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Kutztown University Archives: Key Builders

Articles, projects and presentations of the student interns in the KU Archives

Who are the Key Founders?

The Key Builders of Kutztown University are early professors, Deans, and other members of the faculty who helped shape the future of Kutztown University through their dedication and excellence. 

Key Builders

Cyrus E. Beekey was born in the small town of Myerstown, Pennsylvania, to father Samuel P. Beekey and mother Elvy Kilmer Beekey on March 29, 1906. After attending public school there, he enrolled in Albright College in 1923 at the age of 17 in pursuit of a degree in biology. In 1927, he graduated with a Bachelor of Biology. Beekey later was able to study at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, for a master’s degree in science. He earned his Masters of Science in 1934, and six years later he earned his doctorate from Cornell. In 1943, Beekey traveled to Kutztown State College as part of the World War II effort. He was tasked with teaching U.S Army Air Force Cadets physics on Kutztown’s campus. The next year, Kutztown State College hired him outright as a professor of biology and chairman of the science department. He served in this role for two years until he was appointed to the position of Director of Admissions and Registrar. From 1946 to1956, he worked as Director until his appointment as Dean of Instruction. In this position, Beekey served until July of 1967, where he was appointed President of the University after the sudden death of President Italo L. DeFrancesco. His inauguration took place on November 18, 1967. His presidency was cut short, however, by health issues. He resigned from the presidency in 1969, only two years after taking the office. In honor of his 26 years of service to Kutztown, and to his 40 years of experience in academia, Kutztown State College named a building after him in 1972; the Beekey Education Center. Two years after this dedication, in 1974, Cyrus Beekey died and was buried in his hometown of Myerstown. The legacy he left behind was one of patience, friendliness, and making the best of any situation. Those tendencies, as well as his history of service to the college, make Cyrus Beekey one of the Key Builders of Kutztown University.

Bright Wilkinson Beck was born in Cressona, Pennsylvania on December 5, 1882. He went to a local school and upon graduating from high school went to Keystone State Normal School for a bachelor of education degree, specializing in historical studies. In 1907, he graduated from K.S.N.S., and immediately began working as a teacher at his alma mater. According to the 1910 census, Beck lived in Kutztown working as a professor for the normal school. At the same time, he was studying at Bucknell University in pursuit of his Ph. D in education and history. In 1913, he graduated from Bucknell and resumed his work at KS.N.S. In 1914, World War I began and Beck registered for the draft at 35 years of age. In 1941, 24 years later, America entered WWII. Beck, at 59 years of age, registered for the World War Two draft. While he did not serve in the army in this war either, he did serve on the Faculty Committee on Defense (FCD), alongside other professors like Professor Clyde Lytle. In the summer of 1927, Beck took a trip to Boulogne-sur-Mer (a coastal town in Northern France) from August 17 to August 28. Assumedly, the trip was for educational purposes as Boulogne-sum-Mer is a historical goldmine. It was an ancient Roman port, served as the center of the Kingdom of France, stationed Napoleonic troops before his invasion of the U.K, and is home to several castles. Sometime between 1940 and 1950, Beck had been promoted to Dean of Men as well as the Chair of Social Studies. During this time he helped Kutztown gain a large number of new students. Beck retired in 1951 after 38 years of service to the University. He spent much of his young life in Kutztown and spent his retirement living there as well (though off-campus). In 1965, Kutztown University honored Beck by naming a new male dormitory after him. On May 22, Beck attended the opening ceremony and was gifted a ceremonial key to the dormitory with his name inscribed on it. Five years after the dedication of the new dormitory, Bright W. Beck passed away in Kutztown and was buried in Fairview Cemetery. 

Charles Clinton Boyer was born on August 6, 1860, in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. He started teaching at 17 years old in his town, as well as teaching undergrad students for two years. He enrolled in the Keystone State Normal School in 1877 for a degree in education. In 1883, Boyer graduated from K.S.N.S and enrolled in Muhlenberg College for his Master of the Arts. While there he took classes in the Lutheran Ministry in order to obtain his ordination. In 1888, he graduated from Muhlenberg College and earned his Master of the Arts and he became an ordained minister. Before his graduation in 1887, Boyer was hired as the Chair of Latin and Greek at K.S.N.S. During his employment, he studied at the University of Wooster under renowned psychologist, Dr. Hugo Munsterberg (who had originally worked for Cambridge University), in which Boyer performed special work in order to obtain his Ph. D. In 1894, he earned his Ph.D. and continued working full time. Five years later he was promoted to the position of vice-principal. An article from the Keystone Newspaper said that “his [Boyer’s] promotion was due to his teaching quality and excellence”. During his career, he wrote several textbooks about psychology and education for students to use in their classes. These included books such as "Concrete Psychology," "Modern Methods for Teachers," and "History of Education." In 1928, Boyer retired from the Vice principalship at the age of 68. He retired to Drexel Hill located in Lehigh, Pa, where he lived until his death in 1932.

