Posts Tagged ‘The Pleiad’

Dr. Dickie’s Rules for a Successful College Career

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

This month’s blog article was written by Chelsea Denault, ’12.  She is a History major and works in the archives.

When I went away to Albion three years ago, it seemed that everyone wanted to give me advice. Grandma reminded me to take extra-long sheets. Uncle Ron warned me not to light candles in my dorm room and forget about them. My mother reminded me to eat, even if the food was…sketchy. And there was the “final talk” with dad: I know you’re responsible and smart, but don’t do anything to mess it all up. Even professors and staff were handing out advice five minutes after I arrived. Yet this passing down of sage advice from seasoned elders for new Albion students is nothing unusual. In the first issues of the 1912 and 1914 Pleiad, Albion College President Samuel Dickie offered his advice to incoming freshman. Before we begin exploring Dr. Dickie’s recommendations, however, we must understand who the man giving this advice was.

Portrait of Samuel Dickie, n.d.

Samuel Dickie was born in Ontario to a relatively poor family. Though his family struggled with money, he had an enormous appetite for learning and attended Albion College on a scholarship. After graduating, Dickie was invited to join the college faculty as a professor of mathematics and astronomy and he was instrumental in building the Observatory on the Quad. He even served as the mayor of Albion.  He also was a prominent speaker on Prohibition and actually was nominated to run as a Presidential candidate by that party (however, being from Canada, he was unable to do so). Essentially, Dickie can be considered Albion’s Golden Boy of the time. The man could do no wrong apparently. Therefore, when Samuel Dickie gave you advice, as a disoriented freshman at Albion College, you felt compelled to listen.

Dickie began his advice by emphasizing that the first “business of the student is to study.” “A College,” Dickie wrote, “is an institution for the development and stimulus of intellectual life. It seeks to give information, develop latent powers, to furnish culture, to broaden one’s outlook and to increase one’s sympathy in behalf of all that is true and just.” Dickie’s great faith in higher education as a refining and liberating opportunity – the benefits of which he personally experienced as a young man – are certainly evident here. He was especially emphatic about developing sound and regular patterns of study: “If you fail at this point your failure is complete, dismal, humiliating and wicked…[a] student who does not study is foredoomed to be a failure, likely to be a fraud and certain to be a miserable creature.”

In addition to regular study habits, Dickie also encouraged students to get a full night of rest: “No student will do good work on less than eight hours of sound sleep in a well-ventilated room.” He also warned students to watch out for their health, stating, “Impaired digestion will ruin your piety and your scholarship.” This advice is certainly a far cry from the actual habits of today’s Albion students who don’t go to bed until 3am for their 8am class and engorge themselves on Hungry Howie’s and Eat Shop Chicken Cesar Wraps at all hours of the day (or night, let’s be serious). Dr. Dickie would certainly have been horrified.

After attending to their studies and health, Dickie advised students to “get into the general activities of the student body.” He then lists many of the same organizations that we would see at Briton Bash today: Christian associations, athletic life, the Pleiad, and “societies that may furnish an opportunity for self-improvement.” These “societies” refer to the burgeoning Greek system that was beginning to exert real influence on campus during his presidency. While he was initially suspicious and uncomfortable with Greek life because of its tendency to detract time from studies (as it often does now), Dickie quickly realized that these societies also provided an opportunity for personal growth beyond what the college and its existing organizations could.

Samuel Dickie, n.d.

Interestingly, Dickie also addressed the apparently real student fear of becoming a “book worm.” Writing that he had known “some thousands of students…for the last forty years,” Dickie reassured his readers that he had known only “half a dozen to whom could properly be applied the opprobrious term.” This fear among students of being seen as too bookish during their college days apparently led them to believe that star students were not generally successful after graduating. Dickie addressed this “popular delusion” and argued that it is “rare and exceptional” that “dullards in the class room are quite to shine in later years,” citing a recent Boston Herald study on the idea. While I’m sure the fear of being too absorbed in one’s studies is still pretty prevalent on campus, I think our generation of students realizes that the only way to guarantee success after graduation is hard work. We’ve read enough articles and watched enough news programs about the rough state of the job market to understand that life and success are not come by easily. Still, in many instances we could all bear Samuel Dickie’s advice in mind as this school year begins. Some of it at least – I know I’ll still be going to sleep at 1am this year.

