April Fools: Blasts from the Past: April 1, 2019
By Shannon Zeltmann, Staff Writer
This week of the Blast from the Past focuses on one event that swept the campus in the 1940’s.
There was a big debate after an alum donated money to the college in 1944 to make the college to look like what it did during the Battle of Gettysburg. The administration at the time did not know if this should be done. Some of the history professors really wanted to see what the college would look like if it looked like a photograph of the college from before the battle. The history students created a plan of what the college would look like—in front of Penn Hall, there would be the Via Benedict with approximately 1000 trees surrounding it. And there was one gas lamp on the corner of Washington and Constitution that students felt strongly about putting back, to make the campus feel more historic. For several years, the debate went on. History buffs felt strongly about this, while others wondered why these nerds were so passionate about recreating the historic landscape.
In 1949, the debate came to a head as the senior history majors decided to not do their Monday finals in the spring to stand on the original steps of Penn Hall to express their passion for the lamppost. Their history professors allowed them to not take their finals, but other departments were not too happy with this display. The two leading students—who were never named—led the debates but began the day by stating the college must at least bring back the lamppost and even wondered if the college should go back to its original name—Pennsylvania College.
The administrations especially did not like the idea of changing the college’s name, because it wasn’t good for promotional material for all the tours around campus. The administration during that finals week met with the alum who donated the money and convinced him to allow the college to use it towards something else, ending the debates from the history department. To this day, there are whispers about rehabilitating the campus to these 1863 conditions.
April Fools’ Special