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Page 139 text:
THE 1934 PERUVIAN
Six+y-Seven Years at Peru
The men who have successively held the president's chair are: J. M. McKenzie. 1866-1871: H. H. Straight, 1871; A. D. Williams, 1871-1872: Gen. T. J. Morgan, 1872-1874; Rev. Azel Freeman, 1874-1875: S. R. Thompson, 1875-1877: Robert Curry, 1877-1883: G. L. Farnham, 1883-1893: A. W. Norton. 1893-1896: J. A. Beattie. 1896-1900: W. A. Clark. 1900-1904; J. W. Crabtree. 1904-1910: D. W. Hayes. 1910-1918: E. L. Rouse. 1918-1922: and A. L. Caviness, 1922-1923. Since August of 1923, W. R. Pate has held the office of president. Temporary arrangements have been made at times in the presidency.
Each of these men has contributed his part toward making the school what it is. A desirable tendency may be noted in the trend toward a longer period in office for the president. This makes possible the carrying forward of a consistent educational policy.
The growth of the school has not been a steady and uninterrupted one. There have been periods of "hard times" for the school as well as for society in general, but each period of hardship has been succeeded by a spurt upward—beyond any previous achievement of the school. The periods of hardship may easily be discerned in any survey of the school's publications, just as the history of a tree may be read in its annual rings.
The story of the growth of the school may also be read in the increase in the amount of its equipment, from one poorly furnished building to the present group of modern and attractive buildings. The original structure was further conditioned by an appropriation of ten thousand dollars in 1869, but the need was soon felt for more classroom space. Accordingly, the money was appropriated, the work begun, and the new four-story building, which came to be known as "Old Normal Hall," was completed and dedicated in 1873. It occupied the space that the new science building now occupies. Later, in 1885, it was enlarged, a "wing" being added where the auditorium now stands. This was followed in 1887 by the erection of a frame library.
This arrangement sufficed in most respects for a decade: then the original building was destroyed by fire, and was replaced the same year by the Mount Vernon Dormitory. About 1900 began the steady growth which has continued ever since. In 1901 the athletic field and greenhouse were added to the school's equipment. A critical point in the school's history came in 1903, when there was discussion as to whether the school should be maintained. The securing of an appropriation for a new chapel and gymnasium building was the deciding point. The new building was dedicated in 1905.
Meanwhile work was also in progress on a new library building, which was completed in 1906. The old library was doubled in size, brick veneered, and equipped as a science building. Then the need was felt for a new administration building, and in 1909 the appropriation was secured. Two years later the present administration building was completed. In 1915 plans were made for the T. J. Majors building; this was completed in 1917.
In the early part of the last decade the present auditorium was constructed on the site of tho south wing of "Old Normal Hall." The chapel and gymnasium building was remodeled so that it could be devoted largely to athletics. Two of the more recent and finest buildings were completed in 1929— the science building, on the site of "Old Normal Hall." and the girls' dormitory, named for Eliza Morgan, whose services as preceptress in the school's early history will long bo remembered.
Some important matters in the growth of the school's scope of activities and status in the educational world should be observed. As early as 1873 the summor school sessions wero begun—to accommodate those who could not attend the regular term. There has been considerable shifting in the lengths of the school's terms at times, however. In 1915 the school was admitted to membership in tho North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, with the status of a teacher training institution, and in 1932 it was transferred from this status to that of a regular college.
One of the major events in the history of the school took placo in 1922. At this time, by act of the stato legislature. Peru Normal School became the Peru Teachers College, with the right of issuing the A. B. degree in education—in addition to the one and two-year certificates.
Traditions, mighty as the hills among which they were builded, are the heritage of all who go out from Peru. To uphold these is their privilege. To instill in your minds a solemn reverence for them is the purpose of this chronicle of a year's activities and its background.
