1

We’re so excited to have these records that demonstrate some of the amazing work that Ben Massey did to advance and promote education around the world.

Also donated in February was a photograph collection from Ben Massey that had been given by his children to Doug Lemmon, a former lecturer with the European Division and current webmaster for OMA. Doug then donated the photographs to the archives, an effort we very much appreciate.

T. Benjamin Massey, commonly known as Ben Massey, was the Director of the Asia Division from 1969 to 1971, the Director of the European Division from 1972 to 1976, and finally, in 1978 Massey became the President of UMUC, a position he held unto 1998.

We are so grateful to Ben Massey’s children for donating these excellent photos and other records so that we can add them to President Massey’s collection!


  1. Improving University Teaching. (2019). About Improving University Teaching. Retrieved from

Photos from the first IUT Conference
Photo of Massey with Ray Ehrensberger in the back
Massey’s Photo of a Souvenir Shop
Julie Hamlin’s Donations

The First and Second IUT Conference Programs