Historical Materials

The Special Committee on the Marvin Center Name is reviewing hundreds of pages of historical materials that provide important information about the life of former GW President Cloyd Heck Marvin, for whom the Marvin Center is named.

The committee is charged with researching and evaluating whether there is a compelling case to rename the Marvin Center based on six considerations. In addition to hosting town halls and collecting feedback from the GW community, historical materials are another way the committee is gathering information.

The committee is providing a selection of the materials it has reviewed below and will update this section as its work continues. The materials are provided to support transparency into the committee’s work, and they do not indicate that the committee has reached a recommendation about the renaming request at this time.

Members of the GW community who have input about the materials and how they apply to the six considerations for evaluating renaming requests may share feedback with the committee anytime.

Material by Andrew Novak, prior GW student

Novak, Andrew. "The Desegregation of George Washington University and the District of Columbia in Transition, 1946-1954." Washington History 24, no. 1 (2012): 22-44. Accessed September 22, 2020.
—This article focuses on GW’s history with segregation and President Marvin’s resistance to desegregation in Washington, D.C.

Novak, Andrew. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit: A Critical Portrait of Dr. Cloyd Heck Marvin. Self-published, 2004.
—President Marvin was president of the University of Arizona between 1922 and 1927, and of GW from 1927 to 1959. This is a biography of his controversial tenure at both institutions and includes a history of GW during World War II, as well as the desegregation of the university.

Novak, Andrew. “Column: Rename the Marvin Center.The Hatchet Vol. 101, issue 40 (Feb. 3, 2005).
—Brief column on the reasons for removing President Marvin’s name from the Student Center.

Hatchet Articles and Cherry Tree

“Can George Washington Become a “Genuine Fortress of Democracy?” The Hatchet Vol. 34, No. 14 (Jan. 4, 1938): page 1-2.
—This article pertains to Rule 6 and is related to the Ku Klux Klan letter in archival material below.

Bialek, Bob, “Students as Citizens,” The Hatchet Vol. 43 No. 23 (April 15, 1947): page 2.
—This article pertains to Rule 6 and is related to the Ku Klux Klan letter in archival material below.

George Washington University News Release February 1970, Series 13, Box 13, Folder 3. RG0044: Office of University Relations Records, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Libraries, Washington, DC.
—The Marvin Center was built in 1970 and was originally called the University Center. This news release from February 1970 describes the building after it had recently been completed.

Ashworth, Kent, “Center Commemorates Ohio Victims: Strikers Continue Work on Weekend’s Tactical Problems,” The Hatchet Vol. 66, No. 49 (May 6, 1970): page 3.
—In May 1970, student strikers assembled and christened the University Center building the “Kent State Memorial Center” in honor of the students killed at Kent State. 

One third of a Century Under Strong-Willed Cloyd Heck Marvin,” The Hatchet Vol. 67 No. 31 (Feb. 11, 1971): page 6-7.
—This article is a brief chronology of President Marvin that was written during the time of renaming the University Center as the Marvin Center. It shows a different interpretation of his history by the writers of The Hatchet. 

The Hatchet Vol. 67, No. 32 (Feb. 15, 1971)
—This special edition of The Hatchet newspaper from February 15, 1971, includes multiple articles concerning the dedication and naming of the Cloyd Heck Marvin Center. The building was named during GW's 150th anniversary year.  

Polman, Dick, “Walkout Mars Ceremony,” The Hatchet Vol. 67, No. 33 (Feb. 18, 1971): page 1, 9. 
—A front-page article from the Hatchet issue from February 18, 1971, called "Walkout Mars Ceremony" further details the students’ unhappiness with the naming and includes comments by Mrs. Marvin and a GW religion professor. 

The George Washington University, Cherry Tree 1972 Yearbook. Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Libraries, Washington, DC.
—Reprint of the Kent Ashworth article from The Hatchet. The students found this important enough to share in their yearbook. Another article on the Marvin Center name is available in this yearbook here.

Krueger, Anne, “GW: Formerly a Hotbed of Unrest,” The Hatchet Vol. 74 No. 31 (Jan. 23, 1978): page 6-7.
—A look back at the unrest of the early 1970s, including the protest at the then- University Center in 1970.

Haggerty, Maryann, “The Hatchet: Reporting the 1970s,” The Hatchet Vol. 76, No. 27 (Dec. 3, 1979): page 13.
—Another retrospective of the early part of the decade, this article specifically mentions the student objections to many facets of the student center, which tied these broader criticisms to the administration’s unwillingness to listen to student opinion.

Archival Material

Content Warning: Potentially Offensive Materials
When working with historical materials, you may encounter racist, oppressive or outdated language and imagery in specific materials or represented in the wider archival record.

Letter from Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Ballston Klan #6 to Cloyd Heck Marvin, February 1935, Series 2, Subseries 5, Box 46, Folder 4. RG0002 Office of the President Records, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Libraries, Washington, DC.
—The Ku Klux Klan wrote to President Marvin detailing their support for Marvin stopping David Carliner coming to campus. This was related to Rule 6, which prohibited student groups from aligning with national chapters except for religious, military, professional and Greek organizations. President Marvin and the university repeatedly invoked Rule 6 into the 1950s.

George Washington University Admissions Policy prepared by President Marvin, 1938, Series 2, Box 27A, Folder 2. RG0002 Office of the President Records, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Libraries, Washington, DC.
—GW regularly received inquiries from African Americans about attending and were repeatedly denied entry. This admissions policy from 1938 explains President Marvin’s stance.

Memorandum, 07 October 1952, Series 2, Box 27A, Folder 2. RG0002 Office of the President Records, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Libraries, Washington, DC.
—This memorandum describes the exceptions GW would make in 1952 for the admission of African-American students, and a very careful screening in place for “this problem.” The school believed very few would be admitted.

Letter to the staff of George Washington University from President Marvin, 08 July 1954, Series 2, Box 27A, Folder 2. RG0002 Office of the President Records, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Libraries, Washington, DC.
—After the decision by the Supreme Court, GW officially allowed entrance to the school regardless of race. This letter announced the decision to everyone at the school.

Letter to unknown person from President Marvin, 09 July 1954, Series 2, Box 27A, Folder 2. RG0002 Office of the President Records, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Libraries, Washington, DC.
—Just one day after it was officially announced that anyone could attend GW, President Marvin wrote this letter, in which he said he did not believe the student body makeup would change as the standard of admission would be too high.

 

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