Today in NC State History: Students flock to marriage classes

May 21, 2013
By Bill Krueger

blog_series6The courses were known as Ethics 409, Ethics 410 and Ethics 411, and they were so popular at NC State in 1947 that hundreds of interested students were turned away.

Were they debating the ethics of war, given that World War II had recently ended? Perhaps they were debating the ethics of communism, and President Truman’s efforts to combat it. Could it have something to do with the furor surrounding Jackie Robinson’s debut in major league baseball?

No, the subject of the three ethics courses was marriage. And the headline on the front page of the Technician on this day in 1947 told the story — “Warm Weather Fills Marriage Courses.”

In the article, professor W.N. Hicks, head of the Ethics and Religious department, talked about plans to expand the popular marriage courses. There had previously been only three sections offered per term, but Hicks planned to offer five sections that spring. The story said he could have easily filled seven sections.

“Now that spring has sprung there has been a run on the marriage class,” read the story.


Professor W.N. Hicks

Apparently, marriage courses were popular throughout the country at the time, with 500 colleges offering such classes. The Technician, with no further explanation, said that Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., and Michigan State had outstanding marriage courses.

At NC State, Ethics 409 focused on what was described as “pre-marital adjustment,” Ethics 410 focused on “sex adjustment” and Ethics 411 forced on the “larger aspects of the family.” Ethics 409 was a prerequisite to the other two courses.

“Professor Hicks plans to start the second term next fall and then add the third, like building a house, one step at a time,” read the story.

Hicks also said he hoped to bring in an expert to help with one of the courses. “”He hopes,” the story said, “to get a woman who specializes in aspects of the family to help in the third term.”


One Response to “Today in NC State History: Students flock to marriage classes”

  1. Wm Gilbert Smith says:

    I took #409 my Senior yr ’48-49. Dr Hicks was a great professor and the class was packed. All the Vets were trying to find out “how to do it” -marriage that is !!!!!!

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