Several improvements were made in Old Main during the 1920’s. A major improvement in student housing occurred when “…during the spring term [of the 1919-20 school year] the dormitories in east and west wings of Old Main were completely overhauled and provided with badly-needed toilet facilities.” In the summer of 1921, the Commencement Hall was “…reconditioned, and made presentable and fairly comfortable, and later provided with facilities for holding mass examinations.” Improvements were also made in non-academic facilities in the building when, in 1922, “the executive offices were remodeled and two fireproof vaults were provided…because of the urgent need for some proper place to keep the college records and valuable belongings of the university offices."
Fire and Reconstruction
On August 27, 1932, the central portion of Old Main was destroyed by fire and both wings were severely damaged. Most of the contents of the University Museum were lost. Rebuilding began in June, 1935. The A. J. Sordoni Company was the contractor. The west wing was finished in September, 1936, and the east wing was finished in June, 1937. The cost for rebuilding was approximately $375,000.00. In 1937, the central portion of the building was dedicated as a memorial to Daniel C. Roberts, Trustee from 1935 to 1940.
When the west wing was completed in 1936, it was "...a thoroughly modern, fire proof building, with fine administrative offices on the first floor and beautiful dormitory suites on the second, third and fourth floors, with accommodations for 51 men." The suites generally rented for $220.00 a year for each student "...with the corner suites which have shower baths, at $300.00 per year." In contrast, the rooms in East College and West College were rented for $120.00 per year. Students who roomed in the west wing were not eligible for scholarships. When the east wing was completed in 1937, the same situation prevailed.
Old Main in 1945
Although the central portion was dedicated as Roberts Hall, the entire building was named Main College. In 1945, two-room suites for about one hundred men were located on the three upper floors, and administrative offices were located on the first floor of both the east and west wings of the building. The offices of the Registrar, the Recorder, the Treasurer and Comptroller, and the Purchasing Agent were located in the west wing. The telephone exchange was there also. The Alumni Office, the office of the Director of Admissions, the office of the Christian Association, the Office of Publicity and Athletics, the office of the Director of the Extension Division, and the office of the Dean of Men were located in the east wing. The office of Charles W. Bond, Professor of Religion, was located in the east wing also. A post-office was located in the basement of the building. Roberts Hall contained a lobby and administrative offices for the President and the Dean on the first floor; a lounge, game rooms, and suites for seventeen men were located on the second and third floors. In 1945, the Commanding Officer, the Executive Officer, the Physical Training Officer and other men of the Ship’s Company of the Navy V-12 Unit occupied offices on the second floor of Roberts Hall. Main College was the north side of the Men's College Quadrangle.
One of the major developments between 1915 and 1945 had been the dramatic increase in the number of administrative officers and support staff. The entire first floor of Old Main was occupied mostly by administrative offices. There were twenty “officers of administration” in 1945, some of whom were ex officio such as the Secretary of the Faculty, and some of whom were faculty who held administrative appointments, such as the Director of the Observatory who was a member of the mathematics department. There were thirteen “pure” administrative officers, including the President, whose duties were completely administrative in nature. There were also thirty-nine “assistants in administration” who worked in the first-floor offices in Roberts Hall and the east and west wings of Old Main. Of these, eleven worked in the Officer of the Treasurer and nine worked in the Office of the Registrar.
These efforts began to yield results two years later when Vice-President Rivenburg reported to the Board of Trustees that he expected
By 1940, Rivenburg was able to report “….that nearly 7 ½ times as many students had applied for admission to Bucknell in September and paid the admission fee, as in 1935,” which was very important because “….[a]bout 92 per cent of the budget [was] operated on student payments. ….” . At the December 1941 meeting of the Board of Trustees in Philadelphia, the Vice-President stated that 1,344 students were attending Bucknell, which was “…twenty-one more students than ever before in Bucknell’s history, although Bucknell was more selective than ever before, and that the quality of the freshman class was very high.”
1942 marked a turning point in admissions and enrollment in the College. Vice-President Rivenburg described the situation succinctly but clearly in his May 1943 report to the Board of Trustees “on the academic affairs of the University for the college year, 1942-1943.”
