ld Main

Old Main continued to be the main building of the University, containing classrooms, offices and dormitories. Six recitation rooms were located on the first floor of the central part of the building; recitation rooms, halls for the two literary societies, and the Museum of Natural History were located on the second floor; Commencement Hall occupied the entire third story. The east and west wings of the building contained students' rooms. In 1915, drawing rooms for drafting were located on the first floor of the East Wing of the Main Hall. (East College, erected in 1906, does not appear in the photograph, but West College is to the right) The athletic field is in the foreground.

College Costs

In 1915, men who lived in College buildings paid $150.00 per year. Men who lived in town paid $140.00. These charges included tuition and the library fee, the gymnasium fee and “…. other incidental fees common to all students.” Tuition was rated at $50.00 per year. In the Main College, generally two students occupied a study room but most students had a private sleeping room, which was furnished only with a spring bedstead. Other furniture had to be supplied by the student. If a student desired a private study, the charges for room-rent and private fuel were doubled. An extra charge to all students was “…. made for electric lighting of private rooms.” No “self boarding” was allowed in College buildings. Men could board in clubs or with private families for a cost of $2.50 to $5.00 per week, or they could board “…. at the table of the Bucknell Academy at $4.00 per week.”


By 1915, there were eight fraternities at Bucknell so the College had developed a policy concerning fraternities, which stated:

No student is permitted to join a fraternity until he has received a certificate from the President of the University, under seal that he has been a student for one year in the College, that he has completed one year’s work and that his conduct has been satisfactory.

Curriculum Changes in the College: Engineering

Many changes had occurred in the curriculum of the College by 1915, especially in engineering, jurisprudence, biology and chemistry. In 1902, the Trustee Committee on Instruction and Discipline had recommended that "....a course leading to the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering be established equivalent to the corresponding course in the University of Pennsylvania and other institutions of like grade." The full course was to be introduced by the 1903-04 academic year when Charles A. Lindemann began his duties as Instructor in Applied Mathematics. In 1903, each student in the Engineering Course and all students enrolled on other courses who took a subject in the Engineering Course were charged an additional $5.00 per term. The money from this extra charge was "....for the purchase of apparatus for the Engineering Department." In 1909, five men were awarded "the first degree in Civil Engineering in the Civil Engineering Course", and in 1911, the faculty voted to recommend that that "the First Degree in Civil Engineering" be conferred. In 1915, all the faculty and courses in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering were listed under the Department of Mathematics. Physics was listed there also. Some of the courses in chemical engineering were listed under the Department of Chemistry and some were listed under the Department of Mathematics.

Curriculum Changes: Jurisprudence and Biology

By 1904, the faculty had arranged for "special lines of study" in jurisprudence, biology and chemistry. In 1914, a bulletin concerning the Course in Jurisprudence had been sent to all lawyers in Pennsylvania and a bulletin concerning the Course in Biology had been sent to all physicians in the state. The Course in Jurisprudence, which lead to the Bachelor of Arts degree, was "designed for persons preparing for the legal profession, for a business career, and for participation in public affairs." The Course in Biology, which lead to "the first degree in Biological Science", covered "four years of work in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Literature." Another Course in science was the "General Science Course", which lead to the degree of Bachelor of Science and was "...substantially the same as the Philosophical Course, with the substitution of additional Modern Languages and Scientific Studies for Latin and Greek." In 1915, many students at Buckell were preparing for studies in law and medicine.

The Department of Law offered fifteen courses taught by Bucknell faculty from several academic departments (History, Economics and Political Science, Greek and Latin) and local attorneys. The Bucknell College of Liberal Arts gave a “…. certificate for the work given by the department, in addition to the Diploma of the College,” if the student had a satisfactory “standing” in the legal subjects and all collegiate work. The department also gave “[o] pportunity…. for the Review of the Latin, History and Literature required in the Preliminary Examination for registration as students of Law in Pennsylvania.” Bucknell graduates were “…. admitted to registration as students of Law without examination.”

The “Department of Medicine in Bucknell University”, also referred to as the Medical Preparatory Department, issued a “Certificate of proficiency” in the “medical subjects” “…and such other subjects related to medical studies” offered at the university that were taken by students if the students achieved a satisfactory “standing” in the subjects. Only students in the College of Liberal Arts could take these subjects “…. and the Certificate of proficiency [was] given to students only upon graduation, and in addition to the diploma of the College of Liberal Arts.” This Certificate would give the student “…. advanced standing in the Medical College in which he may wish to complete his studies for the degree in medicine.”

Degrees and Courses of Study

In 1915, the College offered nine Courses of study , each leading to an appropriate degree of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Philosophy or Bachelor of Science. A major difference in the requirements for these three degrees was the number of courses required in Latin and Greek and modern foreign languages. Each Course and degree required four years of study.

For the Bachelor's degree, thirty-six courses, each of one term five hours per week, must be presented, as well as the prescribed work in oral and written expression, the former of which extends through two years of the Course and the latter through four years, and also twelve lecture courses.

