NC State History Category
The young men who had matriculated to the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in the 1890s had but a few rules to guide their conduct.
They had to pay $16.85 for their one gray uniform suit and make sure their tuition and lodging were settled up. They had to attend morning prayer in the chapel every day and church on the Sabbath. And they had to keep their rooms clean.
The students also had a general statement by which to set their moral compasses, as seen in the 1894-95 academic catalog.
“Students are expected at all times to demean themselves in a quiet, gentlemanly manner, and no student will be allowed to remain in the institution who, by misconduct or indolence, shows himself unworthy of its benefits,” read the “General Rules” section of the catalog.
But the conduct became a little more codified on this day in 1921, when The Technician reported the formal establishment and recognition of student government on the college’s campus.
“The student body of State College now knows from the laws which have been read to them and the talks which have been made by members of the House of Student Government , and others, just what is to be expected of them,” the article read. “To make Student Government stick and to make it an established institution on our campus, it must have the backing and the hearty co-operations of every student at State College. It must have the moral, as well as the physical support of every man in college.”
The Technician also listed six bylaws/articles, which spelled out all rules that had been passed 11 days prior by the House of Student Government. Article I explicitly took on hazing, in effect outlawing the shaving of another student’s head. Article II banned offensive noises on campus, drunkenness and bringing women to campus for the early 20th-century hookup. And Article III addressed plagiarism and cheating.
When you think of NC State’s greatest victories, the image of of Jim Valvano running around for someone to hug after the 1983 NCAA basketball championship is an easy go-to. Or the 1974 upset of UCLA in the national semifinals.
There’s more, sure. The march to the 1968 College World Series. The Wolfpack’s win over Houston on the gridiron in 1967.
But NC State was home to a different kind of triumph in the early 1940s, and it’s one that stacks up to the others nonetheless.
With America approaching its first full year of involvement in World War II, there was a national movement afoot in 1942 to help in any way possible on the home front. And one of the ways U.S. citizens tried to help was by salvaging their metal, rubber and other waste that could be used to make weapons and machinery.
So it was on this day 72 years ago that NC State students collected a scrap metal pile that totaled more than 150,000 pounds in less than three hours during what they called the “Battle of Scrap.”
“One purpose of their round-up was to demonstrate the tremendous possibilities for salvage on the average campus and to prove that hard work will pay big dividends in boosting the war effort by scrap metal thus collected,” The Technician reported.
The effort was so impressive that it started to attract national headlines, according to The Technician. “The story of [the students'] stupendous effort was sent throughout the nation on press association wires, with attention called to the students’ challenge to other schools to surpass the State College collection.”
The NC State student body tailored a message for the Axis powers to accompany their collected scrap metal. Photo courtesy of NCSU Libraries.
The students were so swept up in the scrap frenzy that they saw it important to place what The Technician termed “a personal message to the Axis” on top of the pile with a banner reading, “To HITLER & CO. FROM N.C. STATE COLLEGE.”
There has been plenty of debate in recent years about whether college athletics have gotten out of control. Countless headlines about high-profile scandals involving student-athletes have fueled calls to make radical changes to how college athletics are governed.
But it seems that there’s nothing new about such concerns.
Because on this day in 1951, the Technician had a story across the top of the front page with the following headline: “Athletics ‘Out of Control.’”
The story related how the presidents of the schools in the Southern Conference had met recently in attempt to regain some control over intercollegiate athletics. The presidents, led by Gordon Gray, president of the University of North Carolina system, voted to ban post-season football games, prohibit off-season practices and ban transfer students from participating in intercollegiate sports at another school in the Southern Conference. They were scheduled to vote in December on whether to ban freshmen from participating in varsity sports.
NC State Chancellor J.W. Harrelson was not at the meeting, but was quoted as saying he was “in full sympathy with President Gray.” He also referred to a 1949 magazine article that said athletes at NC State are “just students,” and said that’s the way it should be at all schools.
NC State was represented at the meeting by H.A. Fisher, head of the mathematics department and chairman of the university’s Athletic Council. He told the Technician that athletics had been too far removed from the faculty and student body and that he would prefer that varsity teams relied less on recruited athletes and more on students who just happened to be in school at NC State.
