The Streak

On March 4, 1974, one of the more memorable moments in modern Wofford history took place. A group of Wofford students streaked the Converse campus.

Streaking became something of a national fad in the spring of 1974. Someone streaked the Oscars, another streaked the Hawaii state legislature. And Ray Stevens memorialized it all in song. Even today, individuals occasionally try to streak the Super Bowl or other sports events.

As reported in the March 7, 1974 issue of the Old Gold and Black, “streaking, the latest college craze, has made its debut in Spartanburg. On Monday night, 125 Wofford students entertained a crowd of 700 Converse and Wofford spectators by running nude across the Converse campus. The Spartanburg Herald, the city’s morning newspaper, ran two front page stories the next morning with slightly different details. It suggested the number of streakers was around 60. The event took place between about 8:30 and 10 pm, and while Converse security and Spartanburg police were both on hand, no one was arrested or charged. Stories initially celebrated this as the first college to streak another college, and the first all-male college to streak an all-female college. Later stories corrected it to “almost all-male,” since Wofford in 1974 had women day students. (Some of those students were present for the event and were quoted in the Herald’s story.)

Converse students interviewed in the Herald applauded their campus security officers for not overreacting. In fact, one Converse security officer said, “we knew it was going to happen and decided not to interfere as long as it didn’t get out of hand, meaning no injuries and property damage, primarily.” In an Old Gold and Black article a few weeks later, Converse President Robert Coleman laughed off the whole event. “I consider streaking to be just a prank, a way of easing frustration, a lark.” He continued, “It has been my experience that every college generation comes up with some way of thumbing its nose at society.”

The story was front page news in the Old Gold and Black later that week, with a large photo, and got coverage with campus reaction at both college for two more issues. The incident also made the Bohemian that year as well, with some of the same photos in both publications. Mark Olencki ’75, then a student Bohemian editor and photographer, noted that some people accused him of participating in the streak, and he said that was impossible, since he was the one taking the pictures.

Perhaps the more interesting part of the story is the rumors, fueled in the Spartanburg media, that the Converse students would return the favor at Wofford the next night. The Herald even reported it at the end of the article. “Reliable sources report that another first will occur tonight as the Converse gals answer an invitation to streak across the Wofford campus at 8:30, weather permitting.” On Tuesday night, a crowd sometimes estimated at 2,000 people descended on the Wofford campus, anticipating a show. They were sorely disappointed, as the counter-streak did not materialize, and unfortunately took out their frustrations with some acts of vandalism.

The Streak resulted in a number of amusing newspaper stories. The Herald story quoted three Wofford women students’ descriptions of the event. Jo Ann Deakin noted that many of the men wore handkerchiefs over their faces. Pam Mason reported that some of the Converse students were chasing the streakers. Terry Rosenberg noted that some of the guys “were chicken and wore pants, while others wore long shirt tails flapping in the breeze as they ran.” One group of Converse students told the Herald reporter, “Please for goodness sakes please don’t say we were offended or nothing like that. If anyone is embarrassed or easily offended they shouldn’t be out here.”

In a March 21 Old Gold and Black story, an anonymous reporter wrote about several Converse student reactions. “Shouts of ‘I touched one,’ ‘Wow, did you see that?’ and ‘Give us a moon’ rang out among the audience.” The reporter went on to share his own reminiscences of the event. “The mooning on Fairview Avenue was a genuine disappointment. Growing up in a small southern town where mooning was a much more common pastime than going to the movies since there was no theater, I felt rather competent as a critic. The Wofford mooners lacked technique. There were no half-moons, baby moons, or moon faces… Only the basic full moon which is rather dull for spectators after a while. One young man must be commended, however, for shooting a moon across a Wofford decal in the back of a Volkswagen bus.”

The fad passed as quickly as it came. Dean of Students Mike Preston put out a memo on March 6, following the damage to campus, warning students that streaking was against the law and students would be prosecuted. While he knew it was not malicious, he did not want to see campus or student property further endangered. As Wofford campus safety chief Chuck Darnell warned the Wofford students after March 5, “three streaks and you’re out.”

Note: This blogger absolutely does not encourage a semi-centennial commemoration of the event!