The Navy V-12 program began in the summer of 1943, which increased the enrollment significantly. However, at the December meeting of the Board of Trustees in Philadelphia, President Marts “…outlined what he thought might happen to Bucknell during the coming year and indicated that the Navy program would probably taper off from this time forward,” and he stated that he thought that “… [t]he educational opportunities for ex-servicemen [would] be increased and the influx of civil students [would] probably be proportional to that which followed the close of the first World War.
The following year in June, 1944, President Marts speculated “…that the 'G.I. Bill' recently signed by President Roosevelt would increase the possibilities of the return of service men to college.” Later that year in December, Vice-President Rivenburg reported to the Board of Trustees:
In 1945, in expectation of the effect of the GI Bill on college admissions, President Marts developed a plan to recruit veterans and young men, which was described in the minutes of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustee’s meeting in Philadelphia:
In 1945, the general requirements for admission to the College were presented in the Catalogue:
There were additional mathematical requirements for engineering students and students applying to take the Bachelor of Science courses and the Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Finance course.
The Catalogue also contained detailed information concerning general regulations in regards to government:
By 1931, the fraternities had been accepted as an important part of the institution by the administration, faculty, students and alumni.
This cooperative atmosphere was characterized in Memorials of Bucknell University 1919-1931:
Toward the end of the 1930's academic requirements began to stiffen. In the summer of 1937 “...the largest number of students were dropped from college...at any time during the 14 years [that] Dean Rivenburg [had] been at Bucknell, a total of 70 having been dropped for poor scholarship. Two years later, then Vice President Rivenberg informed the Trustees “...that the Bucknell Fraternities were keenly interested in improving the scholarship of their men and that they had requested the Administrative Council of Bucknell to adopt the following rule:
This rule was adopted.
Fraternity houses were located off-campus either along University Avenue or embedded within the town. By 1941, some fraternities were interested in building houses on the campus so a committee of the Board of Trustees was “...working out leasing so that the University and the fraternities [would] be protected.” The authority of the committee “...cover[ed] the construction and location of all fraternities [on campus].” The Trustees also passed a resolution based upon a request by the Dean of Women, the Dean of Men, the Dean of the College , and the Mother’s Association, which had been approved the Administrative Council, “...that in every fraternity house built on the Bucknell campus there shall be adequate ladies’ accommodations so that girls who attend the fraternity dances do not need to go above the first floor.”
Beginning in 1942 and continuing for the duration of the war, fraternity life at the university was curtailed greatly.”...due to the withdrawal of fraternity men for the armed service.” Because Old Main, West College and East College were used to house the cadets in the V-12 program, the university and the fraternities made an agreement in 1944 whereby
By the end of that year, “[t]hree fraternity houses, the Kappa Sigma, Phi Gamma Delta, and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon [were] occupied by eighty-six women..., but plans [would] likely have to be made to vacate these houses for the use of the fraternity men soon after the termination of the war.” These three houses were located on University Avenue and St. George Street far away from the Men’s College Quadrangle on the hill. The Delta Sigma house was located on the hill near the Vaughn Literature Building. In 1945, special attention was directed to rules concerning membership in fraternities:
In addition to the social fraternities, there was a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa that had been established at Bucknell in 1940, two national leadership societies, more than a dozed honorary societies, and four national professional engineering societies. The two literary societies, Theta Alpha and Eupia, no longer existed.
In 1945, degrees were conferred three times on February 24, June 23, and October 20. A total of one hundred and sixty-three degrees were conferred: ninety Bachelor of Arts degrees, twenty-seven Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Finance degrees, twenty-six Bachelor of Science in engineering degrees, sixteen Bachelor of Science degrees, and four Bachelor of Science in Education degrees. Almost seventy-four percent of those receiving degrees were women: ninety-three percent of the Bachelor of Arts degrees, eighty-nine percent of the Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Finance degrees, seventy-five percent of the Bachelor of Science in Education degrees, and fifty-six percent of the Bachelor of Science degrees. All of the engineering degrees were conferred upon men.
