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The departmental structure of the university also expanded to reflect the widening body of knowledge and more specialized subjects in the modern curriculum. Latin and Greek remained important departments, but modern languages were divided into departments of German and the Romance languages. Separate departments emerged for oratory and for rhetoric and English literature. Mental and moral philosophy became simply philosophy, and Biblical literature was renamed the English Bible, which was required of all students. Joining chemistry and physics as independent departments were botany and zoology, formerly united in the department of biology. Astronomy was separated from mathematics and history from political science, though the latter still included work in sociology and economics.

Concomitant with these changes was the tendency toward increasing professionalization and specialization of the faculty. The first DePauw professors with earned doctorates were Wilbur V. Brown in mathematics and Oliver P. Jenkins in biology. Both received their degrees in the late 1880s, Brown from Stevens Institute and Jenkins from Indiana University. President John added three more men with Ph.D.s - Eugene W. Manning in Romance languages, Lucien M. Underwood in botany, and Andrew Stephenson in history - as well as several others with advanced training short of the doctorate. Among the latter were Joseph P. Naylor in physics, William E. Smyser in English, and Jesse F. Brumbaugh in rhetoric.



There was also a continuing secularization of the faculty. Except for the president himself and holders of the chairs in philosophy and Bible, DePauw professors were no longer expected to be ordained clergymen, though most were presumably Methodist church-goers. After long student agitation against the compulsory Sunday afternoon faculty lectures, the John administration first reduced their frequency and finally eliminated them altogether.

A revolution in teaching methods took place at this time with the disappearance of the daily class recitations, so long a fixture in American college education. Their place was taken by classroom lectures, laboratory exercises, and library research assignments. Professors Edwin Post in Latin, James R. Weaver in political science, and Andrew Stephenson in history conducted German-style seminars for advanced students, and the latter two established departmental library-laboratories funded by student fees. The chemistry laboratory in the East College basement and the physics and biological laboratories in Middle College began to be furnished with increased amounts of equipment, enabling them to play a much larger role in education in the natural sciences.

Organized sports were beginning to find an accepted place in the early DePauw years, though with little official encouragement. In 1890 students organized an athletic association with the help of a few faculty members to support varsity teams in baseball and football. At the same time DePauw joined with Indiana, Purdue, Butler, Wabash, and Rose Polytechnic to form the Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association under the auspices of the state YMCA. The next year the faculty voted strict eligibility rules for participating athletes and appointed a special committee to oversee intercollegiate competition.

At first the lack of a suitable playing field hampered all such efforts. Banned from the campus proper by the administration, varsity teams resorted to a rough field west of the city beyond the Monon Railroad tracks. After a long campaign by students and faculty to obtain better facilities closer to campus, land was purchased on West Hanna Street in 1895 for McKeen Field, named for the president of the Vandalia Railroad, W.R. McKeen, who made the first major contribution to the project. It was formally dedicated in October of that year with a football victory over Indiana University.

Basketball was introduced in the mid-1890s as a "mild form of work for the winter months," as the college catalogue put it, and was apparently played chiefly by coeds at first. The lack of adequate indoor court facilities slowed its development as an intercollegiate sport. Annual field days were held from an early period and time records kept for DePauw athletes as early as 1893. In that year the first black athlete at DePauw, James U. Turner, held the college record for both the 100 and 220 yard dash. Both men and women played tennis on improvised grass courts on the East College lawn.

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