Allen Bubeck was born in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, to Frank Bubeck and Louisa Smith on December 9, 1888. Growing up in Cressona, he went to the local public schoolhouse with his siblings. In 1909, he entered Dickinson College, and in 1913 he graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology, History, and Education. Afterward, Bubeck began his pursuit of a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University Teachers College. In 1929, he obtained his Master’s degree and then began working at Keystone State Normal School. He was a professor of psychology, but also taught the history of civilization and a visual education. He served as president of the rotary club at Kutztown form 1933 to 1934, and for most of the time served as a sponsor of the Y.M.C.A club. He was registered as a military veteran, more specifically as serving in the air force as a future pilot in World War I. When World War II came around, he registered again for the draft and helped out with the Faculty Committee on Defense. He was perceived as popular among the faculty, described as being able to “liven up” the faculty meetings. He retired from Kutztown University in 1951, after 25 years of service to the university. He remained involved in the area afterward. He lived in Kutztown until his death in October of 1964. He was 76 years old.

On August 1, 1853 in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, William Wilberforce Deatrick was born to father William Miller Deatrick and mother Harriet Peyton Sohn. His brother, Eugene Deatrick, was born 3 years later in 1856. Growing up, William and Eugene’s father taught them Latin, Greek, and the gospel. Once they got older, the two brothers began to receive their education at the Allegheny Seminary in Rainsburg, roughly four miles from his home. William and his brother traveled to the seminary several times a week, usually traveling on foot. When William Deatrick turned 16 in 1869, he began working as a tutor in his hometown public school. The next year he began teaching in other local townships until 1872, where at age 19 he enrolled in Mercersburg College. Upon graduating in 1876 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Deatrick enrolled in a master's program at Mercersburg and in a theology course. During this time, Deatrick would sell books and tutor undergraduate students to earn money to pay for his schooling. In 1879, he earned his Master of Arts degree as well a degree in theology. At the end of 1879, Deatrick was elected principal of Milton public school system and served there for a year. After he stepped down from the principalship, Deatrick relocated to New Centerville in Somerset County, PA. Starting June 1, 1800, Deatrick served as a pastor in this community until 1883, where he moved to Rimersburg, PA, located in Clarion County. There he served as an editor to the local newspaper, The Rimersburg Times, and also worked to reopen the Clarion Collegiate Institute. Deatrick served as the principal of the Clarion Collegiate Institute and a member of the board of trustees until 1891, where he accepted a position at Keystone State Normal School as the chair of Psychology and Pedagogy under Principal Nathan D. Schaeffer. He served at K.S.N.S as a professor of psychology and higher English (including rhetoric, literature, and English classics). He also served as the school photographer. His duties at K.S.N.S took him to many counties in Pennsylvania, and to many surrounding states such as New York, New Jersey, Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, and Iowa. Deatrick worked at the Keystone State Normal School until his death in 1925, where he was then buried in Fairview Cemetery in Kutztown, P.A. 

James Stewart Grim was born in Bucks County, in a town called Revere, on October 21, 1873. While there is not much on record on his life as a child, there is some information on his time as an adult. In 1893, he graduated from the Keystone State Normal School with a focus in physical science. After taking some time to pursue a doctorate in science, Grim returned to the Keystone State Normal School in 1900 as a professor of biology and science. He worked in this position until he retired in 1945 at age 72. During his nearly five decades at the K.S.N.S., he was involved quite a bit. He served several terms as the P.S.E.A. Kutztown branch president. He helped design the biology labs that were instated earlier in his career. Aside from teaching, he was a vocal supporter of the instating of the collegiate radio station that has now become the Kutztown University Radio as well as acting as an editor for the Normal Vidette. He also wrote several books during his time here, such as his book "Common Animals" and "Field Study of Birds." Both books are located in the Archive collection of faculty written books. During his time here, he was one of the top six highest-paid professors at the university (somewhere between $3,000 - $3,200 per year. That is equivalent to between $43,183.50 - $46,062.40 today). In his personal life, he was married to Annette "Nettie" Kuhn (born in Chambersburg in 1876) on August 8, 1901. Together they had three children, Allen K. Grim, Mark D. Grim, and Margaret E. Grim. James S. Grim died in 1949, in his home in Kutztown. he is buried in the Fairview Cemetery with his wife. In 1966, the James S. Grim Science Building was named after and dedicated to him and his lifelong love of education and science. 

