The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on February 2, 1986 · Page 55
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 55

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, February 2, 1986
Page 55
Start Free Trial

The Salina Journal Sunday, February 2,1986 PageS19 Centennial Spotlight Trials, triumphs marked KW's first century By Journal Staff Writers The group of Methodists arrived in Salina in early July. They drove down the dusty streets of Santa Fe to the south edge of town to select a proper site for their proposed "high- grade" educational institution. The contingent passed through a wire fence and up the edge of a cornfield until they reached what they determined was the highest point on the nearly level prairie. This was the place, they decided. It was the year 1884, the year the seed of Kansas Wesleyan germinated and emerged after more than a year of dreaming and planning by the Northwest Kansas Conference of Methodists. Four communities — Beloit, Clyde, Ellsworth and Salina — had bid to be the site of the new college. Helping to turn the tide in Salina's favor was the donation of a 15-acre site and $26,000 for a building from members of the Salina community. Construction started in 1886, and the school opened its doors that Sept. 15 to 121 students and 11 teachers. , This year, several events are planned to commemorate Kansas Wesleyan's centennial. Kansas Wesleyan was born during a time when many educational institutions were sprouting on the Kansas prairie. According to "Fifty Years of Kansas Wesleyan University 1886-1936," by John S. Cornett, other schools whose roots were planted about the same time included Campbell College at Holton, Bethany at Lindsborg, and the College of Emporia in 1882; Kansas Christian at Lincoln, and Salina Normal in 1884; Southwestern at Winfield in 1885; Midland College at Atchison; St. John's at Salina; Cooper Memorial (now Sterling College) at Sterling, Bethel at Newton, and McPherson College in 1886; and Central Normal at Great Bend in 1887. Some have survived, others have not. The survival of the schools was due to the support as well as to the ability of the individuals who headed the institutions. Wesleyan has been governed by 22 presidents or acting presidents, beginning with William F. Swahlen, who governed only a year before he was succeeded by Education Members of a Kansas Wesleyan shorthand class in 1920 practice their curlicues. Courtny of Koniot I Aaron Schuyler. Schuyler held the post for seven years. Edward W. Mueller came aboard in 1894, followed by George Hagerty two years later, but it fell to F.D. Tubbs as acting president to take KW to the end of the 19th century. Milton E. Phillips came aboard in 1900, but he stayed only two years. Ansel Gridley and Wilbur F. Hoyt served as acting presidents in 1902 and 1903, Thomas W. Roach was connected with the college much longer than his service as president from 1903-1908. In 1892 he came to Salina to launch the Kansas Wesleyan College of Commerce, a separately chartered school. Roach remained as general superintendent and manager of the school, more commonly called the KW Business College, until 1913. The business college continued until 1935, when it was discontinued and its programs merged into the economics and business administration curricula of Kansas Wesleyan. Roach also served as mayor of Salina in 1900. In 1909, Roach and his CourtMy of Kanim W*«l»yan Lockwood Hall, carrying an 1886 date under its roofpeak, after it had been moved to the southwest corner of the campus. wife donated their home to the school to be the official residence of subsequent Wesleyan presidents. That was also the year that the University Methodist Church was organized by the Rev. U.S. Brown. For the next eight years the congregation held its worship services in the chapel of the KW Administration Building. Roach's five-year term was followed by the seven-year tenure of Robert P. Smith. A $25,000 grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation led to the construction of the Carnegie Science Hall on the northeast corner of the campus in 1909. The building was razed to make room for Muir Gymnasium in 1981. Longtime faculty member Albert H. King, who came to Kansas Wesleyan in 1904, twice served as acting president — once briefly in 1915 before John F. Harmon was named as president, and again in 1918-19 between the departure of Harmon and the arrival of L.B. Bowers. In 1915 the cornerstone for King Gymnasium was laid in his honor. The graduating class of 1915 contributed the three- faced clock on top of the building. King Gymnasium still stands today but is no longer in use. When Bowers assumed the Wesleyan helm in 1919, he began what would become the longest term served by any KW president — a, span of 18 years. Through the war years, Wesleyan was not immune to the fighting occurring a world away. Despite