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ISSUE 117 VOL 1 PUBLISHED 9/19/2003

By Bethany Jacobson
Staff Writer


Friday, September 19, 2003

For over 100 years, students have been coming to St. Olaf College living, breatheing and thinking the spirit of their times. Fifty, twenty and ten years ago this week, students were busy moving into their dorms and discovering what changes on campus had occurred over the summer.

This week in 1953, St. Olaf statistics showed that, contrary to national trends, women outnumbered men on the 1,462 student campus, with 16 more girls than boys attending. Returning students were greeted with new cement paths between campus buildings – a welcome replacement for the wood chips and mud that had marked trails before. With St. Olaf’s decidedly precarious position on the top of Manitou Hill, it’s no wonder students were relieved to find out that they no longer had to slip and slide their way to classes in the middle of winter.

Incoming female first-years were invited to attend a Big Sister-Little Sister Tea in Hilleboe with the senior girls in order to adjust them to St. Olaf. All incoming students were also required to take a once-a-week freshman orientation course that would give them advice on beginning their years as college students.

In the aftermath of the Korean War and at the beginning of the Cold War, physically able first years were required to join the St. Olaf ROTC club, which announced a new, intense focus on flying. St. Olaf boys could train up to earn a second lieutenant’s commission in the Air Force at the end of their four years.

In 1983, college students were greeted by the announcement of the recently passed Solomon Amendment, which required all incoming male students who desired federal financial aid to report whether or not they had registered for the Selective Service. FIrst years who had not registered were not permitted to receive federal aid. St. Olaf officials said they would offer scholarships to students who would otherwise have been eligible for federal aid. Students who reported to the government that they had failed to register were charged a large fine in addition to forfeiting their financial aid.

Rand Hall, open since 1980, was formally christened in honor of Sydney A. Rand, president of St. Olaf from 1963 to 1980 and a United States Ambassador to Norway. The dormitory had originally been intended to replace Ytterboe Hall, but students protested the destruction of Ytterboe. The administration decided to renovate the old hall, instead.

Also in 198, for the first time, all 2,950 students were automatically given accounts on the St. Olaf academic computing system, and the school’s computer store became an important stop for all students. St. Olaf’s population included more men than women, even though more women than men applied to the college, which reflected the slight rise in the standardized test scores of males and the fall in female scores that year Letters to the Manitou Messenger that week indicated that diversity on campus, pertaining to racial minorities and sexual equality, was a hot issue.

This week in 1993, there was great rejoicing at the news that Thorson Hall had been renovated, eliminating the need for “gang showers.” Students slid easily into the year, attending a Reggae Festival and enjoying the newly built, European-influenced athletic track, with a longer inner area suitable for both soccer and football.





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