Calvin Luther Gruber was born in Heidelberg Township, located in the northern part of Lehigh Valley, on January 1, 1864. From a young age, he had an affinity for learning. By age 10, he was beginning to learn Latin and algebra from his father and brother, both of whom were teachers. He attended school at Bernville, where he excelled academically, even earning college credit while going through high school. Upon graduating from Bernville, he enrolled in the Keystone State Normal School, where he studied mathematics. In 1886, he graduated from the Normal school with a B.E., and two years later, he earned his Masters from the normal school. In 1910, he earned an honorary doctorate from Muhlenberg College for his work and achievement in botany. He spent three years teaching in Marion Township, two years in West Leesport, and one year in North Heidelberg Township. After working in those institutions, he was hired as a professor at the Kutztown State Teachers College (formerly the K.S.N.S.). He taught many classes while at Kutztown. He taught mathematics, arithmetic, algebra, civil governance, geometry, and educational sociology. He also was a member of the American Fern Association since 1907. He was then promoted to the Dean of Instruction in 1925, which was the year the position was created. He worked in that role until his retirement in 1934.

Born in 1867 in Girardville, Pennsylvania, Lillian Elizabeth Johnson was very fond of education. After graduating from the Keystone Normal School in 1886 at 19 years old, she immediately applied for and received a position as a supervisor principal at a school in Butler, Pennsylvania. Soon after, she began teaching at Johnstown High School, working there for a number of years. Soon thereafter, she picked up a job working at her Alma Mater, as a critic professor. While here, she wrote consistently for the Normal Vidette, her articles appearing in numerous issues. She took several courses at Columbia University while at Kutztown, specifically on Primary Education. She, at one point, worked at both Millersville and Slippery rock as the Dean of Women. Upon returning to work at Kutztown, she was hired for her old job as well as gaining the new title of preceptress, though later was promoted as the first Dean of Women at Kutztown. She was a charter member Pennsylvania Association of Deans of Women (PADW), and was a member until her death in 1947 at the age of 90. Johnson Hall was named in honor of her.

David Samuel Keck was born in Laurys, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania in 1852. He excelled in history and grammar, pursuing degrees for both at the Keystone State Normal School. He graduated from KSNS in 1874, and was soon hired as a principal at Hamburg Area High School. He stayed in this position for three years before shifting into a career at the Normal School in the training department. It was here that he met his wife, Susan Kauffman, who was the preceptress at the Normal School. For four years he stayed there, helping to train employees until he was offered a position as the superintendent of the Berks County School system. He served faithfully in this position for nearly a decade until he got an offer from the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Keck moved to New York City to work in the foreign department of the LVR for a year before traveling halfway across the country to become the supervisor of the Indian schools in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. After two years spent traveling in the Indian territories, he came back to the Normal School to teach as a professor of history. A year later, he added professor of grammar as well. Keck kept this position until his death in 1947. He earned a Masters's degree from Ursinus College in 1883. While at the Normal School, Keck was a photographer for the Normal School alongside Professor William Deatrick. He also served as the treasurer of the Pennsylvania State Education Association for many decades. 

Ellwood L. Kemp was born in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, in 1856. In 1881, he graduated from Franklin and Marshall College. He immediately got a job at the Keystone State Normal School as a professor. He taught there for a number of years before taking a position as President of Wichita University in Kansas. Kemp continued working there until 1893 where he became the vice principal at East Strausburg Normal School. He then became the principal of ESNS starting in 1902 until his retirement in 1920. During his career, Kemp was ordained as a minister at the Evangelical  Reformed Church, and also served in the National Guard. He served overseas in World War One as well. He was a member of the K.S.N.S. board of trustees since he left his position at the Normal School at Kutztown. He died in 1938 due to heart issues. To honor his service at Kutztown, the HR building located on campus was named after Kemp. 

