Dr. Diana Montague embarks on sabbatical 

Excitement swirls around her research of UF’s university origin 

By Lauren Wolters


Dr. Diana Montague, Professor of Communication, takes a sabbatical this fall to begin researching the University of Findlay’s first 30 years as a university. In 1989 Findlay College became the University of Findlay. Dr. Montague plans to focus on the timeline at UF from 1989 to 2019. Dr. Montague started at UF in 1986 when the university was still Findlay College.

“At this point I think I’m the best person to write about those years,” Dr. Montague said in an email interview. “I was here through them all, so [I] have a lot of first-person experience, and my training in journalism will be helpful in researching and writing a compelling narrative about that era of Findlay’s history.”

“Discussions on changing to a university occurred in earnest in the mid-1980s, when we started adding a variety of academic programs, including our first master’s degree, and expanding our recruiting efforts,” Dr. Montague said. “I don’t know the specific requirements for changing to university status right now; part of my research will involve reading more about that transition.”

Dr. Montague plans to publish her research on the university’s first 30 years in a book. The book will also address the change from Findlay College to UF.

“Currently I am working on a grant proposal with Dr. Sarah Fedirka, chair of the English Department, and Hillary Hartman, UF’s Grant Manager, that would help fund the research and publication, as well as the design of the interactive timeline we’re planning,” Dr. Montague said.

In addition to the book, Dr. Montague also hopes to incorporate her research into an interactive, artistic timeline that highlights the key events throughout Findlay College and UF’s history. This timeline would include Dr. Montague’s research timeframe of 1989 – 2019 as well as years before and after the range.

“Right now, we are thinking such a display would be an appropriate installation in the planned Watterson Center for Ethical Leadership, but before we can make plans for such an artistic project, I have lots of research to do,” Dr. Montague said.

Dr. Montague hopes to finish most of her research and interviews this fall on her sabbatical. She is hoping to finish the book by the end of the summer of 2025 and the design for the interactive timeline by fall of 2025. The installation of the timeline will depend on the funding and building completion of the Watterson Center for Ethical Leadership.

Dr. Montague began some basic research last year when she prepared her proposal for her sabbatical. This fall she plans to sort through physical and digital news articles from the Pulse, The Courier, The Blade and other publications with information about UF’s significant events from 1989-2019.

“I hope to interview as many people as I can who were instrumental in the change to university status,” Dr. Montague said. “I also plan to interview people who worked at and/or attended UF over that 30-year period when we added a significant number of academic programs, increased the size of the campus, experienced challenges, and made changes to athletic programs and other student life activities.”

While there are a couple of publications already about Findlay College, Dr. Montague said there is no college writing on the actual transition of Findlay College to a university or any publications about the tremendous growth of the university the last three decades. The first one hundred years of Findlay College (1882-1982) are published in a book by Dr. Richard Kern. Charlene Hankinson also wrote a master’s thesis on Findlay College history from 1983-1986.

Dr. Montague is excited to embark on her research regarding the university’s first 30 years. Her research and future book will serve as a reminder of how much the university has changed and inspire further growth.

“I am excited to explore the university’s archives, which hold not only old news articles, but artifacts and other primary sources that represent key times in the university’s history,” Dr. Montague said. “I am also looking forward to talking to people who were at the university years ago. I enjoy the interviewing process and listening to/writing about other people’s stories.”