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Murlin set the tone for his administration by canvassing students,
faculty, alumni, and others to obtain suggestions concerning the
university's needs. In an attempt to strengthen the academic program
he established faculty committees dealing with educational policy
and the curriculum. A new statement of purpose that stood unchanged
for decades was adopted. In it the university's intellectual aim
was described as "to encourage the search for truth, to develop
the ability to think clearly, accurately, constructively, and fearlessly
on all subjects, and to express (one's) thoughts effectively."
On Murlin's recommendation the faculty also voted to restrict admission
to the university to those graduating in the upper two-thirds of
their high school class.
Fallass was one of three who earned a
Ph.D degree from DePauw (1888). She then
taught history and mathematics in the
preparatory department from 1888 to 1891.
She became the wife of President Lemuel H.
Murlin (1925-1928) and left a bequest to
endow the President's office.
One of Murlin's first steps was to deal with the athletic situation
at DePauw. Dissatisfaction had been mounting with the alumni-controlled
Athletic Board, which managed all intercollegiate sports, hiring
and firing coaches, recruiting athletes, and handling financing.
Persuading the trustees to eliminate the Athletic Board, he restored
control of intercollegiate sports to a committee composed of members
of the faculty and administration and named William L. Hughes to
the dual position of professor of physical education and director
of athletics. For the first time all athletic activities, both intercollegiate
and intramural, as well as the required physical education work,
came under the authority of a regular department of the university.
Besides Hughes the physical education department gained the services
of William E. Search, Donavan C. Moffett, and Catherine Riggs, who
joined Leroy C. Buchheit, Rachel J. Benton, and Lucy T. Bowen.
the new system interest in athletics rose to greater heights. Hundreds
of students, both men and women, participated actively in intramural
sports, while varsity teams chalked up winning seasons in baseball,
football, basketball, and track. A disproportionately large number
of the first persons named to DePauw's Athletic Hall of Fame came
from this period, including John W. Ward '27, Andrew J. Ramsey '30,
Marion L. Crawley '30, and Mary Washburn (Conklin) '28. The last
went on to become the only DePauw athlete to win a medal in the
Olympic Games, when she competed in the women's 400 meter relay
race in Amsterdam in the year of her graduation.
strengthen the administration, Dean Edwin Post was joined in 1926
by an associate dean who was placed in charge of academic affairs.
The first incumbent of this office, Professor William W. Sweet of
the history department, resigned the next year to accept a position
at the University of Chicago. He was succeeded by Professor William
M. Blanchard of the chemistry department, who was to have a long
tenure in the deanship. Moreover, two decades after the naming of
a dean of women, the post of dean of men was created in 1926. Named
to that position was Louis H. Dirks, an experienced school administrator
from Indianapolis, who was also appointed professor of secondary
education. It is noteworthy, however, that all these administrators,
as well as the dean of women and the dean of freshman men, remained
part-time members of the teaching faculty.
The growing student body, which neared 2,000 by the mid-1920s, created
a demand for an expansion of the faculty. Among those added to the
teaching staff in the Murlin administration were Coen G. Pierson
and William A. Russ in history; Mary G. Hamilton and Jarvis C. Davis
in English; Ermina M. Mills in comparative literature; Harold Zink
and Harry W. Voltmer in political science; Orrin H. Smith in physics;
Grace Barkley in botany; Lester M. Jones in sociology; Carroll D.
W. Hildebrand, another Boston Personalist, in philosophy; W. Vernon
Lytle and Warren C. Middleton in the newly independent department
of psychology; Waldo F. Mitchell in economics; Herold T. Ross in
speech; Earl C. Bowman in education; Benjamin H. Grave in zoology;
and William S. Martin in Romance languages. The School of Music
added Kenneth P. Umfleet, Edna T. Bowles, Rowland Leach, and Marjorie
Murlin was also able to raise faculty compensation slightly, though
the average full professor's salary remained below $3,500 a year.
To meet the increasing financial
needs of the university he attempted to raise student fees but ran
into the opposition of those who argued that DePauw would become
a rich man's school. The board of trustees originally complied with
his request by increasing the so-called incidental fee from a modest
$85 to $125 per semester but rescinded it a year later.
an experienced administrator, Murlin refused to be intimidated by
outside attacks on the academic freedom of the faculty. When members
of the North Indiana Methodist Conference circulated reports about
the alleged lack of orthodoxy in the teaching of the English Bible
at DePauw, he stood firmly by the professor involved. While urging
the teacher to adopt a "better pedagogical method," he
asked for "the broad, tolerant spirit and open mindedness of
Gamaliel and of John Wesley" in his annual report to the Methodist
the most significant accomplishments of the short Murlin presidency
lay in the administration of student affairs. DePauw students had
long chafed against the university's ban on social dancing (born
of the traditional Methodist view that it was immoral, along with
and the like). Increasing numbers of students were coming from homes
where dancing was permitted, and it was becoming more and more difficult
to enforce the unpopular prohibition.
When President Murlin arrived at DePauw in the fall of 1925 he found
overwhelming student sentiment in favor of lifting the ban but a
divided faculty on this issue. Seizing upon the fact that the General
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church had slightly relaxed
its stand on the question in 1924, Murlin initiated an experimental
program. Social organizations would be permitted upon special request
to include dancing as part of the entertainment at one formal party
each year. Official chaperones were required, as well as written
permission from parents of those who participated in such dancing.
new policy was incorporated in the 1926 Student Handbook, along
with an excerpt from the Methodist Discipline warning against the
evils of dancing and similar amusements. The die was cast, and,
despite vehement opposition from some church quarters, social dancing
soon became a recognized part of DePauw's campus activities. It
has been suggested that the venerable president was able to defy
conservative Methodist opinion in this matter because at his age
he had no ambition for a bishopric.
also attempted to regulate such matters as fraternity rush and hazing.
The introduction of house mothers - required in sorority houses
since 1919 - into fraternity houses in 1926 undoubtedly served
to ameliorate the sometimes rowdy behavior of their residents. A
most important innovation was the creation of Freshman Week at the
beginning of the fall semester as a period of orientation for new
students conducted by members of the teaching faculty.
The mid-1920s was a period of intense activity in the remodeling
of old and the construction of new chapter houses for the social
fraternities. Nine fraternities erected rather large houses and
five sororities somewhat smaller ones. Other organizations were
content with the refurbishing of existing structures: Delta Upsilon
in The Towers after it ceased to be used as the presidential home,
and Kappa Alpha Theta in Beechcroft, the former home of Professor
James Riley Weaver on South College Avenue. Some of the new residences,
described by President Murlin as "large and expensive houses
(covered with large, elegant, and gilt-edged mortgages)," would
become a financial burden to later generations of students.
desire to provide residential facilities for non-affiliated men
and women at least equal in comfort to the best chapter houses was
brought to fruition by the final gifts of Edward
and Lucy Rector. At his death in 1925 Edward
Rector bequeathed $500,000 to the university for the construction
of two dormitories. Longden Hall, erected in 1927 and named for
Professor Henry B. Longden, secretary of the Rector Scholarship
Fund, offered male residents the same modern features as Rector
Hall had furnished women 10 years before.
This group picture
of faculty on the East College
steps appeared in the 1924 Mirage.
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