Guide to the Westminster College Treasurer's records

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Westminster College Treasurer's records
Dates: 1936-1962 (inclusive)
Collection Number: ACC-090
Summary: This collection consists of records created and/or managed by the Treasurer of Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah between 1936-1962. The majority of the records appear to have been handled by College Treasurer, Ralph S. Gunn during the 1960s.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Care use and insurance
box 1, folder 2: Cap and gown service order
box 1, folder 3: Choir trip
box 1, folder 4: Construction bond and agreement
box 1, folder 5: Council for Financial Aid to Education

Item(s) removed to Box 4, Folder 1

box 1, folder 6: Elworthy and Co. (San Francisco, Calif.)
box 1, folder 7: Excise tax
box 1, folder 8: Fire prevention
box 1, folder 9: Guarantee construction

Includes construction guarantee agreements with Utah Richardson Roofing Co. (1948) and Chytraus Brothers Co. (1953)

box 1, folder 10: Insurance
box 1, folder 11: International College Association
box 1, folder 12: Inventory
box 1, folder 13: Investments (1936-1943)
box 1, folder 14: Investments (1958-1961)
box 1, folder 15: J.A. Hogle and Company (Salt Lake City, Utah)
box 1, folder 16: Kennedy Ditch Co.

Item(s) removed to Box 4, Folder 2

box 1, folder 17: Legacies
box 1, folder 18: Lodge rental
box 1, folder 19: Management Center
box 1, folder 20: Methodist Board papers
box 1, folder 21: Methodist Board of Pensions
box 1, folder 22: Methodist Rocky Mountain Conference
box 1, folder 23: Mountain Fuel Supply Co.
box 2, folder 1: Needs
box 2, folder 2: Postmaster

Item(s) removed to Box 3, Folder 5; Box 4, Folder 3

box 2, folder 3: Practice teaching
box 2, folder 4: Projects
box 2, folder 5: Protestant School of Religion
box 2, folder 6: Registration
box 2, folder 7: Revenues and expenses
box 2, folder 8: Registration
box 2, folder 9: Salt Lake Treasurer assessments
box 2, folder 10: Student loans

Item(s) removed to Box 3, Folder 6

box 2, folder 11: Tax abatement, Salt Lake County

Item(s) removed to Box 3, Folder 7

box 2, folder 12: Theological Conference (1962)
box 2, folder 13: X-ray service contract

Contract with University of Utah Student Health Center to provide X-ray services to Westminster College students

box 2, folder 14: YMCA of Westminster College
box 2, folder 15: Yearbook contracts (1957-1962)
box 3 , folder 1-2: Expenses and revenues
box 3 , folder 3: Investments
box 3 , folder 4: Investments (1940-1941)
box 3 , folder 5: Student loans
box 3 , folder 6: Tax abatement
box 4 , folder 1: Council for Financial Aid to Education
box 4 , folder 2: Kennedy Ditch Co.
box 4 , folder 3: Postmaster

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

The Treasurer of Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah) was originally an officer of the Board of Trustees. In later years the position is listed as a college administrator. The office of Treasurer has been held by:

  • 1895-1921 Henry V. Van Pelt (under earlier name Sheldon Jackson College and new name Westminster College)
  • 1921-1954 Parke M. Pontz
  • 1954-1964 Ralph S. Gunn
  • 1964-1976 Francis J. (Frank) Cox
  • 1976-1978 Gerrold K. Mukai
  • 1978-1979 Louis (Lou) Benn
  • 1979-1980 William J. (Bill) Clark
  • 1980-1981 Connie Hedenstrom
  • 1981-2008 Stephen R. (Steve) Morgan
  • 2008- Curtis Ryan

Parke M. Pontz (1886-1961) served as Treasurer of Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah) from 1921-1954. Pontz had an accounting background in the Salt Lake area. He served first as bursar, becoming business manager and treasurer, and member of the Board of Trustees. His life was devoted to the prosperity of the college which he served both inside and outside of his job for almost 40 years.

Pontz was December 4, born in 1887 near Strasburg in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the 4th of 5 children (including brothers W.R. Pontz and Elvin G. Pontz). As a youth he had a bakery route, then worked briefly in the steel mills of Pennsylvania. Moving to Omaha, Nebraska he became worked at the Omaha Heavy Hardware Co. for 10 years. In 1916 he moved to Boise, Idaho, where he worked in hardware and automobile businesses. He came to Salt Lake City in 1918 as a sales and advertising manager for Utah Implement and Vehicle Company.

