Francis Hutchins : President 1939 - 1967


1939: 

• Francis Hutchins succeeds his father as Berea's fifth president on November 25, 1939. Berea now consisted of the College and the Foundation School, which was divided into both a high school and a junior high. Students in the last two years of College were organized into the "Upper Division" while students in the last two years of high school and first two years of college were classed into the "Lower Division."

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• Millstone from Wallace Nutting, one of the first creators of reproduction Early American furniture, donated to the College.




1940: 

• The College creamery is dedicated on November 11.

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• Robert Frost visits Berea College.

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1943: 

• During World War II, Berea hosted 782 Navy V-12ers. The Navy V-12 program was designed to give officer candidates preliminary training during the World War II.

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• Berea College participates in the WWII effort by organizing a scrap metal drive. Here students stand on iron bed frames and make a victory sign with the bed rails.

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1950: 

• The Day Law, which had forced Berea to segregate in 1904, was amended and Berea became the first undergraduate institution in Kentucky to reintegrate, thus beginning a long process of reclaiming the original intent of Berea's mission.

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• Anna Louise Smith Residence Hall dedicated on December 2.

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1955: 

• Indian Fort Theatre is built as part of Berea College's centennial celebration. The outdoor amphitheatre in the College Forest serves as venue for "Wilderness Road" by playwright Paul Green. The Wilderness Road drama originally ran in the 1950s as a major part of Berea's Centennial Celebration. The 1950s centennial celebration was the brain child of Dr. W.D. Weatherford who put his proposition before Berea College President Francis S. Hutchins. After President Hutchins agreed, a $100,000 outdoor theater was built, Indian Fort Theatre) near the Pinnacles and dramatist Paul Green was hired to write the script. Weatherford had several purposes which he asked Green to incorporate into his story. First was the desire to make America aware of the strong characters of the people of Appalachia. Second, the value of education to the young people of the mountains needed to be emphasized. And last, Berea College's unique role in supplying higher education for mountain youth through its work-study programs needed to become known across the country. The drama, which told of the entry into Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap by the Boone party and its journey along Wilderness Road, of the founding of Berea, and of the Civil War in Kentucky, was an immediate success and ran for several years.

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• Jessie Zander is the first African-american to graduate from Berea College since the repeal of the Day Law.

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• Elizabeth Peck, a professor of history at Berea College, writes "Berea's First 100 Years" - a history for the College's centennial.

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1958: 

• Industrial Arts Department began as the fifth Bachelor of Science degree, to provide skilled teachers to the numerous vocational high schools of the state and wider Appalachian region.

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• William H. Danforth Industrial Arts Building is dedicated on September 27.

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• Louise Lovett Seabury Residence Hall is dedicated on September 27 as a women's residence hall.

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1960: 

• Robert Worth Bingham Memorial Hall dedicated October 20 as a men's residence hall.

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1961: 

• The Alumni Memorial Building is dedicated on April 15 to house Dining Services, Student Activities and other services.

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• Charles A. Dana Hall is dedicated on May 23 as a men's residence hall.

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1965: 

• Fifty-eight students and faculty members joined Martin Luther King, Jr. on his Selma to Montgomery march.




1966: 

• On November 28, the Berea Community School merger agreement takes place, combining the College's Foundation School with the local school.

• Hafer-Gibson Nursing Building is dedicated on November 20.

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• William J. and Francis S. Hutchins Library is dedicated on October 25-26, honoring Berea College's fourth and fifth presidents.

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Celebrating 150 Years
150 Years of Learning, Labor, and Service


Larry D. Shinn John B. Stephenson Willis Weatherford Francis Hutchins William J. Hutchins William Goodell Frost William B. Stewart Edward Henry Fairchild John Gregg Fee