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Milestones

Read in-depth articles on key milestones in the life of the University of Richmond, including:

Women Students: "Westhampton Spirit"
Women Students: "Westhampton Spirit"

The first women to attend Richmond College in the late 1890s were well aware of the opportunities higher education provided. Eager to experience college life in all its dimensions, serious about their education but also drawn to college social activities, these young women were the founders of what is today known as Westhampton Spirit.

Long before Westhampton College had been established, women students attending classes at Richmond College had formed the Coed Club, precursor of the Westhampton College Government Association. Richmond men responded with the Anti-Coed Club, but the die was cast: women at Richmond College would not only continue to grow in numbers, but in a few years they would have their own college.

In 1899, Lulie Gaines Winston, daughter of a faculty member, became the first woman to graduate from Richmond College and also the first woman to graduate from a Virginia college founded to educate men.

With the opening of Westhampton College in 1914, women students were no longer coeds. Under the coordinate system, they had their own classes, faculty, dining hall, and college traditions. They quickly demonstrated their intellectual commitment, forming an honor society, publishing a literary magazine, and using Westhampton's Reading Room, located in the Tower Room of North Court, day and night.

Eleven women, most of whom had begun their education at Richmond College, graduated from Westhampton in 1915 as the first senior class. Among them was Celeste Anderson (later O'Flaherty), the first president of the Westhampton College Government Association and later president of the Westhampton College Alumnae Association.

Westhampton Spirit extended to athletics as well. Westhampton's first faculty member, Fannie Graves Crenshaw, organized an athletic program for women that included tennis, hockey, basketball and track. The Westhampton College Athletic Association was formed in the college's first year, but it was several decades before women were eligible for athletic scholarships.

Community service also played an important role in Westhampton students' lives. Many were members of the YWCA and during World War I the college had its own Red Cross volunteer unit. A trolley brought non-residential women students to campus but also allowed the residential students to venture beyond campus (provided they had Dean Keller's permission!)

The lake divided the women's college from the men's and for many years a gate on the Westhampton side was locked at night. Near the site of the old gate is a bench dedicated to two of the first students on campus. The inscription on the bench reads: "J. Caldwell 'Tiny' Hicks RC '17 and Lula Jones Puckett WC '17 met nearby in 1915 and were married in 1917."

Westhampton College: "A Gem of a College"
Westhampton College: "A Gem of a College"

Higher education for women came of age in the United States in the second half of the 19th century, an outgrowth of the first wave of feminism at mid-century as well as the growing recognition that a prosperous society required an educated populace. During this period, many still believed that the role of higher education for women was to provide them with the social skills and information necessary to be good wives and mothers.

The Women's College of Richmond, founded in 1854 as the Richmond Female Institute, conformed to this model by offering junior college education rather than a four-year degree. However, many of its graduates, as well as other capable young women, sought an institution where they could earn a baccalaureate by taking courses as rigorous as those offered to men. In 1898, Richmond College began accommodating their needs by admitting a small number of non-residential women students. In 1900, the college awarded the first bachelor's degrees to women.

In 1906, with the support of the Virginia Baptist General Association, Richmond College determined to create a college for women. "The school we propose to establish will be no experiment," President Boatwright wrote the following year. "Nor will it be co-educational, as some seem to fear. There will be two colleges under the control of the corporation known as Richmond College. In our college a woman can take her degree of Bachelor of Arts or Science without ever sitting in a class with men."

Thus was outlined Richmond College's coordinate system, whereby the men's and women's colleges would be administered by the President and Board of Richmond College but have their own deans, faculties, courses, and buildings. The property and franchise of the Women's College of Richmond were transferred to Richmond College, with WCR graduates eligible for admission to the new women's college if they met its entrance requirements.

With the acquisition of the Westhampton campus in 1911, construction began on the new Richmond College and on Westhampton College, the women's college. The latter's original building, today's North Court, housed virtually all the requirements of an autonomous institution: classrooms, library, dining hall, reception rooms, administrative offices, and residential space. In keeping with the coordinate model, Westhampton students also had their own student government and in time developed distinct college rituals and traditions.

Westhampton College opened for classes on September 17, 1914, under the administration of Dean May Lansfield Keller, the first woman to receive a doctorate from the University of Heidelberg and the first woman to be named dean of a Virginia college. Dr. Keller remained dean until 1946, devoting her entire career to establishing an institution that maintained the highest academic standards and prepared women to follow whatever personal and professional goals they set.

The Richmond College Seal
The Richmond College Seal

At the time that Richmond College was chartered in 1840, the Board of Trustees assigned responsibility for commissioning a seal to a committee. What was then the Richmond College seal was designed in 1841 by Andrew Broaddus and was adopted by the Trustees and engraved on copper.

