Written by Jonathan Barker | Media by Thomas Hajny
In a community that prides itself on its history, there seems to be a lack of active interest in the history of Greenville College. It appears as if most students aren’t too knowledgeable about the history of Greenville College because they simply don’t care. A glance at the old pictures displayed in the Upper Union is probably the closest we get to obtaining perspective from our past. Should we care about our history? It’s not even relevant, right? I would disagree.
I remember during NSO of my freshman year, Dr. Rick McPeak spoke on the history of Greenville, describing how we are surrounded by it. He urged us to Google the names our residence halls were named after. However, I have a feeling not too many students actually did this (myself included). Everyone thinks it’s cool that Jars of Clay attended GC but little attention goes into the founders of our school such as Stephen Morse, Almira Blanchard, or Wilson T. Hogue. In fact, I bet the only thing most students know about Hogue is that his name is our Wi-Fi password. However, they may not even realize the existence of Hogue Hall, the building named after Wilson T. Hogue that was almost 150 years old before it was demolished. So without further adieu, here are some facts you may not have known about Greenville College.
The property of Greenville College was originally an all women’s Baptist college called Almira College, established in 1856. Eventually, a change in leadership brought the Free Methodist Church to the property in 1892, establishing Greenville College. Wilson Thomas Hogue was selected to be the first president in 1893 and the first graduating class of Greenville College was in 1898. A simple “google” can bring you much more information about the early days of Greenville College.
I see a problem with this. Wikipedia, which is a site that none of my professors will accept as a scholarly source, gave me more historical background about Greenville College than any section of our website. Sure, I could go digging through our library archives, but in a modern world shouldn’t we be providing more of this information online? Wouldn’t it be helpful to prospective students who would like to know a little bit more about Greenville College’s history?
In order to set an example to the students, I think the professors should continue to highlight the importance of Greenville’s fascinating history. For the most part, I think our faculty and staff is doing this. I continue to hear stories I have not heard before from the more experienced professors. School traditions such as the All College Hike continue to strive as new traditions emerge. However, there is always more that could be done. By developing a better sense of our history, we would be paying homage to our forefathers. If we are striving to make a positive difference for future generations, shouldn’t we do the honors of paying dues to those who paved the way for us?
Although I hope not, maybe I am the only one who cares about this issue. I would like to hear more conversations about Greenville’s history. What do you think? Is this apparent lack of interest something we should be concerned about? Or do you think that there is still plenty of interest?