Academics Faculty

Lucy Quinn

Over a period of six decades in the registrar’s office, Lucy Quinn had a profound influence on generations of Wofford students.

Ms. Quinn came to Wofford in 1963 as the secretary to then-registrar Bates L. Scoggins, a 1930 graduate of the college. When he retired, she continued to assist his successor Edward H. (Ned) Sydnor. All the while, she took courses, usually one per term, and by 1983, she had earned enough credits to receive her bachelor’s degree in English, magna cum laude. She probably had the task many semesters of posting the grades her professors assigned onto her transcript.

In that 24 years as the secretary to the registrar, she learned how the office worked, and when Ned Sydnor retired in 1987, she was the obvious choice to fill the position. She earned her master’s in higher education from USC and led the registrar’s office until the fall of 2008. After her retirement, she was named registrar emerita.

The registrar serves a unique role on a college campus as the person who is primarily responsible for maintaining the catalogue, building the class schedule, recording and maintaining grades, and enforcing degree requirements. There’s also a lot of reporting of data to internal and external agencies. The registrar has her fingers on nearly all aspects of academic life at the college. Every student interacts at some point with that office.

During much of her tenure, the registrar did a lot of coordinating of academic advising, and Lucy Quinn had a keen eye for a student who was struggling academically. The student body was a lot smaller during much of her time at Wofford, and she knew most of the student body. Before some of the technology changed, students had to come to the registrar’s office to file a lot of their paperwork, which gave her a chance to talk with a lot of students. She understood their needs, sometimes even more than they did themselves. Doyle Boggs once observed that her early intervention often made the difference in a student being able to recover academically and remain in college and dropping out. He believed she was worth a few points in our retention numbers every year. Many students agreed, often saying she had helped keep them on track for graduation.

She was a great advocate for students, and in an era when we didn’t have some of the resources we have today, she knew how to point students in the right direction. She once told me of a lesson she learned from Mr. Scoggins, her mentor, which was “do not give the students the runaround.” In other words, help them if you know the answer, and if you don’t know the answer, don’t just send them away to figure it out for themselves.

Ms. Quinn wasn’t the first woman to serve as the college registrar, that was Miss Dorothy Woodward, who served in that capacity during World War II. But, when she came to Wofford, the student body was still all-male. The faculty was almost all male as well. She witnessed desegregation in the 1960s as well as the arrival of women day students and resident students in the 1970s. She was one of the few women in administration when she became the registrar. In some recent oral history interviews, many of the college’s earliest Black students remembered many acts of kindness and support that Ms. Quinn showed them.

On a personal level, Lucy Quinn was one of those people who had a significant impact on my own Wofford experience. After I graduated, but before I came back to work at the college full time, she was one of the people I always visited when I was on campus. She was always knowledgeable about what was going on around campus, and always invited me to lunch during visits to campus. When I came back to work here in 1999, she was a generous mentor, inviting me to lunch with a group of staff from around campus on Fridays where I soon realized some of the real business of running the college took place.

Lucy also showed me the importance of having a network of friends. She was active in Altrusa, a local service club perhaps best known around Spartanburg for their annual Souper Bowl chili sale in early February. She enjoyed traveling, and I went on several South Carolina Orbiting Seminars with her before she retired. She knew a lot of the alumni on those trips from her years of work on campus. Her close friends were almost like an additional layer of family for her, and they all looked out for each other personally as well as professionally. Her death last week reminded me of how many of those people who were important in my own Wofford experience have passed on.


Students with cars, 1920

I came across these photos while going through some old files today – they are of a student named Vernon Earle, who graduated from Wofford in 1920. He was a member of the varsity basketball team and was a member and captain of the varsity football team.

The photo of him with the football on Wofford’s athletic field is pretty small – I scanned it at a higher resolution to be able to enlarge it. The other two photos – of him in a car in front of Main Building – are some of the earliest photos of a student with a car on campus that I’ve come across. I’m sure there are older examples, but these seemed worth sharing.

Vernon Earle, captain of the football team
Vernon Earle in front of Main Building, 1920

Wofford’s Bell

For nearly 170 years, the Main Building’s voice has rested in the top of its west tower in the form of a 700-pound bell. 