At the bottom of the seal, a legend reads: "Verbum Vitae et Lumen Scientiae." Translated, this means "the word of life and the light of knowledge." The inner part of the seal shows "an eye looking down from a cloud upon an open volume illuminated by a lamp." According to Broaddus, "the eye may represent human sagacity or divine omniscience, according to the fancy of the observer." The lamp symbolizes the light of knowledge – the lamp of learning.

Originally, the words "Richmond College, VA" and "March 4, 1840," the date of the College’s incorporation formed the top border of the seal. In, 1920, the words "University of Richmond, VA" replaced the "Richmond College" inscription.

Rat Regulations
Rat Regulations

In the early days of Richmond College and Westhampton College freshman students were given the designation of “Rats” and were obliged to adhere to certain rules imposed by the upper classes.

During the 1917-1918 academic year, the rules for Richmond College freshmen were as follows:

  1. A freshman, in the contemplation of these rules and of the upperclassmen, is any student spending his first year in any college.
  2. No freshman may smoke cigars on the campus or on the athletic field or stands until after Christmas.
  3. No freshman will be allowed to visit Westhampton College under any circumstances, except on occasion designated by the Student Senate, until after Christmas.
  4. Freshmen are not allowed to lounge or loiter around the Student Shop during chapel time.
  5. Each and every freshman shall wear a red and blue cap prescribed for freshmen AT ALL TIMES on the campus, save on Sundays, and to all home athletic games, including those played in Richmond. This rule will apply in full force until after Christmas.
  6. No freshmen may address an upper-classman by his “nick” name until after Christmas.
  7. No freshman shall be guilty of any misconduct in the Refectory.
  8. No freshman may sit at the head or foot of a table in the Refectory, and shall assist in passing food, pouring water, etc. throughout the year without comment.
  9. Freshmen shall assist in carrying baggage, books, etc., when requested to do so by upperclassmen unless physically disabled.

For Westhampton College freshmen during the 1917-1918 academic year, the rules were:

  1. For thy ease of manner and for the rest and comfort of the much over worked upper classmen and for the cultivation of the virtue, patience, so becoming to thy Ratty positions, thou shalt not push nor crowd when boarding a street car and thou shall gracefully give way and allow thine superiors to precede thee.
  2. Thou shalt not, at any time without special permission from an upper classman, take possession of any boat, except thine own, which floats upon Westhampton lake.
  3. Thou shalt at all meals pour the water and serve the butter, spoon bread, and soup, without murmur or complaint.
  4. For the cultivation of social graces and for the properness of they conduct thou shalt not receive callers (if thou are lucky enough to have any) save in the Blue Room.
Pierpont
Pierpont

In the 1970s, leash laws were not as well enforced as they are today. Neighborhood dogs freely roamed the campus, enjoying the attention and company of students. One dog, a golden retriever nicknamed “Pierpont,” was a particular campus favorite. He purportedly belonged to a doctor who lived close by.

A group of students approached Demetrios Mavroudis, associate professor of art, and asked him to create a sculpture of the dog. He agreed and the sculpture was completed during a three-month period in 1976. Later it was purchased by the Student Union for display. Originally placed in the Fine Arts Building, it was moved to Tyler Haynes Commons in the early 1980s.

Mavoudis had two assistants working with him on the project. When interviewed for an article about the piece, Mavoudis stated that the process was drawn out because Pierpont could not be made to sit still for very long. The sculptor developed a special affection for the dog while he worked on him and praised his elegance and strength.

Pierpont’s statute sits today in the Westhampton hanging lounge.

Old Columbia
Old Columbia

In June 1834, the Virginia Baptist Education Society of Richmond authorized the sale of Spring Farm. The Board wished to obtain property that was closer to the city and to public roads.

Members of the Board authorized the purchase of a property known as Columbia from Mrs. Haxall. This property was about one mile from the western boundary of Richmond and about 1.5 miles from the State Capitol. It was developed to accommodate 60 students. Soon afterward, the Committee on Premises recommended the purchase of an additional six acres adjoining the property. By 1839, it totaled 14 acres and had an appraised value of $20,000.

The first session at Columbia enrolled 60 students, 20 of whom were ministerial students. Tuition was $35, while fees for room, board and washing totaled $65. William Chiles, John O. Turpin and Elias Dodson were the first students who succeeded in passing the senior finals and received the first certificates of graduation from the seminary in 1835.

Subsidizing the education of the ministerial students quickly became an issue. In 1837, the Education Society set our to raise $10,000 to pay off the Seminary's debt and improve operations. Members of the society donated initial gifts totaling about $1700.00.

In 1839, the faculty proposed new requirements for graduation. Four years were required to complete graduation requirements in the literary department, five years in the theological department. The need to raise faculty salaries in order to employ competent teachers was recognized. The salary for Principal Ryland was raised to $900. J. G. Barker, the first assistant, earned a salary of $700 and Joseph S. Walthall, second assistant, was paid $500. The Education Society had paid in full $12,700 worth of debt on the property and an additional $1,200 for improvements. Library holdings at this time were a mere 700 volumes.

