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New School commencement, convocation and inauguration print materials collection

Identifier: NS-05-05-01


Collection consists of printed materials produced for The New School and Parsons School of Design's commencement and convocation ceremonies, as well as presidential inauguration ceremonies for New School presidents, and other milestone events celebrated during convocation and commencement, such as anniversaries of the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research.


  • 1945 - 2018



3.0 Cubic Feet (2 boxes, 12 folders)

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of printed materials published by The New School and Parsons School of Design prior to and after Parsons' affiliation with The New School. Files may include commencement and convocation programs, invitations, graduate lists, and reprints of speeches, mainly by New School for Social Research President Jonathan Fanton. Later New School files may contain programs for divisional "recognition ceremonies." Select years may also include commemorative programs created for milestone anniversaries.

In the early decades of Parsons School of Design's affiliation with The New School, the Parsons administration designed and published a commencement program that was aesthetically different from the larger university's, featuring a distinct logo, layout, and paper size. In 2001, Parsons' graduation program was incorporated into the larger university's master program, and the production of separate programs appears to have ceased. Instead, attendees were provided with the relevant portions of the larger program.

Because this collection was compiled over time by library and archives staff members, materials herein were created by a variety of administrative offices.

File contents are not comprehensive. Researchers seeking definitive proof of student graduation should contact the university's Registrar's Office.

Language of Materials

Majority of materials in English, with a small number of items concerning the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in German.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives. Please contact:

Historical Note

The New School for Social Research was founded in 1919 as an institution of higher education devoted to adult learning. As the school grew into a university, this original division was alternately known as the "Founding Division" or the "Adult Division." In 1943, the school was divided into two schools, the School of Politics, and the School of Liberal Arts and Philosophy. At this time, in response to the needs of returning veterans wishing to take advantage of the GI Bill, the school began a program called Senior Year at the New School. Geared toward adults who had previously completed some coursework, the program offered undergraduate credits for some courses and awarded bachelors' degrees. However, the majority of students continued to take non-credit courses.

Although The New School offered some undergraduate credits beginning in the 1940s, the first full-time day program was not established until 1972. Called the Freshman Year Program, it initially focused on college-level courses for high school students or recent high school graduates, who would then matriculate elsewhere. The program expanded as the Seminar College in 1977 and further grew in 1985 with a large donation and new name, Eugene Lang College.

In 1933, the New School for Social Research established the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science. Also known as the "University in Exile," the division was founded in order to host German and other European scholars who left their countries of origin to escape political and racial persecution. The Board of Regents of the State of New York granted a provisional charter in 1934, allowing the Graduate Faculty to confer Master of Social Science and Doctor of Social Science degrees. This was the first time the New School for Social Research offered credits leading to a degree to students in any of its programs. In 2005, the Graduate Faculty changed its name to The New School for Social Research, reclaiming the founding name of the entire institution, which had been dropped eight years before.

In 1970, Parsons School of Design became affiliated with The New School. The American artist William Merritt Chase founded the school in 1896 as the Chase School of Art. It went through several name changes (New York School of Art, New York School of Fine and Applied Art), but was connected in the public's mind to the school's charismatic president, Frank Alvah Parsons. In 1942, the Board of Trustees officially renamed the school Parsons School of Design.

In 1997, the New School for Social Research was officially renamed New School University. The founding division, still devoted to adult education, was given the general name The New School, now comprising one of seven divisions of New School University. In 2005, the school underwent another series of name changes, which led to the overarching organization being called The New School, while the adult education program was named The New School for General Studies. This name was changed in 2011, when the adult education program was called The New School for Public Engagement and combined with the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, which until that time had been a separate division.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized in 2 series: 1. The New School, 1945-2018 2. Parsons School of Design, 1950-2018

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The respective staffs of the Kellen Design Archives of Parsons School of Design and the Raymond Fogelman Library of The New School independently compiled the print materials as two distinct collections. The staff of the New School Archives and Special Collections brought the two collections together upon establishment of the archives.

Related Materials

The New School Archives also holds the records from the president's office pertaining to commencement (NS.05.05.02), which include correspondence, information on honorary degree recipients, and on the planning of commencement-related events. Texts of speeches given at commencements and commencement-related press releases will be found in the New School Publicity Office records (NS.03.01.05), Speeches series. Materials produced by the Publicity Office to commemorate significant anniversaries during commencements will also be found in this record group. Additionally, photographs of commencements, convocations and inaugurations will be found in the New School photograph collection (NS.04.01.01).

Audiovisual materials produced for, and audiovisual documentation of, convocations and commencements will be found in the New School Audiovisual Collection records (currently unprocessed).

Guide to the New School commencement, convocation and inauguration print materials collection
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
August 2, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description