the distances, the school felt the effects. The school shortened its academic year to accommodate students who were headed for Europe. According to the school's figures, 227 Wesleyan men served in World War I. Echoing the tenor of the times, Kansas Wesleyan joined the war hysteria by excluding German language studies from the curriculum. Jack Warner VanDerhoof, writing in "The Time Now Past," a history of the school to 1961, offers this: "It is frightening to think how an academic community committed to 'Truth' and at that time wedded to an Anglo-Saxon-Teutonic theory of the development of the civilization could, within a fleeting moment, have such a thorough intellectual reassessment and now find that 'Truth' excluded German. This move was 'insisted' upon by the Board. The faculty acquiesced, and German was temporarily removed." The war, nevertheless, increased the school's enrollment. The short- lived Student Army Training Corps bumped the number of students from 160 in 1917-18 to 275 in 1918-19. In 1920 The Conference Committee on Education found the need for a new administration building. The time seemed ripe: Enrollment was up and World War I had brought more money to farmers. President Bowers launched a campaign known as The Advance, a five-year fundraising effort that raised about $1 million in money and pledges. However, with the farm economy suffering downturns during the campaign period, the school was unable to collect on some of the pledges. Nevertheless, plans for the new building moved ahead. It would be erected on the site of the existing administration building. Rather than raze the still-usable structure the college had the old building moved about 550 feet, at a cost of $40,000. The building was moved at a rate of 40 feet a day over steel rollers to a new foundation in the southwest corner of the campus. In the fall of 1921 hundreds of people came to the campus to watch the move from where Pioneer Hall stands today to the southwest corner of the campus. About a year later the building was renamed and dedicated in honor of the Rev. J.H. Lockwood, a founder and chairman of the board of trustees. The building was razed in 1959 to make room for apartments. To help finance the construction of a new administration building on Lockwood Hall's original site, one of the school's benefactors, Earl C. Sams, contributed $25,000. Sams Chapel in the administration building later was named in honor of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. G.L. Sams. In 1924 the cornerstone was laid for the Hall of the Pioneers, the new administrative building, later to become the heart and brain of the college. Unveiling of the mural in Sams Chapel in the Hall of the Pioneers occurred in 1928. American artist Robert W. Grafton painted the mural depicting the coming of the pioneers to the Kansas area. It was given to the College by Grafton and Mrs. Laura Clubb. In 1930 the Hall of the Pioneers, now known more familiarly as Pioneer Hall, was dedicated, the same day as Sams Chapel. The depression of the 1930s brought financially perilous times to the college. A special meeting of the board of trustees was called on Dec. 19, 1936, at which Bowers informed the board of the college's total indebtedness of $384,000, and proposed a settlement of 40 to 45 cents on the dollar. That same evening, the board's executive committee resolved to file for reorganization of the corporation under the provisions of the National Bankruptcy Act. The eventual settlement was something less than Bowers' recommendation. Final action on the reorganization was taken July 6, 1937. The board then began the rebuilding process, confirming staff for the coming semester and investigating the possibility of aid from the Works Progress Administration for construction of a new football stadium. Two months into this rebuilding period, President Bowers was killed in an automobile accident. E.K. Morrow, hired as part of the rebuilding process to be the school's business manager, was chosen as his successor. His tenure carried KW out of the depression and through the war years to 1946. Early in his presidency the Northwest and Southwest Methodist conferences were united to form the Central Kansas Conference (today called the Kansas West Conference). That merger also brought about the possibility of a merger of the two conferences' colleges, Kansas Wesleyan and Southwestern, but neither institution was inclined either to merge or to close in favor of the other. The schools continued to operate separately. The need for a football stadium was met in 1939 when Martin Stadium was built. It was named for aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin, a KW graduate and benefactor who contributed $100,000 for the construction of the stadium. In 1944 The Coyote, the Wesleyan yearbook, was dedicated to Martin, who became enamored of aviation in his youth. Early in