Carthage College History
By importuser at 2/3/2010 4:47 PM
Heritage of Carthage
An Eclectic Look at Fifteen Decades of Carthage College
By Tom Noer, Valor Distinguished Professor of the Humanities
Carthage Baseball Team Celebrates a WinVisitors to campus pass a sign that says "Carthage College Founded in 1847". Although the school has had three names and four locations, its origins do date back 150 years As the College approaches its sesquicentennial, this chapter in "The Heritage of Carthage" looks at some significant and symbolic events in the fifteen decades of the school. Some will be familiar, others obscure, but each has been selected to illustrate major themes m the College's past: its role as a church-related school, leadership in the face of adversity, a dedication to service, opportunities for student participation, and an unwavering commitment to quality education in the liberal arts.
1847 — The Literary and Theological Institute of the Far West
In 1817, a year before Illinois joined the union, the first Lutheran congregation was established in the territory. As the number of settlers grew, churches found it increasingly difficult to convince ministers from the east to move to the frontier and voted to establish a college and theological seminary m the west. After a joint venture with Ohio Lutherans failed, the new Synod of Illinois voted to acquire Hillsboro Academy, a preparatory school opened m 1839, and applied for a charter for a college. On January 22, 1847, the Illinois General Assembly granted a charter to "The Literary and Theological Institute of the Lutheran Church in the Far West." This proved to be a lengthy title for a tiny school, and the institution soon adopted the name of Hillsboro College.
With a two-person faculty and 79 students (most in the prep school), Hillsboro promised a "course of study designed to be thorough and practical and to embrace all the branches of learning usually pursued in the best academies and colleges."
Hillsboro prospered in its first two years, but with no endowment or investments the College was totally dependent on tuition and random gifts from Lutheran congregations. By 1851, the school was in financial difficulty, and the administration decided to relocate in the larger and more prosperous town of Springfield and take the new name of Illinois State University.
Although Hillsboro College existed for only five years, it was the origin of what would become Carthage College. The school's sesquicentennial marks 150 years of continuity and celebrates the vision and courage of those frontier clergy who established a Lutheran college in the west.
1857 — Robert Todd Lincoln Leads Student Debate on Slavery
One of the major reasons for the move from Hillsboro was the financial support offered by the citizens of Springfield. Sixty donors each pledged $300 to finance the relocation. In return, they received a "perpetual scholarship" to enroll a student without paying tuition. Abraham Lincoln, former Congressman and now a successful lawyer, was one of the citizens who took advantage of the school's offer and used his scholarship to enroll his eldest son, Robert Todd, in the preparatory school of the university in 1852.
Robert later entered the College and joined Philomatheon, one of the school's two literary societies. In 1857, the younger Lincoln took the negative side in a college debate on the question "Will African slavery be perpetuated in the United States?" A year later, his father would also argue the future of slavery when he ran against Stephen Douglas for the U. S. Senate.
In 1858, Robert Lincoln followed his friend and former classmate at Illinois State, future Secretary of State John Hay, to further his education in the east. His father continued to support the College and agreed to serve on the Board of Trustees, but resigned after his election to the presidency in 1860.
Although Lincoln never attended high school or college, his roles as benefactor, parent, and Trustee established a firm tie to Carthage. The College honors this connection with its annual Lincoln Scholarship competition, where outstanding high school seniors compete for four-year scholarships that include room, board, and tuition.
1867 — Ethnic Disputes Lead to Relocation in Carthage, Illinois
Despite the optimism following relocation in Springfield, in less than a decade Illinois State University was racked by disputes over theology and ethnic identity. Some Scandinavian pastors argued that Lutheranism was abandoning its European heritage by conducting services in English. These "old Lutherans" also opposed any changes in doctrine and efforts to "Americanize" Lutheranism by appealing to those not of Scandinavian or German background.
The conflicts between "old" and "new" Lutherans spread to the College when the Synod of Northern Illinois established a Scandinavian Professorship and appointed L. P. Esbjorn to the position. Esbjorn was a leader of the "old" Lutherans and immediately clashed with the College's President, W. M. Reynolds, over doctrine. In 1860, Esbjorn resigned to accept a position at Augustana College, and many Scandinavian students followed him. He blasted the College for trying to "infect" students with "the new American Lutheran ideas." Following Esbjorn's departure, Swedish Lutherans voted to withdraw from the Synod of Illinois and form their own body, and Illinois State lost one of its major sources of funding.
The next seven years saw constant infighting among the supporting synods. At the 1867 Board meeting, representatives of the Northern Synod of Illinois demanded the resignation of the entire faculty, an end of the theological seminary, and relocation of the school. When the motions passed, the College spent the next two years fighting against bankruptcy.
In 1869, Trustees voted to close the school, but four synods were determined to continue Lutheran higher education in Illinois and approved another move to Carthage, Illinois. In September 1870, the College opened with the new name of Carthage College.
The turbulent early history of Hillsboro College and Illinois State University illustrates the precarious nature of small private colleges in the 19th century. Financial strains and theological disputes were common, and dozens of church-related colleges closed. Carthage's survival was a testament to the faith and dedication of its early leaders.
1877 — The Carthaginian Begins Publication
Student social life at Carthage in the late 19th century was dominated by the school's two literary societies, Cicero and Galileo. Each student was required to join one of the groups and attend Wednesday afternoon meetings. The societies sponsored debates, lectures, oratory prizes, and occasionally published anthologies of student writing.
In 1877, the College issued its first formal student publication, The Carthaginian, edited by representatives of the two literary societies. The journal appeared monthly and cost $1 a year. It included student poetry, literary criticism, and essays. By the 20th century the literary societies had lost their power, and the student publication changed to a college newspaper. It became first, The Indian, then The Crimson Arrow, then just The Arrow, and, in 1994, The Current.
The Carthaginian paved the way for other College publications. In the 1890s, the school began Alumnus for alumni and friends of the College, now called, ironically, The Carthaginian. In 1911, the first student yearbook, The Rambler, appeared. It soon became The Crimson Rambler and then The Driftwood. Centrique, the current student literary magazine, has continued the tradition begun in 1877 by publishing student poetry, fiction, and art work.
Student publications have always played an important role at Carthage. The newspaper, yearbook, and literary magazine have provided an outlet for student creativity for the past 120 years.
1887 — President Bartholomew Creates Evergreen Walk
The Carthage campus was built on the fiat Illinois prairie with few trees or flowers to adorn the bleak landscape. Local farmers still grazed their cattle and horses on the campus. When President E. F. Bartholomew took office in 1884, he launched the first campus beautification project and designed the most striking symbol of the "old campus," Evergreen Walk.
Bartholomew personally planted and tended rows of tiny evergreens flanking the path from the main college building to the entrance. The project was completed in 1887, and the evergreens became the most photographed and recognized part of the campus.
The trees flourished and eventually provoked controversy. In 1946, President Erland Nelson proposed construction of a chapel that required removal of some of the beloved trees. The resulting "Battle of the Evergreens" illustrated the fierce pride alumni and others had m this central symbol of the College. Graduates flooded the College with letters of protest. Alumni representatives on the Board introduced a resolution opposing tampering with "any part of historic Evergreen Walk." Nelson finally abandoned the plan. Five years later another president, Morris Wee, ordered pruning of the now overgrown evergreens and a second battle erupted. Alumni again rallied against any change. They were joined by legendary biology professor Alice Kibbe who vowed that no president would trim "her trees." Wee was no match for the wrath of alumni and Kibbe, and the trees remained untouched.
Recently, the College has created a miniature replica of Evergreen Walk on the Kenosha campus. A number of small yews form a path to "Kissing Rock," the focus of undergraduate romance and student pranks relocated from the Illinois campus to Wisconsin. The monument overlooking Lake Michigan is a visual reminder of the two most enduring symbols of the Illinois campus.
1897 — Three Year Football Unbeaten Streak Ends Amidst Controversy
In its first two and a half years, Carthage's football team never lost. The team was undefeated in 1895 and 1896 and won its opening game of 1897. On October 30, the victory streak ended in a controversial, 6-4, loss to Keokuk Medical College. Carthage had defeated Keokuk two weeks earlier when one of the medical students had been disqualified for "striking an opponent with a closed fist" Keokuk refused to continue the game, and it ended at the half with Carthage ahead, 4-0.
The rematch in Keokuk was a violent affair. The college newspaper noted that Keokuk "being on their home grounds, did not hesitate to slug or use foul language" and "proved itself to be the most ungentlemanly of all which the college has met."
Despite the loss, Carthage football was well-established The fortunes of the Redmen would ebb and flow over the next five decades. Coaches Lewis Omer (1921-1935) and Hub Wagner (1936-1945) had a number of successful seasons, but the team declined after World War II until the appointment of the legendary Art Keller, '44, as head coach in 1952.
Keller immediately made Carthage a national power. In his 31 years Keller compiled an amazing 177-87-7 record and won eight College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin titles, including five straight from 1969-1973. Keller coached six undefeated conference seasons, three 14-game winning streaks and an amazing 29-game unbeaten streak in the CCIW.
Keller received numerous offers from larger schools, but chose to remain at his alma mater until his retirement after the 1982 season. In 1984, Keller was inducted into the Carthage Athletic Hall of Fame, and Carthage now plays its games at Art Keller Field.
Intercollegiate athletics have always been a major part of the College's emphasis on student participation. In the past decades, Carthage has added teams in hockey, women's and men's soccer, women's golf, volleyball, and softball to existing programs begun at the Illinois campus.