The article did not provide details about what had fueled the concerns and the votes for increased regulation. But an advertisement inside the same issue may offer some clues.
The ad was for a new movie, Saturday’s Hero, and featured a bare-chested John Derek as a football player under the headline, “This movie minces no words about big time college football!” The movie starred Derek and Donna Reed.
“The screen performs a public service with this story of one boy who beat the body-buying System — and of the girl who made him a man!” read the ad. “The lowdown on the ‘kept men’ of that Saturday Afternoon Racket, where bodies are bought and hearts are broken so a mob can cheer!”
One of the fun aspects of campus life to revisit is the history of rivalries between dorms. Whether it be snowball warfare between Bragaw and Bagwell or intense badminton rivalries between Sullivan and Lee, students typically want to represent their campus homes with honor and respect while trying to take down a neighboring dorm.
And it was on this day in 1929 that the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering announced that such spirit would be encouraged by the formation of dormitory clubs.
“The purpose of this new group of organizations is to better the living conditions in our dormitories,” The Technician reported. “Also, in addition we will have a means of promoting desirable competition between dormitory men in the way of sports, social affairs, scholarship, and pride in rooms.”
The move allowed for intramural sporting events to be held between the dorms and fraternities. And it allowed for the Faculty Woman’s Club to sponsor room-decoration competitions.
“Curtains will be made for the students and sold to them at cost,” The Technician reported. “Pictures will be bought in large lots and sold to the students at wholesale prices.”
It may be surprising to some current students, but there was a time in the not-so-distant past that beer was served on campus at NC State.
In fact, it was in early September 1971 when beer was first served in the Erdahl-Cloyd Student Union at an acoustic concert where the alcohol was “all-you-can-drink.” And it was free.
But a Technician account from that performance reveals that the free beer was problematic:
“The Coffee House crowd sat near the front, interested in the music, while the beer drinkers circled the beer tap. Noise from the back was so loud at one time that [the performer] had to ask for quiet so he could continue his performance. … His fine guitar work and excellent voice lost their impact in the competition with the sudsippers to the rear.”
There was one subsequent attempt to marry free beer and folk music before the debauchery drowned out the ditties. At the second coffee house, the Technician reported that less than 300 people drained 10 kegs of beer. “That’s about a gallon apiece,” said the president of the student union.
So it was on this day 43 years ago that NC State ended the practice of bottomless brew cups.
“From now on,” a representative from the entertainment board said, “the beer idea will be more of a happy hour. Free beer will be supplied for about an hour before the entertainment begins, then the service will be closed and the music can start.”
It is widely known that NC State students often go on to become great engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers, scientists and military leaders.
What may not be as widely known is the university’s track record in producing college and university presidents.
But on this day in 1951, the Technician reported that NC State was “rapidly gaining a nation-wide reputation as a training ground for college and university presidents.”
William G. Van Note
The story was prompted by the news that William G. Van Note, head of NC State’s Department of Engineering Research, was set to become the new president of Clarkson College of Technology in Postdam, N.Y. The paper said Van Note would be the fifth faculty member from NC State (or State College, as it was known then) to become university presidents since 1939.
Others who made the leap were:
- Blake R. Van Leer, former dean of engineering at NC State, who became president of Georgia Tech.
- Robert F. Poole, former dean of the graduate school at NC State, who became president of what was then known as Clemson College.
- Carlyle Campbell, former head of the English department at NC State, who became president of Meredith College.
- David A. Lockmiller, former head of the Department of History and Political Science, who became president of the University of Chattanooga.
Leazar Hall may have been down. But it was not out, despite published reports to the contrary.
On this day in 1970, the Technician reported that Leazar Hall was about to be shut down.
But the building itself was not shutting down. Instead, the cafeteria that operated inside the building was finally closing down after a few years of difficulty.
“Leazar Hall will end its long cafeteria career at State at the end of the first semester,” the newspaper reported. “The cafeteria has had to close on weekends during mid-semesters for the past two years, and the dining hall did not open its doors at all on weekends this fall. Harris Cafeteria will continue its normal operation.”
