Toward Becoming A University: 1950-1959
In the 1950s, the college returned to more normal conditions after World War II and the influx of veterans. Racial integration took place without much attention. It was a time of tremendous growth under leadership of President Stewart H. Smith, who served throughout this decade and most of the next.
The Science Building was dedicated in 1950 with much fanfare, including a later appearance by Huntington’s own Dagmar, star of early television. That same year, the basketball team moved from Radio Center to the new county-owned Memorial Field House.
A unit of the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps was established on campus in 1951. Athletic teams began competing in the Mid-American Conference in 1954. A new dormitory for freshman women (now Prichard Hall, an administration building) opened in 1955.
The bust of John Marshall, dedicated during the college’s Centennial in 1937, fell victim to vandals in 1957 and a new bust was dedicated in 1959. The first full-time alumni director was hired in 1958.
It was a time of panty raids and other frivolous pranks and also of serious efforts by staff and students to descend upon the Legislature for greater state support for Marshall. Interest in sororities and fraternities reached a new high and Mother’s Day sings were big events. The Artists Series brought big-name shows to town. University status was also just around the corner.