1907 — Class of 1907 Presents First Class Gift to the College
The first decade of the 20th century was difficult for the struggling Carthage College. Each year the school was forced to borrow to meet expenses. Eventually the benevolence of local banker Henry Denhart and the energetic fundraising of Presidents J. M. Ruthrauff and F. L. Sigmund established financial stability.
Despite the continued economic problems, Carthage students never lost faith in their college. In 1907, graduating seniors collected funds for the first official class gift "a cement bench erected on the campus near the College entrance." They began a tradition that has continued to the present. The class of 1913 donated "Kissing Rock," one of the most famous symbols of Carthage, now restored and displayed on campus.
The donations of recent graduates show students are still dedicated to leaving their mark on their alma mater. The class of 1993 contributed the electronic message board in the Todd Wehr Student Center. In 1994, seniors joined with the class of 1944 to create a display for the Victory Bell from Old Main on the Illinois campus. In 1995, students funded the remodeling of the student lounge in Siebert Chapel. Last year's class contributed a brick barbecue and picnic table in the Denhart courtyard
1917 — Carthage College Goes to War
Despite its isolated location, Carthage was never immune to the impact of national events. Economic panics in 1857 and 1907 and the stock market crash of 1929 had devastating effects on the College's finances, and the Civil War led to a steep decline in enrollment. In 1917, the school again felt the effects of the nation's crisis when the U. S. entered World War I.
When Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917, Carthage quickly found campus life totally altered. The most obvious result was an exodus of male students. By the spring of 1918, over half of the men had enlisted, been drafted, or dropped out to return to farms to grow food for the troops.
To support the war effort, Carthage established a Student Army Training Corps on campus. The College housed and fed the recruits while the government provided instructors and paid their tuition.
Within a few months the campus resembled an armed camp as 160 men enrolled in the Student Corps, joining 170 "regular" students. Temporary barracks were constructed, and soldiers drilled outside the classrooms. Students awoke to the sounds of reveille, and went to sleep to the strains of taps.
With the soldiers came concerns for the moral climate of the campus. President H. D. Hoover was shocked by the drinking, gambling, and profanity of the troops. Soldiers also were seen loitering outside the female residence halls. Hoover complained to officers that the rough recruits "seemed to violate every college ideal which more than a half century of effort had formulated."
The program ended with the surrender of Germany in November, 1918. The disruption of the College would be far greater during World War II when there was a far more severe drop in male enrollment and the campus endured the shortages and rationing of the home front. Eighteen Carthage students and alumni died in World War II.
1927 — Curriculum Modernized, Academy Closed
In its first eight decades, Carthage was both a college and a preparatory school. While offering college-level work leading to a B.A. or B.S. degree, it also served as a high school for younger students. The dual track was necessary inasmuch as the school needed the enrollment of the younger students to finance the College.
As Carthage increased its academic standards, it placed more and more emphasis on the college. Under the leadership of H. D. Hoover (1909-1926) the school underwent a period of significant intellectual growth. Hoover, the first Carthage president with a Ph.D., was determined to raise the school's intellectual standards. He guided Carthage through its first formal accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. To gain accreditation, the school increased the size and qualifications of the faculty, created new science labs, and expanded library holdings. In 1916, North Central awarded Carthage its highest rating of "A", one of only four colleges in Illinois to gain this honor. Hoover also required all new faculty members to have at least a master's degree and modernized the curriculum by introducing a system of majors, minors, and electives.
By the end of Hoover's administration, Carthage had emerged as a modern, liberal arts college with a greatly enhanced academic program and faculty. Its reputation for excellence led to a dramatic increase in college enrollment and a sharp decline in the academy section of the school. By 1927, there were only eight students in the academy, compared with nearly 300 in the College. That spring the Trustees voted to discontinue the academy. The abolition of the academy marked the emergence of Carthage as a quality liberal arts college recognized for academic excellence.
1937 — Carthage President Appeals to Alumni for Dairy Cattle
One of the responsibilities of a college president is to appeal to donors for financial support. Thus it was not unusual when President Rudolph Schulz asked alumni to help Carthage survive the devastation of the Great Depression. Schulz, however, did not just ask for money. In a January 15, 1937, letter he asked for donations of livestock to provide food for students and faculty. He particularly hoped for dairy cattle, as the College planned to create a "utility farm" on land it owned near campus and develop "a fine herd of Guernseys" to provide milk for the College. Schulz's plea illustrated the disastrous impact of the Depression on Carthage. The economic collapse of the 1930s hit Carthage particularly hard. The College never had a large endowment to carry it through difficult times, and most of its assets were in farm mortgages. With the crash, few farmers could pay their loans, and the land reverted to the school. By 1933, nearly $300,000 worth of farms had been taken over by the College but produced no income. Many students were forced to leave school or borrow from the College. In 1933, uncollected student notes totaled $26,000 and the school was $168,000 in debt. From 1932-1934, Carthage paid less than half of announced salaries. Many faculty planted vegetable gardens on the abandoned farms in the region to survive.
The Depression strengthened the College's dependence on the Lutheran Church. As endowment and tuition income declined, the Church became the major source of College finances. Despite the immense problems of the Depression, Carthage survived. The synods began to offer greater support, and the College diversified its investments with less emphasis on farms. Students shared textbooks to save costs, the cafeteria cut back on meat, and faculty taught overloads for no pay. In 1939, Carthage offered the first pay increase in nine years, although it would not be until 1941 that salaries reached the 1929 level. Economic crisis had twice forced the College to relocate, but the catastrophe of the 1930s did not result in such drastic action. Schulz never received his herd of Guernseys, but he led the school through one of its and the nation's darkest periods.
1947 — Carthage Students Organize Nation's First Circle K Chapter
In 1946, a group of Carthage students met to discuss forming an organization to encourage community and campus pride and service. They approached Andy Hodges, President of the local chapter of Kiwanis International, and he agreed to establish a youth affiliate of the organization. On October 9, 1947, Carthage students and local Kiwanis formed the first chapter of "Circle K," a new service organization for college students.
The first chapter of Circle K included 27 Carthage students. They selected C. Dean Thomas as President, Robert Elston as Vice-President, and Hugh Hart as Secretary. Another charter member was Alan Anderson, later Director of Admissions, Assistant to the President, and President of Carthage.
Since its creation, Circle K has become the nation's largest college service organization. The initiative of Carthage students in its formation demonstrated the leadership and commitment to service that is a central part of the College's heritage.
1957 — Kenosha, Wis., Selected for New Carthage Campus
On September 14, 1957, President Harold H. Lentz announced that Carthage had selected Kenosha, Wisconsin as the location of the school's new campus. The decision culminated a two-year search, but discussion of moving the College had begun much earlier.
The choice of Carthage, Illinois as the home of the College seemed wise in 1870. Carthage was the county seat of Hancock County, the region had a large Lutheran population, and local citizens offered strong financial support.
Fifty years later, many began to question the ability of the school to survive in an isolated town of only 2000 people with no railroad connection. The remoteness of the campus made it difficult to attract and retain both students and faculty, and the lack of local industry created problems for fundraising.
In 1929, the Board of Education of the Lutheran Church in America concluded that the College needed to move nearer to Chicago to survive. In 1950, President Morris Wee told Trustees the College "could scarcely have been more unwisely located if the founding fathers had deliberately sought a disadvantageous spot."
Despite the 1929 report and Wee's comments, alumni, faculty, and others were understandably reluctant to consider moving the school It was only with the arrival of Harold Lentz in November 1951 that relocation began to be discussed seriously.
Early in his administration Lentz made it clear that the College had to move to survive. In 1953, he persuaded the Board to form a Search Committee to review sites for a new campus near Chicago. By 1955, the choice had narrowed to four contenders: Woodstock and Elgin, Illinois and Lake Geneva and Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kenosha offered strong financial inducements, and its location between Milwaukee and Chicago was an obvious advantage.
In early 1957, Lentz and Trustee Rolf Dokmo visited Kenosha and were driven to the proposed site of the College. When Dokmo first saw the park land on the shore of Lake Michigan he turned to Lentz and shouted: "This is it!" Nine months later the Trustees approved the shift to Kenosha.
The decision to construct a facility in Wisconsin while maintaining the Illinois campus was a daunting challenge to the financial-strapped college. The period from 1957 to 1962 saw the most demanding and important development campaign in Carthage's history Its success not only saved the College, but paved the way for the spectacular growth of the past 35 years.
1967 — Trustees Establish Distinguished Teacher Award
Teaching excellence has always been the focus of Carthage, and the College has always had a core of caring and stimulating teachers. In the 20th century legendary professors such as Elmer Hanke in music, Merle Chapin in English, Alice Kibbe in biology, Merle Boyer in philosophy, Shandy Holland in theater, and dozens of others established a tradition of teaching excellence.
In 1967, the Board of Trustees voted to recognize formally superior teaching by creating the "Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award." It established a confidential committee to review nominations from students and select one faculty member for this special commendation. The first to receive the new award was Professor Larry Hamilton of the psychology department.
The "Teacher of the Year Award" has now become an annual tradition. Each spring at the Honors Convocation a Trustee announces that year's winner, whose name is engraved on a plaque in Lentz Hall. The award has been presented to 29 individuals from a wide range of disciplines Sixteen still teach at Carthage, and seven have retired with emeritus status, an indication of the College's ability to retain excellent teachers.