In addition to the Classical and Philosophical Courses, Courses were offered in Jurisprudence, General Science, Biology, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

Student Activities

The College had a band as well as other student activities, including The Young Men’s Christian Association, The Young Women’s Christian Association and The Student’s Publication Association, which published the Bucknell Mirror, a periodical published monthly during the collegiate year. Another student group published the Orange and Blue, which was issued weekly during the school year.

Faculty and Calendar

Twenty-nine professors taught 589 students in the College. The Academic Year consisted of fall, winter and spring terms. Each professor taught three courses each term and each course met for five hours a week. The 1914-1915 Academic Year began on Thursday, September 17, 1914, and ended on Wednesday, December 16. The winter term began Tuesday, January 5, 1915, and ended on Wednesday March 17. The spring term began on Wednesday, March 24 and ended on Wednesday, June 16 when Commencement occurred. In 1915, there were over ninety students in the graduating class. Two hundred and forty-six freshmen had entered the College in the fall of 1914, which was the largest freshmen class in the history of the institution.

The Class of 1915

In 1915, class colors, flowers, mottos and yells were no longer included in the L’Agenda, but there was still a class history. The historian of the Class of 1915 wrote:

The class of ‘15 has been one to smash precedents, make records, and set new goals. No other class has furnished as many wearers of the “B,”no other class has a higher record of scholarship. Far-famed for the beauty of its fair members, renowned for its athletic powers, Nineteen Hundred and Fifteen has, in physical and mental achievements, a record unsurpassed.


Now that we are Seniors, we look with pride upon our record. Many good things at Bucknell have been initiated and upheld by Nineteen Hundred Fifteen. But the time is almost at hand for us to go; for yet a few brief months we tread the Campus paths and College Halls, and then go forth to larger life and deeds that shall make every member proud to say: “Bucknell is my Alma Mater, ‘15 is my Class.” The day soon comes when we must go, but glances back and forward show, we need not fear we shall do well and honor bring to OLD BUCKNELL.

By the second decade of the twentieth century, a class poem was published in the L’Agenda. The last three stanzas of the senior class poem in 1915 were:

We now can hear, distinct and clear,
The World beyond us hailing
Us to our place, in Life’s swift race,
With courage never failing.

But ere we go, we would bestow
A last , a sad, farewell
On college days, on student ways,
On thee, our dear Bucknell.

The battle done? No, just begun:
We hear, anon, its roar:
We leave Bucknell, aware full well
The greater lies before.

Both the history and poem of the Class of 1915 display a pride in accomplishments, an optimism concerning the future, a determination to succeed in life after college, and a love of alma mater.

Graduate Study

In 1915, graduate programs lead to the degrees of "Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Pedagogy, Civil Engineer, and Electrical Engineer." To receive the Master's degree, the student had to complete "....a Course of Liberal study, approved by the Faculty, sufficient in amount to constitute a fifth year of college work, two thirds of which must be in one department. Forty-two students were listed in 1914-1915 Catalogue as graduate students. The major subjects of these students were: eight in Science (Biology, Chemistry and Science; five in Philosophy; five in Pedagogy or Education; four in Civil Engineering; four in Jurisprudence; possibly four in Modern Languages (French, German, Languages, Modern Languages); possibly four in English (English, Literature); two in Classical Languages (Greek, Latin); two in Economics; two in Mathematics; and one in History.

Future Faculty in the Class of 1915

Two men who received bachelor’s degrees in 1915, would later become members of the Bucknell engineering faculty: George Allison Irland received the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and William Hilliard Schuyler received the Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. Also, two men who would become future members of the Bucknell faculty were awarded graduate degrees. William Henry Eyster, who had received the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1914, received the Master of Arts degree, and John Winter Rice, who had been awarded the Bachelor of Science degree in 1914, received the Master of Science degree. Another man who would become a future faculty member, Frank Garfield Davis who held the Bachelor of Philosophy degree, was a graduate student.

"...other incidental fees..." CAT '14-'15, p. 96

"...made for electric..." ib., p. 97

"...at the table..." ib.

" No student is permitted..." ib., p. 87

"...a course leading to..." BT '82-'20, p. 190 (6/17/1902)

"...for the purchase of..." ib., p. 194 (1/8/1903)

"the first degree..." ib. , p. 250 (6/22/1909)

"the First Degree..." ib., p. 266 (1/12/1911)

"special lines of study" ib., p.203 (1/14/1904)

"designed for persons..." CAT '15-'16, P. 23

"the first degree..." ib., p. 24

"substantially the same..." ib., p. 23

"certificate for the work..." and all other quotations in this paragraph, ib., p. 56

"The Department of Medicine..." and all other quotations in this paragraph, ib., p. 88

"For the Bachelor's degree..." ib., p. 23.

"The class of '15...", 1916 L'Agenda, p. 22

"We now can hear...", ib., p. 21.

"a Course of Liberal study..." ib., p. 25

The major source for the information on this page is 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 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918 L'Agendas; records from the Bucknell Registrar's office; and the Bucknell University Bulletin (Fourteenth Series, January 1915, No. 4) Catalogue 1914-1915 (CAT '14-'15) and the Bucknell Uinversity Bulletin (Fifteenth Series, January1916, No. 4) Catalog 1915-1916 (CAT '15-'16).
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