Page 138 text:
Peak's Peaksters Foster, Bole,
Cross, Novak, Nicholls, Peek, Ashton, Pace Garner, Kingsolver
May Fete Attendants, 1933
Edna Maystrlck as the "Poor Little Rich Girl,' and Dorothy Wiebe, her mother
Coons from W. A. A,
Florodora Girls of Girls’ Club Party
Margaret Winter and Claudia Luse—Dorm Girls' Christmas party
In the Shadow of a kocjc'
School-girl tapsters of Girls' Club Valentine Party
Page 140 text:
Sixty-Seven Years at Peru
in a building previously used as a saloon, now standing Just south of the present Post Office. Later classes were also held in a private home, which stands just across the street north of Peterson’s studio. The records give the average attendance for the fall term as about thirty.
When the fall term was completed, the work on the new building had progressed far enough for classes to be held there: so the winter term began in January in the building on the hill. The hardships suffered by the pupils, many of whom lived in the school building, were many, and Mr. McKenzie later spoke of them as "martyrs" to the cause of education!
While the spring term was in progress the Methodist Church held its annual conference, at Omaha, and tho new, school was offered to it with all its land and property. But after considerable discussion the conference decided not to accept the school as its charge. This left the trustees and all interested in the school wondering and worrying as to its fate, for it could hardly hope to survive without aid. The outcome was that it was decided to turn the project over to the state legislature at its first session, with the understanding that it would become the state university.
Colonel T. J. Majors and Major Daily were elected to represent the county in the first legislature, and through their efforts, and the efforts of others, the school was accepted—but as a normal school, for it was judged wiser to place the state university at Lincoln, than in a small village. The bill was introduced by Colonel Majors and Major Daily and was approved on June 20. Three thousand dollars were appropriated to complete tho building and begin the normal school operations. T. J. Majors became the special protector of the school throughout his long career as a legislator.
A board of education was appointed by the state to take charge of affairs, and much credit is given by all who write of Peru history to its board of education. In early years the personnel of the board was almost entirely local, and if this article were intended as a tribute, much could bo said of the labors of such people as D. C. Cole.
At tho time it was established there were but approximately twenty normal schools in the United States, and there were but two west of the Missouri River. For thirty-eight years Peru was the only normal school in the state, Kearney Normal being established in 1905 and Wayne and Chadron since.
Twenty sections of land were given the new school by the first state legislature as an endowment, the land being located near the capital. During the summer months the building was finished and furnished by means of the three thousand dollar appropriation—plus another thousand dollars raised by the public spirited citizens. The fall term began in October, with thirty-two pupils enrolled in the normal school proper.
It began with a teaching staff of just two people: in fact Mr. J. M. McKenzie and Mrs. C. B. McKenzie were not only the instructors, but the janitor and preceptress as well. A young man from Michigan, Perry M. Martin, soon was employed to help, however. The increase in size of the school's staff from these educational pioneers to the present faculty is indicative of the growth of the school.
When it opened, the school's curriculum was necessarily very limited and extra-curricular activities wore not yet general. Tho subjects studied were constrained to what was held in that day to be "substantial" material. The development of the present curriculum has come about haltingly but gradually, and would occupy considerable space in any detailed history of the school.
Much might be said of the records which have been left of early student life. Wealth was never in evidence, and the students were naturally earnest in their desire for education. The democratic spirit which is the precious heritage of the campus today was brought into being. Regulations were extremely strict, as befitted the times and occasion, but who can say that the life of the students was dull?
The first graduation exercises of the new school were held in the spring of 1870, when two students. George Elliott Howard, later Dr. Howard, and Miss Annie Morehead, later Mrs. Annie Morehead Joy, completed the normal course. The exercises were held in the open, in a grove of small oak trees. The site of these exercises is now marked on the campus by the "Philo" rock. These first graduates proved the worth of the school.
Soon after this Mr. McKenzie resolved to resign his position because of a chanco for advancement, and the trustees began searching for a successor. Tho terms in office of the men who have held the chief position of responsibility in the school, stated as mere dates, are unattractive, but they form the foundation upon which a real knowledge of the school's history may be built.
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