Main Bell Clean Sepia
Wofford’s bell

Wofford’s bell was cast by the Meneely Bell Foundry in West Troy, New York.  Andrew Meneely started the foundry in 1826, after an apprenticeship with Julius Hanks, who was one of the earliest bell founders in America.  (Hanks was a relative of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s mother.)  Meneely brought his oldest son, Edwin, into the family business, and after Andrew Meneely’s death in 1851, Edwin Meneely brought one of his brothers into the business.  The two brothers continued to operate the foundry as Andrew Meneely’s Sons.  When a third brother, Clinton Hanks Meneely, returned from the Civil War, the first two brothers refused to take him into the company.  This led to the formation of a second Meneely Foundry in 1870, across the river in Troy, NY. 

Together, the two Meneely companies produced an estimated 65,000 bells.  Their bells hang in churches and colleges throughout the United States.  Bell experts regard Meneely products as being among the finest cast in America.  Both companies went out of business in the early 1950s, due partly to increasing metal prices and partly to the increasing popularity of electronic bells and chimes.  Because of the Meneely family’s position as being among the earliest and foremost bell founders, a Meneely bell today can be a valuable artifact.

Bell casting is both an art and a science.  Before casting can take place, a bell must be carefully designed.  The founder first builds an inner core, then uses molding clay to create a false bell.  The inscriptions are added to the surface of the false bell, then an additional layer of fine molding material is added to the surface.  The founder then builds an iron case around the false bell, filling it with molding material as the sections are added.  When finished, the outer mold is lifted off, the false bell broken away, and the two halves of the bell mold are fitted together.  The founder pours molten bronze into the mold, and the bell is allwed to cool in the ground for several weeks.  The founder has many anxious moments before he can test the bell’s tone, for despite his best efforts, the product can still be a dud. 

A bell’s pitch depends on its weight, and the metal must be tapered in thickness to ensure that it is in tune.  When struck, a bell produces a chord of five separate pitches, including the note for which it is pitched, a minor third, a perfect fifth, and an octave above the strike note, and a hum tone that is an octave below the strike note.  Each note reverberates from a different part of the bell. 

The Wofford bell, inscribed “From Meneely’s, West Troy, NY, 1854,” weighs approximately 700 pounds.  The bell is 33 inches in diameter and is supposedly pitched at “B,” though it might actually be a little higher  It is held in place by heavy oak timbers about 20 feet below the apex of the west tower roof.  Cast in bronze, the bell was for years rung by a rope attached to a wooden wheel five-feet in diameter.  The wheel turns the bell, causing it to strike the clapper. 

James H. Carlisle, Jr., a member of the class of 1885 and son of the College’s third president, wrote in his Memories of Wofford College manuscript, held in the college archives, that the original faculty members and their wives all went to see the bell before it was placed in the tower.  “This bell,” Carlisle wrote, “has always been noted for the purity and clearness of its tone.  Farmers living four miles from the city tell the time of day by the ringing of the bell.”

Vanderbilt Chancellor James H. Kirkland, a member of Wofford’s class of 1877, once spoke of the meaning that the bell held for many Wofford graduates.  “Today my dreams are realized; once again I walk this sacred campus; and with every step… I feel new strength enter my frame, new courage my heart, and the tones of the old college bell seem to ring out a kindly greeting to the long-absent son.” 

When he was the editor of the Old Gold and Black in 1937, Dr. Lewis P. Jones ’38 climbed into the bell tower to survey the campus and examine the bell.  “One rarely notices the bell,” he wrote, “yet it is the main regulator of life at Wofford.”  Counting the number of rings each time the bell signaled a class change, Dr. Jones found that the clapper struck the bell some 1,300 times each week.  Generations of Wofford students made bell-ringing into a part time job, earning scholarships by signaling class changes each day. 

Throughout the years, the bell has been the object of student pranks.  The rope has occasionally been cut and the bell’s clapper has been removed on occasion, perhaps by students hoping to postpone a test.  The clapper, the device that actually makes the bell ring when the rope is pulled, was also occasionally stolen by students from other colleges as an intercollegiate prank.  At some point, the clapper either was not replaced properly or was replaced with an inferior part.  Since that time, the bell’s volume has decreased. 

