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College Archives:

Franklin & Marshall College Historical Timeline

Time Periods

20th Century

1900: First basketball game is held against Millersville Normal School.

1902: Science Building dedicated. The new building houses the chemistry, biology, physics, and geology laboratories. It also includes new lecture halls, the college museum, and the president's office.

1903: Jubilee Celebration of the chartering of Franklin and Marshall College. At the request of the Alumni Association, Professor Joseph Henry Dubbs publishes the first history of Franklin and Marshall College.

1908: A new Academy Building is constructed on campus with substantial help from Andrew Carnegie.

1910: Dr. Henry H. Apple is inaugurated as the 5th president of Franklin and Marshall College. The main address is given by Woodrow Wilson, President of Princeton University. President Apple is a graduate of the Franklin and Marshall class of 1889 and son of former president Thomas Gilmore Apple. He serves as president until 1935.

1915: Franklin & Marshall football team finally defeats Penn, 10-0.

Bonfires were a traditional conclusion to early football games. This bonfire dates from 1917.

1916: Inspired by World War I, students form a military drill program at Franklin and Marshall. More than 200 students are enlisted by the end of the year, including half the senior class.

1917: As a result of wartime rationing, Old Main closes to save coal. Professors hold classes in the Science Building and Library.

1918: U.S. Army Instrument Repair Branch, also known as the Bowman Technical School, is established on campus. The old Franklin and Marshall Academy Building (East Hall) serves as barracks.

1918 (September): The majority of Franklin and Marshall students are inducted into the Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.), under the direction of West Point graduate Lt. George L. Dernier. Following the November 11th Armistice, the S.A.T.C. is demobilized and the college resumes normal activities in the spring.

Student physical training during WWI.

1919: The department of Education is established.

1920: Enrollment begins to rise from around 300 students in 1920, to over 750 students by the year 1930.

1921: The department of Economics and Business Administration is established.

Rendering of Biesecker Gymnasium, ca. 1925 (top) and Interior view of Hensel Hall shorly after completion, 1927.

1924: The architectural firm of Klauder and Day presents master campus plan in the Colonial Revival style. Dietz-Santee dormitory, Meyran-Franklin dormitory, Biesecker Gymnasium, and Hensel Hall are all completed within three years. Two additional dormitories are planned, but never constructed.

1924: First wrestling match is held.

1928: St. Stephens Reformed congregation, worshipping in the College Chapel since 1865, dissolved due to declining membership. While weekday chapel attendance is still required, the College abolishes mandatory attendance at Sunday services recognizing that fewer Reformed-Church affiliated students are enrolled at F&M.

1935: Dr. John Ahlum Schaeffer is elected 6th president of Franklin and Marshall College. Dr. Schaeffer is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, class of 1904. He is the first president to hold a PhD, and the first not to be a minister. He serves until his sudden death in the spring of 1941.

1936: John Peifer, Jr. takes over the college's small band after graduating from Franklin and Marshall College. The band progresses from 28 original marchers in 1936, to over 90 marchers in the 1950's.

1937: The sesquicentennial celebration of Franklin College is held in mid-October. Current student enrollment is 800. A commemorative plaque celebrating the sesquicentennial of Franklin College and the signing of the United States Constitution is presented to the college by the Lancaster County Historical Society.

1937: Keiper Liberal Arts building dedicated. Watts de Peyster Library razed.

Keiper Hall cornerstone laying ceremony, November 1936.

1937: 17 Alumni Association chapters exist across the country, including in New York City, Baltimore, Washington DC, and as far west as Cleveland and Chicago.

1938: Fackenthal Library dedicated on former site of Watts de Peyster Library.

1939: Aviation program started in Keiper Liberal Arts building. Eventually, it became a government sponsored flight school with 40 faculty members.

1940: The third floor of Keiper Liberal Arts is used as an airplane training area for the flight school. Two planes are moved into the building in pieces, then reassembled on the top floor.

1941: Upon the sudden death of President Schaeffer, History professor Dr. H. M. J. Klein serves as temporary president.

1941: In the fall, Theodore A. Distler is elected 7th president of Franklin and Marshall College. He arrives on campus one week before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

1942: Women attend regular summer school courses.

1942: Franklin and Marshall Academy closed. Building renamed Hartman Hall in 1946 after longtime academy headmaster Edwin M. Hartman.

1943: The war training school is judged by the Navy to be the best of 90 such college programs in the country. The Navy V-12, and V-5 programs train pilots, deck, and engineering officers. Campus House (Distler House) is converted into a dining hall. It is the first on-campus dining facility since the demolition of Harbaugh Hall in 1900.

1945: Enrollment is less than 500 students. In July, the faculty numbers 28.

1945: President Distler surveys other American liberal arts colleges, and considers the question of co-education at Franklin and Marshall College.