Navy V-12
Navy V-12

During World War II, the U.S. Navy supported a large shipbuilding program. There was a corresponding requirement for a large number of officers to man those ships. To help meet the need, the Navy created the V-12 training program in partnership with approximately 130 colleges and universities across the country. Launched in early 1943, the program provided for an accelerated course of college level education and military training to prepare young men to become Navy officers.

In April 1943, President Frederic W. Boatwright announced that the University of Richmond would host a Navy V-12 program. This program helped the University keep enrollment up at a time when military service pulled young men off of college campuses. It helped keep the faculty intact, which allowed the University to ride out this period without losing ground.

V-12 was launched at the University of Richmond on July 1, 1943. Approximately 800 officer candidates were trained here before the unit left campus in October 1945. The Navy assigned officers and non-commissioned officers to oversee the training. The University of Richmond faculty shaped the academic program and taught the classes. Officer candidates enrolled in the program as enlisted men. Some of them had previous college credits, which in some cases could be applied to the program's graduation requirement. The program was designed to be completed in three semesters, without breaks, over a one-year period. V-12 students maintained a 17-hour load and physical conditioning was a part of their training.

The University designated Thomas Hall and Jeter Hall to house the V-12 students. They ate their meals in the refectory and studied in the library. During their time here, these young sailors participated in campus life. It is said that they made outstanding additions to the football, basketball and baseball teams. V-12 students participated in dances, fraternities and other campus organizations.

In October 1996, 56 former V-12 participants assembled on campus for the first reunion of this special group. They presented a replica of the statue of the "Lone Sailor" to the University. This statue honors all U. S. sailors at the U. S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D. C.

Integration
Integration

While jailed on charges related to a peaceful protest against segregation, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote an open letter on April 16, 1963, to members of the white clergy in Birmingham, Alabama.

In his letter, he explained his frustration with those who urged a slower, moderate approach to segregation. He ended by saying:

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

In the spring of 1963, a majority of the members of the Baptist Student Union signed a resolution favoring the following points: "That all applications from qualified Negro students be processed and considered on the same basis as those received from applicants of other races" and "that Negro guests be received on our campus and offered the same courtesies which are extended to other guests." (Collegian, Feb. 14, 1964)

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964. It prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination an illegal act.

In February 1964, the University of Richmond announced that it had racially integrated night courses sponsored by the American Institute of Banking.

In the fall of 1968, The Collegian reported that the first African-American student had enrolled in Richmond College:

Mr. Barry Greene, a freshman with an eye on a biology major, is Richmond College's first Negro dormitory student. A Richmond native, he attended the Peddie School in Heightstown, N. J.

Green says his reception has been much like that of any other student with "half of the student body seeming friendly" and the others indifferent.

Green likes the school because of its size and he says the atmosphere is much like that of the prep school he attended. He plans a freshman course with Russian, math, English, physical education, and biology."
(The Collegian, September 9, 1968)

Incorporation of Richmond College
Incorporation of Richmond College

At a meeting of the Virginia Baptist Education Society on June 3, 1839, members appointed a committee to consider the possibility of seeking a charter of incorporation. A motion was passed to appoint a committee of nine to seek a charter for the college at the next legislature. Colonel Hudgins, Jesse Snead, Archibald Thomas, Dr. A. Snead, Clement F. Read, William Sands, James Sizer, L. W. Allen, and Richard Reins were authorized to present the petition to the General Assembly of Virginia. The society also appointed a committee to raise a $10,000 endowment to support faculty at the Seminary.

On November 18, 1839, the Education Society Board appointed 38 individuals to serve as the first Board of Trustees of Richmond College. On March 4, 1840, the General Assembly passed an act of incorporation. The property of the Baptist Seminary was not tendered to the trustees of Richmond College until January 1843. The transfer was delayed by the initial requirement for the establishment of a $50,000 permanent endowment. At the time of transfer, buildings and grounds were valued at approximately $20,000, the library held 700 volumes. There were three teachers and 68 students, 21 of whom were ministerial beneficiaries.

The seal of the new Richmond College was designed by Andrew Broaddus. The design incorporated an eye looking down from a cloud upon an open volume illuminated by a lamp above it. "The eye may represent human sagacity or divine omniscience, according to the fancy of the observer." The name "Richmond College" is above the cloud with the date of its incorporation. At the bottom of the seal, the legend reads, "Verbum vitae et lumen scientiae."

