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February 29, 2024

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Born in 1910, University still growing

The University past and present is full of changes, differences and experiences of the people who have stepped foot on campus.

On Nov. 10, 1910, Bowling Green was chosen for the location of the new normal school to train future teachers of northwest Ohio.

Dr. Homer B. Williams was chosen as the school’s first president who held degrees from both Ohio Northern and Baldwin Wallace colleges.

The original plan called for only two buildings, one being a dormitory and the other for academics.

The building of the school, however, was postponed a year due to title problems and legal issues over the land.

The first two buildings known as Williams Hall and University Hall served as the women’s dormitory and as the administration building.

The name Bowling Green State Normal College was instituted on Feb. 16, 1912 and opened in fall of 1914 with a faculty of 10 members and a 304 student enrollment.

The school colors that are advertised throughout the university today were suggested by Leon L. Winslow, who is said to have seen the colors on a woman’s hat.

Winslow also designed the University’s seal in 1914 and has since been revised in 1958 by Glenn Christian, University purchasing officer.

The changes the University has gone through are seen by the students and faculty of today’s population.

The library was originally located in McFall Center and served the campus community until 1967.

“It was a nice place, designed as a library in an old fashion way,” said history professor Don Rowney.

Mary Beth Zackary who is the Head of Access Services at Jerome Library graduated from the University in 1971.

“The change from McFall to here was amazing because everything was in closed stacks and paper cards,” Zackary said.

The library was designed to look like five books between two bookends representing the five colleges at that time.

The first floor of the library was originally the undergraduate library and the rest of the tower served as the graduate library.

The development of Ohio Link was a major improvement for the services of the library, Zackary said.

The library over the years has collected various resources resulting in the establishment of the music library and popular culture library.

It has always served as a major part of the University.

“The library was and still is the intellectual heart of the University,” Zackary said.

Senior faculty members have seen the University’s history take place first hand.

“You would be stunned by the differences both in student culture and in academic culture of that day,” Rowney said.

Since the days of 1914, students have undergone a change in wardrobe and spirit.

The football stadium, originally located in front of the Education Building, always had full stands of students dressed in suits and skirts, said Zackary.

The behavior in the classroom has been changed too, possibly due to the changes in the lives of students.

“There was this veneer of respect for authority and institutional structure,” Drowney said.

At this time, the vast majority of students were not working unlike the culture of today’s students.

“These students were here primarily to study and earn a degree,” Rowney said.

Commuters were very rare in the 1960s and students were expected to live on campus.

Although the University didn’t have a male dormitory until 1939 in Kohl Hall.

“The University used to have a practice of balancing the freshman class at an equal population of men and women, but [it] was later terminated,” said history professor Gary Hess.

Williams Hall, that originally served as the women’s dormitory, was renovated in 1964.

“It was the first year I was here and there were still closets and pipes from the dormitory in the building,” Hess said.

Lee Meserve of the Biology Department has been at the University for 35 years and has seen the Rec Center, field house, and music building was built and has witnessed even more changes.

“When I started here, the University was on quarters,” Meserve said.

Throughout the years these changes and difference have shaped the university to what it has become today. “Once we know our history we can move forward,” Zackary said.

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