ld Main

Old Main, which had been completed in 1858, continued to house the College of Bucknell University, as the University at Lewisburg had been renamed in 1886 in honor of its major benefactor, William Bucknell.

This photograph was taken sometime before 1895. Many of the trees on the hillside had been "topped" during the presidency of Justin R. Loomis. The College athletic field was located at the bottom of the Hill directly in front of Old Main. A baseball game is in progress on the field directly behind the fence in the foreground. From the top floor of this building, there was panoramic view of Lewisburg and its environs as well as a beautiful view of the Susquehanna River flowing East toward Sunbury.

Old Main in 1895

The eighty-feet-square central part of the building contained six recitation rooms on the first floor. On the second floor were rooms for the Theta Alpha and Euepia Literary Societies, the library rooms, a reading room, and a Museum of Natural History, which contained illustrative material in archaeology, botany, geology, histology, materia medica, mineralogy, and zoology. In 1892, the museum contained "[m]any valuable birds, worth from $5 to $15 dollars each," which were "perishing from the ravages of insects." The Trustees authorized President Harris "to attend to the matter at any expense not to exceed $150." The Commencement Hall, with a seating capacity of fifteen hundred, was located on the third story. In 1879, openings from this hall had been cut into the fourth floors of both wings "as avenues of escape in case of fire or panics." In 1892, pails of water and fire extinguishers were placed in the Commencement Hall. The eastern and western wings contained student rooms.

In 1895, water was supplied through the pipes of the Lewisburg Water Company. Furnaces provided hot air heat through flues to rooms in the building and gas furnished the lighting. By the late 1890's, water-closets and a sewage system had replaced the out buildings and privies, and in 1899 college students rooming in the buildings were charged an additional $2.00 "to cover expense of maintaining new lavatories."

Room and Board

In 1895, most college men lived in Old Main. In general, each student had his own private sleeping room and shared a study room with another student, but some students shared a dormitory room. The six feet by twelve feet single dormitory rooms were furnished only "with new spring bedsteads," and the student had to supply all other furniture, including bedding and carpets. The study room was twelve feet square. If a student desired a personal study room, his charges for room rent and private fuel were doubled. College men also could have a furnished room with board in the East Hall of the Academy. No boarding was permitted in College buildings. Students boarded in clubs or with private families, with costs ranging from $2.00 to $4.00 per week. Male college men also could board "at the table of the Bucknell Academy at $3.00 per week."

Degree Programs

In1868, the Trustees had given the faculty permission "to institute parallel and optional studies." In 1875, the Trustees resolved that "a Latin Scientific course in the University be instituted, and the matter was referred for consumption to President Loomis." The following year, the President reported that the Latin Scientific course could be implemented without additional professors. Such a course required the study of Latin but not the study of Greek and was used to encourage the study of science.

In 1895, the College offered three degree programs: the Classical Program leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree, the Scientific Program leading to the Bachelor of Science, and the Philosophical Program leading to the Bachelor of Philosophy. The degree of Bachelor of Philosophy was granted to students who completed the course in science with Latin and Greek, and the degree of Bachelor of Science was granted to those who completed the English Scientific Course.

President Harris On The Ideal College Student

In 1897, an essay by President John Howard Harris entitled “The Ideal College Student” was published in the 1898 L’Agenda. This essay expressed his view on the essence of a college education.

The ideal college student is he who attains the purpose of college education…[which] is character. The end of university education is knowledge; of professional and technical education, skill; but that of the college is manhood.

...It is not light reading, but reading lightly that weakens. The student must attack the difficult subjects. Rosenkranz says that, if at the beginning of a day’s mental work, a student will read a few pages of Kant, it will so tone up his mind that any other work will seem easy. On the other hand, if a man begins his day’s work with the daily paper, his mind will probably act flabbily all day. Leave the easy till the work of the day is done. But, whether the subject be easy or difficult, the chief thing is to do it with energy.