The University of Richmond Libraries
The University of Richmond Libraries
The Seminary and the College Library

The first catalogue of the Virginia Baptist Seminary noted in 1832 that “it was deemed necessary to spend $1,000 for the purchase of books for a library.” It took two more years for these funds to be collected from donors all over Virginia. The books purchased with these modest funds formed the beginnings of what eventually became the University of Richmond Libraries.
By 1843, three years after Richmond College was chartered, there were 700 volumes in the library. A decade later, the library collection had grown to nearly 1,200 volumes and was housed in a small room in the Main Building, later known as Columbia, on Grace Street in Richmond. The library remained there throughout the Civil War, though most of the Main Building was turned into a Confederate Hospital.

When federal troops occupied Richmond in 1865, the Main Building became living quarters for some of these troops and the library books were removed for safekeeping by the commanding officer. Fewer than 100 volumes were recovered. These still bear the property label of “Virginia Baptist Seminary” and are now housed in the Galvin Rare Book Room.

Richmond College reopened to students on October 1, 1866, without an endowment or a library. In 1867, the Reverend Edward J. Owen of St. Louis presented the College with a gift of more than 2,600 books to start a new library. Many of these volumes still remain in the library, bearing the Rev. Owen’s handwritten name in each volume.

In 1883, the Reverend Dr. Charles H. Ryland was named the first regular College Librarian and Curator of the Museum. The same year saw the opening of Jeter Memorial Hall in the south wing of the Old Richmond College building. Described as a “spacious and elegant apartment,” the library hall was 123 by 43 feet, with a pitch of nearly 22 feet and a capacity of 50,000 volumes.

When Dr. Frederic William Boatwright became College President in 1895, the library collection had grown to 12,000 volumes. By 1905, the library had a small endowment and 15,000 volumes. Soon after, Dr. Boatwright urged the Richmond College Trustees to increase the library’s endowment from $20,000 to $50,000 and to add space and staff for a new library that would better support the institution’s growing needs.

Ryland Hall Library

The period of 1914-1920 was significant for Richmond College and its growing library. Richmond College relocated from its Grace Street site in 1914 to a large tract of land in the Westhampton section of Henrico County. Westhampton College was founded as a coordinate college for women, with its own library reading room located in the North Court building.
Dr. Ryland died in 1914, and was succeeded as Librarian by his daughter, Miss Marion Garnett Ryland. The new Richmond College library was housed in the south wing of Robert Ryland Hall. This wing was named the Charles Ryland Hall to honor Dr. Ryland. Designed by famed architect Ralph Adam Cram, Ryland Hall was a neo-Gothic academic building. The library featured dark oak paneling, recessed alcoves, large leaded windows, and a 24-foot high vaulted ceiling.

During World War I, the new campus was leased to the government for use as a hospital. Consequently, early in 1918, all of the library materials were packed up and temporarily relocated in the old Columbia Building at Lombardy and Grace Streets. The library returned to the Westhampton area campus some 15 months later in 1919. (This excludes the T. C. Williams Law School’s library, which remained in the Columbia Building until 1954, when a new law school building was constructed.)

By 1920, Miss Ryland was requesting additional space for the library. She wrote Dr. Boatwright that “we cannot shelve our books or seat students unless we have more room,” suggesting the use of classrooms in other areas of Ryland for additional library space. This need for more space was an issue over the next 30 years. Classrooms, literary society halls, and faculty offices were used to house library materials. Departmental library reading rooms to house the science collections were opened in Maryland, Puryear, and Richmond Halls in response to space limitations in Ryland Hall.

After Miss Ryland’s death in 1927, Lucy Temple Throckmorton served as “acting librarian” until her retirement in 1955. She continued to communicate the need for adequate library space.

In 1944, plans for a new library were incorporated into a campaign to raise $1,000,000 for a library and other campus buildings. Dr. Reuben E. Alley, a prominent alumnus and editor of the Religious Herald, was appointed chairman of the campaign. The new library was to be built on “the spot which has been reserved for the commanding building of the University.” Dr. Alley recommended to the Trustees and the Baptist General Association that the new library be named to honor President Boatwright.

President Boatwright died in 1951 before the new library became a reality. His belief in the library as the central part of the college experience is expressed in an excerpt from a report in which he wrote, “The library is the most important building in a University … the universal laboratory where every student and every teacher does his work. Especially has the library become more important in the last half century as the emphasis in college education has shifted from teaching to learning. The quality of education provided by a college is directly dependent upon its library, and the educational value of an institution will rise or fall as its library is strong or weak.