1977 — Carthage Hosts State Special Olympics
As a college of the church, Carthage has always included service as a part of its mission. In the early years this often involved church activities. Faculty and students not only were active in Trinity Lutheran Church in Carthage, but served as guest preachers, youth leaders, and musicians at congregations throughout the region. In the 1920s and 1930s, students delivered food baskets and sang hymns at the county "poor house." During World War II they organized letter-writing campaigns, knitted socks, rolled bandages, and sent candy and cigarettes to G.I.s overseas. This tradition of service continues at Carthage. Students annually hold a dance marathon to raise funds to fight muscular dystrophy and a "Big Bother/Big Sister" day for local youth. Students, faculty, and staff participate in the annual CROP walk to raise funds to feed the poor and the AIDS walk in Milwaukee.
One of the most successful of the College's outreach efforts has been its association with the Special Olympics for the mentally and physically-challenged. On May 15, 1977, Carthage first hosted the District 10 Special Olympics with over 200 participants. The event was so successful that on June 3-4 the State Special Olympics was held at the College. Nearly 2000 competed, and the event captured the attention of the Milwaukee press and television stations. Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden conducted a clinic for the participants.
The Special Olympics has become a regular event at Carthage each spring as athletes from around the region participate in contests where "everyone is a winner!"
1987 — F. Gregory Campbell Appointed 18th President of Carthage
Few at Carthage are likely to recognize the name of Francis Springer, but he established a tradition of leadership that has continued for 150 years when frontier clergy selected him as the first president of Hillsboro College. Springer served the College for eight years and later became Chaplain of the United States Army.
In 1987, the Board of Trustees selected F. Gregory Campbell as the 18th President of Carthage. He has led the College through a decade of unparalleled economic and intellectual growth.
Campbell was born in Columbia, Tenn., in 1939 and did his undergraduate work at Baylor University. In graduate school he specialized in modern European history, earning his M. A. from Emory University and a Ph.D. at Yale. Campbell taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Chicago until he accepted a position as Special Assistant to the President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees at Chicago. He also continued his teaching as a senior lecturer. In August 1987, Campbell assumed the presidency of Carthage.
Carthage, in 1987, needed energetic leadership. Fulltime enrollment had dropped to 806. Inflation had greatly increased operating costs, and the endowment could not meet the rising expenses. Buildings constructed in the early 1960s badly needed refurbishing, and Carthage lagged behind in adjusting to the computer revolution. The curriculum had been last reformed in the early 1970s when the school adopted the 4-1-4 model.
Although a quality college with a dedicated faculty and staff, the school needed an influx of ideas, energy, and funds. In the past decade the College has shown spectacular growth by any indicator of institutional success. By 1996, enrollment reached over 1,500 (capacity for current facilities), with a steady increase in student test scores and high school rank.
The financial health of the College has shown a similar revival. The endowment has expanded from $9 million to over $23 million. Last year the largest fund-raising campaign in the College's history, Transforming Tomorrow, surpassed its ambitious goal of $25 million and closed with $26.7 million.
Record enrollment, Transforming Tomorrow, and greatly increased regular giving financed major campus renovations. Residence halls were totally refurbished as were the natural science facilities in the renamed David A. Straz Center. Carthage also moved to the forefront of technology with new computer facilities and launched a major program of campus beautification. In the past decade the College also went through two major curriculum changes. The Heritage Studies program was developed along with new requirements in foreign language, laboratory science, and mathematics. Recently a "Junior Symposium" of three related classes and a "Senior Thesis" requirement were added.
The successes of the past ten years have led Carthage to the greatest financial and intellectual health in its history. As the College prepares for the 21st century, it does so from a position of unprecedented strength.
In its century and a half of existence Carthage has survived repeated financial crisis, relocations, and changes in its name. Throughout, it has maintained its commitment to the Church, to academic excellence, and to service, essential elements of "The Heritage of Carthage."
Heritage of Carthage
Learn more about the history of the College through articles written by a Carthage history professor.
V is for Victory: Carthage College and World War II
A Community in Transition: Carthage in the 1950s
Moving Into the Future: The Decision to Relocate Carthage to Kenosha
Building a New Carthage in Kenosha
Carthage Non Delenda Ust: A Struggle for Survival, 1870-1920
An Eclectic Look at Fifteen Decades of Carthage College
Re: Carthage College History
By importuser at 2/3/2010 4:49 PM
Heritage of Carthage
A Community in Transition: Carthage in the 1950s
By Tom Noer, Valor Distinguished Professor of the Humanities
Old Denhart Girls' DormThose too young to remember the 1950s have an image, largely shaped by movies and television, of a decade of simplicity, innocence and certainty. Coming after the twin traumas of the Great Depression and World War II, before the violence and turmoil of the 1960s, there is a strong nostalgia for the "happy days" of Leave it to Beaver, Hula Hoops, Elvis, Milton Berle, Dwight Eisenhower, and Father Knows Best.
There was, of course, another side to the "carefree '50s" that generally is ignored by television and the movies. The tensions of the Cold War, a bloody conflict in Korea, nuclear standoff, the space race, fervent anti-Communism, and the first major attacks on racial and sexual discrimination have led some scholars to describe the period as "the age of anxiety."
Carthage College in the 1950s reflected much of the innocence and some of the anxiety of the period. Carthage students of the past three decades may be amused at the regulations and restrictions imposed on their predecessors and perhaps perplexed by the previous classes' seeming acceptance of tradition and authority. In stark contrast to college students a decade later, most of the so-called silent generation assumed their role was to follow, rather than to challenge authority.
Despite the apparent simplicity and security, there was also a sense of anxiety in Carthage, Illinois, in the 1950s as the College moved ever closer to the relocation of the campus to Kenosha, Wisconsin. It is the Carthage of the 1950s, the last generation at the old campus on the prairies of Hancock County, that is the subject of this chapter in "The Heritage of Carthage."
A Family of the '50s
Carthage students in the '50s saw themselves as a part of a long tradition and, more importantly, members of a strong community. There was a unity, a sense of spirit, and a feeling of family often absent from the more complex and individualistic decades that followed. Like a family, the faculty, staff, and students of Carthage were both physically and emotionally close. Small in numbers, isolated from the outside world, often on the edge of financial disaster, they lived, studied, worked, ate, and played together. Like all families, rules and discipline existed, yet pranks and rebellion, celebrations and crises also were common. But throughout the campus, a sense of togetherness has remained long after the buildings of the old campus were abandoned.
The Great-Depression of the 1930s hit private colleges, like Carthage, particularly hard. During the four years of global war that followed, the U.S. drafted many male students and imposed severe hardships on those who remained on campus. After victory over Germany and Japan in 1945, the College had to adapt to the surge of students returning from the war. By 1950, most of the World War II vets were finishing their education, and the College entered yet another period of readjustment.
Students arriving at the isolated town of Carthage, Illinois, in 1950, entered a society of rich tradition and strict regulation. Customs and conventions passed down for decades were an accepted part of campus life. First-year students were ushered immediately into a world of rules and ritual during the lengthy Freshman Orientation.
After unpacking, first-year students were given a list of ten rules to follow until Homecoming in late October. Sophomores drew up the regulations and enforced the rules. For the next eight weeks, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., freshmen were required to wear green beanies - symbols of powerless newcomers. Women were required to wear them at all times, while men were allowed to remove beanies inside classrooms. At the command of "button frosh," they had to touch the button of their cap as a sign of respect.
Freshmen were barred from stepping on Evergreen Walk, expected to address all upper-class students as "sir or ma'am," and required to stand at attention when a sophomore entered or left a room. They also were prohibited from using certain dormitory entrances during the entire orientation period. All new students were required to learn and sing the "Alma Mater" and "Here's to the Man Who Wears a C!" and to wash the cars and clean the rooms of sophomores. Those violating orientation rules were summoned to Freshman Court for punishment, including a walk through "the pits."
While faculty occasionally protested that the hazing of freshmen got out of hand, it served as an early bond among students and created a sense of class unity. Also, there was comfort in knowing that next year freshmen would be on the opposite end of the hazing process. As one sophomore wrote in a poem to new students:
"Oh sufferers, for we pity you, how deep in panic you sank. But buck up, kids, for someday too, you can boast of Sophomore rank"
Separate, But Not Equal
New students also found that the roles of men and women were clearly separate and not equal. Women had a required curfew, while men had no such restrictions. First-year female students had to be in their residence hall by 9:00 on weeknights, sophomores by 9:30, and juniors and seniors by 10:00. On Fridays and Saturdays, coeds could stay out until 12:00 and Sundays until 10:30. LPs (late permission) and SPs (special permission) were available only with prior approval. Doors were locked at curfew, and those not inside were assessed "late minutes." Frequent tardiness resulted in confinement to the dorm for a weekend.
Residence halls were strictly off-limits to the opposite sex, except for semi-annual open houses. One evening each semester, women could visit the men's dorms from 7.30-8:30, and from 8:45-10:00, men could enter women's residences. During all visitations, faculty and administration patrolled the halls to be sure that all doors remained completely open.
Both men and women had dress codes. Women were not allowed to wear slacks, even to football games, unless the temperature fell below a level the administration judged dangerous to their health. Coeds were required to wear dresses, while men had to don jackets and ties to the two dress-up dinners each week where they were served by waiters. To insure proper conduct at these and other formal affairs, Eleanor Lentz, wife of the College's president, instituted a course in table manners and social etiquette so incoming students could learn what silverware to use, where to place a napkin, and how to make casual conversation.
There was a sign-up sheet to insure attendance at the required chapel programs, but some students became well known for the ability to write nearly a dozen names in different handwriting. There were several threats to lower grades of those who missed chapel, but they were never enforced. Class attendance also was mandatory, and at the end of each week, the instructor compiled a list of students who had missed class, recommending them for counseling. Those who cut classes the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter break without a written medical excuse were given "double cuts" as punishment. Professors also were required to attend faculty meetings and submit a sign-up sheet to the Dean of the College.