In the summer of 2001, the college restored the bell’s volume.  Some of the repairs included carpentry work on the tower stairs and landings.  The Verdin Company, a nationally known clock and bell firm headquartered in Cincinnati, installed a new clapper and related hardware.  Additionally, the Verdin Company installed a new striking mechanism that allows the bell to be rung by a digital bell controller.  This controller can be programmed to ring the bell automatically, at specified times throughout the day.  On Founder’s Day, October 19, 2001 the inaugural bell ringing was the featured event of a lunchtime ceremony commemorating the 221st birthday of Benjamin Wofford. 

(This article originally appeared in the Fall 2001 Wofford Today and has been updated slightly in October 2022.)


Over 63 years at Wofford

I recently learned of the passing on July 16 of Mrs. Doris B. Wade, who was one of the longest-serving employees in the history of the college. 

Mrs. Wade came to work at Wofford in the spring of 1954, when Wofford was a very different institution.  It was still all-male, at least in the regular semesters.  The faculty was much smaller, and the business office staff was probably 2 people – Mrs. Wade and the college’s bursar, Mr. Harold Smithyman.  Dr. Pendleton Gaines, Wofford’s 6th president, was in office when she joined the staff.  In total, she would work for six of the college’s eleven presidents. 

From her desk in the bursar’s office, later the business office, she witnessed Wofford’s centennial celebrations in 1954, the admission of Wofford’s first Black student in 1964, the transformation of student life in the late 1960s, the admission of women in the 1970s, and the gradual growth of the student body and faculty over time.  She also witnessed significant changes in Spartanburg, and in American society. 

Given the small size of the business office in those early days, she would have probably known more than most anybody else on campus about the college’s operations.  She probably helped pay the bills for almost everything that happened, and probably knew every student who came in to pay their tuition, or borrow a few dollars from the various loan funds.  In 1981, the college presented her with the Mary Mildred Sullivan award at Commencement, one of the college’s highest honors, noting that she was at that point in charge of student accounts in the business office. 

She came to work every day, year in and year out, as the college grew and changed around her.  I am sure she knew way more about a lot of things than she ever let on, but I used to hear about comments she’d make to her business office colleagues or senior administrators, remembering this or that student from years ago.  I know that generations of students remember her as well.  She was part of a network of women working in the various offices on campus who knew and respected each other, and probably had as much to do with the smooth operation of the college as the department heads who supervised them.  No doubt they could quickly solve many student problems with a phone call. 

Along with three other long-time staff members, she officially retired in the summer of 2009, after 55 years of full-time service.  Several hundred faculty and staff and friends came to that retirement reception.  But she didn’t really retire.  She continued to work part time for about 8 more years.  Her last day working in the business office, at least according to an email I got that day, was December 20, 2017.  I know I walked over to speak to her that day – I always felt like we had so many people in common, people that we both knew, but that she knew for much longer than I did.  She was a part of Wofford for over sixty years – I think the only institution that she was part of longer was her church – she was a lifelong member of Sharon United Methodist near Reidville.  63 years of service is probably more than most of us want to give to any institution, but I think she kept coming to work here every day because of how much she loved being around the people -students and staff – of Wofford. 

Academics Documents Faculty Uncategorized

About the Professors

The Wofford College Journal, which has been the college’s literary magazine since 1889, used to act as a monthly newspaper for the campus as well. I found these notes in the February 1906 issue that describe some of the comings and goings of members of the faculty.

On account of the severity of the weather, Dr. Carlisle did not meet his classes for a few days last month.

Dr. Snyder delivered a lecture on the evening of January 14th in the chapel of South Carolina College. This lecture was on “The Assets of a Young Man Just Entering Upon the Duties of Life.”

Dr. Cooke delivered his lecture on “Pompeii and Rome” in the auditorium on the night of January 18th. The lecture was largely attended and was profitable to the YMCA, under whose auspices the lecture was given.

Prof. Clinkscales gave a lecture at the Roebuck School on January 19th.

Dr. Wallace was in Columbia on January 25th. He appeared before a Senate committee in behalf of a bill for a white juvenile reformatory.

Dr. Snyder addressed the Chamber of Commerce on the evening of February 1st.

