A (Former) Faculty Member’s Perspective on Finishing Finals

Professor Albert Waugh (Archives and Special Collections Photo, UConn Libraries)
Final exams and those pesky blue books have been part of campus life for many decades, as a journal entry by former professor Albert Waugh demonstrates.


Professor Albert Waugh (Archives and Special Collections Photo, UConn Libraries)
Professor Albert Waugh (Archives and Special Collections Photo, UConn Libraries)

It’s that time of year again … Finals!

With exams now underway, remember that this same scene has been repeated on campus for decades, down to those pesky blue books students give themselves hand cramps trying to fill and instructors struggle to read.

“I spent the evening today correcting blue books,” recounts Professor Albert Waugh in his journal on Dec. 10, 1941. “I have finally completed the last one, so that for the moment I do not have a single solitary uncorrected paper!”

Waugh’s jubilation at completing his grading no doubt parallels the joy students feel as they leave a final exam, rubbing their hand and thinking of winter break.

Those who need a break from studying or grading – and some who don’t – may wish to take a moment to peruse Waugh’s thoughts on exams, politics, and daily life at UConn in his journals, which cover more than 25 years of his life at UConn and are now available online.

Waugh came to UConn in 1924 as an instructor in agricultural economics. In 1945, he was named dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and he became the University’s provost in 1950, serving as provost and academic vice president until his retirement in 1966. During this time, Waugh recorded his thoughts in a daily journal.

The digital collection includes entries from 1941 to 1969. Entries of interest include his reaction to Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941); keeping score of UConn football games (starting vs. Yale on Sept. 26, 1959); and his “long record of not having voted for the winning candidate in a single presidential election since 1928” (Nov. 9, 1960), among other political thoughts. His entries provide a snapshot into what was going on around campus and nationwide on any given day.

Waugh’s daily journal can be accessed via the finding aid for his papers found on the Archives & Special Collections website. And for those taking — or grading — exams, Good Luck!