Dating was carefully regulated as well. Couples could meet in the lounge areas of the dorms, but only with a chaperone present, the lights on, and all feet on the floor. Kissing on the steps of the dorms was frowned upon, but this did not prevent couples from long and passionate "mashing" while resident assistants enforced the female curfew by flicking the front lights off and on.
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic
The College curriculum also was strict. In later decades, the College offered many more choices and electives, but for most of the '50s, Carthage students had a very prescribed course of study. Every student was required to take a two-credit speech class, eight hours of religion, eight hours of a lab science, three credits of math, 10 credits in English, six-12 hours in a foreign language, two courses in history, one class in philosophy, and four hours of physical education. In 1956, the College required a course in psychology.
Like freshman hazing, the rigid academic requirements fostered a sense of solidarity as nearly all students took the same courses from the same instructors. Everyone had to face Merle Boyer in philosophy, complete a course from Juanita Jones in literature, and survive Altman Swihart's class in The Bible. Seniors passed down to freshmen war stories about individual faculty members, as well as old lecture notes and exams.
Faculty, staff, and students all lived near each other in clearly-defined areas either on or near campus: women in Denhart and North Halls, with a few in the Home Economics Building; men in Memorial Hall and the infamous World War II surplus temporary men's dormitory, dubbed "The Barracks;" married students in the Collegeville Apartments; and unmarried instructors in "sleepy hollow." Most married faculty lived a block or two from campus and walked home for lunch.
Housing conditions were primitive compared to modern dorms. The Barracks were a particular problem. Made of cheap prefab material, the dorm was thrown together to house troops in training during World War II and then donated to Carthage to provide space for the stream of veterans coming to the College. By the 1950s, they had deteriorated badly. One student blew a hole in the roof of his room shooting at a particularly large rodent, during one of the frequent "rat hunts."
Even the president of the College faced a housing problem. The White House, a historic building that served as the home of Carthage presidents, was in bad repair when Harold Lentz arrived on campus in 1952. The electricity went out several times a month. During rain storms, a river gushed through the basement, often dousing the furnace. The foundation was so cracked that Lentz claimed he could stand in his basement and look across campus through the gaps in the walls. Lentz finally prevailed on the Board to purchase a new home for the president, and the White House became the Home Economics Building.
If adversity brings people together, the annual "monsoons" served the purpose at Carthage. Spring rains created a massive campus lake for weeks at a time. Wooden planks were set up to help students navigate across campus, but they often were submerged. New students were warned of Carthage crocodiles lurking in the waters off Evergreen Walk and missing persons posters were nailed up claiming students had been drowned or eaten by the crocs. Eventually the College invested in a system of drainage tiles to control the floods, but met only modest success.
Student employment was another source of campus unity. Carthage, Illinois, claimed a population of 3,000, although most thought that number was inflated. The town had no major industry and few opportunities for off-campus employment. As a result, the College became the workplace for most students. They served as janitors, groundskeepers, cooks, waiters, secretaries, delivery persons, painters, mechanics, telephone operators, and in dozens of other jobs. Clayton Diskerud, a student in the late '50s and now a professor of social science at Carthage, helped finance his education by writing press releases for the athletic department at a rate of five cents a column inch. Other campus jobs paid from 40 to 50 cents an hour, until wages were raised to 60 cents in 1958. This may seem a paltry salary, but costs at Carthage were low for a private college. A full year of room, board, and tuition was less than $1,000 in 1950 and even in 1959 was only $1,200.
Not only did the College serve as the center of employment, it was also the entertainment hub for both students and faculty. Some students had cars, but it was a long, journey to Macomb, Ill., or Keokuk, Iowa, for recreation, and most Carthage students had little spending money. Therefore, the campus was the source of most entertainment.
Campus clubs and organizations sponsored a variety of cheap or free activities throughout the year. Philochristos and other religious groups organized regular programs culminating in Religious Emphasis Week with speakers from across the region. The music department offered student and faculty recitals, choir and band concerts, and professional guest artists. Carthage theatre productions were a major source of entertainment for students, faculty, staff and the community. There were two or three major productions each semester ranging from Shakespeare and the Greek tragedies to Broadway musicals with full orchestras that were sold out during their entire run. Nationally-known jazz artists such as George Shearing, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, performed at the College.
To encourage visits to the isolated campus, Mrs. Lentz began a Mother's Day program in 1954. Although only 32 mothers participated, the next year 160 attended. The program was so successful that it was expanded to Parents' Weekend to include fathers, a tradition that continues at Carthage to this day.
Despite these official events, the student activities and productions often attracted the most attention. The annual Kampus Kapers, a male-only musical show on the Friday of Homecoming, was a campus tradition. Featuring slapstick, skits, singing and dancing, Kampus Kapers often flirted with the risque, at least by 1950s standards. One critic counted eight uses of the word "hell" at one performance. After a particularly bawdy production, the College scheduled a special chapel program to discuss immoral aspects of life on a Christian college stage.
In the spring, Carthage women had their opportunity with "The Girls' Show," a similar production with more acceptable language. Organized around a theme such as women and work, or women of the world, the show had a chorus line, skits, and individual dances and songs. In addition, faculty and staff staged occasional variety shows featuring Harold Lentz's banjo playing and orations by "The Gov.," librarian Percy Hylton. Students also ran a campus radio station, WCAZ, that featured music, campus news, and Carthage Connie reading children's stories.
A final source of campus community and entertainment was athletics, particularly football. Football, and to a lesser extent, basketball games, were truly all-College events. The campus and community newspapers spent the entire week previewing the next opponent. There were pep rallies for nearly all home football games, especially for arch rival Augustana College. Homecoming Week included rallies, bonfires, alumni speakers, a parade, the coronation of a king and queen, and a formal dance after the game.
Enthusiasm for football dominated the entire decade, but increased dramatically after the hiring of Art Keller, '44, as coach in 1952. In the previous two years, Carthage had managed only one victory, and Keller, a former star end at Carthage, inherited a squad of only 18 players. He immediately established strict discipline on the team by suspending several players for arriving late to practice or missing classes. Despite the low numbers, Keller's teams quickly developed a reputation for ferocious defense. In his first year, Keller managed a 5-2 record, highlighted by a 33-13 victory over Augustana. For the rest of the decade, Carthage had winning teams and captured several conference championships. In 1958, Keller was named NAIA District 20 Coach of the Year - the first of many such awards he would earn during his long and brilliant career at Carthage.
While on-campus entertainment dominated their free time, students with cars could journey to the Rainbow Restaurant or Cotton's Steak House for a meal, or to movies and dances in Keokuk or Macomb. Those without cars had to seek recreation within the town as there was no bus or train service to or from Carthage after 1952. But it was possible to walk to the Woodbine Theater, the Crystal Ball Roller Rink, or the Chief Bowling Lanes. Friday night fish fries at Frank and Ginger's were popular, and town cafes, such as Flora Thum's and the Calhoun Kafee, offered Mississippi River catfish, "maidrite" sandwiches, and other local cuisine. Some students also defied College regulations by visiting Sam's Bottle Shop for a few quarts of Stag beer.
Given the lack of recreational opportunities in town, most faculty entertained in their homes. Bridge and reading groups, progressive dinners, and pot lucks dominated. New faculty were considered to be finally accepted in the community when one of the local farmers permitted them to hunt on their land. The one formal event for the staff and faculty was the annual Christmas dinner at the Keokuk Country Club hosted by the president.
Shopping opportunities in Carthage, Illinois, were rather limited, but Phil Califf s Clothing Store did offer the latest in campus fashions. Particularly popular was the Carthage Blazer, a blue sport coat with the College crest available to both men and women for $24.95.
Creamed Crocodiles and Typing Dogs
Given the confinement of most students to the campus, and their need for entertainment, college pranks were an important part of Carthage in the '50s. Semesters were long with few breaks. First term began in early September and lasted until the end of January, with only a two-day Thanksgiving break and two weeks off at Christmas. The spring semester ran from early February to the first week in June with only Good Friday and Easter Monday off. To relieve the monotony of classes and work, students developed several ways to enliven campus life.
Periodically, all the silverware disappeared from the dining hall, only to be returned after stern warnings from the administration. All of the root beer mugs were occasionally found stacked on the steps of Denhart Hall. One fall, a poster in the dining hall announced a special meal of Creamed Carthage Crocodiles for Homecoming. Kissing Rock was the object of great creativity. Several times, hardworking students buried it during the night, posting lookouts to warn of intruding faculty or administration. Each spring, C-Club members invaded men's dorms to search for and seize all athletic equipment, shorts, sweatshirts, and uniforms that had been taken by non-athletes.
In 1958, students found that five or six of them could easily lift a tiny red Isetta auto belonging to one coed. In the next few weeks, her car was found in the middle of Evergreen Walk, on the steps of Denhart, and on the pitcher's mound of the baseball field.
One college prank even drew national attention. Student photographer Scott Marriner posed President Lentz's dog, Major, seated in front of a typewriter with his paws on the keys. The photo was sent to the wire services and appeared in newspapers throughout the nation.
Age of Anxiety
Kampus Kapers, Carthage crocodiles, and typing dogs represented the humor and innocence of the campus m the 1950s. Despite its isolation, however, Carthage found it could not entirely escape the problems of the nation and of the College itself. In the background of the 1950s, real-world issues loomed, including the Cold War, anti-Communism, the nuclear threat, and an uncertain economy. Of more immediate concern were the continued financial problems of the College and the preparations for a new campus in Kenosha, Wis..
