Guide to the Michael S. Bassis Westminster College President's inauguration papers

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Collection Inventory+/-

Biographical Note/Historical Note

Content Description

Collection Use

Administrative Information


Collection Overview +/-

Title: Michael S. Bassis Westminster College President's inauguration papers
Dates: 2002 (inclusive)
Collection Number: ACC-078
Summary: This collection contains materials pertaining to the October 19, 2002 inauguration of Michael S. Bassis as 16th President of Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah. Additional materials pertain to the symposium "Changes, Challenges, Choices: Undergraduate Education in the 21st Century," held in conjunction with Bassis' inauguration.
Repository: Westminster College, Giovale Library
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: (801) 832-2250

Collection Inventory +/-

box 1, folder 1: Inauguration materials
box 1, folder 2: Invitations and program
box 1, folder 3: President's final copy
box 1, folder 4: Symposium
box 2, folder 1: Posters (oversized)

Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-

Michael S. Bassis was the 16th President of Westminster College, serving from 2002-2012. Dr. Bassis had a wide range of experiences as a teacher, scholar, and administrator over his 40-year career in higher education. Before coming to Westminster College, he served as the chief academic and administrative officer of New College of Florida (1998-2001), president of Olivet College in Michigan (1993-1998), and executive Vice-President and university provost at Antioch University (1989-1993).

Michael Steven Bassis was born in 1944, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Bassis of Harrison, N.Y. He married Mary Suzanne Wilson, daughter of Ruth and Clark Loudon Wilson of New Canaan, Conn. on December 27, 1977. Michael Bassis and his wife Mary have four grown children (Christina, Betsy, Jessica, and Nicholas), and at the time of his retirement in 2012, three granddaughters.

Dr. Bassis graduated from Brown University (with honors) in 1967, majoring in sociology. He received his M.A. (1968) and Ph.D. (1974) in Sociology of Education at University of Chicago. Michael Bassis co-authored 3 books and published numerous articles in journals and newspapers.

An advocate for educational innovation and change, President Bassis pioneered new approaches to student learning, focusing on interdisciplinary learning, setting learning goals, and blending online learning with face-to-face faculty interaction.

"Since joining Westminster in 2002, Bassis has focused on broader learning goals for students involving interdisciplinary learning. He has also required all students to put together electronic portfolios, as well as blending online learning with real-time faculty interaction." (1)

"Under Bassis' leadership, Westminster enrollment grew by 44 percent and the student body became far more diverse. Nine graduate and 19 undergraduate programs have been added, along with eight athletic teams, and seven new academic centers, such as the Great Salt Lake Institute, were established. This fall, 56 percent of the freshman class is from outside Utah, up from 18 percent when Bassis arrived, and there are far more international students and students of color on campus ... Westminster has become a national destination that shifted the school's focus from teaching to learning by using new technology, trustees say." (2)

"Bassis was responsible for the enactment of several programs that have shaped the campus of Westminster as a whole. These include the Center for Civic Engagement, the Winter at Westminster program and the McNair Scholars program." (3)

Seven new facilities were built or purchased during Bassis' tenure including: the Meldrum Science Center; Dolores Dore Eccles Health, Wellness, and Athletics Center (HWAC); newly acquired Garfield School (future home of the Westminster Center for the Arts); Westminster on the Draw (6-story combination student housing/classrooms/retail space located in Sugar House); renovation of Nightingale Hall (transformed to include a state-of-the-art electronic portfolio laboratory and an indoor Student Commons).

To honor Michael Bassis' 10-year service as President, Westminster College established the Michael and Mary Bassis Scholarship Fund in 2012 and the renovated Nightingale Hall will be renamed the Bassis Center for Student Learning.


  • 1) Fattah, Geoffrey. "Westminster College president Michael S. Bassis says he's retiring", Deseret News, published online Sept. 8, 2011.
  • 2) Maffly, Brian. "Westminster College president to retire", Salt Lake Tribune, published online Sept. 9, 2011.
  • 3) Wasser, Brendan and Taylor White. "Ten years of accomplishment and change", The Forum, published online April 18, 2012.
  • 4) Westminster College Office of the President website viewed May 10, 2012.

Content Description +/-

This collection contains materials pertaining to the October 19, 2002 inauguration of Michael S. Bassis as 16th President of Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah. Additional materials pertain to the symposium "Changes, Challenges, Choices: Undergraduate Education in the 21st Century," held in conjunction with Bassis' inauguration.

Included in the collection are announcements of and invitations to the event, fliers, programs, and related inauguration materials, as well as President Bassis' final copy of his inauguration speech. Documents of interest include the schedule and breakdown of the inauguration (a draft copy and the President's copy (final version)), and the delegate information sent to participants in the ceremony. Bassis' background is briefly stated in the program summary, and in an article from the Utah Business magazine.

Documents pertaining to the symposium include the symposium program, notes (including description, format, session leaders and roundtable discussants, schedule, and co-directors), and the letter of invitation.

Other relevant items include a commemorative pin celebrating the inauguration of President Bassis, and two letters addressed to faculty and staff from the President regarding the "Welcome Back Party" and orientation for new faculty and staff.

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:

Michael S. Bassis Westminster College President's inauguration papers, 2002, ACC-078, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Administrative Information +/-


Arranged alphabetically by subject and/or material type, with the exception of 2 oversized posters removed to Box 2, Folder 1.

Processing Note:

Processed by Joshua Ivie. The collection contains materials from President Bassis' personal binder: the final copy of his speech, the inaugural pin, one letter titled "Inauguration Celebration," one pamphlet titled "The Future of Higher Education," and one program titled "Inauguration Celebration."


Bassis, Michael S.


Collection materials are in English.


0.2 linear feet

Language of the Finding Aid:


Author of the Finding Aid:

Finding aid written by Joshua Ivie; expanded October 2012 with a biographical note written by Sarah Shaw.

EAD Creation Date:

2012 October 23 by Sarah Shaw


Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)



Related Material:

Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:

Related photograph held by the Salt Lake Tribune:

Subjects +/-

Corporate Names:

Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1998- )--History--Sources
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1998- )--Presidents
Westminster College (Salt Lake City, Utah : 1998- ). Office of the President
Symposium "Changes, Challenges, Choices: Undergraduate Education in the 21st Century" (2002 : Salt Lake City, Utah)

Subject Terms:

College presidents--Utah--Salt Lake City--Inauguration
College students--Congresses

Form or Genre Terms:

Commemorative jewelry
Fliers (printed matter)
Programs (documents)
Schedules (time plans)

Personal Names:

Bassis, Michael S.--Archives
Bassis, Michael S.--Inauguration, 2002

Geographical Names:

Salt Lake City (Utah)--History--Sources