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ISSUE 117 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/26/2003

This Week at St. Olaf: 1953, 1983, and 1993

By Bethany Jacobson
Staff Writer

Friday, September 26, 2003

This week in 1953…

Students lined up to join the new square dancing club, an organization that campus officials hoped would help to solve “the social problem” generated by the college’s relatively isolated position on the top of a hill.

Letters to the editor in the Manitou Messenger detailed 11–hour summer work days in a canning factory and reminded first years to always wear their “beanies,”small brimless caps traditionally worn by university and college freshmen.

In more serious news, Dr. Albert Finholt, then an associate professor of chemistry, discovered a method for making sodium aluminum hydride while working in his St. Olaf laboratory over the summer. The chemical had potential to be used in many things, including pharmaceuticals, plastics, soaps, and detergents.

Finholt later served as dean of the college from 1964 to 1971. He and his wife now sponsor a Phi Beta Kappa scholarship each year for the top two students in the sophomore class.

St. Olaf’s as–yet–unnamed new chapel (you know it as Boe) received its crowning glory this week with the installation of its stained glass windows. The glass was hand–blown and imported from Europe; the craftsmen who worked on the glass created the various thicknesses and textures seen in the windows today.

In 1983…

The St. Olaf men’s soccer team kicked off a good year by beating Carleton 3 to 1 to win the MIAC Preview Tournament. The Lion’s Pause, then located in the basement of Ytterboe Hall, was renovated over the summer. The goal of the renovation was to encourage students to consider college a time of personal learning and growth, rather than just preparation for a career in the business world. For entertainment, students watched “Lolita” and “Lord of the Flies.” Interestingly enough, the Manitou Messenger reported that it had exceeded the past year’s budget by $1,700 due to the production of issues with more pages than had been anticipated.

In 1993…

SAC vowed to make Homecoming Week the most memorable in recent years. With a Renaissance theme that borrowed heavily from the nearby Minnesota Renaissance Fair, campus denizens dressed in period garb and watched medieval scenes acted out by the Carleton/St. Olaf chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Students were also invited to play in a croquet tournament outside Mellby.

The crowning event of the week was a performance of Renaissance–era comedy and slapstick by Puke and Snot, professional entertainers from the Minnesota Renaissance Fair.

Dan Beach ‘94, St. Olaf’s current microcomputing consultant for IIT, was a student at St. Olaf in 1993. This week 10 years ago he took advantage of the increasing popularity of computers and instituted online personals. In addition, campus officials noted that the practice of “electronic mailing,” or “e-mail,” was becoming more common.

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