Like the rest of the nation, the Carthage community assumed the tension of World War II would end with the allied victory, and America would disband its armies and return to its traditional isolationism. There was little time for celebration, however, as the world situation quickly developed into a global Cold War.
By 1950, Carthage men again faced the draft, and the College revived its officer-training programs that had been abandoned after the Japanese surrender. Carthage men were offered both Marine Corps and Navy summer programs to qualify for commissions after graduation. After the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950, and the decision to send U.S. troops, Carthage students sponsored blood drives and letter-writing campaigns for American G.I.s in Korea.
The campus also felt the effects of the nuclear threat. In the mid-'50s, the College designated fall-out shelter areas for students, staff and faculty in the event of a nuclear attack and joined community leaders to organize civil defense teams.
Campus politics mirrored the general conservatism of the nation in the decade. Most students at Carthage were strongly Republican. A mock primary election in 1952 found a majority supported conservative Ohio Senator Robert Taft over the more liberal Dwight Eisenhower for the Republican nomination. Student Democrats favored Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver rather than home state candidate Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois. In the final election, 160 students voted for Eisenhower, 59 for Stevenson, and three dissenters chose Socialist Party candidate Norman Thomas. In 1956, students again favored Eisenhower over Stevenson by a 3-1 margin.
National politics were important at Carthage, but more immediate were issues involving the College itself. Although enrollment had risen sharply in the postwar years, as the G.I. Bill helped World War II veterans return to college, by the 1950s, Carthage enrollment had plummeted. In 1946, nearly 700 students strained the capacity of the College. By 1951, the enrollment had declined to 437, and the budget had a $52,000 deficit. Declining enrollment and continued financial problems ultimately led to the decision to relocate the College to Kenosha in 1962.
A Model of Community
Carthage College in the 1950s was a place of transition. For over 100 years, the College was rooted in Illinois, but by the end of the decade, its future was in Wisconsin. Those at Carthage during this time were a vital part of this transition. The last generation of the "Illinois Carthaginians," had to preserve the traditions, the commitment to community, and the love of learning that characterized the College, and transmit these to a new generation of students in a new location.
Many of the people, places, and traditions that defined Carthage in the 1950s have passed, but the contributions of this generation of students to the College continue. Pearl Goeller, Alice Kibbe, "the Gov.," Juanita Jones, Merle Chapin, Art Keller, Eric Olson and others who shaped the students' lives are gone. Old Main, Evergreen Walk and Memorial Hall are now memories. New students no longer fear the cry of "button frosh!" and few know the words to "Here's to the Man Who Wears a C!" Dormitories — now called residence halls — have cable television, VCRs, and computers, and students have access to entertainment from around the world. There is less of a need for Kampus Kapers when Milwaukee and Chicago are only an hour away.
Despite the differences in college life in the '50s and today, there is more than nostalgia involved in remembering the "old" Carthage. There is a model of a true community of students, faculty, and administration living and learning together that never will be lost. It was a time when being at Carthage meant being an integral part of a group and in a place where everyone knew and cared about each other. It is this model that inspires Carthage today to maintain that sense of closeness that characterized the College a generation earlier and to keep it a special place. It is that vision of a sharing and caring community that is the '50s generation's strongest contribution to "The Heritage of Carthage."
Re: Carthage College History
By importuser at 2/3/2010 5:30 PM
The Heritage of Carthage
V is for Victory: Carthage College and World War II
By Tom Noer, Valor Distinguished Professor of the Humanities
The recent celebrations and memorials commemorating the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy dramatized to many Americans the continued emotional impact of World War II. Those who lived through the period 1941-1945 were reminded again of the sacrifice and courage of those who fought to liberate Europe and Asia from the tyranny of Germany and Japan. To those too young to remember the war, the scenes in France served as a visual history lesson on "the good war," when the enemy was clear, the nation united, and the objectives certain.
In World War II the United States fought a two-front war, in both Europe and Asia. In another sense, the war itself had two fronts: To those in the armed forces, the conflict was on the battlefield, but to the rest of Americans, the war was at home. Those not in the military fought a battle of war bonds, scrap iron and rubber collection, first aid classes, blackouts, air raid drills, ration coupons and shortages. World War II was a civilian conflict as well as one of armies, and those who did not serve in the military also displayed courage and sacrifice in their efforts to "support our boys" and gain victory.
Like all of the nation, Carthage College was changed dramatically by the war. Not only did hundreds of Carthage students, faculty and alumni serve in the armed forces, but the campus itself was totally altered by the global conflict. This chapter in the Heritage of Carthage focuses on the impact of World War II on the college.
A "Safehaven" — Carthage 1941-1943
When students arrived at Carthage in the fall of 1941, the war in Europe had raged for more than two years. Hitler's armies had conquered nearly all of Europe and much of the Soviet Union and North Africa. Great Britain had been driven from the continent and faced near constant German bombing. Japan had occupied most of China and was preparing to move into Southeast Asia. Although technically still neutral, the United States had begun to send supplies to Britain and Russia, started rearmament and, in September 1940, adopted the first peacetime draft in the nation's history.
Despite the clear movement of America toward participation in the war, Carthage in 1941 seemed far removed from the conflict. The College reflected the strong isolationist sentiment in the rural midwest that saw the war as none of America's business and opposed any direct U.S. involvement. A poll in the spring of 1941 found over 80 percent of Carthage students opposed military aid to Great Britain, and the College newspaper argued "we should stay out of European squabbles." The administration urged male students to stay in school rather than join the armed forces or accept new, high-paying jobs in the flourishing defense plants. Students and administration were most concerned that labor and material shortages would delay the completion of the new library scheduled to open in the spring of 1942.
Despite the hope of most at the school that the United States would stay out of the conflict, Carthage could not escape the impact of American mobilization. Dozens of male students had left school in the summer of 1941 to enlist before being drafted. They were joined by two faculty members, Robert E. Warren from physics and Dr. James Poultney of the Classics Department. Summer school enrollment tripled in 1941 as men tried to finish their education before receiving a letter from the Selective Service. The College even shortened the spring semester in 1941 by two weeks to permit an expanded summer session.
The full impact of the draft hit home to many students at the first football practice in 1941, when coach Hub Wagner found that five returning starters had been drafted and four others had not come back to school after being classified 1-A in late summer. Wagner announced he may not be able to field a team, but eventually persuaded 17 men to suit-up.
Most Carthage students, faculty and administration were enjoying the regular Sunday afternoon chicken dinner on Dec. 7, 1941, when word of the Japanese attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor flashed over the radio. Despite the strong opposition to American involvement, the College quickly united behind the war. President Rudolph Schulz issued a unity proclamation that pledged Carthage would "do its part" to win the victory. The College began special physical fitness programs for male students to prepare them for service and offered free first aid courses to local residents. History professor Carl Spielman was named Chairman of the Defense Council to coordinate information on the programs offered by the various branches of the service and to counsel students on enlistment procedures. Carthage also joined the College Enlisted Reserve Corps in the spring of 1942, designed to permit students to complete their education before entering the service. Many students mistakenly assumed the program would allow those enrolled to finish their entire college education before joining the war.
Despite this flourish of activity, there still was a hope that Carthage would be spared the full impact of the war. An editorial in the student newspaper, The Wooden Indian, naively concluded that with Britain "pushing the Germans around in North Africa" and the Japanese "relegated to sea warfare," it probably would not be necessary for Carthage men to actually see combat. A poll of students asking what Carthage should do to help the war found over 60 percent agreed that "Carthage should be a haven from the war and do nothing."
In spite of the specter of the draft, college life continued on its normal course in the spring and fall of 1942. Although enrollment dropped from 316 in 1941 to 276 in 1942 as male students joined the service, campus activities seemed largely unaffected. The football team, back up to more than 30 players, defeated Elmhurst with the help of a 97-yard interception return by end Art Keller, and the fall campus carnival elected sophomore Alden Clausen as king. Within a few months, however, both Keller and Clausen were in the service, and the war began to dominate the campus.
A College at War: 1943-1945
Christmas vacation was extended two days in 1942 because of the problems gas rationing posed for student travel. Buses and trains were reserved for the military, and civilians already faced severe fuel shortages. When students returned in January 1943, they found the war to be inescapable The student newspaper blasted students for "shirking their duty toward their country, their school and themselves" by ignoring the war, and soon the campus was alive with wartime projects. Women students volunteered to help roll 109,000 bandages for the Hancock County Red Cross. Coeds also organized scrap iron collection projects and student first aid classes. The Wooden Indian began to run a "V for Victory" logo over the editorial page and vowed to keep it until the war ended.
To male students, the draft was now ever-present. Many left school to join specialized training programs. The College began a seaplane instruction program using a plane at Nauvoo, Ill., on the Mississippi River. The library reported that the most popular books were "Navy Wings," "Dive Bomber," and military histories of World War I.
The impact of the war jolted the college in March 1943, when 18 students were ordered to report for immediate duty and 12 more to be ready in May. With the College already short of men, the drafting of 30 more severely depleted the male population. The faculty voted to give half credit to men who could not complete the semester, and the College quickly organized a Victory Dance as a farewell to those called. The dance was a melancholy event as each draftee rose and stood at attention as his name was read to the crowd. Admission was $1 in war stamps, and girls were told not to wear flowers, but to display "war stamp corsages" to show their patriotism. Two Carthage men graduated on Sunday, May 23, were married on Monday, and reported for active duty on Tuesday.
With the departure of most men in 1943, Carthage became nearly an all-female college for the next two years. World War 11 thrust American women into many new roles such as construction worker, budget manager, and family disciplinarian. Cartoon character "Rosie the Riveter" symbolized the new American woman of World War II, and at Carthage women also assumed new responsibilities.
