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Kutztown University Archives

Who are the Key Founders?

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

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 29nd, 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 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 Cadet's 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 1946-1956 he worked as Director until his appointment as Dean of Instruction. In this position, he served until July of 1967, where he was appointed President of the University (after the sudden death of the previous President, Italo L. DeFrancesco). 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 5th, 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 he 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 One had begun and Beck registered for the draft at 35 years of age. 24 years later, in 1941, America entered WWII and, 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, 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 17th to August 28th. While the reason for this trip is unknown, one may assume 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 22nd, 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 6th, 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, 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 include 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, PA, on December 9th, 1888 to Frank Bubeck and Louisa Smith. 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. Then 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 1933-1934 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 1st, 1853 in Huntingdon, PA, 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 enrolls in Mercersburg College. Upon graduating in 1876, with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Deatrick enrolls 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 1st, 1800, Deatrick served as a pastor in this community until 1883, where he moves 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 accepts 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 21st, 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 8th, 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 1st, 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 which 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 to the Keystone State Normal School, where he studied mathematics. In 1886 he graduated from the Normal school with a B.E., and two-year slater 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 KSNS). He taught many classes while in 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 1967 in Girardville, Pennsylvania, Lillian Elizabeth Johnson was very fond of education. After graduating from the Keystone Normal School 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 a prefectress, 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. 

David Samuel Keck was born in Laurys, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania in 1852. He excelled in history and grammar, persuing 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. He 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. he kept this position until his death in 1947. He earned a Masters 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, PA 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. he 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 and up until his retirement in 1920. During his career, he 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 KSNS 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.