Rockport Collegiate Institute
First Graduates

The South Spencer School Corporation has in its possession the diploma of one of the first graduates of the Rockport Collegiate Institute--Bettie Veatch. The other graduate that year was Maggie Sabin. In addition to the diploma, a program from the graduation on June 17, 1868 is in the frame.

Bettie Veatch's Diploma

The diploma is apparently made of sheepskin and has wrinkled over the years. In the upper left corner is the graduation program. It contains this text:

First Commencement
of the
Collegiate Institute
Wednesday, June 17, 1868
Music           Prayer           Music
Latin Salutatory . . . . . . . . . . Maggie Sabin, Rockport
Under a Stone . . . . . . . . . . Bettie Veatch, Rockport
What Next . . . . . . . . . . Maggie Sabin, Rockport
Valedictory . . . . . . . . . . Bettie Veatch, Rockport
Conferring Degrees and Address
by the Principal

A line at the bottom of the program reads: Journal Printers Stationers and Binders Evansville

In the lower right corner of the frame is a card that reads: This diploma granted to Betty Veatch, was the first diploma given by what is now Rockport High School. This typed note was apparently added recently and may confuse some to believe that Veatch is the first Rockport High School graduate. Dr. Kate Snyder Busse, 1879, is believed to be the first R. H. S. graduate.

The diploma also contains a ribbon and seal. Rockport Collegiate Institute is embossed around the seal.

Seal from Bettie Veatch Diploma

This is the text of the diploma. Some words are illegible and will be noted by a dash.

Rockport Collegiate Institute
BE IT KNOWN that Bettie Veatch having completed the prescribed
Courses --- and having attained satisfactory examinations, is admitted
to the title and degree of MISTRESS OF ENGLISH LITERATURE and is entitled to
all the honors and privileges --- --- --- to said degree.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF the undersigned have fixed their signatures and the seal of the Institute.
Signatures are illegible due to wrinkles.
Seventeenth day of June, AD 1868