Editor's note: This is a series of columns by John Malcolm on his "50 years at Fredonia." Retired, he is a professor emeritus at Fredonia State.
By JOHN MALCOLM
In the 1950s, Fredonia State College had a much different schedule. Dr. Dallas Beal referred to it as an "agrarian calendar."
Pictured is the Fredonia State campus in the late 1950s.
The fall semester started two weeks after Labor Day and continued into January. There was a mid-semester break and then continued into June. This allowed for much more spring activity-which may be why it was changed.
There were beach parties at Point Gratiot. Most students referred to parking as "watching submarine races." There was also a senior week. Seniors had their final exams a week early and thus were free to party before graduation.
Hours remained the same for women however. One group of women decided to climb out of an Alumni Hall window, no mean feat, and go to the beach one warm June night. They were not allowed to participate in the graduation ceremonies. (Graduation in my time was held behind Gregory Hall and only those deemed worthy by Registrar Alva Keene were allowed to participate. Imagine being pulled out of line with your parents in attendance.)
Moving graduation outdoors was an indicator that the College was growing. Heretofore ceremonies were held in "Old Main Auditorium" and we should visit this venerable building.
When I was teaching classes after 1977 my students would laugh when I referred to "Old Main."
At that time their concept was that of a bar on Water Street "The Old Main Inn." I liked to tell students something about the history of the college. Looking back over almost 50 years Fredonia State's development has been miraculous. I always mentioned "Old Main" as the place where most of the college's activities took place.
Old Main to me, of course, refers to the impressive building crowned with a New York state Seal located at the intersection of Temple Street and Central Avenue. Now it serves as an apartment building for senior citizens but in its previous life it was the dominant educational and cultural center of Fredonia.
John Malcolm is a Fredonia resident.