his air career he invented the first automatic parachute. He is also credited with the first extended over-ocean flight which he made from Newport Bay, Calif, to Catalina Island in 1913. He was founder and president of an airplane company in Baltimore which, among other aircraft, produced the Martin M130, the "China Clipper" used by Pan American Airways to inaugurate trans-Pacific air travel. Herbert Jackson Root faced the post-war educational scene as KW president from 1946 to 1950. In his first year he experienced the boost of the GI Bill as enrollment increased 233 percent. Work on Memorial Library was made possible by contributions from the Salina community in 1947. The library stands as a memorial to 24 Kansas Wesleyan students who died in World War II and the more than 500 others who served the nation. While Root enjoyed the Hood of postwar GIs on his campus, his successor, A. Stanley Trickett, had to endure the drought which followed their graduation. In one year in the early 1950s, the senior class size dropped from 112 to 78. In 1951 the cornerstone was laid for Annie Merner Pfeiffer Residence Hall for Women and Schuyler Hall was remodeled as a residence hall for men. A $200,000 gift received in 1945 from Earl C. Sams led to the construction in 1953 of the Sams Hall of Fine Arts. In 1979, the Salina Art Center and a visual arts department wing were added to the south side of the building. Art Center officials raised private funds to finance their portion of the building, which is rented from the college. Trickett left in 1954 and the Rev. George Richards, pastor of the University Methodist Church served as acting president until D. Arthur Zook arrived in 1955 to begin what would be a 14-year term, the second longest of KW's history. Ground was broken in 1957 for new apartment complexes for married students and faculty members. The apartment complexes came to be known as North and South Halls. The McAdams Student Center opened in 1959. It was remodeled this (See Past, Page S21) King Gym was dedicated in the name of a longtime faculty member. The class of 1915 donated the three-faced clock. KW grabs its bootstraps, puUs itself into second century ByKAYBERENSON •Executive Editor On a Friday afternoon in December 1983, Daniel Bratton resigned as president of Kansas Wesleyan by "mutual agreement" with the board of trustees. That afternoon Kansas Wesleyan became a college without a president. It already was a college with a doubtful future. Rumors that the college might close had circulated in Salina regularly for the previous few years. Bratton's resignation was accompanied by remarks from some trustees linking their increased concerns about the college's fiscal responsibility to his resignation, but few details of the college's predicament were released at that time. Gradually details began to emerge. It was a discouraging picture. Officials at Kansas Wesleyan acknowledged a serious cash-flow problem. The college had reached the limit of its line of credit with local banks. Operating deficits for the previous two years and unexpected expenses had created an immediate need for $750,000. The college had already renegotiated payments on $2.2 million in low-interest federal loans for college housing and academic facilities because of difficulties in meeting the payments. Enrollment had dropped. Faculty and administrative morale had slumped in response to growing concerns about the college's future. From most perspectives, Kansas Wesleyan needed more than a new president. The college needed a miracle. Within three days of Bratton's resignation, the college had a new president, the Rev. Marshall Stanton, superintendent of the Hutchinson District of the United Methodist Church. It was to be an interim appointment. Stanton said he was not interested in the position for the long range. ' He did net seek even the interim presidency, but he had been persuaded to accept it. Two years later Stanton remains in the president's Stanton office at Kansas Wesleyan. The $750,000 immediate need has been met. The college is preparing to celebrate its centennial with festivities and a major fund drive. But what is more significant, some faculty and staff members say, is a new spirit of optimism on the campus. They credit Stanton with the turnaround. * * * Sitting behind the desk in his office, Stanton still looks and sounds more like a concerned pastoral counselor than a college president. He talks of the college's situation when he took over: "The financial problem Wesleyan faced was only a symbol of the larger problem. The most serious problem was a lack of a clear definition of mission, the integration of that mission into the college's life and the interpretation of that mission to all the college's constituencies. "That resulted in a general malaise, a lack of credibility. "The mission is fundamental. Our mission is the development of human