…There is need…of enlightenment, and one function of the college is to enlighten the student in regard to himself, the world, and God….Knowledge of the world in which his activity is carried on, and his growth takes place, involves not merely physical, chemical, and organic science, but especially knowledge of man, both as an individual and as organized in society. The student will consequently acquaint himself chiefly with man. This does not mean that he shall study only literature, history, psychology, sociology, but that he shall mingle with men, and become one with them…. This knowledge of self, the world and God, a knowledge which should be growing constantly clearer and deeper, furnishes the materials for judgment as to means and ends.

While the choice of profession may well be deferred till the end of the course, the choice of the great goal of life should be made early. The only end worthy of a man is the realizing in himself of the image of God, and the working together with others of like mind in realizing that same image in the souls of others, and in society at large.

…What was said of old concerning knowledge may be said of education. There are those who seek to know that they may sell their knowledge for riches, honors, or the like; and this is low venality. There are those who seek to know that they may be known, and this is mere vanity. There are those that seek to know that they may be upbuilt, and this is wisdom. There are those who seek to know that they may upbuild others, and this is love.

Only those who seek to know that they may upbuild and be upbuilt attain the true end of education, and so are ideal students.

For Harris, the product of a college education was an enlightened Christian of firm moral character who would continue to grow in the image of God and would help others in society, as well as society itself, to do the same.

Faculty and Calendar

Fifteen professors taught a total of one hundred and seventy-one students in the College. The Academic Year consisted of three terms. The first term of the 1894-1895 Academic Year began on Thursday, September 13, 1894, and ended on Wednesday, December 19. A three-day Thanksgiving Recess was included in the fall term. Following the Holiday Recess in December, the second term began on Wednesday, January 2, 1895, and ended on Friday, March 22. A Spring Recess followed this. The third term began Tuesday, April 2, and ended Wednesday, June 19 when the forty-fifth annual Commencement was held. In 1895, fifteen men and one woman received the Bachelor of Arts degree, one man and one woman received the Bachelor of Philosophy degree, and seven men received the Bachelor of Science degree.

The Class of 1895

In the 1895 L'Agenda, published when the Class of 1895 were juniors, the Historian wrote:

We do not claim to be the best class that ever entered the University; neither do we think that the interests of the whole earth are centered in us. These are points to be decided by others -- not ourselves. We know, however, that the personal world, that sphere of activity and usefulness which each one possesses in himself, has been largely affected by our entrance into college. We know, too, that success or failure here means success or failure in after life, and have worked accordingly. We have tried to conform ourselves to this one object: that of making the best of circumstances. We know that we have not succeeded in every instance, and that many mistakes have been made. Yet with good intentions at heart and human nature on our side (for "to err is human"), we have reason to feel proud of our class.

In the 1890's each Bucknell Class had a motto, a yell, colors and a class flower, which were established in the Freshman Year. The motto of the Class of '95 was Virtue non verbis. The Class Yell was:

Rah! Rah! Rah!

Rah! Rah! Rah!



The class colors were Red and Blue, and the class flower was the Red Carnation. In 1895, the Class of 1898 had just compteted the freshman year. The class colors were Brown and Blue, and its flower was the Forget-me-not. The motto of '98 was Virtus in actione consistit.

From data in the 1896 L’Agenda for twenty-three of these twenty-five graduates, certain generalizations can be made concerning the Class of 1895. Twenty of the men belonged to a literary society; ten were members of Theta Alpha and ten belonged to Euepia. Eight men were members of a fraternity and one woman was a "fraternity" member. Twelve of these graduates had received their preparation for college at an academy, and seven of them had received some education at the Bucknell Academy; four class members had attended high schools; four had attended normal schools, and two of the four were normal school graduates; and one class member had attended both a normal school and the Bucknell Academy. Two graduates had transferred to Bucknell in the junior class, one from the University of Pennsylvania and one from Susquehanna University. As expressed in the L’Agenda, the aspirations of these class members were: nine planned to become ministers or missionaries, seven expressed a desire to become teachers or pedagogues, two wished to pursue medicine as a career, two were interested in engineering (one in electrical engineering and one in mechanical engineering), one aspired to a career in law, and one would be a scientist. Twenty were from Pennsylvania; the other three were from New Jersey.

