What happened to the Cardinal Yearbook?

Courtesy of Catholic University Alumni Services.

By Freddy Burke

For 95 years, Catholic University had a yearbook with photos of students and faculty, documenting people’s experiences at the school. That ended in 2011, due to lack of interest and the fallout from cutting scholarships for the editors.

During the academic school years of 1916 through 2011, Catholic University had an annual yearbook named Cardinal Yearbook. In its first year, the Cardinal Yearbook was 234 pages long, printed in black and white, full of pictures of faculty and the class of 1916’s senior portraits. The yearbook had a large staff of editors, which helped to delegate the large amount of work that needed to be done. Jobs like taking pictures of events, club meetings, official portraits of the deans and graduating class were easily covered.

In succession, the administration and the graduating class would have a book that served as a memoriam of the year at Catholic University. The graduating class would have something to take home and be nostalgic about when they would miss being a student at Catholic.

From the early 1960’s to 2005, there was a big incentive to join the yearbook staff, as well as The Tower and Student Government because the editor in chief or the president of those organizations would receive either a half tuition scholarship. The other half tuition scholarship would be evenly distributed among other members of student government, The Tower, or the yearbook.

In 2005 it was announced there would no longer be funding for these scholarships. With no scholarships available, students no longer had a monetary incentive to join the yearbook. This downfall was covered in a March 2005 Tower article.

Shortly after the cuts to the scholarship program were announced, the yearbook’s future seemed to be in immediate jeopardy, though it did survive for six more years, with its contents getting shorter and shorter.

The current Director of the Office of Campus Activities (OCA) Steve Kreider, said that he was a student during the last years of the Cardinal Yearbook. Kreider explained there was a short-handed staff during the final years of the cardinal yearbook and one year, there was only one editor. By 2011, the yearbook only contained 128 pages. The yearbook sold a minimal 125 copies, published from Jostens Publishing, a company located in Tennessee.

From 2012-2014, Kreider said that OCA took over in making the Cardinal Yearbook because the yearbook club had become inactive and lost all of their members. After 2014, the director of campus activities stated that making the yearbook was too much effort for the quickly declining number of members in the club and lack of interest from students.

Kreider said if members of the campus community would want to be part of making the yearbook again and there was interest, OCA would be more than willing to help out and bring the yearbook back.

In the end, the Cardinal Yearbook was two years short of reaching 100 years as a publication. There has been rumors that the yearbook is making a return because many students are showing interest in reviving the yearbook as a send off to the graduating class of 2019. Many students see the Cardinal Yearbook as a good way to remember the school year through pictures and to reminisce the events  on campus that students attended.

“The Cardinal Yearbook would mean the world to me if it came back. I would love to cherish my memories from college and have something to look back on years from now,” senior, Caitlin Ritchie said.

Elizabeth Erickson agreed saying, “I think it would be a great way to remember my time and friends here at Catholic. I’ve made so many memories, but to have them in physical form would be very special.”

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