Prof. Clinkscales delivered an address at the First Baptist Church on the morning of February 4th.

Prof. J. A. Gamewell paid a short visit to Greenville, SC, on Feb. 3rd.

Dr. Carlisle made a talk at the opening exercises of the new Kennedy Library.

Dr. Snyder delivered an address at Greenwood, SC on January 31st. This was Founder’s Day at Lander College.

Methodist Uncategorized

A Methodist Summer in 1921

This column appeared in the July 2021 issue of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate

Issues of the Advocate in June and July 1921 featured the varied work of Methodists around South Carolina, including revivals, conferences, Episcopal travel, and the work of conference institutions.  

The Advocate reported on a revival in Edgefield in June 1921 that evidently went on for two weeks.  “After a little over two weeks duration, Rev. Mr. Bridgers closed the tent revival meeting on Tuesday night, after a most successful and soul-stirring and beneficial fortnight’s spiritual awakening of all our people of all classes and conditions and ages and colors. Its tangible results should rank it the best and most far-reaching in its good and uplifting influence of any like revival ever held in Edgefield. Rev. Mr. Bridgers is a man of wonderful power and magnetism, and the good work and genuine benefits occurring should have a lasting and telling effect for a long time to come. Edgefield enjoyed the meeting thoroughly, and we trust its laborers will be felt for the betterment of the whole town and country.” 

The Advocate also posted a note from Bishop Urban Darlington that spoke both of the challenges of travel a hundred years ago as well as the international aspect of the work of the bishops.  Darlington wrote “It is my purpose to sail from New York on July 5th for the inspection of our European work, being appointed to such mission by the College of Bishops. While absent my Episcopal District will be in the hands of Bishop Collins Denny of Richmond, Va. Let all the brethren take notice. I hope to return about September 20th.”

The Advocate also brought events at Lake Junaluska to the notice of its readers.  Several meetings and training events were on the calendar, including the Rural Life School, then the Epworth League Assembly would run from June 30 to July 10.  A training school for Sunday School teachers would follow, from July 13 through 27. That sounds like a lot of training.  August would see the missionary conference, the conference of laymen, and the Bible-Evangelistic Conference, and the Social Service Conference.  The Advocate encouraged South Carolinians to take a vacation to the Lake to take advantage of “innocent recreation.”  

The editor noted receiving Wofford’s College Catalogue, a document that described the college’s course offerings as well as other information about the institution.  It noted that Wofford had hosted nearly 600 students during regular and summer terms.  It noted the students, which coming most heavily from Spartanburg County, represented almost every county in the state, with 21 of the upcountry counties and 21 of the lowcountry counties having students at the college.  Of note, 21 students came from Orangeburg, 19 from Darlington, 16 from Williamsburg, 15 each from Lexington, Florence, and Richland, and 14 from Calhoun. The college had about 32 employees, and the Advocate made note of the size of the campus community and the college’s focus on training students in scholarship and character.   A later item noted the arrival of a new faculty member. Dr. A. M. Trawick, who was becoming professor of religious education.  The editor noted Dr Trawick had “a very unique and attractive personality, splendid equipment, and ripe classroom experience” which made him “a really great teacher, and it is an easy forecast that he will soon become one of the most popular members of the Wofford faculty.”  

Along with these items, the Advocate also focused on meetings of the Woman’s Missionary Society, with a full report of their recent meeting at Anderson College, hosted by the ladies of St. John’s Church.  Methodists were indeed busy doing the church’s work in the summer of 1921.  


Women’s Missionary Society Work in the 1920s

For Women’s History Month, I decided to take a look at the Advocate from 100 years ago this month to see what the Woman’s Missionary Society pages were discussing. 

A note on the Society page announced the meeting of the Woman’s Missionary Council for the denomination in April 1921 at Centenary Methodist Church in Richmond, VA.  The announcement explained that the Council’s committees, on work in Asia, Latin America, the “home fields” and “home educational institutions” would meet first.  Attendees could contact the local arrangements chair for a list of hotels or boarding houses.  A later article noted that “The Richmond” was the headquarters hotel, and rooms with baths could be had for $3 to $5 per night.  If you didn’t need a bathroom, you could get a room for $2.  The article promised nearby cafeterias and cafes for those who wanted to take their meals outside the hotel. 

