Monday, November 30, 2015

A History of Adult Students at UNCG

When the doors of the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) opened on October 5, 1892, for the first day of instruction, 176 women from across North Carolina arrived in Greensboro to attend. The number would grow to 223 by the year's end. Many of the students who arrived were non-traditional students with previous degrees from other institutions. One was 26-year-old Minnie Lou Jamison from Rowan County, NC. She had attended a local academy in her home county and worked for a number of years teaching in order to save money for her tuition. In 1896, after graduation from State Normal, she remained on campus in a faculty position in the Department of Home Economics.

Minnie Lou Jamison
Jamison reflected President Charles Duncan McIver's statement in the 1902 Annual Catalogue that the "State Normal and Industrial College stands for a public educational system that will educate all people." The institution attracted about one-third of its enrollment in the early years from local "town students," including one who commuted daily to class on horseback. A steady commitment to non-traditional students continued to grow.

This commitment can be seen in Margaret Rowlett (Class of 1925), who began working at the age of 14 in a North Carolina rag mill to earn money to support her education. She enrolled in the North Carolina College for Women (now UNCG) as a 25-year-old freshman. After graduation, she was able to pursue a career in writing and illustrating children's books and creating textiles and draperies aimed at children.

During World War II, the college's focus shifted to supporting the war effort. Spouses of many active military servicemen enrolled at Woman's College (now UNCG) after the institution shifted its previous policy banning married students. Following the war, the enactment of the G.I. Bill affected higher education throughout the country, and Woman's College was no exception. By 1946, 54 veterans of the women's branches of the armed forces had enrolled at WC on the G.I. Bill.

The first group of WWII veterans to enroll at WC
One of these returning veterans was Reva Fortune of Greensboro, who served with the Army Air Force while in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) from 1943 to 1948 and with the Women in the Air Force (WAF) from 1948 to 1952. In 1954 at the age of 37, she enrolled at Woman's College on the G.I. Bill. She had long wanted to attend college, but noted that "before the War [she] did not have the means." Fortune graduated in 1958 with a degree in biology and a minor in Spanish.

In the late 1950s, college administrators began to recognize a growing need for higher education for a group that was described as "special undergraduate students." In a 1958 report, Chancellor Gordon Blackwell projected a steady increase in the number of adult students at WC, "from 40 in 1957 to 230 by 1970." This growth did continue and, in the late 1960s, an Ad Hock Committee to Study Non-Traditional Students was formed. Following the committee's recommendation, the first Office of Adult Students was created in 1972 to "recruit, admit, and monitor non-traditional students at UNCG."

UNCG's support for non-traditional students continues, with the UNCG Campus and Activities Program (CAP) coordinating many events and activities aimed at assisting adult and commuter students. Through these types of programs, UNCG continues to provide opportunities for students to learn, grow, and be active on campus.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Spotlight on WC Alumna and American Red Cross Worker, Emily Harris Preyer (Class of 1939)

Emily Irving Harris Preyer was born in Reidsville, NC in 1919 and grew up in Greensboro. Preyer attended Greensboro Senior High School (now Grimsley High School) and then went on to the Woman's College (WC) of the University of North Carolina (now UNC Greensboro). While at the WC she double majored in English and French and was a member of several campus organizations including president of the Student Government Association.

1939 Pine Needles
For the first three years at the WC, Preyer was a Town Student (now called Commuter) because her family could not afford the cost to live on campus.

In 1939, Preyer’s senior year, The Dean of Women Harriet Elliot brought her friend First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to campus. In this excerpt from her Oral History, Emily Preyer discusses her encounter with Roosevelt. "I was president of the student government, so—Dr. [Walter Clinton] Jackson lived right there on campus, and so he had a—Miss Elliott had a tea for her, and I never will forget Mrs. Roosevelt came down and we were all so excited. I had somebody from every class saying I was pouring the tea, and I said, "Mrs. Roosevelt, will you have tea or coffee?" And she said, “Well, honey, I’ll have it in my cup, whatever,” because I was pouring it right on the silver tray. Oh, she was a wonderful lady, Mrs. Roosevelt."