1946: With the end of the war, enrollment grows to over 1200. There is a critical shortage of faculty. Spring term brings four coeds to campus enrolled as pre-med students.

1950 (Fall): F&M football team celebrates and undefeated season.

1952: At the request of the Alumni Association, Professor emeritus H.M.J. Klein publishes the second history of Franklin and Marshall College, 1787-1948. The history emphasizes Franklin and Marshall College from 1900 to the end of World War II.

1954: President Distler resigns to become president of the Association of American Colleges.

1955: William Webster Hall is elected 8th president of Franklin and Marshall College. Within two years, he is forced to resign due to medical reasons.

1955: Goethean and Diagnothian Literary Societies merge due to declining student interest.

1957: Dr. Frederick DeWolf Bolman Jr. is inaugurated 10th president of Franklin and Marshall College. He serves until 1962.

1959: Marshall-Buchanan Residence Hall constructed.

1960s-: Glory days of the Franklin and Marshall Protest Tree outside Distler Hall. On the tree, students protested everything from segregation, to the Vietnam War, to the college food service's abysmal Thanksgiving dinners.

Students examine the postings on the protest tree.

1961 (April): Students riot in front of the President's house and Hensel Hall, burning effigies and college property in protest of administration policies.

1962: President Bolman forced to resign in a dispute with the Board of Trustees. Anthony R. Appel named to the presidency but resigns within a week due to faculty outrage over the Board's method of replacing Bolman. Dean G. Wayne Glick named acting or interim President.

1963: Mandatory chapel attendance is abolished.

1963: Keith Spalding is elected 11th president of Franklin and Marshall College. He serves until his retirement in 1983.

1963 (December 12): Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visits campus as part of the Topics Lecture Series. He addresses a capacity crowd of 3,300 at the Mayser Center.

1964: College begins the Pre-College Enrichment program (PREP), providing eight weeks of preparation-for-college instruction to economically and educationally disadvantaged African-American high-school graduates.

1964: Ben Franklin Residence Halls constructed.

1965: "Mezey affair." Visiting English instructor Robert Mezey suspended after being accused of urging students to burn their draft cards. He was later reinstated.

1967: Grundy Observatory constructed.

1967: Pfeiffer Science Complex opened. Building later renovated and renamed Hackman Physical Sciences Laboratories.

1968: Thomas Residence Hall constructed.

1968: Construction of Whitely Psychological Labs.

1969: Franklin-Meyran Residence Hall converted to office space.

1969: Herman Arts Center opens.

1969 (May 22): "May 22nd incident." Black students block the final examination in the history course "The Black Experience in America," demanding an apology from the faculty for exploitation and an "A" in the course.

1969: College ends its formal affiliation with the United Church of Christ, and becomes a secular school.

1969: Continuing a trend in single-sex schools across the country, the Board of Trustees decide to admit women to Franklin and Marshall College in the fall of 1969, officially making the school co-educational. Franklin and Marshall men heartily support the decision.

1970: "Lazroe-Mayer incident." Students protest the administration's failure to rehire popular sociology instructor Anthony Lazroe and history instructor Henry Mayer. The protest culminates in the East Hall sit-in on April 30, where students took over the building for several hours.

1974: Black Student Union and Black Cultural Center founded.

1975: Hartman Hall razed. Hartman Green dedicated in 1978.

1976: Steinman College Center constructed.

1977: East Hall razed.

1979 (March): Three Mile Island nuclear accident forces the College to close for a short time.

1982: The Alumni Association receives a major gift from an alumnus to establish a separate endowment and operating budget. Thanks to additional contributions combined with prudent management, the Association's endowment now totals more than $1 million.

1983: James Lawrence Powell is elected 12th president of Franklin and Marshall College. He serves as president until 1988.

1983: Renovations to Fackenthal Library completed. Expanded and modernized building renamed Shadek-Fackenthal Library.

1985: Stahr Hall renovations completed. Building renamed Stager Hall.

1987: College celebrates bicentennial of Franklin College. Celebrations include Benjamin Franklin sculpture, Bicentennial Tapestry, John Marshall window, and publication of Hullabaloo Nevonia.

Benjamin Franklin impersonator Sam Kressen at Bicentennial celebration.

1987/88: The College formally "derecognizes" F&M fraternities.

1988: A. Richard Kneedler is elected 13th president of Franklin and Marshall College. He serves until his retirement in 2002.

1991: Martin Library of the Sciences opens, housing the college's science collection and computing center.

1995: Alumni Sports and Fitness Center opens on site of former ice rink.

2000: Hensel Hall opens after extensive renovations. Auditorium is renamed Barshinger Center for Musical Arts.

2000: Phillips Museum of Art opens including the Dana, Rothman, and Curriculum galleries.


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08/13/12- mrl


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