Boatwright Memorial Library

The new Boatwright Memorial Library building was completed and dedicated on November 1, 1955. The building included space for the collections of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society and offices for the University’s administration. Designed by the architectural firm of Carneal and Johnston, the library contained space for 150,000 volumes and could seat more than 270 students
In 1955, Dr. Ray W. Frantz, Jr., succeeded Miss Throckmorton as Librarian. Dr. Frantz left in 1960 and Miss Josephine Nunnally served as Acting Librarian from 1960-1967. By the time Artie Kelley became Librarian in 1967, Boatwright Memorial Library and its branch collections had grown to more than 175,000 volumes. Space for books and students was again an issue. Separate library branches had been created in the Business School and for the University College location on Franklin Street. A space needs study for the library was commissioned in 1972. The report recommended building an additional 40,000 square feet to bring the total space to 90,000 square feet. The expanded library would accommodate 500,000 volumes with a Learning Resource Center and auditorium.

The newly renovated and greatly enlarged Boatwright Memorial Library was dedicated in 1976. Incorporated in the building were collections previously located in the Business School, the University College, and the Westhampton College Reading Room. The new building housed one of the first full media resource centers in an undergraduate institution in the country, and a 100-seat auditorium.

Dennis R. Robison became University Librarian when Artie Kelly resigned in 1974. A National Endowment for the Humanities College Library Grant funded a five-year project to help develop library-centered teaching projects, improve reference services, and create a 10-year collection development program. The professional librarians were granted faculty status in 1975.

Two branch libraries were added to the University of Richmond Libraries in the late 1970s. The Music Department Library became a part of the University of Richmond Libraries in 1977. In 1995, it was expanded, relocated, and renamed the Parsons Music Library in the new Modlin Center for the Arts. The Science Library, which incorporated collections from biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and the Virginia Institute for Scientific Research (VISR), opened in the new Gottwald Science Center in 1977. In 2003, the Science Library was relocated to Boatwright Memorial Library, creating the Science Information Center. The Business Library collection, now located in the first floor of Boatwright, became the Robins School of Business Information Center in 1990.

Dennis Robison resigned in 1985. James Gwin, Director of Library Technical Services, served as Acting University Librarian from 1985-1986, again in 1990-1991, and once more from 1995-1998. Dr. John Tyson was named the University’s first African-American Librarian in 1986.

Library quarters became cramped again, and plans for the construction of a second addition to the library were approved by the Trustees in 1987. The 48,000-square-foot wing opened in 1989, and included the greatly enlarged Lora Robins Gallery of Designs from Nature museum. Known for his support and commitment to computer technology for libraries, Dr. Tyson spearheaded the purchase of an integrated library system in 1989.

Dr. Tyson resigned in 1990 to become Director of the Library of Virginia. He was succeeded in 1991 by Dr. Judith Lynn Hunt, who served as University Librarian until 1994. James R. Rettig, from the Swem Library at the College of William & Mary, assumed the position of University Librarian in 1998.

Ellen J. Waite, later Ellen J. Waite-Franzen, became the first Associate Provost for Information Services in 1997. This position included administrative responsibility for the library and for information technology. Ms. Waite-Franzen was later promoted to Vice President for Information Services. She resigned in early 2002 and was succeeded by Kathryn J. Monday.

In recent years, the University has invested in significant upgrades to the library facility and services including the creation of comfortable technology rich learning space on the first and second floors, a single service point, a self-checkout system, a coffee shop, a quiet reading room, and an attractive outdoor patio area. In addition, the library expanded its hours of operation to include 24-hour availability on weekdays during the fall and spring terms.

Friends of Boatwright Memorial Library

In 1970-71, the University Library Committee, Librarian Artie Kelly, and Director of Development H. Gerald Quigg worked together to create a Friends organization for Boatwright Memorial Library. On September 9, 1971, the organization became the Friends of the Boatwright Memorial Library. Mrs. Ellen Boatwright Lynch, Dr. Boatwright’s daughter, became the first Chairman, with Artie Kelly as Secretary. The membership organization was formed, in part, to provide expanded funding support and encourage gifts and bequests for library materials, programs, and staff development. Some 30 years later, the organization had grown to a membership of nearly 300 and given more than $200,000 to support the library and its programs.

The Founders and the Seminary
The Founders and the Seminary

On June 8, 1830, during the annual meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, a number of ministers and individuals interested in the cause of education came together at Second Baptist Meetinghouse in Richmond. They discussed plans to create a seminary for the purpose of training young men for the ministry. At that meeting, the Virginia Baptist Education Society was formed and charged with creating a plan. The sum of $250 was pledged to the project at that time. Jeremiah Bell Jeter and James B. Taylor, both young ministers, were leaders of the initiative.

At a meeting on August 26, 1830, the Education Society Board approved a course of study for the seminary and defined the session term. Two divisions of study, literary and theological, were approved. The school session was to be 10 months long, beginning October 1 and ending August 1. The committee decided to require two years of study in the Theological Department, or three years if the student had no knowledge of English language and literature. Edward Baptist, Vice-President of the Educational Society, was appointed to be the first teacher.

