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Woodrow Mann Strickler Papers

Identifier: 1978_134-UA

The Woodrow Mann Strickler collection pertains predominantly to Strickler's personal and professional activities dating from the 1960s to the mid-1970s, with some earlier material in evidence. The collection is divided into five series: personal and professional files; day-at-a-glance calendar books; speeches by Strickler and others; reference materials and published source material; and photos, plaques, certificates, and memorabilia.

Strickler's personal and professional files are in three boxes and arranged alphabetically. The file arrangement is Strickler's, and the folder titles are his designations as well. The dates of the files range from the 1930s to the 1970s, but the bulk of the material dates from the 1960s to Strickler's retirement in 1972. The personal files relate to Strickler's involvement in a wide variety of business and civic organizations while the professional files feature university related material, mostly financial data and educational reports. In addition, there are some speeches, correspondence, and newspaper items most of which pertain either to Strickler or the university.

The day-at-a-glance calendar books are for the years 1963 through 1972, including the four and one-half years Strickler served as university president. These diaries chronicle both his personal and professional activities on a daily basis.

Strickler's speeches are numerous, filling nearly three boxes. Some are finished products, others are rough drafts, and still others are notes scribbled on napkins, note cards, or scraps of paper. They include those he delivered at the university to the faculty, at the state capitol to the legislature, and at city hall to the Board of Aldermen and Fiscal Court. There are state of the university addresses, reports to the university assembly and comments made at various school and college functions as well as to alumni groups. His inaugural address and resignation release are included. The presentations to state and local politicians are pleas for money for the university. The financial status and considerations of the university between 1969 and 1972, including the financing "controversy" of 1972, are well-chronicled in this collection. One box of this series contains several commencement manuals and programs, convocation manuals, baccalaureate service programs, and a commissioning ceremony program of the Naval ROTC. The manuals and programs represent a variety of schools and colleges within the university.

University concerns predominate in the printed and reference materials. The contents include: university and student publications, student handbooks, Redbooks, Bulletins of various schools and colleges, and public relations information. Proceedings of the Southern University Conference and the Association of Urban Universities can be found. There are also reports, programs, and directories of various other educational organizations. A separate box contains oversized items. Two booklets, one on the Medical Center and one concerning a ten-year development plan for the university, a folder with enrollment figures, and some periodic reports are in this box.

The final series of the collection contains photographs from functions sponsored by the Stricklers. Plaques and certificates awarded to Strickler from a variety of civic, professional, and humanitarian organizations demonstrate the extent of his considerable involvement with the community. Record albums of the University Marching Band, official university seals, paper weights commemorating Strickler's inauguration, and a name plate from his desk constitute the memorabilia. A diploma from the Medical School awarded to a William A. Weber is housed at the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library.

This finding aid incorporates materials from accessions 1978-134 and 1979-011.


  • 1912-1975


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been transferred to the University of Louisville and there are no additional restrictions.


20.375 linear feet (9 records center boxes, 3 manuscript boxes, 2 half-manuscript boxes, 2 flats and 1 box of plaques and photos)

Biographical / Historical

Woodrow Mann Strickler was born September 8, 1912 in Columbia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania in 1934 with a B.S. degree in Commerce and Finance. A year later he earned an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. While working for an advertising agency in Chicago in 1937, Strickler undertook graduate work and was a part-time lecturer at Northwestern University. He met Florence Gertrude Macleod while she was a graduate student at Northwestern; they married on December 21, 1938.

Woodrow Strickler came to the University of Louisville in September 1938 as an economics instructor, achieving the rank of assistant professor the following year. In addition to teaching, he held several administrative positions, the first of which came in 1941 as Director of Cooperative Education. His thirty-three year affiliation with the university was interrupted during the Second World War when he served in the Navy. Upon his return to Louisville in 1946, Strickler became Director of the Division of Adult Education, which under his leadership, evolved into University College.

Strickler was a member of several national professional, business, and social associations as well as local business and civic organizations. In the local community, he was especially involved in the Lion's Club, the Boys Scouts of America, and the Red Cross Community Hospital. On the national level he favored associations connected with higher education. Strickler was awarded numerous commendations for his participation in these organizations. He received the Ottenheimer award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1972, and the Mayor's Award for Distinguished Service. He was recognized by the Eagle Scouts, the Lion's Club, the Community Hospital, and the Louisville Chamber of Commerce for his services. He also received a special award from the university's black students and a distinguished service award from the university senate. A building on the Belknap Campus is named for him.

In 1951, Strickler became University Vice President under Philip Davidson and seven years later served as Executive Vice President. Upon Davidson's retirement in 1968, Woodrow Strickler was chosen to serve as the fifteenth President of the University of Louisville, a position he held for four and one-half years. Under his direction, the university entered the state's system of higher education in 1970. While UL president he faced much turmoil: student unrest, take over of university buildings, students' pickets outside his office, and financial crisis. During his tenure as university president, the School of Education, School of Police Administration, Office of Black Affairs, Institute for Community Development, Audiology Center, Computer Center, and Archaeological Survey were established. With his health failing, Strickler resigned his university presidency in August 1972. He died three years later on August 25, 1975.


Woodrow Mann Strickler Papers
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Finding aid is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Repository

Ekstrom Library, Lower Level Room 17
Louisville KY 40292
502 852-6752