College Judicial Board, 1939 Pine Needles yearbook
In addition to being president of the Student Government Association, Preyer was the Dance Chairman for the Adelphian Society, Chairman of the Honor Board, Class Cheerleader, Le Circle Francais member, Clogging Club, Town Student’s Board member, May Day Court, Young Democrats Club, College Judicial Board, and the Carolinian Business Staff. Preyer was also a participant in various sports such as Tennis and Basketball, as well as other organizations and honors.

In 1943, Preyer joined the American Red Cross. She chose the Red Cross over the Navy WAVES or the Army WAC because the training time was only two weeks. Preyer was stationed in Perth and Brisbane, Australia and Subic Bay, Philippines.

Preyer in her Red Cross uniform
Preyer talks about her time in Australia with the Red Cross: "Perth and Western Australia was the most beautiful place. We had the cutest little house on a lake, and it was called the Swan Lake because Perth is the only place in the world that has black swans. So we called our Red Cross club the “Swan Dive,” and they could come in and dance and do whatever they’d want to, and we’d write letters for them. Then when they would be sent to the hospitals in Perth we would go and write letters. We weren’t nurses, but we did whatever the nurses asked us to do…We went to the hospitals and did everything we could for those boys. I mean, we learned to do bandages and all. We weren’t trained nurses, but we learned to do, anything to comfort them and help them get well."

Fremantle Submarine Base was near Perth and the Red Cross worked with many of the enlisted submariners.

"They [U.S. Navy submariners] called me 'the Rebel.' This boy that was on a submarine said, 'Rebel, you know what? You always make me feel homesick because I lived up in Maine, and every winter when the wild geese were flying over my house going south for the winter, they’d go 'Waah! Waah! Waah!' and you just remind me of those geese.' And of course they just kidded me about my twang till I could scream."

Emily Preyer and her husband in the 1975 Alumni News
Preyer remained in Perth with the Red Cross until 1945. After her return to the United States, she married the Honorable L. Richardson Preyer, U.S. Congressman and Federal judge. Their eldest son joined the Peace Corps in the 1970s and her daughter worked with the VISTA program. Through the rest of her life, Preyer continued to work with the Greensboro Chapter of the American Red Cross and served the Triad Community in various ways. From 1955-57, Preyer also served as President of the WC Alumnae Association. In 1998, Preyer was awarded the North Carolina Award in Public Service, the state's highest honor, in recognition for her leadership and philanthropy in Greensboro. Emily Irving Harris Preyer passed away in December 1999.

Learn more about Emily Preyer and other women who served in the American Red Cross and the United States Armed Forces at the Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project.

This story was written by Sara Maeve Whisnant, a student in the Master's in Library and Information Studies program at UNCG. Sara Maeve has worked with the Women Veterans Historical Project as a student assistant since 2014.

Monday, November 16, 2015

100 Years Ago: Campus Life in 1915

On Saturday, September 18, 1915, the 702 students enrolled at the State Normal and Industrial College (now UNCG) gathered in the auditorium of the Students' Building to kick off the new academic year with "College Night." Representatives from the Senior Class as well as the Young Women's Christian Organization (YWCA) spoke, and, according to State Normal Magazine, "the various college organizations gave 'stunts' which showed the new girls in every unique and mirth-provoking manner something of the different phases of college life."

Students' Building in 1915. The building was razed in 1950,
but the cornerstone remains visible on College Avenue, in front of the EUC.
Only a few weeks later, the College celebrated Founder's Day with wreaths of flowers and tributes from the College and the Senior Class taken to the grave of founding president Charles Duncan McIver by four faculty members remaining from the opening of the school just 23 years before. Flowers were also placed at the grave of the school's first Lady Principal, Sue May Kirkland, who had died the previous year.

