Monday, February 26, 2007

Campus Evolution on Display

The campus landscape is evolving again as the Chess Center and new music building rise from the hills of New Concord. Campus Evolution will be on display during the month of March in the Library. The display includes photographs and drawings charting the evolution of the College from the 1930s to the present. The centerpiece of Campus Evolution is replica of the "birds eye view " campus master plan commissioned by President John Knox Montgomery in 1911.

The following essay describing President Montgomery's vision originally appeared in the 1923 Muscoljuan.

The Vision Splendid

“Where there is no vision the people perish. This is equally true of institutions.” When President Montgomery came to Muskingum College in the fall of 1904, the institution was at the parting of the ways. Since that time three Colleges in this section of South-Eastern Ohio have ceased to exist, viz, West Lafayette, Scio and Franklin. It was evident to the new President that Muskingum must either catch up and catch step with the educational procession or fall out altogether. It could no longer exist bringing up the rear.

The first vision had to do with a stand college in the matter of entrance requirements, curriculum, equipment for teaching science, etc. As a result short courses were eliminated, the Ohio College Association entrance standards were adopted, new laboratories were equipped, new departments developed and the teaching force increased. The realization of this vision gave the college membership in the standardizing agencies, recognition from the great educational foundations, accrediting by the State Departments of Education in nearly every commonwealth in the land for teacher certification and by the Graduate Schools.

The second vision had to do with an adequate physical foundation and equipment. For sixty-seven years the campus comprised but one acre of land. It was manifestly impossible to develop a college on such a physical basis or interest men of means in making an investment in a school that was content in these days with so small a campus. During the first year of the regime of President Montgomery ten acres were added. Since then purchases have been made from time to time until new we have a beautiful campus of about eighty-five acres, beautifully located and with a lake covering four acres in the center.

The next vision had to do with a building program adequate for a growing and rapidly developing institution. In 1911 the President had a birdseye view prepared showing nine proposed buildings. Most people looked upon this as an interesting but impossible vision. But the growth of the college in favor, in efficiency and in attendance demonstrated that instead of this vision being impossible of realization, it was not big and broad enough.

As a result the vision on the opposite page is presented as the building program for the next ten years, showing twenty-one splendidly appointed buildings. Besides these the Girls’ Gymnasium, The Barracks Gymnasium and the Conservatory of Music buildings do not show on this plan.

Of these twenty-four buildings, Paul Hall was erected in 1874, Johnson Hall in 1898, and the Girls’ Gymnasium in 1899. Under the present administration there have been erected the President’s Manse, Brown Chapel, the Power and Light Plant, The Barracks, Montgomery Hall, Four Faculty residences, and the central dormitory of the Women’s group. The next three buildings to be erected are the Library, the Chemistry building and the Student Building, all of which were included in the program of the New World Movement.

When this vision is realized, as it will be, no college in Ohio will have a more attractive and beautiful campus than our own loved Muskingum.

"The Vision Splendid" originally appeared in the sixteenth volume of the Muscoljuan published in 1923. The essay appears on unnumbered page IX, prior to the Table of Contents. No author is attributed to the essay. James F. Allison, is listed as the Editor-in-Chief.