Pontz married Jeanette Gosselink on September 1, 1910 in Pella, Iowa; their fiftieth anniversary was observed in the October 1960 edition of the Utah Westminster. She attended Central College in Pella, Iowa, and worked in Iowa as a secretary. Pontz and his wife would raise two sons, Donald and Walter. Donald would attend Westminster College (dates unknown) and graduate with a degree in chemistry. He would later move to the east and become an accomplished chemist for Dow Chemical. Walter would join the armed forces and give his life in defense of his country, fatally wounded in Tunisia in 1943.

Pontz's devotion to Westminster College and the war effort can be seen in his "victory garden." A local newspaper article (source unknown) dated August 10, 1942 details Pontz's success at gardening in a two acre "victory garden." He planted corn, tomatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, squash, and potatoes for the purpose of feeding the college's dormitory residents (during the farm labor shortage of the time). Pontz's garden would be enlarged the following year (1943), but would fall into disrepair when it became too difficult to maintain.

As Treasurer from 1921-1954, Pontz served under Presidents Herbert W. Reherd, Robert D. Steele, and Interim President Burton C.J. Wheatlake. During his time serving under President Robert D. Steele, Pontz would propose the construction of a residence on college property, later to be deeded to Westminster. Pontz's proposal was accepted, and the Pontz Memorial Home was constructed on the southeast corner of campus, facing 1300 East.

Evidence of Pontz's personality can be found in the nickname given to him by the students—"Pay Me." Pontz seemed to be unashamed by this, and even embraced it.

Pontz and his wife were dealt a powerful blow when their son Walter died in active duty in Africa. The Pontz Memorial Staircase at the college was named in his honor, and commemorates the lives of those who have died in war. The staircase is present today, on the west side of Converse Hall (between Converse Hall and the Tanner Plaza).

Pontz resigned from his position as Treasurer in 1954 to become Assistant to the President, leaving his former job in the hands of Ralph S. Gunn. This honorary title was granted to him along with an honorary LDH degree. As Assistant to the President (1954-1961) Pontz served under Presidents J. Richard Palmer and Frank E. Duddy.

Parke M. Pontz died May 23, 1961 at age 74, having devoted the majority of his life to Westminster College. He never retired from the college. Pontz experienced a heart attack in his college office, was taken to a Salt Lake hospital, and died shortly after nine in the morning (Salt Lake Tribune, "Death"). In the words of Dr. Frank E. Duddy, Jr., "He has joined the other founders—in love, in selfless dedication, in tradition, in history. No institution was ever served more faithfully! In sadness which he would not approve, we honor his memory but inadequately. But we are proud and grateful that he lived and worked among us, and we benefit by his shining example."

Following her husband's death, Mrs. Pontz moved east to live with son Donald. The Pontz Memorial Home was left vacant after this time, and served to facilitate the needs of the college. The Memorial Home would later be demolished and replaced by the Dolores Dore Eccles Ceramic Center in the late 1990's.

Sources of Pontz biographical note:

  • Ivie, Josh. Biographical Sketch : Parke M Pontz. September 2004.
  • Etosian, 1962 (Westminster College yearbook).
  • Salt Lake Tribune obituary. "Death Claims Assistant To Westminster Chief", published May 24 1961.
  • Salt Lake Tribune article "War Victims' Rites and Funeral services...", published February 6, 1949.
  • United States Federal Census, 1940

Ralph S. Gunn was Westminster College Treasurer from 1954–1964. Prior to his employment at Westminster College, Gunn was superintendent of the Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah from 1945-1954. The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Sunday, September 22, 1957 that "Miss Mary Clarice Gunn, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph S. Gunn of 2329 East 3080 South" married Blaine Ray Paetsch at Wasatch Presbyterian Church on September 21, 1957. The June 8, 1964 issue of the Tribune reported that Ralph S. Gunn, stated clerk of the Presbytery of Utah for the previous 10 years, spoke at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Mt. Olympus Presbyterian Church.

The Utah State Prison was formerly located in what is now Sugar House Park, just a few blocks south from the Westminster College campus. According to the Sugar House Park website, which has images of the former prison and the current park: "For nearly a century, the current site of beautiful Sugar House Park was, incongruously, the grim site of the Utah State Prison. The federal government operated the penitentiary until Utah statehood in 1894, when the prison was then granted to the State of Utah. By the middle of the 20th Century, state officials had finalized plans to move the prison to a new site at the Point of the Mountain, thus igniting discussion of what to do with the old prison site. Sugar House businessman Horace Sorensen lobbied for a decade to have the site converted into a state park, and that seemed to be the site's destiny when the Legislature passed a statute in 1947 setting aside the 'old prison site' as a state park."