Outnumbering men on campus by over 10-1, coeds assumed positions of leadership that had been largely male. Student government was virtually all female by late 1943, and the student newspaper in 1944 had a staff of 23 women and one man. Women organized endless bond drives and created a "War Bond Hall of Fame" to honor individuals and groups who had donated to the financing of the war. They also collected a two-cent cigarette "tax" on each pack sold at the College coffee shop to be sent to men in the service. Women students "adopted" Carthage men in the war and sent them letters, cookies, candy and woolen socks. When labor shortages threatened to delay college maintenance, female students donned work boots, jeans and gloves and spent two days repairing campus buildings.
The shortage of men also led to major social problems. The student newspaper ran an editorial entitled "No Rationing of Dates" that bemoaned the lack of men for dances and dates. Claiming that "60 percent of the girls on campus are dateless," the piece denounced the few remaining men on campus as "hermits." The article further reminded men that "Carthage girls are not gold-diggers" and would be willing to "go dutch" if the men could not afford a date. The editors even appealed to the men's patriotism by reminding them that other men were "giving their lives" to preserve American democracy and part of America was "the friendly mixing of young men and women." Later, women asked the administration to invite soldiers from nearby Camp Ellis to campus for dances "to keep up morale on the home front."
Aside from men, other valued items were scarce by late 1943. Gas, meat, butter, sugar and other products were in increasingly short supply. Ration coupons were treasured and hoarded for special occasions. In 1943 the College instituted a 30 percent cut in butter, a 50 percent drop in sugar, and a limit of 2 pounds of meat per person per week. Dry toast became the standard breakfast as there was no butter and no jam or jelly because of the sugar restrictions. Canned goods were cut by 50 percent to save the metal for the military. When it rained for two weeks in 1944, one student claimed that "even the sunshine is rationed!"
Despite the shortages and lack of social life, students endured with good humor. English professor Juanita Jones wrote a parody of John Milton's sonnet on his blindness called "Lines on Food Rationing" that argued the absence of meat, butter and sugar would help coeds keep their trim figures. A student poem "Lament of a Coed" summarized the food situation:
Delicious roast beef boat tastes like flour. Coffee from breakfast (boiled only an hour!) Lettuce, whose edges wilt and droop. Crackers and pretzels, for one bowl of soup!
Food and labor shortages also led to the closing of many of the local student hangouts. The Dugout and the Carthage Cafe closed in 1943 and Vince's was open only weekdays until 8 p.m. Social life also was restricted as football was canceled in 1943 and 1944, and the basketball team played only local industrial teams such as the Shaffer Pens, as gas rationing limited travel. Neither visiting lectures nor choir tours nor other off-campus trips enlivened campus life. Dances were eliminated because of the lack of men and the feeling that it was unpatriotic to celebrate during wartime.
By the fall of 1943, only 131 students were left on campus. Many classes had to be canceled, and tuition income had dropped to less than half of the pre-war figure. Faculty salaries, low since the depression, dropped even further, and a number of faculty contracts were not renewed. In August 1943 President Schulz abruptly resigned to accept a parish in Knoxville, Tenn. The Board of Trustees took less than two weeks to appoint Dr, Erland Nelson, professor of education and psychology at Newberry College in South Carolina, as the new President.
Nelson was the first layman to hold the presidency of the College (in early 1943 the Board had changed the Constitutional requirement that the President be an ordained Lutheran minister). Nelson was an effective fundraiser and managed to keep the College operating despite the bleak financial situation resulting from the shortage of students and funds. He instituted the practice of renting textbooks to save students money and, in 1944, established two new departments: art and business.
In the midst of the usual classes, exams and term papers, throughout 1943 and 1944, war news dominated the campus. Maps of Europe and Asia were posted to help students keep track of the Allied offensives. Posters also listed Carthage students wounded, killed and missing in action. Women students sent photos of Evergreen Walk to Carthage students and alumni in the service as a reminder that the College was behind them. The newspaper staff mailed copies of The Wooden Indian to all students in the armed forces and began a "Carthage Canteen" column with addresses and letters from Carthage men and women in the service. The letters show the loneliness, patriotism and humor of those from Carthage active in the war. Many expressed their thanks to "the girls" who ran the newspaper and their pleasure at hearing news of Carthage, even if the copies were often 4-5 months late Most promised to be at Homecoming at whatever year they could. The letters often contained accounts of meetings with other Carthage students and alumni. Nearly all asked students to write to them.
Waldo "Beefy" Berger, '47, in a note from Guam, asked: "Please keep me posted on the football team. That is one of the main reasons I want to come back. It sure will be good to don my old jersey with the '36' on it again." Others expressed loneliness and gratitude for news of Carthage: "If you know how much I have thought of Carthage — and the friends there — well I'm telling you. Kind of makes you feel sad. Gee, it's a funny feeling that creeps over you when you're a long way away and you can visualize friends sitting around and talking. I hope all the boys and girls make it back for Homecoming after the war. Got to sign-off now. Hi to all. I'm just trying to say — Thanks for keeping Carthage and the American Way for us while we're away." — Livie (Leslie Livingston, '44).
Many servicemen were unable to give details of their assignments due to wartime censorship Kenneth Hamm, '47, later a longtime chemistry professor at Carthage, wrote from France in November 1944: "Yes, we took the boat ride. About all the censor will let me say about that, is that I was on a troopship in a convoy." The late Tom Wood, '45, in a letter from "somewhere in the Pacific," reported "Due to censorship regulations, I can't tell you where I am or anything of that sort, but I can say that these beautiful South Pacific Islands are a far cry from being beautiful. Give me old C. C. Campus any day and save the traveling for someone else!"
A letter from soon to be coaching legend Arthur Keller, '44, in December 1943 spoke eloquently of the hopes and ideals of those who left Carthage for the war: "To all the fellows of Carthage College, whomever and wherever they may be, I wish them the best of luck. May this mess be over soon and all come back to Carthage for one more big Homecoming after this war. Good luck and fight hard. It's for good things like Carthage College's way of life, for which we are fighting."
The Post-War Transition: G.I.'s Everywhere!
Notwithstanding the economic and social hardships of the war, Carthage continued its mission of education. In 1944 James Kinard, President of Newberry College, addressed a graduating class of 14 (11 women and 3 men) with 10 others listed as on active duty with the allied invasion of Europe in the summer of 1944, President Nelson began preparations for the return to peace. Even before the war ended, Nelson recognized the need for expansion and correctly predicted a surge of male students once the war was over. In 1944 he launched a $180,000 fundraising campaign to construct a new male residence hall (Memorial Dormitory) Pamphlets mailed to potential donors emphasized that Carthage would gladly accept war bonds as contributions allowing benefactors to support "both their country and Christian education." The Admissions Office rushed brochures to servicemen and women at home and overseas and to young people working in defense plants explaining the importance of a college education in the postwar world. Soldiers were urged to "reconvert their thinking from War to the new Peace by attending a college of culture, refinement, and spirituality" and defense workers were reminded that their jobs were "blind alleys" as soon as the war ended.
With the passage of the Serviceman's Readjustment Act (the "G. I. Bill of Rights") in 1944, veterans were offered free tuition, books, and a subsistence allowance to attend college. The result was a boom in enrollment at nearly all colleges once the war ended in August 1945 and troops began to be sent home that fall. In October 1945 Carthage held its first Homecoming football game since 1942. Eight Carthage men and three women wearing their wartime uniforms were honored at half-time to signify the formal end of the war.
In anticipation of the flood of veterans, Carthage moved to obtain wartime surplus housing and furnishings. In December 1945, President Harry Truman authorized the sale of army materials to colleges. Carthage received seven barracks buildings from Camp Ellis, about 45 miles from the College, to house 100 men and 20 "family units" for married veterans. Carthage also was permitted to purchase $4,000 worth of beds, desks, and lockers for $1,000. Later the school received 300 more beds, 500 mattresses, 200 desks, and 700 chairs at 5 percent of their "fair value."
The prefab houses and beds were needed in the fall of 1946 when nearly 650 students crowded the campus The 500 percent increase in enrollment from the 1944 level led to severe crowding. Men slept on cots in the fieldhouse until Memorial Dormitory was completed in November. Women lived three-to-a-room in Denhart until North Hall was converted to a coed dorm. Classes were jammed, often without enough chairs, and there was a major shortage of textbooks. The cafeteria could not get food out fast enough to feed the masses.
After stepping over former servicemen sprawled in the halls and lawn, one student recalled, "Suddenly there were G.I.s everywhere!" Numbers were only a part of the problem. The war veterans also were quite different from the typical pre-war Carthage student. Older, experienced, resentful of authority, they resisted many of the rules and regulations that seemed to remind them of the army. Twenty-three-year-old freshmen veterans of combat refused to follow the orders of eighteen-year-old sophomores, Those who had lived for years in army barracks often defied college rules against gambling, drinking, and swearing and also challenged the authority of administrators and professors.
Veterans complained about the food, about required chapel, about the crowded and drafty pre-fab barracks, about the shortage of books, about the faculty ("the officers") and President Nelson ("the general"). When Nelson tried to raise the price of food in the cafeteria from $8.50 to $9.50 a week, veterans led a protest to the Board that forced a repeal.
Despite the assertiveness of the veterans, they were grateful to have returned to America and to Carthage. The complaints were insignificant compared with their joy at being home again. Ironically, their outspokenness was one of the direct results of the victory in the war. The right to speak out, to complain, to protest, and to foster peaceful change were traits of American democracy preserved by the victory over totalitarianism. It was the bravery and dedication of the World War II generation, both those in combat and those who stayed at home, that guaranteed the freedoms that we now too often take for granted.