There is not much information to be found on former director, William D. Landis. This information comes from an issue of the local newspaper, The Kutztown Patriot. According to the newspaper, William D. Landis was born and raised in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. He might have been born February 24, 1876. For his early education, he went to the local public schools in Hellertown. Landis was a graduate of the local State Teachers College and Muhlenberg College located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He later did graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, and he acquired his Master of Arts degree. Landis was a county institute instructor in the various counties of Eastern Pennsylvania for an uncertain number of years until he became the supervising principal of the Northampton public schools. After seventeen years in this role, Landis came to Kutztown to assume the role of Director of the Teachers Training School. According to the newspaper, he came to Kutztown ten years ago, and the paper was released in 1932, so Landis became director around 1922. As director, he was determined to train teachers in laboratory schools for every department of public education from kindergarten to high school. After serving as director for ten years, Landis handed in his resignation in 1930; he initially wished to return to Northampton, but he was persuaded to stay in Kutztown. After Professor W. W. Raker took over his position as director in 1932, Landis was elected district superintendent of the Whitehall schools in Lehigh County. He might have died December 1, 1954. A grave was found for William D. Landis with these dates located in Union Cemetery, in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Clyde Francis Lytle was born in 1890 in Harrisburg, PA to Charles and Catherine (Weiss) Lytle. Dr. Lytle is an alumnus of Millersville State Normal School, class of 1913. His additional education comes from work at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and an M.A. in English at Middlebury College. He received his Doctorate in English Education from New York University in 1942. A veteran of World War I, Lytle joined the Kutztown State College faculty in 1922 at the age of 32.  He became the head of the English Department a year later.  Lytle was very involved during his time at Kutztown State. In 1933, he composed the Kutztown State College Alma Mater and in the same year he started the publication of “The Keystone.” He served as Dean of Instruction from 1948 until his retirement in 1956. Dr. Lytle’s many accomplishments include, “Who’s Who of American Scholars,” and the publication of many English textbooks for college instruction. Dr. Clyde F. Lytle died April 24, 1969; eight years later he became the namesake of Lytle Hall, which houses the English, Mathematics, and History departments.

All information was found from various articles written in the local newspaper, The Kutztown Patriot, and Find a Dr. Clark Russell McClelland was born on May 24, 1882, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. His father was John McClelland and his mother was Nancy Jane Gormley McClelland. McClelland grew up with five siblings: Mary, Stewart, Carrie, Cordelia, and Harvey. For his education, he graduated summa cum laude from Grove City College with his bachelor's in 1915. He later acquired his master's in education at the University of Pittsburgh in 1924, and then entered New York University in 1930 for his doctorate in philosophy which he obtained in 1932. In his professional career, McClelland taught in the high school of Monessen, PA, from 1914 to 1917. He later served as the school principal from 1917 to 1924 until he was promoted to city superintendent of schools, which he did from 1924 to 1930. McClelland became a member of the teaching faculty of the Kutztown State Teachers College in September of 1931; he was hired to teach English and education. He became Acting Dean starting January of 1935 after Dr. John A. Foberg's retirement, and was officially appointed as the Dean of Instruction in 1937. McClelland served as Dean of Instruction for eleven years and Kutztown for seventeen years. According to the newspaper, he resigned on May 31, 1948; his successor was Dr. Clyde F. Lytle, who took over as the Dean of Instruction at Kutztown State Teachers College. McClelland has written a number of magazine articles and published a book, "Opposite Borders." His wife was Olive Malone McClelland. She died in 1954 while Dr. Clark R. McClelland died in December of 1974 at age 92 years. Both are currently buried in Memorial Cemetery located in Dodge County, Nebraska.

All information was found from various articles written in the local newspaper, The Kutztown Patriot, and Find a Clara A. Myers was born in 1877 in Table Rock, Pennsylvania. No information was found about her parents, possible siblings, and she was never married. Myers grew up and attended rural schools in Adams County. Her education was quite extensive in her later college years. Myers attended teach-preparatory select schools at Bendersville and Gettysburg Academy, which is where she received her Bachelor of Science degree. She attended Ursinus College, took University of Pennsylvania extension courses and summer courses at the University of Virginia and Columbia, went to Temple University where she received her Master of Arts degree, and did graduate work in Geography at Clark University located in Worcester, Massachusetts. Most importantly, Myers was a student of the Keystone State Normal School; the school was her 1899 Alma Mater, starting from 1897. Myers also had an extensive professional career. She taught for four years in public schools until she was elected assistant teacher at the Keystone State Normal School in 1901. From 1903 to 1915, she served as a teacher, and then she served as the Dean of Women from 1915 to 1926, and again from 1927 to 1938. She served as a teacher and Dean of Women for more than 40 years at Kutztown. During her last year of teaching at Kutztown, she taught Air Corps classes in Geography. She also taught a class in St. Paul's Reformed Sunday school for fifteen years. Myers has made many contributions to Kutztown and other organizations. She:

