Geneseo History 1931-1940

1932

Winfield Holcomb School of Practice Opened

Winfield Holcomb School of Practice

Dedicated the following spring on May 27, 1933, the Winfield Holcomb School of Practice (later renamed Welles Hall) served as Geneseo’s elementary school until the new Holcomb School opened in 1969. Village elementary students attended until 1974, when the K–12 Geneseo Central School admitted its first students.

1938 Normalian)

1932

Winfield Holcomb School of Practice Opened

1932

Geneseo Junior-Senior High School Opened

Geneseo Junior-Senior High School

A separate high school, the Geneseo Junior-Senior High School, opened on campus. Now Doty Hall, the building was built on Wadsworth property per an agreement between Geneseo Normal and the District No. 5 boards.

(Bright Collection)

1932

Geneseo Junior-Senior High School Opened

1934

James Welles, an Alumni Principal

James Welles

Principal Winfield Holcomb retired in June, and James Welles, Class of 1905 and son of early graduate Frank Welles, became principal. Welles’ tenure (1934–1946) is best remembered for managing to keep the College open and functional during the Great Depression and through World War II. During those years, Geneseo also gained degree-granting status as a teachers college.

(1943 Oh Ha Daih)

1934

James Welles, an Alumni Principal

1934

Christian Clubs Founded

The non-denominational Student Christian Fellowship and the Newman Club for Catholics were established, augmenting students’ social lives.

1934

Christian Clubs Founded

1935

Teacher-Librarians Redux

The four-year teacher-librarian preparation program added.

1935

Teacher-Librarians Redux

1935

Save the Clock Tower!

Old Main clock tower

Old Main’s deteriorated and hazardous clock tower was razed during the summer. Fun fact: The tower had clock faces on all sides, but only the one facing front was a working clock.

(1937 Normalian)

1935

Save the Clock Tower!

1935

Admission Standards and Selectivity Raised

In the 1930s, the Normal School was still perceived as a women’s finishing school, and it began raising its admission standards as part of an effort to prove its requirements were as rigorous as the state’s liberal arts colleges and convince the Board of Regents to upgrade it to the status of teachers colleges. The school now required a selective admissions test at a prescribed test site, a confidential statement from the student’s high school principal, two faculty interviews, and voice and diction tests. By 1940, forty percent of an applicant’s admission score was based on their high school Regents exams, thirty percent on their personal interviews (emphasizing "social adaptability, forcefulness, vitality, temperament, and the use of English"), and thirty percent on their psychological, reading, and English test scores.

1935

Admission Standards and Selectivity Raised

1936

Campus Grew by 45 Acres

A gift from the Geneseo Central School District and local taxpayers added nearly forty-five acres to the original seven-acre site. In exchange, the Normal School agreed to educate the village’s elementary school students, which it did until 1981 (when the agreement was abridged for monetary reasons).

1936

Campus Grew by 45 Acres

1938

Speech Clinic

An informal speech clinic was established.

1938

Speech Clinic

1938

Class Room and Administration Building Opened

Class Room and Administration building (later Sturges Hall) under construction

The Class Room and Administration Building (later named Sturges Hall) was completed; it was formally dedicated in 1940. The three-story building housed student and faculty lounges, administrative and faculty offices, classrooms and laboratories, a bookstore, a 250-seat cafeteria, an auditorium, a speech clinic, and a greenhouse. From 1938 to 1950, the campus consisted only of this building, the Holcomb School of Practice (later Welles Hall), and Old Main.

Class Room and Administration Building nearing completion (1938 Normalian)

1938

Class Room and Administration Building Opened

1938

Up from Three to Four

1937–38 faculty council

All programs were lengthened to four years in September. To reflect that status, the name of the school changed to the State Normal School of Geneseo.

The 1937–38 faculty council (1938 Normalian)

1938

Up from Three to Four

1940

First B.S.

The College awarded its first baccalaureate degree, the Bachelor of Science in Education for teacher-librarians.

1940

First B.S.