And only two days after Founder's Day, the campus received a high-profile guest when William Jennings Bryan, a politician and a close friend of McIver's, made a short stop at State Normal. He briefly spoke with the students in the dining hall during their dinner time, discussing his shared grief at the loss of McIver nine years prior. As State Normal Magazine noted, he also "made a few remarks, embodying the ideals of Dr. McIver - and of every great man - leaving with us the stimulating thought that life holds for us, with interest, just what we put into it."

The excitement over the initial weeks of school in 1915 continued throughout the academic year as students participated in debates, dramatic presentations, and other events as part of the campus literary societies. As the course bulletin from the 1915-1916 academic year noted, "students should breathe an atmosphere that will promote growth." The campus administrators and students promoted growth by bringing in numerous speakers and performers covering a wide range of subject matter.

Members of State Normal's YWCA at an annual retreat
in Western North Carolina
Women's suffrage was a major point of debate and advocacy for the State Normal students on campus one hundred years ago. In Spring 1915, 250 students participated in a march during their regular afternoon “walking period.” This march, led by members of the orchestra and girls with makeshift instruments, paraded down College Avenue with “Votes for Women” banners flying high. The protest ended at Spencer Dormitory where the girls listened to speeches on women’s rights given by their fellow students. At the 1915 commencement ceremony in June, students refused to applaud the speaker, Governor Locke Craig, because he spoke against women’s suffrage. It was only after Governor Craig conceded that he would support women’s right to vote if that is what they desired, that he received a positive response from his audience. Another speaker that year suggested that women leave the vote to men. As a result, the students created an effigy of the unfortunate legislator and burned it in Peabody Park. Also, a suffrage group, thought to be the first of its kind in the South, was formed on campus.

Sophomore class giving a performance on
the Athletic Fields (where Petty Building sits today)
Interestingly, in the November 1915 State Normal Magazine, we also see a refrain still echoing on campus today. In a piece titled "College Spirit," Louise Winston Goodwin wrote, "What is it that makes an inter-university foot ball game so interesting? College spirit! Of course, we don't have the opportunity to fight on inter-collegiate gridirons. But we do have athletics, and athletics should be a very potent factor in our campus life. Even if you don't 'go into training' on your team, you can throw yourself into your team practice - always be there, always play your hardest. If you don't play, you belong on the side lines, giving your interest, your enthusiasm to liven up the game." That sense of spirit was on display in the annual campus basketball tournament, held in November, with the championship game played on Thanksgiving afternoon. For the first time ever, the Freshman class took the championship, with a member of the Senior class noting in State Normal Magazine that "those Freshmen weren't as green as they thought or we thought they were."

Monday, November 9, 2015

Margaret Gash (Class of 1895): Chief Cataloguer, Metropolitan Museum of Art

This week's story focuses on an early graduate of the North Carolina State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG), Ms. Margaret Gash. Margaret Avery Gash of Pisgah Forest, North Carolina, was one of State Normal's earliest graduates, having earned her degree in 1895. According to the Graduation Excercises booklet from 1895, her graduate thesis was titled, "The Development of Woman's Educational Ideals." Indeed, Ms. Gash tried to form a career in teaching after graduating from the State Normal, but she did not find much success in her first career choice. In an article published in the 1943 edition of Alumnae News, Gash states humbly, "...the teaching profession, for some reason unknown to me, seemed perfectly able to dispense with my services." Fortunately for Ms. Gash, "the Library world to which I next turned was kinder." After she left the teaching profession, she attended Pratt Institute Library School in Brooklyn, New York and gained her Certificate in 1900. At some point she also attended Melvil Dewey's Albany Library School. If that name sounds familiar, it's because he's the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System! Thereafter she worked in public libraries until she got a job offer at an institution at which she would serve for the rest of her career.

Margaret Gash at work, Metropolitan Museum of Art, early 1940s

Ms. Gash began working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1906. She was tasked with organizing, cataloging, and indexing a mountain of correspondence, reports, minute books, wills, and contracts connected both with the history of the institution and its collections of art. She helped to devise a system of cataloging objects which would prove helpful to the museum in the same way a catalog of books is to a library. This "experiment" as Gash called it, began with her working on it part time, then full time, then she gained an assistant, and then finally she ended up with a group of five to six assistants working under her. With the years, her experience grew, and her final title when she retired was Chief Cataloguer. Ms. Gash retired in 1945, having worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for 39 years.

