News - from the past & the present

TBT: Throwback Thursday – University of Alabama graduates 328 men and 140 women in 1937

Read the story and see the names of those who won awards an prizes.

TBT: Throwback Thursday -News stories from the past

From the Tuscaloosa News May 26, 1937


328 Men and 140 Women Are In Graduating Class for 106th Commencement


Honorary Degreees Conferred – Many Prizes Presented As Session Ends

Deserted today, the University of Alabama campus showed little sign of the impressive activity staged during the 3-day 106th Commencement which reached its climax Tuesday afternoon when degrees were awarded 468 students in final exercises held in Denny Stadium. The class, including post-graduates and seniors from all schools and colleges of the University, was composed of 328 men students and 140 women. Dr. George Lang delivered the brief invocation.

Approximately four thousand persons gathered in the stadium yesterday afternoon to witness the final exercises which ended just as dusk began to creep into the enclosure. Today, the out-of- town seniors and visiting alumni had departed, leaving the Capstone to be almost dormant until the Summer School session begins June 9.

Aerial view of Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama ca. 1930s with Million Dollar forming an A

Denny Stadium in the 1930s with Million Dollar Band performing – (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Degrees Conferred

Presentation of an honorary LL. D. degree to Chancellor George H. Denny, former president of the University, provided a thrilling feature of the final exercises. An ovation was accorded the beloved builder of the Capstone when the degree was conferred upon him by his successor, President Richard C. Foster, who himself received an A. B. degree from Dr. Denny’s hands 13 years ago.

Denny Chimes and the president's mansion on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. ca. 1930s (ADAH)

Denny Chimes and the president’s mansion on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. ca. 1930s (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Five other distinguished citizens received honorary degrees, including Circuit Judge Henry F. Foster, president of the board of trustees and a member of that body for 37 years, Dean Stuart Graves of the School of Medicine, Daniel Pratt of Prattville, a former trustee for many years. Chief Justice John C. Anderson of the Alabama Supreme Court, and the Rev. Waites Gibbs Henry, Methodist minister, of Anniston. Speaker William B. Bankhead was accorded a similar degree at the alumni banquet held Monday night.

More than fifty awards and prizes were presented at the exercises for outstanding achievement by students. The Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards, regarded by many as the highest individual honor annually annouced at commencement, were presented to Miss Marie Drolet of Tuscaloosa, Robert F. Adams of Jackson and Mrs. Elizabeth Burford Bashinsky of Troy.

Miss Drolet, who is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Drolet of this city, and Mr. Adams have both been leading students in scholarship and campus activities at the University, Mrs. Bashinsky has been instrumental in aiding hundreds of young people in securing college education through U. D. C., scholarships.

Society Gives Awards

The Sullivan awards are presented by the Southern Society of New York in commemoration of Algernon Sydney Sullivan. They are annually awarded to the two University students and one alumnus selected as “having given evidence of possessing such characteristics. of heart, mind and conduct as evince a spirit of love for and helpfulness to other men and women.”

Marx Leva, Selma, third student to make straight A’s in the history of the Commerce School, closed his brilliant career by receiving three awards, including the Austin Cup awarded to the commerce student most outstanding in scholarship, leadership, character, and service.

Herbert Downs, White Plains, N. Y., was awarded the Theta Tau loving cup, given each year to “the most outstanding man of the senior class in the College of Engineering.”

Phi Eta Sigma plaques were awarded to three students, for maintaining averages of straight A’s during the first three semesters of their college work. The students so honored were Robert H. Loeb, Birmingham, Wilkes Coleman Banks, Eutaw, and Cyril David Solomons, Tuscaloosa.

James “Bubber” Nesbit, captain of the 1936 football team, was awarded the Pan-Hellenic Loving Cup presented annually to that student who has rendered greatest service to the University during his four years at the institution.

The Jimmie Moore Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the member of the “A” Club with the highest scholastic average, went to Mitchell C. Best, McCrory, Ark.

The Dean’s Prize of the Medical School went to William L. Hawley of Bessemer, who was seleted as the outstanding graduat of the University’s two-year School of Medicine “by reason of his character and general qualifications” for the practice of medicine.

Other Recipients Named

Other awards and their recipients included: the Bama Theater Loving Cup for the best all-round athlete, Victor Bradford, Memphis: the Protective Life Insurance Company Prize, Mary Elizabeth Wilburn, Demopolis; the Chi Omega Prize, Mary Bidgood, Tuscaloosa; the Biblical Seminary Scholarship, Malcolm Sylvester, Atlanta, Ga: the Comer Mathematics Meda, Emerson Blakney, Kennedy; the Tennant Lomax Oratorical Prize, Thomas Adair, Tuscaloosa; the Trustees Prize, William G. Caffey, University, and Norman J. Wright, University.

{NOTE: The Bama Theatre did not open until the following year on April 12, 1938. Here is  a short film of Bama Theatre on opening day in 1938.}

The Scholarship Kep of Delta Sigman Pi, Marx Leva, Selma; The Alpha Kappa Psi Medallion, Marx Leva, Selma: Delta Sigma Pi Freshman Scholarship Prize, Marvin Warner, Birmingham; the McGraw and Hill Book Company Prize, Herbert Downs, White Plains, N. Y.: the W. Simpson Keller Prize, Charles Mohr, Chicago, Ill.

The Tau Beta Pi prize, Francis Gilman Stone, Marathon, N. Y.; the Friedman Instruments Company Prize, Arthur Reid, Portland, Maine, and Andrew Krenkel, Richmond Hill, N. Y.; the Phi Upsilon Omicron Award, Tomasine Faught, University; the W. B. Saunders Prize, Morton Ritter, Atlantic City, N. J.; the D. Appleton and Company Prize, Katherine Anderson, Center Brook, N. F.

The William Wood and Co., Prize, Howell samuel, Talladega; the Joseph Henry Walker III Memorial Award, Matherine Anderson, Center Brook, N. J., the C. V. Mosby Company Prize, James Glenn Donald, Pineapple.

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA OFFICERS 1831-1901 – Click to see surnames in the book


By (author): Donna R. Causey
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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey


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