est College

West College, which had been closed in 1917 because of a decline in male enrollment as result of the American entry into the World War, had been used as a barracks for the Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.) from 1918 until 1919. On 1 October 1918, 300 students took an oath of allegiance at the University flagpole on the athletic field, which established the S.A.T.C. at Bucknell that was organized into three companies under the command of Captain James H. Beasley. The students ate in a temporary mess hall that had been constructed behind the former Academy Building. A total of 386 students were enrolled in S.A.T.C. in 1918 when the total college enrollment was 751. Following the war in 1919, Bucknell established a Reserve Officers Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) unit. In the 1919-1920 College Year, 135 students volunteered for service in the R.O.T.C. unit, which was commanded by Lt.Col. W.H.H. Morris who had been designated Professor of Military Science and Tactics. However, in 1920 the War Department disbanded the Bucknell unit because its membership had fallen below the requirement of 100 participants.

Few changes occurred in this building during the 1920's, but "more adequate toilet facilities" were provided in 1922. In the spring of 1924, the Trustees decided that the men's dormitory rooms would be furnished so bedsteads and other furniture were purchased. . The initial cost of furnishings for all the dormitory rooms in West College, Old Main and East College was $11,776.00.

In 1937, "shower baths, new toilet rooms and drinking fountains" were installed on all four floors and the entire first floor was remodeled. The following year, a new psychological laboratory was constructed in the basement. In 1944, West College was rewired at the request of the Navy Department in conjunction with the V-12 Program.

In 1945, the building contained classrooms and administrative office on the first floor and the remainder of the building contained rooms for ninety men. Offices for faculty in business administration, economics, secretarial science and social science were located in the building. This building was the west side of the Men's College Quadrangle.

Economics and Business Administration

By 1898, Ephraim Marshall Heim was teaching courses in economics and politics, and in 1899 “…Instructor Heim was appointed Professor of Political Science…” By 1915, Professor Heim was the sole member in the Department of Economics and Political Science, teaching courses in economics, politics, government, and transportation and commerce. He remained the only member in this department until the 1921-1922 Academic Year when Assistant Professor Roy Howes taught most of the political science courses. Two years later in 1924-1925, “…the two groups of subjects were separated, Professor Heim remaining in charge of economics and Professor Howes taking over the direction of the new Department of Political Science. During the remainder of the 1920’s, there was a continuing mingling of the duties of faculty teaching economics, political science and sociology.

In 1925-26 Assistant Professor Robert L. Matz was added to the faculty and assisted both Professors Heim and Howes, an arrangement which continued until the fall of 1927-28, when Professor Howes left the university and Mr. T. Burns Drum assumed his duties as an instructor. In 1928-29, Professor Harwood W. Childs took over the work of the department [of political science] and Assistant Professor Meyer F. Nimkoff replaced Assistant Professor Matz, whose entire time was now needed in economics. For two years this arrangement continued, Assistant Professor Nimkoff dividing his time between political science and sociology. Dr. Nimkoff resigned his position in 1930, and was replaced by Assistant Professor Ralph E. Page, whose duties were also divided between the Departments of Political Science and Sociology.

Fifteen years later in 1945, Dr. Robert Luke Matz was Professor of Business Administration and Charles P. Vaughan Professor of Economics; Dr. Meyer Francis Nimkoff was Professor of Sociology; and Dr. Ralph Emerson Page was Professor of Political Science and Dean of Men.

In the 1928-1929 Academic Year, just before the stock market crash, the economics department was offering the Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Finance degree, and economics "...[was] recognized [by 1931] as one of the strong departments of the university.

In 1934, President Homer P. Rainey recommended to the Board of Trustees “…that a Secretarial Course be given,” and in 1935 Dean Romeyn Rivenburg reported to the Board:

…that a Secretarial Course and a Commercial Teacher Training Course were authorized….He also stated that the Bucknell Commercial Teacher Training Curricula was formally approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Instruction on November 2, 1935 and was also approved by the Educational Departments of the States of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia.”

Toward the end of the 1930’s the Commerce and Finance programs had become rather attractive as Dean Rivenburg indicated to the Board of Trustees in December, 1937, when he

…stated that there were 472 students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts course, 315 in Commerce and Finance, 153 in Biology, 73 in Chemical Engineering, 68 in Education, 41 in Mechanical Engineering, 38 in Electrical Engineering and 17 in Civil Engineering; and also 33 graduate students.

During the 1930’s there was an increasing and sustained interest in the degree in commerce and finance, which had a great impact upon the university. Writing in 1945, Lewis Edwin Theiss described this impact.

In the case of economics, life again impinged upon the curriculum, forcing unforeseen changes. This time it was the depression of the thirties that laid its hand upon the curriculum. With business decreasing daily, and unnumbered business houses going to the wall, employers who survived could secure better employees for less money. They wanted only the best. And by this time, college trained employes [sic] were considered superior to any others. Students were leaving the colleges by the thousands. Bucknell lost almost a third of her enrollment. Students who remained in college were little interested in culture, as such. They wanted to acquire skills that they could sell, for life had become a desperate struggle for existence. Although there was much opposition to it, practical courses that had little to do with man’s spiritual development went into the curriculum. It was another step forward in the democratization of education. For youths who studied shorthand, typing, business correspondence, office management, and similar practical subjects, were also required to study cultural work as well. Thus something new and better was brought to the business world.

In 1945, there were three courses within the Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Finance degree:

I. The General Course, for those who desire a broad business education; II.. The Secretarial Course, for those who wish to prepare for secretarial positions; III The Business Education Course, for those who plan to teach commercial subjects.

The courses for the degree in commerce and finance were arranged in six groups: general economics, accounting and business, banking and finance, marketing and insurance, management, and secretarial.

A student could also receive a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in economics, but courses in business education and secretarial science could not be used to satisfy the degree requirements for the major in economics. For the major in economics, courses were required in principles of economics, economic problems, principles of accounting, economic geography, algebra, and introduction to statistical analysis.

"more adequate toilet..." MBU '19-31, p.102

"shower baths and..." BT '20-'50, 12/19/1936, p. 1

"...Instructor Heim was..." BT '82-'20, 6/20/1899, p. 173

"...the two groups of subjects were..." MBU '19-'31, p. 80

"In 1925-26, Assistant Professor..." ib.

"...[was] recognized..." ib., p. 155

"...that a Secretarial Course..." BT '20-'50, , 12/15/1934, no page number

"...that a Secretarial Course and..." ib., 12/14/1935, p. 2

"...stated that there were 472 students..." ib., 12/18/1937, p. 2

"In the case of economics...", Theiss, pp. 358-359.

"I. The General Course..." CAT '45-'46, p. 52

The major source for the information on this page is the Minutes of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, 1920-1950 (BT '20-'50). Additional sources are Memorials of Bucknell University, 1919-1931 (MBU '19-'31);Theiss, Centennial History; Oliphant, Rise of Bucknell; "Directory of Faculty, Officers of Administration and Ship's Company of Bucknell University, November, 1945"; and the Bucknell University Bulletin, Catalogue Issue, Ninety-Ninth Year, 1944-1945 (CAT '44-'45) and the Bucknell University Bulletin, Catalogue Issue, One Hundredth Year, January, 1946 (CAT '45-'46).

This building in other years: 1915 | 1965 | 1985 | Current
Back to the Bucknell History Page | Back to the 1945 Page