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Joe Barr, captain of
the 1938 football team and later
Congressman and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury,
is shown with the Monon Bell always held by the
victor of the DePauw-Wabash football game after 1932.
in intercollegiate sports remained high. DePauw joined the Buckeye
Conference in 1930 and, before dropping out two years later,
competed actively with such Ohio colleges as Denison, Ohio Wesleyan,
Wittenberg, Cincinnati, and Miami University of Ohio. In 1932 the
Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Railroad Company (the "Monon")
donated one of its locomotive bells to be held by the winner of
the annual football game between DePauw and Wabash, an ancient rivalry.
Since the game played in the fall of 1932 ended in a 0-0 tie, neither
institution could claim the prize. It remained for the near-legendary
undefeated, untied, and unscored-upon team of 1933 coached by Raymond
"Gaumey" Neal to bring the Monon Bell home to Greencastle
with its final victory of the season in Crawfordsville.
DePauw's "apostolic succession" was renewed when Oxnam
was elected a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1936,
making him the last of six presidents to attain that office. His
subsequent long career as a major ecclesiastical leader brought
him national and international acclaim. At times he remained a controversial
figure, as during his spirited defence of civil liberties in the
1950s. He died in 1963. Among his and his wife's generous contributions
to the university was a valuable collection of Bret Harte first
editions presented to the library in 1958. Oxnam himself published
a total of 16 books in his lifetime, six of them while president
of DePauw. In later years he apparently had second thoughts about
his administration of the university. According to Jerome
Hixson's memoir, Past Perfect, Oxnam stated on his return to
campus three decades after leaving the presidency: "Oh, how
I wish I could come back and do it all over again! There are so
many things I would have done differently."
In 1923 the Cosmopolitan Club promoted
friendship among foreign students at DePauw.
There was one American student for each
In the aftermath of the controversies of the Oxnam era, the trustees
decided to seek the participation of the faculty in choosing a new
president. A search committee was formed which included Professor
Walter Bundy of the English Bible department as the elected representative
of the teaching faculty. Bundy distributed a questionnaire to his
colleagues in an effort to obtain their views in regard to presidential
qualifications. He found a fair degree of consensus in their replies,
which described the ideal candidate for president as a man of high
Christian principles and solid educational experience; an articulate
but uncontroversial, fair and impartial leader. Many also indicated
a preference for a layman in place of the long series of
ordained ministers occupying the presidency.
person ultimately selected to become the next president of DePauw
was Clyde E. Wildman, who appeared to fit these criteria very well,
except for the fact the he had been ordained to the Methodist ministry.
Both Wildman and his wife, Forest Kyle Wildman, were DePauw graduates.
He had also earned an S.T.B. and Ph.D. from Boston University, making
him the first president of this institution to hold an earned doctorate.
Currently a professor of Old Testament at the Boston University
School of Theology, Wildman had spent most of his career as a college
or seminary teacher, with a brief stint as an administrator. Moreover
he had served a term as president of the Boston University chapter
of the A.A.U.P., not an insignificant item in light of recent events
at DePauw. Clearly the new president brought with him an intimate
knowledge not only of the university itself but also of faculty
governance and Methodist educational institutions.
The Wildman administration began auspiciously with the A.A.U.P.
voting to restore DePauw University to the eligible list at its
annual meeting in December 1936. This action, taken in recognition
of the change in administrations, has never been reversed, perhaps
because the DePauw chapter of the A.A.U.P. has exercised a watchful
eye over questions relating to academic freedom.
1936-37 academic year also marked the 100th anniversary of the founding
of the university. In honor of the centennial the university sponsored
a series of four conferences entitled "Life Looks at the College."
Attending the first three were representatives of the churches,
the business community, and the legal, medical, and teaching professions.
The last conference was devoted to the role of women, a highly relevant
topic in view of the 70 years of coeducation at DePauw. In 1937
William W. Sweet, a former head of the history department, published
the first full-length history of the institution under the title
Indiana Asbury-DePauw University, 1837-1937. Poet Max Ehrmann from
the class of 1894 composed a "Centennial Ode" prophesying
a "glorious rebirth" of Alma Mater.
DePauw's financial situation brightened as the nation gradually
began to recover from the worst effects of the Great Depression. By
the late 1930s the university was operating in the black once more.
But new dormitory, classroom, and library facilities were still
needed. In January 1937 President Wildman inaugurated the Centennial
Fund campaign with a goal of $500,000, later raised to $1 million.
By 1941 the campaign had raised slightly less than half that figure,
but other gifts and bequests brought the total amount received
during that period to nearly $950,000. Chief among these was a
bequest for $422,000 from Augustus L. Mason, an alumnus, trustee,
and onetime dean of the Law School. Finally after long litigation
the estate of former student John H. Harrison, a wealthy newspaper
publisher in Danville, Ill. produced $600,000 for the university.
razing of Middle College in 1939. In the rear
is the enlarged heating plant with its high smoke
stacks. Virtually all campus buildings, including
Gobin Church, were heated through underground
campus tunnels from the central heating plant
students were reminded of by the little
dotting the campus.
At last plans could be finalized to replace the razed Mansfield
Hall and deteriorating Middle College. Part of the Mason bequest
was used in the construction of a women's dormitory bearing his
name on the site of the hall destroyed by fire seven years before.
Half of the Harrison funds went into the building of a biological
sciences facility, also named for the donor. Both Mason and Harrison
Halls were completed by September 1940. Although Robert F. Daggett
had submitted preliminary plans for Harrison Hall some years before,
the university elected to save on the fees of an architect and general
contractor by having the buildings designed and constructed in-house
under the supervision of Comptroller Schenck and the department
of engineering, construction, and maintenance. The blueprints were
drawn up by M.G. Thompson of that department in conformity with
the Colonial Revival mode decreed by the trustees and followed by
Daggett in designing Asbury Hall.
Dedication ceremonies for John H. Harrison Hall on June 10,
included Board President Roy West, Chairman of
Committee Charles Barnaby, Mrs. John H.
Harrison, Professor Emeritus
Henry B. Longden,
President Clyde Wildman, and editor and publisher
Danville, Illinois Commercial-News, Edwin C. Hewes.
Harrison Hall, located on the site of the former Middle College,
was a handsome counterpart to Asbury Hall, standing directly across
from it on the West Campus. The three-story red-brick structure,
with its wide chimneys and dormer windows, echoed the design of
the earlier hall with one major exception: the roof gables at either
end were not reversed but ran in the same direction as the center
section. An ornate central entrance made up for the lack of side
doors found in Asbury. Inside, its long halls gave access to up-to-date
classrooms and laboratories for the departments of botany, zoology,
geology and psychology. Harrison Hall also contained the first elevator
installed in any of the university's buildings. Plans for the construction
of a new Colonial Revival-style library on the site of the razed
West College to complete the academic quadrangle were put off for
lack of funding.
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