Six students attended the first school session, which was held at Dunlora in Powhatan County. William Allgood of Dinwiddie was the first student enrolled. Dunlora was the home of Mrs. Ann Hickman. Mrs. Hickman was a relative of Edward Baptist. She provided accommodations for students for $60 for the year. The following year, Eli Ball took students into his home for instruction and Edward Baptist agreed to continue instructing students.

At a meeting held on March 31, 1832, the Education Society agreed to purchase a tract of land to house a seminary to be named "The Virginia Baptist Seminary." The society named Robert Ryland as superintendent, at a salary of $400 per year. Henry Keeling was offered a salary of $360 to serve as agent for the Seminary.

In July 1832, the trustees of the Education Society purchased about 224 acres, known as Spring Farm, for $4,000. The Seminary was established on this property. Buildings on the property provided space to accommodate up to 40 students.

Students were required to be at least 14 years old to enroll. Tuition was set at $30 for the year, board was $60, fees for washing and fuel added $5 to the cost. The Seminary focused on a "literary" or general education. Non-ministerial students were required to pay their own tuition.

Students were required to do manual labor on the farm in order to help cover operating expenses. The labor was unpopular with the students and was abandoned within a few years.

In June of 1834, the Board authorized the sale of Spring Farm in order to move the Seminary to a more desirable location.

First Computer System
First Computer System

On February 18, 1964, a new IBM 1620 computer system was installed on the third floor of the business school building. A small crane lifted sections of the system, which were then pulled in through a third-floor window. The business school planned to use the computer in giving students experience with modern data processing. The departments of mathematics, physics and chemistry also planned to use the new systems for programming classes and research. Dr. E. Sherman Grable of the mathematics department offered two of the first classes in programming and a seminar on “electronic processing” in business.

The system included the IBM 1620, an IBM 1622 card reader/punch, a collator, a sorter and printer. The cost of the equipment was approximately $100,000. This early computer used the Fortran language.

In addition to the academic applications, the computer system was used by the admissions office and to process grades. Frederick A. Shahda, assistant director of computer systems, reported that a program was created to predict applicants’ chances of graduating from college with a C+ average by processing their high school rank, class size, and College Board scores.

Pictures of the computer being installed in the business school can be found in the February 21, 1964, edition of The Collegian. The December 11, 1964, edition pictures sophomore Ellen Sanderson who beat the computer in a baseball game.

Flood of 1979
Flood of 1979

At the end of September 1979, Richmond was experiencing heavy rains and flooding. A flash flood on September 30, 1979, caused extensive water damage, especially in the residence halls.  University employees worked around the clock to repair damage and dry carpets. Some students were relocated while their rooms were treated. Campus phone service was interrupted temporarily by the flood.

High water swept two cars off of Boatwright Drive, across the lake, under the Commons, and over the dam.  One Westhampton College senior escaped from her car before it went over the dam, assisted by campus police and another student.  She was taken to St. Mary's hospital after the incident and was treated for shock and bruises. The second car, belonging to a male student, was reportedly found some time later in the upper branches of some trees, illustrating just how high the water had been.

The Daisy Chain
The Daisy Chain

Westhampton College sophomore and senior women began participating in the Daisy Chain ceremony as part of the commencement exercises in 1915. This tradition was initiated by Dean Keller to honor the special relationship between the sophomore class and their senior “big sisters.”

In those early years, the sophomore class would rise early on the appointed day. They would walk or be transported to fields near campus to pick flowers for the daisy chain. In addition to daisies, ivy and honeysuckle might also be woven into the chain. After the flowers were gathered, the sophomores would return to campus to attend a breakfast hosted by the senior women. After the breakfast, the sophomores would construct the daisy chain using plant material and rope.

When the time for the ceremony arrived, seniors in their caps and gowns and sophomores in white dresses participated in the daisy chain ceremony. Seniors contributed handmade, white satin pillows that were placed on the shoulders of the sophomores as they carried the Daisy Chain. The pillows were embroidered or hand-painted with class numerals or flowers. Sophomores carried the daisy chain and presented it to the seniors, singing a special song written for the event. After the daisy chain was presented, the women formed the Westhampton “W.”

By the early 1950s, students were questioning the need for this tradition, given the effort that it required during a very hectic time of year. Editorials and letters to the editor started to appear in The Collegian. In later years, the ceremony was abbreviated or skipped altogether. For some time, the daisy chain was included as part of the May Day ceremony.

Daisies and daisy chains continue to be incorporated into Westhampton College ceremonies. Today, Westhampton seniors carry a Daisy Chain into Cannon Memorial Chapel each year at the beginning of Proclamation Night. On this night, first year women promise to uphold the Honor Code and are officially recognized as members of the college community.

