Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1952

The 1952 Stephensophia is dedicated to the “Stephens girl; her place on the campus, in society and in the world; for it is during her youth that the personal values, principals and ideals on which she is to base her life are formed.”

We start this week’s edition with some sad news. Dr. W.W. Charters, who just retired two years ago after a long tenure at Stephens, has passed away this year. He’s praised as an “educational engineer” who oversaw many aspects of Stephens that were considered “firsts” in the educational world. His style of education, learning by doing, continues to be the foundation of education at Stephens.

In development this year is a Roblee Hall experience aimed to encourage students to carry more responsibility. There’s also a new “Women in Modern Contemporary Life” series that brings women to campus who have successfully combined marriage, family and community interests with a profession.

Speaking of marriage, the Home and Family Division under Dr. Bowman has decided to make sure marriage courses are working by surveying married alumnae. Some 20,000 questionnaires were sent out and more than half came back. The purpose, we're told, was to better understand problems real married women face.

Stephens is also adjusting its programing at this time to better reflect the growing number of women working outside the home. Radio has expanded to television, now a growing field—and some 50 years later will morph into our digital film program, continuing to reflect industry needs.

The College has also added a new “Introduction to Christian Thought” course in light of an evolving society. The goal is to provide young women with the “Christian answer” to contemporary secular situations.

There are several notable guests on campus this year, including Val Patacchi—an opera legend with leading roles in some of the world’s greatest operas—who conducts an opera workshop. The Foreign Relations Club also brings in well-known author Pearl S. Buck, U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith and Camille Chautemps, four-time prime minister of France.

Other clubs this year include fashion, music, home arts, math and the Council of States Club. Burrall Cabinet remains active with a variety of campus. There’s also a page dedicated to Jessie Burrall Eurbank, who at this time is working at a Baptist church in Washington. The yearbook staff gives a history of the cabinet, reporting that former President James Madison Wood, after arriving in 1912, was interested in boosting the number of college students attending church. We’re told he searched for six years, with one minister telling him to give up, saying “There’s nothing you can do for these young hyenas. Interesting them [in religion] is impossible.”

Wood spent six years searching before hearing Jessie Burrall, who was then associate editor of The National Geographic, talk about Sunday School education. He persuaded her to come in 1921 and the result, of course, was this enormous Sunday school held at Stephens for decades attended by both Stephens and MU students.

Stephens students continue to travel this year, taking trips to Europe, Mexico and Cuba. The Aviation Club also travels, flying to neighboring cities such as Topeka.

Stephens sounds like a really fun campus this year with events such as the Frozen Fantasy Christmas party, dances, a sock hop and a “Coke, Smoke and Joke” party where “mountains of potato chips and gallons of coke were consumed.”

Finally, there’s a series of hand-drawn comics tucked in the advertising section that really reflect the times. Enjoy.

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