Today In NC State History: Apollo Club raises campus’ IQ

May 12, 2013
By Chris Saunders

blog_series6Any mention of the name Apollo usually engenders some connection to a number of culturally significant markers.

Upon hearing it, people might think of the Greek god of the music, poetry, prophecy and intellect. Or people might think of the outer boundaries of scientific discovery that were rendered limitless when Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, putting men there for the first time. Some might think of the numerous historically significant performances under the lights at Harlem’s Apollo Theater that gave voice to African-American artists throughout the 20th century.

And for others, Apollo’s a towering boxer that it took two movies for Rocky to defeat.

And NC State is not without its own association to the name, as on this day in 1958 it was announced that there would be a new club forming on campus to “promote knowledge and intellectual curiosity.” It was named the Apollo Club.

Don Malpass (left), the associate secretary of the YMCA, and Oscar Wooldridge, coordinator of religious affairs and general secretary of the YMCA, hold a program from one of the Apollo Club's lectures.

Don Malpass (left), the associate secretary of the YMCA, and Oscar Wooldridge, coordinator of religious affairs and general secretary of the YMCA, hold a program from one of the Apollo Club’s lectures.

The Technician in 1958 framed the club as “a new adventure into the modern world of thought [that] is about to occur on the campus of State College.” The YMCA sponsored the club, which held four meetings each semester where members would eat dinner and then listen to a lecture by “a nationally or internationally famous authority on some subject of humanistic importance.”

The first lecture, scheduled for October 1958, addressed technological concerns. The club kicked off its beginnings on campus that year with 75 members who became more sophisticated for a relatively cheap price.

“The club is open to anyone who has a real interest in ethical problems of today,” The Technician reported. “A member must be able to pay for his meal which will be one dollar.”

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