As AU celebrates its centennial year, many campus organizations and departments are looking back on their history on campus. The Andersonian, started by a group of students nearly 70 years ago, has a long history of involvement on campus.
A look back to the first issue ever published, on Feb. 18, 1947, reveals a culture in many ways different than the AU of today.
When the first issue of the Andersonian was published, the school was still known as Anderson College. The paper was four pages in length, featured very little art and had many short articles.
The cost of subscribing to the Andersonian in 1947 was one dollar per semester, plus an additional twenty-five cents for mail orders. Now, the publication is free to access online and is delivered to student mailboxes for free each Wednesday of publication.
The first student editor-in-chief, Kenneth Hall, was assisted by an editorial staff much larger than the current staff—there were 12 editors listed in the first issue, while the current staff only
consists of six.
The first introduction from the staff was titled “Hello!” The piece, in its entirety, read:
“The Andersonian would like to say a friendly “Hello” to every student , faculty member, and friend of the Anderson college who by his subscription, advertising, and support through clubs, has made possible this periodical, the first full-fledged college newspaper in the school’s history. While this hello is friendly, it is also a bit shaky and somewhat curious about the reception it will receive. The staff is human and relatively inexperienced. It has been much pressed to put out this first issue following final approval by the student-faculty publications committee on February 6. There the staff’s collective fingers are crossed. It hopes the readers take kindly to the paper despite its beginning handicaps. It also eagerly awaits suggestions and constructive criticism. With the help of these it promises to improve with each week’s issue.”
The first page shared several news stories, including a story about Dr. Morrison, who was the president of the college at the time, appearing at campus activities for the first time since dealing with a “long illness.”
When Dr. Hall visited with Andersonian staffers last semester, he shared that Morrison’s initial hesitation to allow a student newspaper was one of the greatest obstacles they faced, but that Morrison eventually gave in.
The story of Morrison’s reappearance on campus concluded with a quote from Morrison that read:
“A campus paper, if ably written and properly edited, can add dignity and solidarity to our campus life. On the other hand, if it is poorly written and carelessly edited, it can be disintegrating influence. It is my prophecy that the paper now being launched will, with support of students, faculty and the administration have great power for good through many years to come.”
The rest of the inaugural issue of the Andersonian was less-serious, featuring several articles about weddings and engagements, advertisements for new appliances and cleaning services, and even an article about the taste and quality of Anderson’s city water.
The final page of the paper, dedicated to sports news, featured an article called “Attention Women!” The piece highlighted the attempt to create a women’s intramural league.
“Would you like to earn an “A”? Coach White has promised to set up a system through which you will be able to earn a school letter. Several times this year efforts have been made to create interest among the girls for intramurals, but this has met with little success.
Each Monday evening beginning at 7:00 p.m. is girl’s night. This is not for a certain few who already know the rules of the games that are and will be offered or for only those who have already organized or are members of teams, but it is rather for anyone who has the slightest interest in athletics and is willing to learn. It has been a common complaint that many of the girls are unfamiliar with the rules of the games and for this reason refuse to show up. To remedy this, a certain part of the evening will be devoted to teaching the rules to those who would like instructions, if enough girls turn out.
“All participants will be put on teams and will be given a chance to earn a letter. Points will be awarded for attendance, for the winning teams, the losing teams, and the championship team. Any girl who earns a certain number of points will be eligible for an “A”. If this proves successful in basketball, the points will continue through with other sports, giving an even chance to those who care little for one sport but enjoy some other. This plan is only in the making and will be dropped unless more girls turn out at the gym on Monday evenings. Remember, you don’t have to be a star to come out Monday nights. Anyone who can be in P. E. can be in girls’ intramurals. No one can start this alone, but all of us can. If you have any doubts or questions about girls’ intramurals, report to the gym at 7:00 p.m. this Monday evening and present them. Let’s see what we can do about it, girls. Would you like to earn an “A”? Monday evening, 7:00 p.m. at the gym. Okay? It’s a date!”
The Andersonian approaches its 70th year in February as the university approaches its 100th next fall. Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, the Andersonian will share summaries of some of its most important publications.