Pete and Katherine Tiffany brought a present for Wofford College when they came to visit their son, Barron Tiffany ’27, on Family Weekend.
The Tiffany family presented Dr. Phillip Stone ’94, library archivist and adjunct professor of government and international affairs, with a rare Wofford master’s degree diploma that was awarded to Barron’s great-great-grandfather, William S. Hall Jr. The gift also included Hall’s undergraduate diploma from 1891.
“It's not that we didn’t want to keep them,” says Katherine, a Family Court judge in Greenville. “But we wanted them to go where they could truly be appreciated. We wanted them to be preserved and displayed in the way they should be. We didn’t want them to just be in a drawer somewhere.”
Wofford has awarded about 254 master’s degrees in its 169-year history, says Stone. Until the early 1900s, master’s degrees were awarded to graduates who applied and met certain qualifications. From 1904 to 1951, coursework was required to earn the master’s. Many of them were awarded to women, according to Stone.
Stone says Hall’s diplomas will make a nice addition to Wofford’s collection. The diplomas are made of sheepskin and are hand-written in Latin. They are signed by the president, faculty and trustees.
“This is probably the first time these diplomas have been back here since they were awarded,” Stone says. “They’re in really good condition and still have the wax seal. It will be nice to be able to exhibit them every now and then.”
William S. Hall Sr. attended Wofford from 1858-60, but left without earning a degree because of the Civil War. William Jr. was well thought of on campus, according to Pete, and was nicknamed Shakespeare.
Katherine’s parents passed the diplomas to her when they learned that Barron would be attending Wofford. Barron, an undeclared major, says it’s nice to be a part of bringing them home.
“It’s like coming full circle in a way,” Barron says. “They left here with my great-great-grandfather, and now we’ve brought them back.”