The page reported on a meeting of the executive committee of the Woman’s Missionary Society of the Upper South Carolina Conference.  The article noted that the all-day meeting mostly heard routine reports, but did celebrate that the society had contributed over $31,000 to mission work in the past year. The group decided that it needed to put an increased focus on work with young people, and planned a one-day institute in each district.  In celebrating a success, the committee learned that 21 women in the conference were currently preparing for missionary service, either in high school, college, or attending Scarritt. 

This may have led to a question in a later issue about how many churches had supplied members for ministry.  “Has your church during recent years furnished a young man for the work of the ministry, a young woman for missionary service in the foreign field or in the home land? If not, it is time for serious thought, for heart searching, for prayer. There are congregations out of which have come large numbers of young men and women who have dedicated their lives to Christian life work; there are other congregations that for years gone have furnished no such workers. Why this difference? Let’s face that question during this month.” 

The work of local church societies frequently made the Woman’s Missionary Society page.  In March 1921, readers would have learned about the meetings of women’s societies at Rowesville, at Duncan Memorial in Georgetown, and at St. John’s in Anderson.  The latter two reported significant growth, and at St. John’s, every woman in the church was part of a circle.  The society committees all came from the circles, and the women were so faithful in their contributions to mission work that the society no longer needed to have bazaars, teas, and suppers as fund-raisers.  

In another section of a March issue, the Advocate also talked about prohibition and the forces that had tried to keep it from happening.  The editor was especially critical of public officials in other parts of the country that were opposed to ending the sale of alcohol.  The paper noted that January 29, the anniversary of the ratification of the 18th amendment, would some day be celebrated like the 4th of July or January 1.  It predicted that some day, a child would ask the question, “Grandpa, what was a saloon?” 


Online research

This was my June column in the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate

While we always welcome visitors to the conference archives at Wofford, many researchers have come to expect to be able to do at least some of their archival research online. 

At Wofford, we are working to make more of the primary source materials available online, but some of that work will take a very long time.  At the moment, most of the conference journals are available here: These can be a very useful source for learning about the conference, about clergy, and about local church statistics. 

Another popular resource has been the clergy biographical and pictorial directories. Many churches like to have portraits of their former ministers in a place of honor in the church. When I first worked in the archives, often we would have to photocopy the pictures from one of the clergy directories, and then those could be converted to a photo print. Some years back, we decided to digitize the photos, and local churches can download a high resolution image.  Some of the images are still pretty small. The full directories are here: The photos are linked from the Methodist archives web page:

Other church agencies have developed online resources for individuals who want to conduct research from home.  The United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History is responsible for the general church agency records, but they also strive to promote Methodist history at the national and international levels. They have a number of articles that researchers might find interesting. These are located at: These articles might be good resources for Sunday school classes learning about Methodist history. Also, the bishop’s ordination chain is a great resource if clergy are curious as to how they connect back to the founding generation of American Methodism. Old issues of the journal Methodist History are available on the site as well. 

Other materials on American Methodism are available in the Internet Archive, located here:  These materials can be read online or downloaded for later reference. 

If you are interested in learning more about our roots in British Methodism, the online Dictionary of Methodism in Britain and Ireland might be just the source you’re looking for.  It is freely available online at :  And, just as the United States has a Historical Society of the United Methodist Church, the British Methodist Conference has a Wesley Historical Society. Their website is

Archives are constantly trying to make more historical materials available for researchers. Some of this involves making digital copies of older materials – and cataloging them or transcribing them so that the information in them is actually available to researchers. Some of the work involves collecting today’s records. All of it can be labor-intensive and time consuming. In the end, it all helps us share our story better, and helping make those connections between the past and present is always worth the effort. 

Exhibits Photographs

Celebrating the centennial

ROTC celebrated its centennial at Wofford in the fall of 2019 at a centennial ball in November. Major General Rodney Anderson, class of 1979, was the featured speaker.

General Anderson
A special table is always reserved at military balls for fellow soldiers who are prisoners of war or missing in action. The table always has symbols to represent and remember those who were not able to be present.