Ms. Gash's work has been cited in articles on librarianship and museum collections, ranging in date from 1970 to 2014. The work she performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was part of a ground-breaking effort to systematically record holdings and information related to objects in museum-like settings. All this occurred at a time when modern library science was in its early years, as Melvil Dewey had opened the first library science school in America at Columbia University in 1887. Margaret Avery Gash passed away on September 9, 1950 in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Many Legacies of Maude Fuller Broadaway

Although Maude Broadaway (1868-1934) was only on our campus for a short time, she has captured the imagination of the archivists at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). She has been included in several Spartan Stories blogs, and is spoken of as if she would walk through the door at any minute. Perhaps, it is the photograph of Maude in her full gymnasium outfit, Indian Clubs at her feet, as she looks winsomely into the distance. Or, maybe it’s the fact that she was one of the college’s earliest students and included in the first graduating class of what was then the State Normal and Industrial School. Also, it could be because in her first and only year at the fledgling college, she was instrumental in developing the early physical education program. Whatever the reason, Maude has made a lasting impression on those who know her story.

Maude Fuller Broadaway

A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Maude spent her initial college years at Salem Academy (now Salem College). She taught for several years in the Winston Public School System, and it was there that she met Charles Duncan McIver, a principal in a Winston public high school. McIver later founded the State Normal and Industrial School, and Maude enrolled immediately to seek further coursework and experience in pedagogy. Although Maude was officially a student, she also acted as a teacher’s assistant, and worked closely with the first college physician, Dr. Miriam Bitting, who was also the head of the Department of Physiology and Health. During the early years of the school, the department’s main objective was to instruct students in basic hygiene.

Maude Broadaway, Director of the Gymnasium, 1892

But after one short year and so many accomplishments, she graduated with the rest of her class in May of 1893. Maude was asked to give one of the few student presentations at commencement – she spoke on her class’s history. Dr. McIver handed her a diploma, and she went out into the world. But, her story did not end there. Maude assisted with this endeavor and helped the professors create a personalized exercise program for each student, concentrating on posture and movement.  Often described as high-spirited and energetic, Maude eventually became the director of the gymnasium, which was located in the Main Building (now the Foust Building). It was here that the girls were trained to work with weights, clubs, and a vault. Maude also taught the students how to design exercise programs that could be easily translated into the classroom, as many of the State Normal students were studying to become teachers.

After graduating from the State Normal, Maude continued to shine. Like many girls of her time, she married early. Only a year after graduation, she wed Dr. Edward McKee Goodwin and moved to Morganton, North Carolina. Goodwin’s energy and intelligence seemed to match her own. He was a strong advocate for education for women and had been on the original board of directors for establishing the State Normal and Industrial School. Goodwin was also instrumental in founding the North Carolina School for the Deaf. Maude not only assisted her husband with his work with the Deaf School, she also took on many of her own projects. She was heavily involved with foreign missionary work, and spent twenty-four years as an officer with the Women’s Missionary Conference.

The First Graduating Class of State Normal, Maude is front row center

Her interest in education continued as well, and she became dedicated to establishing a public library in Morganton. She was known to have a large private library, and her interest in books was considerable. Morgan’s early library consisted of a closet in the post office before it moved into a small room in the Town Hall. Realizing that Morganton had a need of a true library, Maude founded the library association in 1923, and became president. She was responsible for keeping the struggling organization afloat during the early years, including making large personal donations to the cause. Finally, a one room library was established in 1923, with the hope of one day, having an actual library building to contribute to the intellectual life of the town. Sadly, she did not live to see this library open in October of 1935 as she died of pneumonia on June 2, 1934. Maude left a strong legacy behind – at her college, in Morganton, and with her four daughters, who followed in their mother’s footsteps, all attending The North Carolina College for Women (now UNCG).