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Office of the Secretary of the Board of Trustees records

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-1.2

Scope and Contents

The records include subject files and correspondence of Karl McDonel and Elliot Ballard during their time as Secretary of the Board of Trustees. There is also one file of records from Jacweir (Jack) Breslin's time as Secretary. Their files cover a variety of subjects and give a varied and rather complete look at the operations of Michigan State University. Other records include early financial records for labor, purchasing, and farm products; building inventories; departmental and grading records; Veteran's Bureau records; and a certificate appointing Ira Butterfield as Postmaster of the Agricultural College.

Boxes 920 and 921 as well as the oversized material relate to the early functioning of the office. Boxes 352 and 353 were transferred to the Archives when the office went by the title of Office of the Executive Vice President and Secretary to the Board of Trustees. Consequently, the boxes and folders will be labeled as from this office, with that offices’ record group number (UA 4.0). However, the contents reflect the work of the Secretary to the Board of Trustees during the 1950s and 1960s.

Electronic Resources include correspondence in the form of e-mail memos and attachments.


  • Creation: 1857 - 2016


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Historical Note

In 1861, the Michigan State Legislature authorized the appointment of a secretary to the State Board of Agriculture with responsibilities to record the minutes of the Board of Trustees and interpret agricultural sciences to farmers.

Agricultural education duties included collecting information on agricultural practices; distributing seeds, plants, trees and shrubs to farmers who would report results; encouraging the formation of agricultural societies; publishing information in the newspapers; and issuing an annual report. This work eventually conferred the legal authority for the gradual development and extension of this position’s research functions.

This position, which evolved into the current Secretary to the Board of Trustees, carried a variety of responsibilities through the years. Successors became the institution’s business managers as they cared for the property and received and disbursed funds.

In 1970, the Office of the Secretary to the Board of Trustees was combined with that of the Executive Vice President (see UA 4.0). In 1976, an independent Office of the Secretary was re-established with somewhat different responsibilities. In 1986, the office was combined with the Executive Assistant to the President.

The current title for the position is Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Executive Assistant to the President. In addition to administrative responsibilities for Board meetings, ordinances, polices and courtesies, this person is involved in a wide range of issues, working with the Board and President to implement their change agenda.


State Board of Education Ira Mayhew 1855-1859 John M. Gregory 1859-1861

State Board of Agriculture - Board of Trustees Theophilus C. Abbot 1861-December 1863 Carlos A. Kenaston (pro tempore) December 1863-February 1864 Sanford A. Howard February 1864-March 1871 Richard Haigh Jr. (pro tempore) March 1871-November 1873 William H. P. Marston November 1873-August 1875 Robert G. Baird August 1875-June 1885 Henry G. Reynolds June 1885-June 1893 Ira H. Butterfield June 1893-February 1899 Arthur C. Bird June 1899-June 1902 Addison M. Brown June 1902-December 1921 Herman H. Halladay December 1921-January 1935 John A. Hannah January 1935-June 1941 Karl H. McDonel July 1941-June 1960 James W. Miller July 1960-December 1960 Marie Mercier (acting) July 1960-December 1960 Jacweir Breslin March 1961-September 1975 Elliot G. Ballard October 1975-January 1981 Roger E. Wilkinson (acting) January 1981-December 1981 Roger E. Wilkinson January 1982-October 1985 David Kimball October 1985-September 1986 Marylee Davis September 1986-September 1992 Mascellette G. Williams September 1992-September 1994 Martha L. Hesse September 1994-September 1996 Nancy H. Pogel September 1996-December 2001 L. Susan Carter January 2002-July 2005 Alison Barber August 2005-December 2007 Bill Beekman January 2008--


7 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Related Archival Materials

See also Vice President for Administration and Public Affairs records (UA 4).

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Office of Secretary of the Board of Trustees Records
4 Published And Cataloged
D. Sadler
December 1979
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US