Read the two articles here:

Dickie, Samuel. “A World of Greeting.” The Pleiad 4 Oct 1912: 1. Print

Dickie, Dr. Samuel. “An Exhortation.” The Pleiad 25 Sept 1914: 1. Print

The Pink and Green

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Pink and green were the original colors of Albion College. They were never officially named the school colors but had been informally adopted in the early days of the college. Their use had continued as one of the college’s many traditions. In 1895, there was also a publication printed by the name of The Pink and Green.

Many of Albion’s students, athletes in particular, believed that these colors, combined with the nickname given us by other schools “The Methodists,” did not provide enough of a ferocious face to our opponents at sports competitions. In January 1916, star athlete Joseph Baldwin issued a scathing denunciation of the colors as “wishy-washy and not at all tasteful” and “weak and insipid.”

On May 9, 1919, after many suggestions, the students voted overwhelmingly for purple and gold as the official colors. In April of 1933, the college also attempted to address the issue of an official name for Albion’s athletic teams. A competition was publicized in The Pleiad with an article entitled “Let’s Find a Name for the Athletic Teams!!”

The teams of Albion College are to have a name! A plan arranged by Noble Stephens, and approved by Dr. Seaton is to be carried out in the coming issues of the Pleiad.

The plan is this: Names for the college teams will be accepted at the Pleaid office up to Wednesday, April 26. At this time, a ballot will either be printed in the Pleiad of given out in chapel. The popular vote of the student body will determine the name.

So far the following titles have been handed to members of the staff: Trojans, Yellow-Jackets, and Alps.

Dr. Seaton offered a suggestion in the name BRITONS. As Albion is synonymous with England, the title carries a clever connotation.

It is the hope of the Pleiad staff, that the entire student body will take an interest, and will co-operate in finding a suitable nickname for the teams. Students are being given practically a month to carry out the research. The faculty, especially, is extended a special invitation to contribute.

The Pleiad will publish a complete list of the names submitted with every issue.

As it turned out, the 1933 student body showed very little interest in selecting and voting for a name, and because of this, it was President John L. Seaton’s suggestion that became reality.

An excerpt from the May 19, 1933 issue of The Pleiad, from the article “Just Call Us ‘Britons’!!” details this:

Hereafter the varsity athletic squads will be known as the Albion College “Britons.” Pres. John L. Seaton authorized the Pleiad staff to select a suitable name for the teams, because of the lack of interest shown by the student body. “Britons” was the suggestion of Dr. Seaton. The staff was unanimously in favor of his choice.

As the purpose of this blog is to feature documents, images, artifacts, and interesting stories related to the history and community of Albion College, The Pink and Green seemed a fitting title.

A Day in the Life – December 12, 2008

Friday, December 12th, 2008

This edition of “A Day in the Life” includes images from winter holidays past–dressing up as Santa Claus, putting up the Christmas tree, making snowmen, going to holiday concerts, hanging out with friends, drinking eggnog, opening gifts, and reading special editions of the Pleiad. The images used here are from a variety of sources, including the Pleiad and the College Archives’ photograph collection, as well as scrapbooks from deceased alumni, Frederick Goodrich and Glennie Weston, and others documenting Dean Hall and the Music Department.

Our scrapbook collection is unique in that, many times, the images found here cannot be located anywhere else in the College Archives’ collections. Scrapbooks also provide context for the images and other items included within that one doesn’t find in a singular photograph, for instance–the combination of items sometimes speaks volumes. The amalgamation of physical objects in a scrapbook carries, in addition to mere information, evidence of the use of the objects, through wear and stains and notes written in the margins; as well as evidence of the creator’s thought processes and the culture and fashion of the time implied by color choices, fonts, and stylized drawings.

Unfortunately, due to the acidic paper and glues used in creating scrapbooks and the many different types of materials that are usually used in scrapbooks (everything from leather, dried flowers, felt, human hair, cloth, metal, and photographs to different types of paper documents), they are some of the most fragile items in our collections. They are difficult to provide physical access to because they are so brittle and because many of the items inside have become detached over the years. Scrapbooks are also equally difficult to digitize, due to their large size, in order to reduce handling of the originals. For these purposes, however, we scanned parts of pages in order to provide a peek into this thorny part of the archival world.

If you recognize any of the individuals in the unidentified photographs or have Albion memories of your own that you want to share or donate to the College Archives, please let me know!

Pleiad Christmas 1914

Pleiad December 13,1928