Blasts from the past: April 20
From The Gettysburgian archives:
This week in 1900, an earnest editorial appeared in The Gettysburgian urging current undergraduate students and alumni alike to recruit young people to enroll at what was then Pennsylvania College. “We of Gettysburg do this with a clean conscience, and when we speak in terms of praise of the advantages offered by our college over those of others we need not be afraid that we shall be proven ‘free handlers of truth.’ From the present outlook, there are bright prospects for the largest Freseman [sic] class next year that has ever entered Gettysburg’s classic halls … Let every student who has the interests of the Alma Mater at heart do his best … to procure students and we feel sure that there will be surprising and pleasant results.”
This week in 1917, The Gettysburgian reported that rifles were on their way to the college for students enrolled in the Military Training Corps. There had also been a delay in the requisitioning of uniforms, which had been stalled by the Army’s appropriations process. The Student Army Training Corps was a program commissioned during World War I to provide preliminary military training on college campuses to encourage young men to enlist. However, this program did not begin until 1918; it is unclear whether the Military Training Corps was a precursor or something different entirely.
This week in 1979, the Gettysburg College Board of Trustees affirmed a controversial plan to build Musselman Library in its current location in Stine Lake, which was opposed by a group of students, who favored a location behind McCreary Hall. After the decision, both students and board members praised the process and the deep thought behind the outcome. Charles Glassick, President of the Board of Trustees, said, “The Trustees have been pleased with the responsible manner in which the students presented their concerns. The student viewpoint in this decision is very important.” The estimated price tag on the new library, which would move out of Schmucker Hall, was about $4.5 million in addition to $500,000 to repurpose Schmucker Hall, which today houses the Sunderman Conservatory of Music and the Art Department.
This week in 1995, the college faculty approved a new major in Environmental Studies. Billed as an interdisciplinary major with potential tracks in Environmental Science or Environmental Policy, faculty coordinator John Commito (now Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies) said the program would attract new students to the college. A 3-2 program with Duke University wherein a student would attend Gettysburg for three years and Duke for two, ultimately emerging with both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Environmental Studies, was also discussed. That program still exists today, according to the department’s website.
These blasts from the past were compiled by Benjamin Pontz, news editor, using the archived editions of The Gettysburgian available in Musselman Library.