Page 15 - The Woods Magazine - Summer 2012

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Women have always played important roles
in the history of our university.
For 127 years, the only students living on
the campus now known as William Woods
University were female. The school began as
the Female Orphan School in Camden Point,
Mo., in 1870. It was to serve orphans of the
Civil War.
The school moved to Fulton in 1890, after
a fire destroyed the facility in Camden Point.
Over the next century, the college underwent
several name changes and continued to grow
and develop. It was accredited as a junior
college in 1914, a four-year college in 1962,
and a university offering graduate degrees
in 1992.
During the early days in Fulton, student
uniforms consisted of dresses and nile-green
sun bonnets trimmed with old rose ribbon
that were furnished to students at a cost of
$2.25 each. The full cost for board and tuition
each term was $87.50, and tuition for day
students was $25.
Women play integral role in WWU’s history
began as
an orphan
school in
Point, Mo.
Orphan school
moved to Fulton
after fire destroyed
WWU became a
four-year college
Dr. Jahnae H.
Barnett became
the first woman
president in
WWU history
WWU established a
baccalaureate degree in
equestrian science, the
first in the world
School became
accredited as a
junior college
WWU student,
Helen Stephens,
won two gold medals
at the Olympics
By Erin Crooks '12
By 1899, the chief source of the school’s
income was its full-paying students. The
board of directors felt that the term orphan
school subjected paying pupils to criticism
and misrepresentation. And so the Orphan
School officially became Daughters College.
The name, while appropriate to the mission
of the institution, was short-lived. Toward the
end of 1900, the school was drowning
in debt, and owed $36,000 to various
Dr. William S. Woods
, a member
of the board of directors, settled the debt
personally. He paid $23,450 on behalf of
the school, an amount whose relative value
in 2011 was $648,000.
The year 1901 dawned a new, hopeful age.
The board of directors unanimously decided
that the institution should be renamed in honor
of its generous benefactor.
The 1920s saw many changes: the
acquisition of new buildings and facilities,
affiliation with several academic societies, and
a strengthening of the institution’s academic
standards. By 1929, the full cost of a term had
risen to $650.
Helen Stephens
, a student at the time,
brought fame to William Woods College
when she won two gold medals at the 1936
Olympics in Berlin, Germany. The Fulton
native went on to become the first female
owner/manager of a female semiprofessional
basketball team.
Claudine Barrett Cox O’Connor
an alumna and benefactor who first came
to The Woods in 1941, told about the
institution’s formality in those days: “We
all knew that you did not set one foot off this
campus day or evening without heels, hose,
hat, bag, and gloves.”
“Dressing for dinner was a requirement,”
Toveylou Sessions Talley
'48 remembers.
“School dresses must be changed for suits or
dresses with hose and heels each evening.
University began
offering graduate
1996 2000 2001 2005
WWU creates
first website
The first men enrolled
in the traditional
on-campus program
WWU institutes
the LEAD program
to encourage and
reward involvement
on campus
KWWU 94.9, The
Pulse established
on campus with a
signal available within
a three- to five-mile
radius of campus
First male is
elected to
Alumni Board
of Directors