Jane E. Leonard photograph from 1916

Jane E. Leonard photograph from 1916

Jane Elizabeth Leonard and her legacy continue to be remembered and honored on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus.

On May 6, 2021, IUP's Council of Trustees approved naming the Humanities and Social Sciences building as Jane E. Leonard Hall in recognition of her “incredible dedication.”

The newly named Jane E. Leonard Hall is located next to Stapleton Library. Ribbon cutting for this $30-million academic building took place in January 2016.

Leonard was one of the original staff members at IUP (then Indiana Normal School) when it opened on May 17, 1875 with 150 students and one building—John Sutton Hall. Leonard outlasted all other faculty who began work with her on that opening day, serving IUP for 46 years through financially challenging times.

Charles and Donna Cashdollar with the resolution

Charles and Donna Cashdollar with President Michael Driscoll and the resolution

She was Indiana Normal School's preceptress (similar to a Dean of Women position) and she also taught English literature, history, and geography.

Historical accounts describe Leonard as someone who shaped the character of the university, noting that she adjudicated any kind of student conduct issues, ran faculty meetings, did continuing professional education for graduates through the alumni newsletters, began alumni affairs, was career services in that she used her networks to place graduates, did religious education, and organized the library.

“During all those dark days of adversity, Miss Leonard stood a tower of strength, calm, serene, self-possessed, confident, and reassuring,” reads a Board of Trustees resolution from 1915, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the school's founding. “No thought of failure ever occurred to her far-reaching mind. And this position she has maintained from year to year, until now she, as well as all of us, can see the fruits of her labor and persistence.” Leonard was, the resolution continued, a “guiding spirit that animated and made possible this success.”

Exterior of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences building

Exterior of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences building

The 2021 Trustee resolution approved today recognized Leonard “as a towering figure at Indiana Normal School, (who) influenced the lives of her students, with her merits, like threads, woven into the fabric of the institution.”

Leonard, who was often referred to as “Aunt Jane,” according to historical accounts, lived in an apartment in Sutton Hall, described as a “mecca” for students, especially, women, who were encouraged to come to her for advice and support.

She was given the title of preceptress emeritus upon her retirement and was permitted to continue to live in her Sutton Hall apartment. She died in 1924 at the age of 83. A portrait of Leonard hangs on the first floor of Sutton Hall.

This building is the second classroom facility named in Leonard's honor on the IUP campus.

The original Jane E. Leonard Hall was built in 1903, destroyed by fire in 1952, rebuilt and opened in 1954 in the same Oak Grove facing location. That Leonard Hall was razed in 2017 to make way for John J. and Char Kopchick Hall, home to the John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The original Jane E. Leonard Hall

The original Jane E. Leonard Hall

The new Jane E. Leonard Hall includes most of the departments and offices in the “first” Leonard Hall.

“Jane Leonard embodied the core values of IUP,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said.

“Aunt Jane cared deeply about each of her students, set high standards for them, and in many cases, opened their eyes to possibilities of which they would never have known or dreamed,” he said. “IUP's first 40 years were turbulent ones, but Ms. Leonard's leadership and her belief in IUP never wavered. Honoring her unique place in IUP's history is absolutely right, proper, and necessary.”

The naming resolution recognizes the “incredible dedication of Jane Leonard and the contributions of time, talent, expertise, and treasure of Charles and Donna Cashdollar by naming Jane Leonard Hall in honor of Charles and Donna Cashdollar.”

Charles Cashdollar is an IUP Distinguished University Professor and history faculty emeritus and a 1965 graduate of IUP and Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. He is the founding director of the Liberal Studies program at IUP and served as the committee chair that led to the establishment of the Cook Honors College.

The couple have just completed a university history, The IUP Story, From Normal School to University, which includes a separate chapter on Leonard.

The Trustee resolution recognizes the couple for their “generous philanthropic commitments to IUP, including the Charles Cashdollar Endowed History Scholarship benefiting IUP students in perpetuity while dedicating their time, expertise, and talent to documenting the history of the institution and publishing in The IUP Story, From Normal School to University for the benefit of the Foundation for IUP.” Book sales benefit the Foundation for IUP to promote and support the educational purposes of IUP.

The resolution also recognizes Cashdollar's “meritorious leadership and service promoting Pennsylvania history.”

“Charles Cashdollar has been an unceasing champion for Ms. Leonard and the need for IUP to continue to remember and honor her legacy,” Driscoll said. “He has long advocated that the best way to do so is to have a Jane Leonard Hall on the IUP campus.

“The hard work and leadership he and Donna have provided to IUP, culminating in the new history, are certainly worthy of recognition,” Driscoll said. “It says something important about who they are that they would point that recognition away from themselves and toward honoring Ms. Leonard and her foundational contributions to IUP. Nonetheless, I recognize and thank them for building on that foundation to create a stronger, better IUP.”

The Cashdollar book, now available for order, tells IUP's story from beginning to the present, focusing on its people and campus life. Prominent themes throughout its more than 400 pages are the school's commitment to excellence and its resilience—through war, depression, and pandemic. The hardcover book is organized in 14 chronological chapters and has many illustrations. It is the first IUP history in 30 years.

The book will be available in the fall; it can be pre-ordered online.