Monday, November 3, 2014

100 Years Ago: Campus Life in 1914

On Monday, September 21, 1914, classes began for the 582 women enrolled as students at the State Normal and Industrial College. All but 18 were residents of North Carolina, and they represented every county in the state. As the Course Bulletin from that year noted, "every county has its proportionate number of appointments, and the advances of the Institution are, to the extent of its capacity, open on similar terms to all."

The college offered give general courses of study for the students, leading to Bachelor of Pedagogy (for those intending to teach), Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Home Economics, and Bachelor of Music degrees. Twenty academic departments employed 69 faculty members to teach classes ranging from Principles of Teaching and Classroom Management to Household Decoration and Furnishing to Theory of Gymnastics.

Class of 1914 basketball team
State Normal offered no scholarships for undergraduate students, but provided free tuition to those "who signify their intentions to teach upon such conditions as may be prescribed by the Board of Directors." Each student applying for free tuition was required to sign a formal agreement affirming their desire to pursue teaching as a post-graduate career and stating that, if she "can secure employment and my health permits," she will teach in either public or private schools in North Carolina for at least two years after completing her studies. For those who did not wish to teach after leaving State Normal, tuition fees were $45 per academic year ($65 for non-residents of North Carolina).

Additional fees, including board in the dormitories ($104), laundry service ($18), fuel and lights ($10) and a library fee ($2), brought the total of basic expenses for a year of school at State Normal to $195 (including tuition). Further fees were assessed for students taking courses with a laboratory component and certain business classes. A $5 annual charge also covered the expenses related to textbooks (the College provided the students with the books they needed for each class).

Scene from "Anita's Trial" by the Adelphian Literary Society, 1914
Students were able to join a number of different organizations, but perhaps the most influential groups in terms of campus life were the literary societies. In 1914, there were two literary societies on campus - the Adelphians and the Cornelians. These groups organized plays, lectures, debates, socials, and other activities for members and campus at large. Students were not required but were strongly encouraged to join one of these two societies. As noted in the Course Bulletin, "after observing for several years the general progress of those students who are members of these Societies, and those who are not, the authorities of the College do not hesitate to say that is a great mistake for a student not to become a member."

Gladys Avery, 1st SGA president
The two literary societies also worked together to publish the bimonthly State Normal Magazine, which included "timely articles on current educational questions, with material relating to the past history of the State form[ing] a considerable portion of its contents." State Normal Magazine was led by a Board of Editors elected from the Adelphian and Cornelian literary societies. Additionally, guidance was provided by a member of the faculty who was appointed Advisory Editor.

1914 also saw the organization of the Student Government Association, with its legislative and executive divisions (although the official Board of Directors resolutions approving the creation of the Student Government Association was not approved until 1915). Gladys Avery was elected as State Normal's first ever Student Government Association president.

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