  • founded the Women's Commuting League at Kutztown
  • was President of the Women's Guild
  • was a charter member of the Women's Club, and served in the club's Education and Legislation Department
  • was a member of the Berks County Historical Society
  • served as Commissioner of the Council in the Girl Scouts Movement
  • was a member of Delta Gamma
  • held an executive post with the Deans of Women Association of Pennsylvania
  • backed the YWCA
  • wrote "A History of State Teachers College, Kutztown, Pennsylvania," the first intensive research into the history of the college, and then presented the book to the college's library
  • was affiliated with Geographic and other scholastic organizations
  • was in demand as a Commencement speaker

After more than forty years of service to Kutztown, Myers finally retired in 1944, and she resided in her home in Biglerville, Adams County, PA. She died in 1965, at around 87 to 88 years old; Myers was buried in Greenmount Cemetery located in Arendtsville, Adams County, Pennsylvania. 

All information was found from an article in the Reading Eagle and Find A Mary E. Rickenbach was born on December 2, 1892, in Berks County, Pennsylvania. She was born to Mr. and Mrs. John Benton Rickenbach, and she had two siblings: Jonathan and Sallie. She was never married. Rickenbach was a native of Leesport, and attended West Leesport High School where she graduated in 1909. Afterward, she did post-graduate training at the then Keystone State Normal School, and she graduated in 1912. From 1914 to 1919, Rickenbach taught in the public school houses of Berks and Northampton counties until she obtained the position of primary supervisor and director of the school's educational training program in primary subjects and school efficiency at the Keystone State Normal School in 1919. She continued her studies at Teacher's College, Columbia University in New York City until she received her Bachelor of Science degree around 1926; Rickenbach officially became a teacher of psychology and sociology. She later obtained her master's degree from the same New York university. In 1938, Rickenbach assumed the position of the Dean of Women, and she became an assistant professor of sociology at Kutztown. As the Dean of Women, Rickenbach executed the orientation of all coeds on campus, including housing facilities and regulations for dormitory students and commuters. In 1946, a laboratory building was named after her, the Rickenbach Laboratory School; it was replaced by a learning center in 1969, and the new building was named the Rickenbach Learning Center in honor of Mary Rickenbach. Rickenbach contributed to many organizations during her life. She:

  • was a member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association
  • was a member of the National Education Association
  • was a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Deans of Women
  • was a member of the National Association of Women Deans and Counselors
  • was a member of the American Association of School Administrators
  • was a member of the American Association of the University Women
  • was a member of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences
  • was a member of Kappa Delta Pi and honorary member of Delta Kappa Gamma
  • was listed in "Leaders in Education," "Who's Who in American Education," and "Who's Who of American Women."

After forty three years of service to Kutztown State College, Rickenbach retired in 1962. After retiring, she and her private secretary, Evelyn Bach, embarked on a year-long tour through eighteen European and Scandinavian countries. Rickenbach returned to her home in Kutztown where she passed away on December 1,1984, at the age of 91 years. She is currently buried in Saint John's Gernants Cemetery located in Leesport.

All information comes from Find A and a booklet called Sharadin: A Man and His Works. Henry W. Sharadin was born on December 22, 1872, in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. His parents were John D. and Caroline E. Butz Sharadin, and he grew up with five siblings: Catharine, Ella, Howard, Ralph, and Carolyn. Sharadin was raised in Kutztown, and he attended the local Keystone State Normal School from which he graduated in 1891. It is believed he was trained in art at the Metropolitan School of Art in New York City and the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. He also attended the Thurm School of Modern Art in Boston, Alfred University in Alfred, New York, and he studied abroad in Rome, Paris, and London. In 1894, Sharadin opened an art studio in Reading, Pennsylvania, and he began to teach painting and drawing. In 1902, he was appointed as the Director of the Art Department and Painting at the Keystone State Normal School. In 1916, he resigned to teach art in the Allen High School in Allentown, Pennsylvania; in 1919, however, Sharadin returned to the Keystone State Normal School to teach drawing. He became the director again in 1925. After thirty three years of teaching, he retired on May 31, 1939, and lived with his wife Louisa E. Neff Sharadin. His wife died on August 31, 1946, and Sharadin died on April 23, 1966. He is currently buried in Hope Cemetery located in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Sharadin had many accomplishments. He exhibited his artwork in various places: the Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery in Reading, Pennsylvania; the National Arts Club in New York City; with the Lehigh Art Alliance in Allentown, Pennsylvania; the American Legion Hall in Kutztown. He also painted murals in several churches located in the Kutztown area, and he is well known for his mural, "Education" at Kutztown State College.