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History & Timeline

Sen. Preston Plumb

1877 - The Reverend Robert Overstreet, chairman of the Education Committee of the Kansas Synod, proposed locating a Presbyterian College in Emporia. United States Senator Preston Plumb of Emporia was a firm supporter. 1882 Presbyterian Synod of Kansas, meeting in Ottawa, accepted the Emporia offer of $35,000 and 38 acres of land for the establishment of a Synodical college in Emporia. Other locations considered included Salina, Peabody, and Marion. 1882-1891 - Reverend J.F. Hendy, 1st President 1883 -1892 -- November first - classes started in the upstairs of the Addis building occupying the North West corner of 6th and Commercial in downtown Emporia. Fifteen students were enrolled.

Stuart Hall

1886 The College of Emporia moved to its permanent location and classes began in the uncompleted Stuart Hall. The building was named after Mrs. R.V. Stuart of New York who gave $10,000 to begin its construction. 1889 The college held its first commencement in Austin Chapel of Stuart Hall. William J. Austin, a wealthy Emporian, funded the chapel, paid for the planting of trees and the laying out of the walks around the campus. 1892 - 1898  John Hewett became the second president of the college. He was a graduate of Princeton and developed a liberal arts curriculum. He also enacted strict rules for the students which included; no dancing, card playing or smoking. Daily chapel attendance was also required. 1899  President Hewett died.   That year three students were granted degrees in absentia , having left for the Spanish-American War. John Calvin Miller ( 1899 -1905)  became third president of the college.

Anderson Memorial

1902 Anderson Memorial Library was dedicated. It was the first Carnegie Library built West of the Mississippi and the first on a college campus. 1905 - 1907 Reverend William Dennis Ward became 4th president.  Early 1900 Alla Rah annual was first published.  1907- 1917  Henry Coe Culbertson became 5th president. He was described as a human dynamo. His decade at the college marked great progress but ended in scandal. He was strongly supported by William Allen White, who served on the board of trustees of the college. 1917 - 1918  Charles Scott (Acting). 1918  Rev. James Bean (Acting).  1918 Dr. Conrad Vandervelde (acting).  1910 The Athena Society was organized to recognize scholarship. An Athena Cup was kept in the president''s office with the name of the top-ranking senior in each graduating class. 1911 Kansas Power and Light Company ran a street car to C of E from Emporia. Harry Tang of Canton, China became the first foreign graduate.

Frank Mason

1912 The Mason family of Emporia gave funds to build a gymnasium to honor their son, Frank, who was an alumni of the college. 1914 Lewis Hall of Science was financed and built.
Daniel Hirschler was hired as head of the music department, ushering in a Golden Age of music for the college. 1914 William Allen White, famous editor of the Emporia Gazette, joined the Board of Trustees. He lectured on journalism and was a firm and generous supporter of the school.

Dean Hirschler

1919 The basement and chapel of the new administration building were completed. Dean Hirschler designed the $30,000 pipe organ for the new Chapel.  1921 The Million Movement was established by the board of trustees. Its goal was to raise funds to complete the administration building, eliminate the debt, and raise an endowment fund. By June of 1924 the million dollars had been subscribed and the new building was ready for classes. The building was complete except for the facade.

Stuart Hall

1915 Stuart Hall burned December 2. President Culbertson, trying to save some records, was nearly killed when the bell crashed to the ground.
A sign or banner appeared over the ruins the following date declaring C of E Fights, which became the rallying cry of the college. 1917 President Culbertson resigned after being accused of mismanagement and unchristian behavior. William A. White felt the accusations silly. The College lost a dynamic leader and perhaps its most energetic president ever. 

Harold Grant

1923 Harold Grant became head football coach after Gwinn Henry left. Grant continued to build a strong tradition of winning football teams. Harold was a graduate and former football star at the college. 1924 Dunlap Hall, named from Howard Dunlap, was completed. Mr. Dunlap was an Emporian and long-time supporter of the school. 1925 Cosmopolitan Club was established for those interested in missions and for the foreign students sent to C of E from missions run by alumni.

Frederick Lewis

1918 - 1929   Frederick Lewis became 5th president of the college, beginning a period of much-needed stability for the school.  Gwinn Henry became football coach and the cemetery named for him was dedicated. He later went on to coach at the University of Missouri.  1928 - 1929  Danield C. Schaffner (acting)

Kenyon Hall

1928 Kenyon Hall was completed and named with the addition of a handsome fascade, paid for by the estate of J.S. Kenyon, a wealthy Emporian. 1934 C of E chorus went to the Chicago Worlds Fair. 1940 Memorial Alter in the center of the semi-circle drive was dedicated.  1929-1938  John Bailey Kelly, 6th president.  1938-1940 Dudley Doolittle, 7th president.  1940-1941 Reverend Leslie G. Whitcome, 8th president

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