A total of 545 Carthage men and women served in World War II to protect those freedoms. Eighteen died in the conflict. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, we honor their sacrifice and their part in the Heritage of Carthage.
The Carthage Campus
I saw the Carthage Campus as I was passing by.
The pleasant Carthage Campus, beneath a peaceful sky.
My heart was with the Carthage men who went abroad to die,
The years go fast at Carthage, the busy years and gay,
But when the bugles sounded war, they put their games away,
They left the football field, the gym, the halls their feet had trod,
The shady lawns of Carthage, to seek a bloody sod.
They gave their merry youth away, for country and for God.
God rest you, happy gentlemen, who laid your good lives down,
Who took the uniforms and gun in place of cap and gown.
God send you to a fairer place than even Carthage town.
— Juanita Jones
Re: Carthage College History
By importuser at 2/3/2010 5:30 PM
The Heritage of Carthage
Moving Into the Future: The Decision to Relocate Carthage to Kenosha
By Tom Noer, Valor Distinguished Professor of the Humanities
Sunday, Oct. 14, 1962, was a brilliant fall day in Kenosha. The sunlight caught the blue of Lake Michigan and the autumn red and yellow of the trees. Over 6,000 people waited in the near record 71-degree heat as faculty, trustees, church officials and local dignitaries were seated. Finally, Dr. Franklin Clark Fry, president-elect of the new Lutheran Church in America, and Dr. Harold T. Lentz, president of Carthage, approached the podium to dedicate formally the new campus. It was fitting that Fry and Lentz led the ceremony, as the decision to relocate the College was in large part the result of their vision, dedication and political skill. That warm fall day culminated nearly a decade of maneuvering, pleading, cajoling and compromising that shifted a college from the Illinois prairie to the Wisconsin lakefront.
Medieval universities had no classrooms, dormitories or offices. Professors rented rooms wherever they could find them to deliver lectures, and students paid at the door to attend. As the centuries passed, colleges acquired permanent buildings and became associated with specific places. For over 90 years, Carthage College was identified with the small town of Carthage, Ill., and with buildings and places on campus such as Old Main and Evergreen Walk. Geography, demography, church politics and the vision of Harold Lentz combined to change the physical setting of Carthage from western Illinois to southeast Wisconsin.
At 3:30 a.m. in the winter of 1953, the new President of Carthage awoke, dressed, and drove 50 miles on frozen roads to Burlington, Iowa, to catch the train to Chicago for a day of fundraising and meetings with College trustees. Late that night Harold Lentz retraced his journey, arriving home around midnight. As always, his wife, Eleanor, waited up for her weary husband's return. When he entered, Mrs. Lentz said slowly, "The college must establish a campus farther north," and went to bed.
The Decision to Move the College
The late night conversation between the Lentzes may well have contributed to the decision to move the College, but consideration of relocation had begun long before that cold night. When Illinois State University moved from Springfield to Carthage, Ill., in 1870, trustees were convinced it would flourish in its new setting. Carthage was a growing county seat surrounded by a large Lutheran population. It was expected that the railroad would link Carthage with Chicago, home to many of its students, trustees and benefactors.
Although Carthage survived on the Illinois prairie, by the 1950s, its remote location posed severe handicaps. The town had not boomed, but remained only 2,000 people. The anticipated railroad had bypassed Carthage, and the one-car spur train connecting the town with Keokuk, Iowa, shut down in 1950. There was not even direct bus service between the College and Chicago or other communities. Fundraising was increasingly difficult as there were no industries in the immediate area and many donors were more interested in supporting institutions near them. The President was required to make 14 trips a year to Chicago to meet with trustees and donors unwilling to travel to Carthage. Students found it nearly impossible to find off-campus jobs as the College was the only major employer in the area. Finally, it was increasingly difficult to attract new faculty and staff to its small-town environment without transportation facilities. In 1952, more than half of the faculty (17 of 33) announced they would not return in the fall, and the College found it hard to find qualified replacements.
The remoteness of Carthage also gradually eroded enrollment as fewer students were attracted to such an isolated community. World War II veterans using the G.I. Bill had swelled enrollment to more than 500 in 1947, but by the early 1950s, it had dropped to 325. Given this decline and the meager gift income of the College (alumni donations in 1952 totaled only $1,200), Carthage was increasingly dependent on the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) and its four sub-synods (Illinois, Iowa, Wartburg and Northwest) for survival. Nearly 50 percent of the College's gift income came from the church, and College brochures even stated that Carthage "was owned by the Lutheran Church."
Given the financial dominance of the church, it was not surprising that synod politics provided the immediate impetus for the decision to seek a new location. In May 1953, seven months after his inauguration, Lentz attended the annual convention of the Northwest Synod (covering Wisconsin and Minnesota) in Minneapolis. After a cordial introduction, Lentz was stunned to hear a motion to establish a Lutheran college within the boundaries of the Synod and to end all direct financial support of Carthage. As the Northwest Synod provided the largest share of the College's budget, the resolution would have been disastrous for the institution. Lentz immediately sought out Dr. Franklin Clark Fry, president of the ULCA. The cigar-chomping Fry was a personal friend who had been the main speaker at Lentz's recent inauguration. Lentz and Fry stalled the motion, but advocates of a new college called a meeting for October 1953 to consider a new college in Milwaukee.
Move to Survive
The Synod's interest in a new college confirmed Lentz's view that Carthage's location limited the College's financial potential. Several times in the past 75 years, College officials had considered relocation, and Lentz was convinced Carthage now had to move to survive. He persuaded the Board of Trustees to ask the Northwestern Synod to "exercise caution" in establishing a new college and to "invite" discussions with Carthage about the future of the College. Lentz's strategy was effective, as the Synod, with the strong support of Fry, voted against creating a new college and began negotiations with Carthage. In early 1954 Lentz called trustees to what he called "the most important meeting since the establishment of Carthage College." The President demanded the Board "either secure full support from the Northwest Synod; or decide to move the College."
Lentz found that moving a campus even to insure its survival was a difficult task. The Board, dominated by representatives from the four supporting synods, was split. Wisconsin representatives favored an immediate commitment to relocate, but many Illinois members, particularly the three from Hancock County, resisted. Many alumni and faculty also opposed any commitment to move. The Board finally approved a motion only to "explore" relocation.
Lentz began to "explore" with a vengeance. He created a 25-person Special Planning Committee, headed by former Board Chairman O. A. Hanke to study possible new locations and to secure financial support from the synods for a move. With the strong assistance of Fry, Lentz pressured the synods, and in May 1955 they endorsed the decision to move. The Northwest Synod formally requested that Carthage select a location in Wisconsin or northeast Illinois.
Lentz seemed to have triumphed, but faculty, students and Carthage residents organized to try to block any move. They formed a Committee to Retain Carthage College in Illinois and wrote alumni and Lutheran leaders lobbying for retention of the current campus. Increasingly frustrated, Lentz complained to the Board that he was stymied by a "paralysis of uncertainty" about the move and demanded a clear commitment to relocate. When he received no immediate response, Lentz dropped a bombshell. In September 1956, he announced his resignation, effective Nov. 1, to accept a pastorate at First Lutheran Church in Springfield, Ohio. Although he claimed his resignation was "purely a spiritual one," it served to unite the Board in support of Lentz and his decision to move the school. They "respectfully rejected" his resignation and formally endorsed relocation.
Lentz's threatened resignation gained him victory over those reluctant to risk a move, but his triumph was not complete. To appease those still opposed, in January 1957, Lentz and the Board announced that the College would retain facilities in Carthage, Ill., while simultaneously constructing and operating a new campus to the north. The Carthaginian hailed this "unique plan" and the College quickly printed a brochure entitled "Challenge to Greatness" that outlined the advantages to students of the two-campus arrangement. The details of a dual campus were vague and seemed unrealistic to many, but the compromise was necessary to galvanize support for the commitment to build a new campus.
Search for a New Campus
Although the formal search for a new site for Carthage began in 1957, preliminary contacts had begun two years earlier. By 1957 at least 26 communities had expressed interest in being the home of the new Carthage. Lentz had made it clear that a new campus needed to be near Chicago, and have access to mass transportation. Its host community should donate adequate land, and provide a minimum of $1 million for construction costs. Given these demands, the list was quickly reduced to four main contenders: Woodstock, Ill.; Lake Geneva, Wis.; Elgin, Ill.; and Kenosha, Wis.
Lentz and the trustees spent much of 1957 visiting these final locations to look at possible sites and to meet with civic and business leaders to discuss finances. Lake Geneva raised the possibility of merging Carthage with Rockford College. Town officials offered a 200-acre site on the lake and arranged a spectacular plane ride to view the elegant estates that would surround the campus. They were unwilling, however, to make the financial commitment required, and Lentz was lukewarm to the idea of a merger with Rockford. Elgin and Woodstock both pledged the required $1 million, but neither could commit the necessary land. From the beginning, only Kenosha offered all of the required ingredients.
Civic and business leaders in Kenosha were early suitors of Carthage. In February 1955, two years before the formal search began, George Connolly, President of the Kenosha Chamber of Commerce, invited Carthage to relocate in Kenosha. That same year business leaders formed the Kenosha Carthage College Campaign to coordinate efforts to lure the College. The City Planner sent maps showing the proposed location in Alford Park, and the Chairman of Snap-on Tools — his son a 1951 Carthage graduate — donated $4,000 of company stock to the College a year before the Carthage delegation arrived in Kenosha.
