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" If you ask about the beginning of Mer- edith, " Richard Tilman Mann once said, " no one can answer you. t is an incarna- tion of an idea. Events may be dated an chronicled, but who can trace the genesis of an idea? " More than fifty years before, the idea of an " establishment of a female semi- nary of high order " was already in exist- ence. The cornerstone of ]ohnson Hall re- veals the dates of four events: " Projected 1889, Chartered 1891, Opened 1899, Relocated 1924. " Studies of other female institutions such as Oxford and Chowan College were made to evaluate the success and " degree of confidence . . . with the You ' ve Come A Long Way Lady former education or to receive a different undergraduate or graduate degree. Unlike the situation the incoming students faced that fall day in 1 899, freshmen now arrive well in advance of the upperclassmen to participate in a well planned and informa- tive freshmen orientation and to move into their dorms. The curriculum at Meredith started off as a strict one which followed the Wake Forest catalogue closely. The students were to study mathematics up through quadratic equations, Latin, geography, and American and general history. There were twelve schools-. Latin, Creek, En- public generally " and then reported to the Baptist State Convention. The female in- stitution was approved. Six offers were considered for the school; Raleigh ' s bid was chosen because it was seen as the best location for growth and de- velopment. A building site was chosen in downtown Raleigh on Edenton Street be- tween Blount and Pearson Street — just one block from the State Capital. After a constant battle to raise enough money to fund the construction of the school, one hundred eighty students regis- tered that first day in 1899. The fourth floor of the main building wasn ' t com- pleted, so many students stumbled over piles of lumber, saws and hammers. The students couldn ' t even dress in their rooms because there were no shades on the windows, and the hall was filled with car- penters, electricians, faculty, and visitors passing bac k and forth. Today Meredith has over 2000 students of which just more than half live on campus in the residence halls-, the others commute from their homes to the school. A growing number of our students are re-entry women who have returned to college either to complete their XX glish, Modern Language (French, Ger- man, and Spanish), Mathematics, Nat- ural Science, Moral Philosophy, History and Political Science, Art, Music, Expres- sion, and Business. Many of the teachers had only college degrees themselves. Salaries ranged from $200 with room and board to $1000. The men ' s salaries were two to three times larger than the women ' s. Today Meredith offers four un- dergraduate degree programs: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Sci- ence in Nursing, and Bachelor of Music. The college also offers graduate degrees in 4 Opening
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photo by Bridget Ramke Table of Contents 3
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Business, Elementary Education, and Music. New majors evolve almost every year due to the great demand from inter- ested students. )ust this year a Child De- velopment major and a Dance major was offered for the first time. Our Music de- partment has expanded to the Music, Speech, and Theater Department. The salaries have changed over the years as well as the departments. They are much higher, but the teachers question today whether they are high enough to meet the increasing cost of living. Meredith ' s downtown location was chosen because of its accommodations for tinued to build new buildings at a conserv- ative rate. The number of residence halls has almost doubled and the number of classroom buildings continues to rise. Re- cently an art building was constructed to place all the art majors under one roof and provide them with the learning facilities they need. This year the student center — or Cate Center — received some renova- tions during the Christmas Holidays. The Office of Career Services moved to the second floor to larger quarters in order to better serve the continuing career services of students and alumnae. The Student Leadership suite moved downstairs to fill cessible to the students since they are lo- cated in a central location on first floor Cate. The last area of growth and develop- ment is represented in the name Meredith College, formerly the Baptist Female Uni- versity. t wasn ' t too long after the opening of the college that the name was in ques- tion. The trustees realized in May of 1 909 that the term " university " was not ne- cessarily the top peak in academic ac- complishment. Not to mention the entire school name promoted the school " to be an object of ridicule " . So the trustees changed the name to Meredith College. Meredith potential growth and development; how- ever, the Board of Trustees realized that Meredith could grow no further because it reached the boundaries of the property. The lack of privacy, the intolerable noise level of traffic, the danger of crossing such busy streets, and the lack of available land space caused the Board of Trustees, May 23, 1 92 1 , to vote to move the campus. The present site, once a one hundred thirty five acre farm located three miles west of Raleigh on Hillsboro Road, was chosen. Actual construction began in the fall of 1924. Since that date, Meredith has con- Move. The Baptist Female University located downtown Raleigh on Edenton Street between Blount and Pearson Street, the square next to the Governor ' s Mansion and only a block from the State Capital. Once the location moved to Hillsboro Road, the main buildings were bought and used as hotels, apartments, and office buildings. By 1967 all of the buildings that once served as the Baptist Female University campus were torn down. the open space left by Career Services. Student leaders now have more office space plus a conferenceresource room to help them better serve in their leadership roles. Although atmosphere plays only a small role in student leadership and develop- ment, it certainly makes them more ac- has withstood several strong winds in his- tory not just from critics — but from the upstanding members of the community. Once in November, 1939, and again in November, 1944, the thought to merge Meredith and Wake Forest College was seriously contemplated. Both times the motion to merge the two colleges was de- feated. The student body listed five reasons, three of which say enough about what Meredith was and still is today. Merging the colleges would have meant a limit to the leadership opportunities for women, a sacrifice of cultural and religious Opening 5
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