Twenty-five individuals are listed as “Ex-Members of ‘95” in the 1896 L’Agenda. Eighteen were men and seven were women. In addition, three persons listed in that yearbook did not graduate with the class. Two were men and one was a woman. Thus, twenty-eight sometime members of the Class of 1895 did not graduate with the twenty-five who graduated in 1895.

Future Faculty in the Calss of 1895

One of the recipients of the Bachelor of Science degree was Nelson Fithian Davis who had been given tuition and board in 1893 and appointed an Assistant in chemistry to assist in the Physical Laboratory. Davis belonged to the Euepia Literary Society but was not a member of a fraternity. He had been the Assistant Business Manager of the Mirror. He received his college preparatory training at the South Jersey Institute. In 1896, Davis was appointed Instructor in Organic Sciences. Another future faculty member, Frank Morton Simpson, also received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1895. Simpson was not a member of a fraternity but belonged to the Theta Alpha Literary Society. He had been the Assistant Business Manager of L'Agenda, the editor-in-chief of the Mirror, active in both the band and orchestra, and a member of the Camera Club. He received his college preparatory training at the Montrose High School. Simpson was appointed an Instructor in the College in 1902.

Two recipients of the Bachelor of Arts degree in the Class of 1895 also would become members of the Bucknell faculty. Leo Guido Charles Riemer became Instructor in Latin and German in 1895, and Bromley Smith was appointed Instructor in the College in 1904. Both Riemer and Smith belonged to the Euepia Literary Society and the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Riemer received his college preparatory training at the Clarion Normal School and the Bucknell Academy, while Smith received his college preparation at the Keystone Academy. Smith had won the Freshman Declamation Prize, had been the Associate Editor of both the Mirror and L'Agenda, and was a "Champion All-round Athlete."

College Costs

College charges for men who roomed in the College building were eighty-five dollars per year, while charges for men who roomed in Lewisburg were seventy-five dollars per year. Students paid additional fees for laboratories and other services. In the College, as well as all departments of the Univeristy, free scholarships that covered tuition were provided "...for children of Ministers of the Gospel, in actual service."

Graduate Study

In 1891, the Trustees had approved the "earning of the degree of Master of Arts, Master of Philosophy and Master of Science." In 1895, two students received an earned Master of Arts degree, one of whom was Mary B. Harris who was the daughter of the President. In addition, two men received the "Master of Arts, causa honoris", and six received the "Master of Arts, in course."

The First Full-time Administrator

By 1895, the University had a Registrar, William C. Gretzinger, the first full-time administrator, who had been appointed by the Board of Trustees in 1892.

"[m]any valuable birds..." BT '82-'20, p. 112 (1/14/1892

"as avenues of escape..." BT '46-'80, (6/29/1879)

"to cover the expense..." BT '82-'20, p. 160 (1/12/1899)

"with new spring..." CAT '94-'95,p. 62.

"at the table of..." ib., p. 63.

"to institute parallel..." BT '46-82 (7/28/1868)

"a Latin Scientific course..." BT '46-'82 (6/29/1875).

"The ideal college student..." and the following paragraph, 1898 L'Agenda, p. 21.

"...There is need..." and the following paragraph, ib., p. 22

"While the choice of..." and the following paragraph, ib., p. 23.

"we do not claim to be... 1895 L'Agenda, p. 24

"Rah! Rah! Rah!.... "1896 L'Agenda, p. 26

"...for children of..." CAT '94-'95, p. 63

"earning of the degree..." BT '82-'20, p. 107 (6.23.1891)

The major sources for the information on this page are the Minutes of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, 1846-1882 (BT '46-'82) and the Minutes of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, 1882-1920 (BT '82-'20). Additional sources are Oliphant, Rise of Bucknell; Theiss, Centennial History; Your College Friends; the 1895, 1896, 1897 and 1898 L'Agendas; records from the Bucknell Registrar's office; and the Forty-fifth Annual Catalogue of Bucknell University, 1894-95 (CAT '94-95) and the Forty-sixth Annual Catalogue of Bucknell University, 1895-96 (CAT '95-'96)

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