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Paul Dressel and family papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.112

Scope and Contents

This collection has been arranged into eight series.

Series 1 (Dressel Papers) is composed of Paul Dressel’s papers and writings. This includes papers authored, co-authored or edited by him. Included are manuscripts and rough drafts, pamphlets, individual papers, and photographs. His personal reminisces of MSU include many stories about MSU departments and individuals. Topics include the registrar, library, women students, homosexuality on campus, counseling center, ROTC honorary colonels, Dean Giltner, President Shaw, Farmers Week, Examinations, President Hannah, Institutional Accreditation, and other experiences in higher education.

Series 2 (Collected Documents) is comprised of documents collected by Paul Dressel during his time at Michigan State University. Many of these collected papers pertain to the establishment of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at MSU.

Series 3 (Figure Skating) is made of figure skating materials from when his wife, Wilma and daughter, Jenna, participated in the sport. There are newsletters from the Lansing Skating club, various figure skating programs which includes Olympic skaters and a young Vera Wang, newspaper clippings, and photos. Also included is Wilma's hat from when she judged figure skating competitions and patches.

Series 4 (The Hannah Years Book Materials) is made up of the materials used to write his book on the Hannah years, “From College to University: The Hannah Years at Michigan State University”. This includes interviews and recollections from current and retired faculty and staff, clippings, departmental and college histories, reports, and other publications.

Series 5 (Added Materials) is compiled of documents that were added to the collection after it was already processed. The materials included are a mixture of Paul Dressel's articles and publications, newspaper clippings, correspondence, programs, and a list of people receiving his book on Hannah. Many of the materials in this series overlap with the topics in Series 1-4.

Series 6 (Photographs) is currently comprised of three black and white photographs of Paul Dressel originally taken by the MSU Photo Laboratory and one color photograph of Paul and Wilma Dressel.

Series 7 (Oversize Materials) includes Paul Dressel's diplomas and Wilma Dressel's diplomas and various certificates.

Series 8 (Electronic Resources) includes a scanned photograph of Wilma Dressel ice skating with Howard Fisher; two scanned Polaroid photos from the Dressel 50th wedding anniversary featuring John Hannah, Lou Anna Simon, Myron Magen, and Judy Ikenberry; and scanned pages from a scrapbook created for the Dressel's 50th wedding anniversary reception, which included photographs as well as letters.

Further biographical information and photographs of Paul Dressel can be found in the Media Communications records, UA 8.1.1.


  • Creation: 1939 - 2005


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.

Biographical Note

Paul Dressel was born on November 29, 1910. He received his B.A. from Wittenberg College in 1931, M.A. from Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) in 1934, and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1939. In 1934 he began teaching at Michigan State College, where he stayed until his retirement in 1981. He began his career as an instructor in mathematics.

In 1944, he was named the chairman of the Board of Examiners and the first director of the Counseling Center at Michigan State College. He helped establish the counseling center in response to the presence of World War II veterans. Originally the Counseling Center was for career counseling but expanded to handle personal counseling.

In 1959 he became the director of the Office of Institutional Research and then the Assistant Provost in 1961. In 1964, he was given the additional title of Professor of University Research.

He also contributed to over 20 different books including “College to University: The Hannah Years at Michigan State University, 1935–1969”, “Return to Responsibility”, and “The New Colleges: Toward an Appraisal.” During the period of rapid growth of residential college building in the 1960s, he was involved with improving student assessments. He also served as the president of the American Association for Higher Education in 1970. Following his retirement in 1981 as a Distinguished Professor for the College of Education, he continued to do research and author papers.

Dressel was married to Wilma Frances Sackett and had three daughters, Carol, Linda, and Jenna. He died on November 22, 1989 at the age of 78.


5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Organized into eight series.

Preservica Public URL|dd6c9e2a-89a5-47eb-ab93-afc6f75a0bfd/

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Paul Dressel and Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
M. Louzon
December 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

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