Content Description +/-

This collection consists of records created and/or managed by the Treasurer of Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah between 1936-1962. The majority of the records appear to have been handled by College Treasurer Ralph S. Gunn during the 1960s. The materials include correspondence, memoranda, contracts, receipts, certificates, blueprints and other financial records.

The collection contains various types of financial records organized by subject, typically with a single transaction between the parties. The types of financial transactions include college investments, purchases, student loans, contributions, and tax assessments. No pattern is evident within the organization of the records. It is assumed it was developed by the college treasurer and continued throughout Gunn's administration but may have been reorganized by the college's Archivist, Emil Nyman.

All records created prior to Gunn's administration appear to have direct relevance to issues addressed during Gunn's tenure or to the operation of the college in general.

The Kennedy Ditch Irrigation Company records (Box 1, Folder 16) are a prime example of a community-wide concern over water rights. The file contains information on the buyout of the company in relationship to a state-proposed water sharing plan. The correspondence, blueprints, and contractual information document the issues behind the buyout, the process spanning multiple years, and the resolution and conclusion regarding the state's proposal.

There is a letter dated September 10, 1941 from Samuel W. Stewart, Chairman of the State Board of Corrections addressed to the "Board of Trustees, West Minister College" stating that "the Board felt that it would be advantageous to both the College and the Prison if an agreement could be made, whereby the college would exchange the water it owns in the Kennedy Ditch to the Prison for an equal amount of water from the Hodgson Springs". President Robert D. Steele responded to this letter after consulting with "Mr. Porter, our business manager". Thus began the correspondence, which would span from 1941-1951, between the college, the prison, Salt Lake City government officials, and the Kennedy Ditch Irrigation Company.

A good example of unique records can be found in the Legacies file. This file contains information about the donations left to Westminster College by members of the community. The information given includes the name of the patron, their address, and the amount promised or left to the College.

Some of the records, like those found in the J.A. Hogle and Company file, contain documents that are similar to those found in another collection held by the Library. See for example Box 2, Folder 6 (Hogle, James Albert) in the "Emil Nyman Westminster College Library Archivists' biographical files, 1909-1981" (ACC-057).

Collection Use +/-

Restrictions on Access:

Open to public research.

Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Twenty-four hours advance notice is encouraged.

Restrictions on Use:

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material must be obtained from the director of the Giovale Library.

Preferred Citation:

Westminster College Treasurer's records, 1936-1962, ACC-090, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetically by subject within Boxes 1-2. Boxes 3 and 4 are in two additional alphabetical arrangements by subject. The records' original order was retained.

Processing Note:

Processed by Josh Ivie in November 2003. The records' original order was retained. Undated, temporary, obsolete, and other materials having no relationship to matters addressed in the collection were weeded and discarded from the files.


Westminister College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983). Treasurer's Office

Gunn, Ralph S., 1908-2005

Pontz, Parke M., 1886-1961


Collection materials are in English.


1 linear foot

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written November 2003 by Josh Ivie. Expanded May 2016 by Sarah J. Shaw.

EAD Creation Date:

2013 July 1 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections snd photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Chytraus Brothers Co.
Council for Financial Aid to Education
Elworthy and Co.
International College Association
J.A. Hogle & Co.
Kennedy Ditch Irrigation Co.
Methodist Church (U.S.). Board of Pensions
Mountain Fuel Supply Company
Protestant School of Religion
Salt Lake City (Utah). Department of Parks and Public Property
Salt Lake County (Utah)
Utah Richardson Roofing Co.
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983)--Finance
Westminister College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1902-1983). Treasurer's Office--Archives
Young Men's Christian Association (Westminster College)

Subject Terms:

Corporate treasurers--Utah--Salt Lake City
Presbyterian universities and colleges--Utah--History--Sources
Universities and colleges--Utah--Salt Lake City--Finance

Form or Genre Terms:

Blueprints (reprographic copies)
Financial records
Receipts (financial records)
Records (documents)

Personal Names:

Gunn, Ralph S., 1908-2005
Pontz, Parke M., 1886-1961
Steele, Robert D. (Robert Denham), 1901-1972
Stewart, Samuel W.

Geographical Names:

Salt Lake City (Utah)--History--Sources
Sugar House (Salt Lake City, Utah)--History--Sources