Ralph Adams Cram
Ralph Adams Cram

In 1863, Ralph Adams Cram was born in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire to William Augustine Cram, a Unitarian minister, and Sarah Elizabeth Blake Cram. At only eighteen, Cram left home for Boston, to apprentice for five years with the architecture firm of Rotch and Tilden. During this time Cram published his designs in magazines and his art criticism in The Boston Evening Transcript. He went to work for The Boston Evening Transcript in 1886 and over the next few years made trips to Europe that shaped his career. Not only did the trips ultimately influence his style and studies, but it was on these trips that Cram befriended a Maryland architect, T. Henry Randall, who helped persuade Cram to return to practicing architecture.

In doing so, Cram established his own architecture practice in Boston with colleague Charles Francis Wentworth in 1889, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue joined later that year as draftsman. In 1891, they received their first major commission from All Saints in Ashmont. In 1902, the firm then Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson opened an office in New York. All Saints was the first of many churches to be built in Cram's Gothic style that would ultimately, in 1907, earn Cram, Goodhue, & Ferguson the commission of Saint Thomas Church in New York. Cram also co-founded the Boston Society of the Arts and Crafts and the "Knight Errant" quarterly magazine, as well as publishing several books on architecture.

In 1900, he married Elisabeth "Bess" Carrington Read and took an extended honeymoon trip to Northern Italy. In 1901, he took his first commission in Virginia with Sweet Briar College whom he associated with through the 1920's. Shortly after relocating the firm to New York in 1902, they received a commission to design buildings at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1907, in addition to the prestigious Saint Thomas commission, Cram accepted the position of supervising architect with Princeton University – a position he held until 1929. And just prior to working with University of Richmond, he also became the chief architect at Rice University in Houston.

In 1910, President Boatwright and the trustees commissioned the firm of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson to design the new campus for Richmond College and Westhampton College. Cram was already a very well-known architect and the "world’s most persuasive and passionate advocate for the Gothic style." By 1914, when Richmond College and Westhampton College began classes on the new west end campus, he had already received national acclaim for his work on Princeton University and West Point.

The Richmond College commission was slightly unique, however, involving 300 acres of suburban forestland. With Richmond and Westhampton, Cram "had a clean palette. Here, starting from scratch, he could express most purely the medievalism he believed so vehemently could ennoble American campuses, and by extension, future generations."

Cram told a group of Princeton alumni in 1908: "One of the essential elements of all education is that students feel themselves surrounded… by… definite law, from which there is, however, a way out into the broadest and highest freedom. This must absolutely be shown in the material form of the university."

In June of 1913, Cram spoke at the cornerstone laying on the new Richmond campus. He shared with students and faculty his vision for the campus, "What we are trying to do is to abandon all that is ephemeral and time-saving in architecture and go back to the perfect style that was developed by our own kin in the old home overseas, to express just these high and eternal ideals of education that were so calculated to breed high character, and did breed it, as history shows."

Ralph Adams Cram died in Boston in 1942.

-- excerpted from: "Ralph Adams Cram, The University of Richmond, and the Gothic Style Today" published by the Marsh Art Gallery, University of Richmond. 1997.

The Collegian
The Collegian

Volume I of The Collegian, “A Spider Publication for Spiders,” was published on November 25, 1914. That first year, the weekly paper was published on Fridays and was four pages long. Single copies were 5 cents, and an annual subscription could be purchased for $1.

John Archer Carter was the first editor-in-chief. He transferred to Richmond College from the University of Arizona, where he had been editor-in-chief of University Life. Other students who played a role in establishing the paper were Roger Milhiser, Alvah Hovey, Victor Metcalf, and E. W. Miller.

In an article he wrote to mark the 25th anniversary of the Collegian, Carter credits Roger Milhiser with contributing to the early success of the paper by acting as its business manager. Florence Boston and Weston Bristow served as assistant editors-in-chief. Dave Satterfield, who later became a third district Congressman, was an associate editor.

In the early days, the Collegian office was in room D-4 of Dormitory 2, later named Thomas Hall. Raising funds for operations was a tough job the first year, as advertising income was slim.

In a 1914 article called “The Weekly – Why, and How?” the editors discuss the purpose of establishing this weekly paper. “We must have something to create new bonds, and to strengthen old bonds of acquaintanceship; something to advertise Greater Richmond College; something to educate in the cognizance of the several things happening around us, and lastly, to act as a revolutionary force… So let The Collegian be to us, the living, breathing, fighting expression of student ideas

The Civil War and the University of Richmond
The Civil War and the University of Richmond

Richmond College, like most of Virginia, was devastated by the Civil War years. Most of the students left to enlist in the Confederate military after April 1861. Soon after, Columbia Hall, which housed most of the college, was converted into a hospital for Confederate troops. Not long after the fall of Richmond in April 1865, federal authorities quartered a regiment of troops in Columbia Hall and the other buildings on the campus. The furnishings, desks, laboratory equipment, and library were all removed.