beings.'' Stanton acknowledges that the college is in better financial shape than it was two years ago. Last December, for the first time in several years, Kansas Wesleyan made it through the lean month of December, when students are gone for holidays and there's no tuition coming in, without having to borrow to the maximum of its line of credit. That came about because of improved management efficiency, an increased enrollment and an influx of money from the Second Century Campaign launched last fall, Stanton says. * In fiscal 1984 and 1985 the college managed to end up in the black instead of in the red. An emergency fund drive launched in the spring after Stanton took over exceeded its $750,000 goal, raising a total of $797,000. Achieving those goals has required budget cutbacks, Stanton admits. Faculty members on leave for a year have not been replaced. The college has increased its use of part-time adjunct faculty instead of hiring full-time staff. Some faculty members are teaching across disciplines, combining chemistry and computer science, for example. But progress, toward the goal of financial stability has also required new fund-raising efforts. * * * Ann Siemers has been at Kansas Wesleyan longer than her boss, President Marshall Stanton. She was comptroller for 11 months before Stanton took over and then moved on to become director of development, a post that puts her in charge of the college's fundraising efforts and makes Siemers her a member of the school's administrative cabinet. In the time since Stanton took over, Siemers has seen a decided shift in attitude of faculty and staff at the college. "I think everybody had gotten to the point where they were uncertain about the col- 4 lege's future. You just don't find that anymore." The increasing optimism is partly a function of the job her office has done. In addition to meeting the $750,000 goal of the emergency fund effort in the spring and fall of 1984, Kansas Wesleyan has been working on building a healthier endowment fund. The college's endowment fund, which stood at $2.04 million in June 1983, had grown by about $150,000 by June 1985, Siemers said. Since June more than $250,000 has been committed to the endowment fund. The number of gifts to the college was up 37 percent in 1984-85 over the previous year. Siemers credits part of the increasing success to the advice given to the school by a fund-raising consulting firm hired two years ago. The Iowa-based company guided Wesleyan staff through a feasibility study to determine if a major fund drive was likely to succeed and helped them develop a time line for the coming Second Century Fund campaign. But, she adds, "I don't know if we're doing anything different, we're just doing more of it —seeing more people." That emphasis on seeing more people will continue. The Second Century Campaign — a $5.1 million drive to raise $1.5 million each for annual operating expenses, capital improvements and endowment and $600,000 for student scholarships — was launched in Salina last fall. College officials have now embarked on another phase, regional meetings held around the country where clusters of supporters can be called on to join the campaign. So far about $1.5 million has been raised. * * * In his office, discussing the state of the college, Marshall Stanton tends to change the subject from the dollars and cents involved?;:» The subject he returns to is people and the" way people shape the institution. "Every person in the institution is valuable i! — whether that person is a student, on the " faculty or maintenance staff or is one of the! i higher officers. .;' "The way the president treats people ; norms the whole institution. In my relationships with people I try to be fair and hear not • only their language but also their emotions, motives, their deep values, the whole throb of human experience. ; "That has created a new climate, a positive !. atmosphere that was not there before. "People invest in credibility. A blue-chip:; stock is one that's credible and people whp ; \ believe in an institution are building a blue- , chip institution." _' * * * • ••' Building a "blue-chip" college also requires careful attention to student recruiting., I That is the job of Al Tiller, director of;: admissions. The student numbers, vital to the college's financial health, have gone up. Last December, 502 full-time students and 174 § part-time students weree enrolled — up from the 380 { full-time students and 180 j part-timers enrolled in ' December 1983. A men's dorm, which had been closed because of declining enrollment, was reopened in the fall of 1985. Many of those new students were athletes, particularly football players, but Tiller says that academic quality has not been sac- (See Future, Page S21) Tiller

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,100+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free