Today in NC State History: The class of 1935 measures up

October 9, 2013
By Bill Krueger

blog_series6Much has changed at NC State through the years, including the size of the students who study here.

It will come as no surprise to most that college students – just like the general population – have gotten bigger and taller over the years. But that point was driven home by an article in the Technician published on this day in 1931.

The article reported on the results of a physical exam of the incoming class. The story noted that 5.6 percent of the incoming freshman class was color blind and that the average freshman weighed 137.3 pounds, and stood 5-foot-7. Compare that to a 2012 study at Auburn University that found that the average male college student (the overwhelming majority of students at State College in 1931 were male) weighed 163.8 pounds and that the average height of male college students was 5-foot-8.

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Ray Rex in 1935 photo from the Agromeck

There was some alarm, though, at the average weight of the incoming class in 1931. The Technician article explained that the average may have skewed high because of one student who weighed in at 261 pounds and another who weighed in at 234 pounds. The story also noted that Ray Rex, an incoming football player from Decatur, Ill., weighed in at 210 pounds.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Augustus Brannon of Rockingham, N.C., who weighed a mere 95 pounds – roughly a third of the weight of the largest member of the class.

The two tallest members of the freshman class, including Finley Lewis of Roper, N.C., were a shade over 6-foot-6. The shortest member of the class was Howard McKenzie of Gastonia, N.C., who was a little over 5-foot-1.

The story also reported 5.6 percent of the incoming class were color blind. “There were many more physical defects on file, but the examining doctors reported that the class as a whole was physically the best in years,” read the article.

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Augustus Brannon in 1935 photo from the Agromeck

NC State sports fans may remember the name of Rex, who went on to star in football, basketball, baseball and track during his fouryears at State College. In 1932, Rex returned an interception 102 yards for a touchdown. It still stands as the second longest interception return in NC State history. Rex was awarded the Alumni Athletic trophy his senior year.

Rex played football, basketball and baseball professionally before settling into a career in law enforcement, serving as the sheriff in Macon County, Ill., for six years before his death in 1976.

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