From time to time the University of Lynchburg has gone to the dogs—at least in my memory. I well recall Trooper, a large black and white spaniel who guarded his mistress, Margaret Candler ’60, whenever she was on campus. She was a town student whose family lived on College Street.
Last week as Hurricane Michael approached Central Virginia representatives from the City of Lynchburg echoed their strident remarks about College Lake—a local landmark that vanished during the night of August 2, 2018. The powers that be in City Hall have ignored the problems associated with College Lake that have been accumulating for years like the silt and Escherichia coli which now fill the site. When the long-neglected dam—which the city owns—seemed on the verge of collapsing, the order was given that that lake be drained, and thus was removed part of the legacy of our fourth president, Dr. John T.T. Hundley, who was elected to that office on June 7, 1915. He would alter the very character of the college during his twenty-one tenure.
Last Thursday, my retirement at the end of this academic year was announced on social media, and in a heartbeat, it was all over the web. Sixty years ago, an announcement of this kind would have been appeared first in The Critograph. My career in collegiate journalism began in September 1958, but by the time I graduated in 1962, I had worked on all the Lynchburg College publications, edited The Prism, and was President of The Board of Publications.
On April 18, 1903, Dr. Josephus Hopwood and the men who would form the core of the first Board of Trustees of Virginia Christian College paid $13,500 ($382,000 in 2018 dollars) for the deserted Westover Hotel, its contents, and a large tract of land. The defunct resort had been built in 1890 during a nationwide land boom as the anchor of the West Lynchburg Land Company. Read more
One hundred years ago the members of the Class of 1918 were preparing for graduation and the challenges facing the United States during the second year of America’s involvement in the Great War. Their diplomas would be the last ones to bear the name Virginia Christian College.
Today the members of the Class of 2018 are preparing for graduation and the challenges facing our nation in the complex world in which we live today. Their diplomas will be the last to bear the name Lynchburg College.Read more
Until last year, Lynchburg College was the only senior institution of higher learning in our area that did not have a building on either the Virginia Landmarks Register or the National Register of Historic Places on its main campus. On Saturday morning at 11:15 we shall gather on the porch of Hopwood Hall to unveil and dedicate the bronze plaque that corrects that omission. Hopwood Hall has received both honors.
Two events mark the beginning of the end of the academic session, the Student Scholar Showcase and the Academic Awards Banquet. This year they both occurred last week, the former on Wednesday and the latter on Friday. A month from now we shall be in the midst of graduation weekend; where does the time go?
Last week both students and faculty were able to enjoy the 18th annual Student Scholar Showcase because there were no classes. Those persons who were responsible for organizing this wonderful activity have my sincere admiration. However, this experience reminds me of what I learned of a similar annual affair which occurred before I entered Lynchburg College. Read more
It has been often said that each one of us had a double somewhere in the world. As a historian, I tend to equate the people I know with historical personalities. One member of our faculty resembled the great Greek philosopher, Socrates. Another could have been the twin of the Italian patriot, Giuseppe Garibaldi. A retired member of the administration was a “dead ringer” for Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, the father of Italian unification. Don Evans, who taught art at Lynchburg College from 1948 until his retirement in 1983, not only looked like the greatest of the French philosophes, François Marie Arouet de Voltaire, he acted like him.Read more
Last week while I was waxing nostalgic about the play, “Journey’s End,”I only briefly mentioned the man responsible for our being there in the first place. There were dramatic presentations at Lynchburg College from 1903, but until 1949 there was no department of dramatic arts; then Bob Hailey arrived. Over the next 44 years, Dr. Robert Carter Hailey Sr. built one of the most popular programs and departments on campus. He essentially started with nothing, and when he retired in 1993, the Dillard Fine Arts Center was regarded by many as proof that dreams really do come true. Of course, Bob did not accomplish great things without the help of hundreds of students and faculty members, but he was like the Pied Piper.Read more
As part of the history department’s celebration of Women’s History Month, last Wednesday Jane VanBoskirk, ’70 presented her one-woman show “Eleanor Roosevelt – Across a Barrier of Fear” to an enthusiastic “town and gown” audience. As perhaps the most influential First Lady in our nation’s history, Mrs. Roosevelt served as the eyes and ears of her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was a victim of polio. She was also one of his most trusted advisers, and there were only a few New Deal programs implemented between 1933 and 1945 that she did not influence. She was dedicated to gender equality, racial equality and providing the less fortunate with every possible opportunity to build better lives for themselves and their families. Read more
During spring break I received several pieces of mail dealing with the commemoration of the centennial of the end of World War I, which will take place on November 11, 2018. Even one of my favorite television programs, “Timeless,” marked its return to primetime with an episode dealing with the Great War. All this brought to mind one of my fondest memories of my years at Lynchburg College. In the spring of 1966, Robert Hailey directed R.C. Sheriff’s award-winning drama Journey’s End. First produced in London in 1928, the play is set in a British army dugout near Saint-Quentin, Aisne, France in late March 1918. Hailey was finishing his doctorate, and this production was one of the final projects required for the completion of his degree at Case-Western Reserve University. Read more
In 1921, Irving Berlin, one of America’s most popular composers, had a string of hits including “Say It With Music,” and that is exactly what the Lynchburg College Wind Symphony and Orchestra with the Community Big Band did last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. It was the latest installment in the annual series, “A Night at the Movies.” It is one of the few bright spots in the gloomy winter days that form the first half of the second semester, and “To Tame the Perilous Skies: Aviation in Film” did not disappoint. Sydnor Performance Hall was decorated with posters and memorabilia from World Wars I and II, and a number of the participants were in uniform. As the program progressed from one of my favorite pieces of cinematic nonsense, “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines” to the moving “Tuskegee Airmen Suite” I realized that in a very special way our music department was bringing to a close the annual commemoration of Black History Month.Read more
It was both with relief and trepidation I learned that because of my performance on the entrance exams I could satisfy the first-year English requirement by taking an accelerated three-hour course, instead of the regular six-hour sequence. I felt relief that I would have a three-hour elective and trepidation that covering a year’s work in a semester might prove daunting. I decided to accept the challenge. Thus, I met Dr. Ellis Shorb, who taught at Lynchburg College from 1954 to 1963; in that short time he left a lasting positive impression on hundreds of students, because he was not only a master teacher, but also a remarkable man who had led a very adventurous life.Read more
In 1903, the year that Josephus and Sarah LaRue Hopwood founded Virginia Christian College—now Lynchburg College and soon to be the University of Lynchburg—most of the institutions of higher learning in the United States were single sex. However, a public distrust of coeducation did not deter Dr. Hopwood from pursuing what he considered “God’s divine plan,” but numerous barriers were in place on campus to deflect Cupid’s arrows.Read more
Recently, a friend asked me if I could translate a chapter in a book which contained information that they needed to complete a presentation they were preparing. The work in question was only available in German; I did not hesitate. It was a challenge, but it was also mentally invigorating.My study of the German language began while I was a student at Lynchburg College, and it continues to this very day. Except for a very brief period in the 1990s, the study of the German language and literature has been an important part of our curriculum since 1903. Even during the two world wars classes in German were on our campus.Read more