When Lentz, Hanke and Board Chairman Rolf Dokmo finally visited Kenosha, they were met by an array of political and business leaders who pledged financial support and stressed the advantages of Kenosha's location between Chicago and Milwaukee. After a lunch at the Elks Club, the group formed a motorcade to inspect the proposed site on Lake Michigan. Dokmo and Lentz were in the back seat of the final car. As they rounded a turn and first saw the Alford Park site, Dokmo turned to Lentz and exclaimed, "This is it!" Lentz recalled he was tempted to shout "Eureka!" when he first viewed the Kenosha location.
Lentz and the Search Committee quickly moved to formalize their selection. In August 1957, they prepared a "scorecard" on the final four communities ranking each in 11 categories including location, financial support, population, and transportation. Kenosha easily outdistanced its rivals with 66 points to Elgin's 44, Lake Geneva's 40, and Woodstock's 37.5.
Lentz returned to Kenosha in September to announce its selection and to discuss preliminary construction plans. The next day the Board met in Chicago and ratified the decision, but the members from Hancock County added a resolution "That we affirm our desire and intention to continue in full operation in Carthage, Illinois, as well as to open the second campus."
In less than five years, Lentz had persuaded trustees, church officials and donors to commit to a new campus. He also had secured financial support and a stunning site from the leaders of Kenosha. His endless trips, meetings and occasional confrontations had been successful. Despite the two-campus compromise, he recognized that there was still opposition among some alumni, trustees and residents of Hancock County, but it is unlikely that he anticipated the problems both in Kenosha and in Carthage that followed the decision to move to Wisconsin.
Although Kenosha civic leaders were nearly unanimous in favor of a college in their community, there were some groups opposed to relocating Carthage in Kenosha. The most obvious issue was the decision to give a public park to Carthage. Kenosha's lakefront parks were a source of immense civic pride. Several citizens questioned the decision to remove the 90 acres of Alford Park from the public to give to a college. A number of individuals wrote letters to their aldermen and to the Kenosha News protesting the lakefront site. Joe Lourigan, a member of the City Council, became the leader of the opposition. He forced a series of "town meetings" to discuss the relocation of the College and collected 4,500 names on a petition demanding a referendum on the issue.
Supporters of the College immediately responded with a massive public relations effort. Prominent business leaders such as Edward Ruetz, president of the Kenosha National Bank; R. S. Kingsley, publisher of the Kenosha News; Victor M. Cain and Joseph Johnson of Snap-on Tools; George Becker of Sullivan-Becker Machine Company; Vernon A. Binghain of Macwhyte Company; M.C Wittenberg, Chamber of Commerce; attorneys Fred Hartley and Donald Heide; and political leaders Gilbert Petzke, Clarence R. Jackson and Eugene Hammond organized to convince the community of the benefits of a college. They wrote dozens of letters to the newspaper, defended the College at town meetings, and produced pamphlets entitled "Carthage Comes to Kenosha" and "A Greater Kenosha with Carthage" that touted the intellectual, cultural and economic benefits of the College. They also pointed out that Alford Park had never been developed for public use and consisted only of marshland with a few picnic tables and an ice-skating pond.
The public relations effort succeeded in defusing much of the environmental opposition, but those concerned about the loss of park land managed to reduce the site from 90 to 68 acres. Kenosha also avoided the issue of "giving" the land to Carthage by having 12 local businessmen purchase the site for $50,000 and then donate it to the College.
While the debate on the land transaction raged, a second issue emerged: religion. Some within the Catholic community in Kenosha were concerned about the Lutheran affiliation of Carthage. Lourigan warned that Catholic students would be required to "take many Lutheran theology courses" and claimed that Jewish students would not be admitted to the College. A local priest joined Lourigan in raising the religious issue by demanding city leaders match every dollar donated to Carthage with two dollars for local Catholic schools.
Business leaders again spearheaded a rebuttal. In letters, pamphlets and speeches, they noted that Carthage had students and faculty from all faiths and that admission was open to all "without regard to religion." Lentz agreed to deliver the dedication at a new Catholic school to illustrate his openness to other denominations.
The efforts of community and college leaders defused much of the opposition. A few hardliners persisted and in 1958 initiated a lawsuit to try to block the land transfer. In July 1959, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kenosha and Carthage, removing the last barrier to the relocation.
Doubt Over Two Campus Plan
While the issues of parks and Protestantism gradually died out, Lentz faced new opposition 200 miles to the south. After ground breaking in Kenosha in September 1960, some in Carthage began to doubt the future of the "two campus" plan. With the Kenosha campus scheduled to open in 1962, the details of the dual college plan still remained unclear. A number of professors had already been assigned to move to the new campus and others had been hired specifically for Kenosha. Given the limited financial resources of the College, strained by the costs of constructing a new campus, it seemed implausible that Carthage would continue to have two student bodies, two faculties and two sets of administrators. Throughout 1960 and 1961 there were rumors that the old campus would continue only until facilities in Kenosha were completed. Those in Hancock County were even more alarmed when the Board of Trustees expanded from 32 to 52, with most new members coming from Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
The administration responded with repeated assurances that the Carthage campus would remain a crucial part of the College. The President even announced plans for more than $1 million in new buildings on the Illinois campus. Lentz also sent a stinging memo to faculty reprimanding them for allegedly discouraging students from staying at the old campus by spreading rumors that it would soon close. But, despite the public relations efforts, there were signs that the Carthage campus was doomed. Again the actions of the Lutheran Church proved to be decisive.
On January 1, 1963, a merger between the ULCA, the Augustana Synod and two other Lutheran bodies created the national Lutheran Church in America with 3.2 million members. The new organization immediately made it clear that it would support only one Lutheran college in Illinois, and that would be Augustana. In April 1963, the LCA's new president, Franklin Clark Fry, met with Carthage officials at the University Club in Chicago to discuss the dual campus proposal. Fry finally snuffed out his ever-present cigar and bluntly told Carthage representatives that they must close the Carthage campus or lose all funding from the LCA.
Fry represented church policy, but his close association with Carthage and Lentz suggests that he helped pave the way for a painful but necessary decision. Like Lentz, he was convinced it was impossible for Carthage to maintain two campuses. Fry's ultimatum may have been unexpected in its bluntness, but its message was not unanticipated.
In the summer of 1963, Carthage officials began talks with Parsons College in Iowa about the purchase of the old campus and hired the American Appraisal Company of Milwaukee to set a price, but it was not until Oct. 14 (exactly one year after the dedication of the Kenosha campus) that Board Chairman Ed Larsen announced that the College was "considering" closing the Carthage campus. Three days later Lentz sent a note to students, faculty and alumni informing them that "there is some possibility of the sale of the Illinois campus, yet strong likelihood that no sale will occur." A month later the Board voted, with only one dissenting, to end operations of the Illinois campus at the end of the academic year. Carthage officials cited the LCA decision to withdraw funding if they continued the two-campus approach.
Protests and 'Rabble-Rousers'
The formal announcement provoked a final campaign to save the Illinois campus. The Student Council sent letters to all LCA pastors in Illinois asking them to block the measure. Lentz reported to the Board that student response had been "violent" and that he had "become the target of hot heads and rabble-rousers." Some members of the administration even urged Lentz to stay in Kenosha for "fear of bodily injury" if he visited Hancock County. When he did return to Carthage, Lentz was informed that a police guard was standing by to protect his home.
Some alumni and faculty also protested the decision. Lentz noted that he had received a number of "nasty letters" from alumni. Biology professor Alice Kibbe and College dean Stuart Bailer were especially bitter about the decision and were among the few faculty who refused to move to Wisconsin. Community leaders were most concerned with the economic implications of the closing as Carthage was the largest employer in the county and contributed an estimated $3 million a year to the region.
Against such opposition, most within the College viewed the closing of the old campus as a necessity. Despite predictions that many students would transfer and most faculty would resign, nearly all students and professors moved to the new campus in the fall of 1964. After futile negotiations with Parsons, Lincoln College and Western Illinois University, the campus was finally sold to Robert Morris Junior College for $1.1 million in April 1965.
Symbols of Continuity
A brisk Lake Michigan breeze greeted students in September 1964 as they arrived to begin the new college year at the Kenosha campus. For the first time, students from the Illinois campus saw their new college and met their Kenosha classmates. Although there was some tension between students of the "old" and "new" campuses, it was minimal. A series of student/faculty congresses eased the transition, as did the transfer of Kissing Rock and the bell and steps of Old Main, and the dedication of a new Denhart Hall from the Illinois campus as symbols of continuity.
That same weekend in Carthage, Ill., a hot wind bent the trees on Evergreen Walk. Each September for 93 years, the campus had echoed the noise of students unpacking to begin another academic year. This fall, the only sounds came from a few townspeople holding Labor Day picnics on the campus. In the late afternoon a violent thunderstorm drenched the grounds and sent the picnickers running to their cars. When the clouds cleared, the campus was silent.
Although a few accused Lentz of "killing Carthage," the past three decades confirm that he actually saved the school from continued poverty or even financial collapse. As he predicted, enrollment and donations increased dramatically following the move to Kenosha. Lentz was well aware of the emotional commitment to the old campus, but was convinced he had to act to save and strengthen the institution.
Harold Lentz often spoke of Carthage as "a family" and, like a family that outgrows its old house, Carthage faced a painful decision: It could stay in the home of its youth or build a new house to meet new needs. Like the aging photos of a childhood home in a family scrapbook, Carthage, Ill., remains a loving memory to those who lived there, a memory passed down in stories and recollections to those who did not. Old Main, "Bug House," Denhart Hall, Evergreen Walk, and the rest of the old campus will always be a part of the heritage of Carthage. They survive because the College itself survives and flourishes in its new home.