Room, Board and Fees
Tuition for men for both the 1945-1946 and 1946-1947 Academic Years was $400.00 for the college year from September to June. The cost of a furnished room for men ranged from $120.00 for a furnished room in East or West College to $300.00 for a furnished suite with bath in Main College . There were a variety of accommodations in Main College: “single rooms, two-room suites with or without lavatory facilities, and single rooms and two-room suites with private baths." Board in the Men’s Dining Hall was $250.00, and students could also board at “...the various boarding places in town, and at the fraternity houses.” There was a $15.00 Infirmary fee, and there were also laboratory and department fees. Tuition, board, a furnished room, Infirmary, laboratory and graduation fees for women ranged from $900.00 to 950.00 for the college year, depending upon where the woman resided. The cost was $950.00 for women who lived on the top four floors in Hunt Hall or seven specified rooms in Larison Hall. The women ate in the Women’s Dining Hall. Children of missionaries and ministers received a $100.00 reduction of the annual charge for tuition.
In 1945, “[g]raduate work at Bucknell University [was] in charge of the Committee on Advanced Degrees, which decide[d] upon the eligibility of candidates for advanced degrees and recommen[ed] candidates to the Faculty “.. The requirements for Advanced degrees were stated in detail in four pages of the Catalogue:
The university offered the Master of Arts degree, the Master of Science degree, and the professional degrees of Chemical Engineer, Civil Engineer, Electrical Engineer, and Mechanical Engineer.
In 1945, the university conferred the Master of Arts on twelve individuals, nine of whom were women, and the Master of Science in Education on seven individuals, three of whom were women.
"...during the spring term..." and other quotations in this paragraph, MBU '19-'31, p. 102
"...a thoroughly modern..." and the other quotation in this paragraph, BT '20-'50, 12/19/1936, pp. 1-2
"...included in the contributory... and "instructed to make...," ib., 12/16/1944, p.10
"retirement pension at ..." ib., 6/11/1938, p. 3
"put into operation..." ib., 6/10/1939, p. 6
"...that last fall it was..." ib., 6/11/1938, p. 3
"...there would be at least... ib"., 6/10/1939, p. 3
"...that nearly..." ib., 6/8/1940, p. 2
"...about 92 per cent..." ib., 6/7/1941, p. 2
"...twenty-one more students..." ib., 12/20/1941, p. 2
"...on the academic affairs..." ib., 5/28/1943, p. 4
"There were..." ib.
"...outilined what he thought might..." ib., 123/18/1943, p. 3
"...that the G.I. Bill... ib.,6/24/1944, p.3
"There has been no...ib., 12/16/1944, p. 2
"Chariman Bostwick then read... ib., 5/12/1945, p. 2
"...presented...a beautiful..." ib.,6/22/1945, p. 2
""...Dean of the College..." ib., p. 1
"Captain Marts urged..." ib., p. 2
"The Dean had on his desk..." ib., 12/15/1945, p. 2
"Applicants for admission..." and the following paragraph, CAT '45-'46, p. 39
"Attendance at Bucknell is..." ib., p. 69
"ten fraternities" and "social fraternities", MBU '19-'31, p. 146
"RESOLVED that..." BT '20-'50, 1/16/1925, p. 5
"Probably the number of...", MBU '19-'50, p. 146
"...[T]hese organized societies..." ib., p. 147
"What is finer in college life..." ib., p. 146
"...the largest number of students...", BT '20-'50, 12.18/1937, p. 2
"...that the Bucknell Fraternities..." and "No student shall be deemed..." ib., 6/10/1939, p.2
"...working out leasing..." and "...cover[ed] the construction..." ib., 6/7/1941, p. 5
"...that in every fraternity house..." ib.
"...due to the withdrawal..." ib., 5/28/1943, p. 5
"...the University..." ib., 6/24/1944, p. 2
"[t]hree fraternity houses...", ib., 12/16/1944, p. 3
"No student, with the exceptions..." ib., p. 38
"single rooms..." and "...the various boading...", CAT '45-'46. p.170
"[g]raduate work at..." ib. p. 64
"The following is..." ib., p. 66
"The degre of Master of Arts..." and the following paragraph, ib., p. 65
"The professional degrees of..." ib., p. 67
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); "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: 1865
| 1895 | 1915
| 1965 | 1985
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