Leazar Hall was named for Augustus Leazar, a teacher, newspaper publisher and politician who was one of the state legislators who introduced the bill that led to the establishment of NC State. The interior of the building was renovated in 2006 to create studio and office space for the College of Design.
Club sports has long been a part of the fabric of student life at NC State, but most of them took place on some court or field. They rarely got too extreme.
That changed on this day in 1985, when it was announced in the Technician that the latest club a student could join was the sky diving club.
The genesis for the club, according to the paper, was a training course at the Franklin County Parachute Center.
One of the club’s founders, then-sophomore Basil Hassan, took a class there with 20 other people and fell in love with the sport. He came back to campus and advertised the club to spread the word to other students, according to the Technician.
“The club is for the fun of sky diving,” Hassan told the Technician. “We’re patterning our club after the one at Duke, which has gotten into competition with such schools as Clemson and South Carolina, all for the fun of it.”
We, at the Alumni Association, couldn’t find any pics of the student group in any volumes of the Agromeck from the mid-to-late 1980s, so we can’t say with certainty that the club ever got off the ground.
It had been NC State’s football team that, for many years, had donned the colors of red and white on the gridiron.
But it was on this day in 1938 that another integral part of autumn’s Saturday scene earned its stripes, so to speak, as the marching band received new uniforms for its members.
“The newly acquired uniforms follow the color scheme of those worn by members of the State football team,” The Technician reported. “The coats are of a dark red color, trimmed with white, and the trousers are a neutral gray with a red military stripe down the side.”
The State College Redcoat Band, directed by C.D. Kutchinski, unveiled the new uniforms eight days later in Charlotte, where the Wolfpack defeated Davidson College, 19-7.
The Redcoats. Photo from the 1939 Agromeck.
The uniforms, which gave a new identity and flare to a band already known for its sound, were made a reality when the Raleigh Junior Chamber of Commerce raised the money needed for the 45 that were purchased and the 20 more that would eventually be ordered to round out needed total.
“The State Band is noted throughout the State for the colorful performances it has put on during the halves of the home football games,” wrote The Technician. “Spectators will have their first glimpse of both the new uniforms and the rejuvenated band at the opening game in Charlotte.”
Lobo III may have been the most infamous mascots NC State has ever had. He also may have been one of the Wolfpack’s most popular mascots.
That’s because Lobo III, as it turned out, was not a wolf.
Lobo was believed to be a 4-month-old timber wolf when NC State’s student government purchased him from an animal dealer to commemorate the opening of what is now Carter-Finley Stadium in the 1960s.
Lobo was a hit at football games, in part because he often howled. But then a zoology professor unmasked Lobo, revealing that he was not a timber wolf. Instead, he was a coyote. That was fine with students, though, who simply started referring to NC State’s football team as the “Kool Kyoties.”
But all good things eventually come to an end and, on this day in 1970, the Technician reported that the reign of Lobo III as NC State’s mascot was over. The paper reported that Lobo III was retiring.
“Lobo, the wolf everybody knew was a coyote, was adopted by the Wolfpack several years ago as their official mascot,” the paper reported. “However, the cheerleaders have decided that Lobo is getting too old for the kind of rabble-rousing that goes on at football games and pep rallies, and they are making arrangements for a nice retirement home for the Wolfpack veteran.”
Head cheerleader Tom Dimmock told the paper that Lobo was being kept on a farm with a large wooded area where he could run free. But he also noted that Lobo sometimes had difficulty behaving as the NC State mascot.
“As a coyote, Lobo was not meant to be tame,” Dimmock said. “He was just too hard to handle at games. The squad was afraid to take him out of the cage for fear he would get away and hurt someone.”
When it was later announced that Lobo was going to be put to sleep, a state representative led a campaign to save the coyote. As a result, Lobo III was donated to the N.C. Zoo, which was under construction at the time. But before the zoo was finished, Lobo died of heartworms.
Back on campus, NC State adopted a full-fledged, two-thirds wolf as its new mascot.