Nothing was ever returned, and only 60 or 70 books from the original library were ever recovered, mostly from Richmond College faculty. Richmond College had lost not only its property, library, and equipment, but also its endowment resources. The endowment, which stood at $100,000 in 1861, had been invested in Confederate bonds during the war and was virtually worthless in 1865. Two former faculty members were allowed to conduct a private school on the premises for a year, taking no salaries.

With the help of the Baptist General Association of Virginia and a $5,000 initial gift, Richmond College reopened on October 1, 1866. Pledges were made for an endowment, new science equipment, furnishings, and a gift of over 2,500 books towards a new library. Tiberius Gracchus Jones was selected as the second President of Richmond College in 1866.

A Christmas Wish from 1914
A Christmas Wish from 1914

From the December 16, 1914, edition of The Collegian:

That you may find smile-lit faces and loving hearts awaiting you.

That you may take long walks with home friends down old paths in harmony of spirit, and that the fire-glow at night may be out-shone by the faces of the mystic circle.

That there may be new books to read in quietude and peace, old loved books to be caressed by your hands, and re-read in the light of the “living-room lamp,” as in the yesterdays.

That there may be gifts, not precious in that they cost much, but that they are given in love.

That you may be rested in the beautiful home life where rest is most soothing and strengthening.

That the turkey be fat, and the dressing be well seasoned.

These are the Christmas wishes of THE COLLEGIAN.

Chapel Organ
Chapel Organ

When the Henry Mansfield Cannon Memorial Chapel was completed in the fall of 1929, there was no organ and no individual donor came forward to help purchase one. In 1933, the sophomore class of Westhampton College sponsored the creation of an Organ Fund. The April 28, 1936, edition of the Collegian reported that a pipe organ suitable for the chapel would cost approximately $8,000. It was suggested that more class gifts be contributed to the Organ Fund. That same year, Mr. and Mrs. F. Flaxington Harker and the Walter D. Moses Company arranged for the loan of an instrument for a special Vespers service.

By the autumn of 1936, the chapel was redecorated and a new organ and amplification system was installed. Most of the funds for the organ came from contributions from students and faculty. The Hammond electric organ was used until 1961, when the current Beckerath pipe organ was built.

The German organ builder, Rudolph von Beckerath, prepared the drawings and had the organ built in Hamburg, Germany. The pieces were then shipped to the United States in 36 crates. Three workers arrived from Hamburg to install the instrument over the course of nine weeks under the guidance of UR’s music director, Dr. John White, and UR’s organist, Suzanne Kidd Bunting. Von Beckerath later traveled to Richmond to supervise the final installation and to voice the pipes.

In 1961, the organ was valued at approximately $35,000. It was the third Beckerath organ in the United States. The organ has 1,200 pipes of tin, lead, and wood; the largest measures 16 feet, and the shortest is smaller and thinner than a soda straw. There are 40 ranks of pipes, and there is a direct connection between each key and each pipe that creates the sound. One of the installers, Cris Linde, was quoted as saying, “You can achieve much more precision with a mechanical organ than with an electrical one.” This instrument is particularly suited to performing music of 17th and 18th century Germany. The organ was dedicated on February 9, 1962 with a concert by Robert Noehren of the University of Michigan.

The Founding of the Law School
The Founding of the Law School

A Law School was established at the University of Richmond in 1870, at the recommendation of a committee of Trustees. Judge J. D. Halyburton, Dr. J.L.M Curry, and Judge William Green were the first faculty members. James Neeson and William A. Maury joined the faculty in 1872.

Judge Green delivered the introductory lecture on October 10, 1870, during which he advised students that "Courts of Justice are the most important of human institutions among civilized men... It is therefore a blessing to the community when these are filled with able and upright magistrates."

There were no entrance requirements for the first class and some were not prepared for the academic rigor of the program. Eight students were able to complete the work and graduate in one year. Lectures were conducted in the evening so that students could work during the day and attend court sessions. The school’s location in Richmond allowed students to observe all courts of record except the Supreme Court.

Thirty-six students graduated during the school’s first four years of operation. After four years, the Law School suspended operation for three years during a period of difficult economic times in Virginia. Samuel Davis served as the only professor when the school resumed operations. It was not unusual for students to read the law under the supervision and instruction of an experienced lawyer.

The school operated in this fashion from 1877 to 1882, enrolling a total of 62 students. In 1882, operation was suspended for a second time until 1890. In 1890, the family of T. C. Williams donated $25,000 to found the T. C. Williams Professorship of Law. This was just the first of several gifts from the Williams family and ensured the continued operation of the school. Judge Roger Gregory was selected as the first professor to fill the T. C. Williams chair. For five years, he served as the sole faculty member and carried the school. Fourteen students enrolled when the school opened in 1890.

Enrollment steadily increased over the next several years. A gift from Mrs. Harriet M. Purcell provided the foundation for a Law Library.