An anonymous alumnus, possibly a member of the Class of 1884, wrote this in an early issue of the Wofford College Journal, the student literary magazine that began in 1889. The Journal, which is still published today, also contained campus news in those early years. These were the reminiscences of that alum about his student days. He was a student in the preparatory department before becoming a college student. The facilities he describes were a bit rough!
I entered college, or rather “Prep,” as the Preparatory’ Department was then called, so young that I, with two others, formed what one teacher, now professor, called his “barefoot class,” because we, like the famous Kansas statesman, went without the usual foot protectors.
The college, as I first remember it, was a plain brick building. No steps led up to the front piazza. Two buttresses jutting out from either side alone told where the old wooden steps had been. The wings were stained a peculiar shade of pink, while the towers and portico were painted a different hue. No garden, laid off in drives and walks, reached up to the very base of the building, but all in front was simply a field in which the boys played ball, the “home base” being near where’ the old oak tree now stands.
Inside, there have been as great, if not greater changes. The chapel was without plastering overhead, and on looking upward the lathes looked down on you in derision. Going from there to the recitation rooms you find,
“Within the master’s desk is seen,
Deep scarred by raps official,
The warping floor, battered seats,
The jack knife carved initial.
The charcoal frescoe on its wall,
Its doors worn sill betraying,
The feet that creeping slow to school
Went storming out to playing.”
There have been great changes both in faculty and in courses of study. The only professor here now that was teaching then is the President, who was then Professor of Mathematics.
The five professors, who had been teaching in the college for twelve years and were destined to teach for two more, at the time I entered “Prep,” were, Rev. A. M. Shipp, D. D., Whitefoord Smith, D. D., Warren DuPre, LL.D., James H. Carlisle, LL.D., and Professor David Duncan. Professor Lester resigned the year I entered.
When I entered college proper, 1880, they changed from the old collegiate classes to the university plan. According to this plan a young man might enter any class for which he was prepared, provided the hours in that class did not conflict with the hours of any other to which he belonged. So you might find the phenomenon of a man, who combined in one person, all the dignity of the Senior, all the learning of the Junior, all the self esteem of a “Soph,” and all the pomposity of a “Fresh.” What a wonderful person that must have been!
Besides changing the plan of study they also changed the names of the classes to Junior, Intermediate and Senior. Ah! well do I remember how it puzzled the boys to understand how it would take four years to graduate when there were but three classes. As neither the plan nor the names seemed to work well, in five years, they returned to the same old system and called the classes by their former names.
In 1875, they discontinued the Preparatory department, and substituted the Introductory and sub-introductory classes. How the “Ducs.”‘ (Introductories) resented being classed with the “Subs” (Sub-Introductories,) and how indignant were both at being called ‘Preps,” any old student of those times knows.
The [Literary] Societies are now the pride of the college, but to enumerate the changes that have taken place within them would make this paper too long.