The 1930s—stock market crash, the dustbowl, and economic depression—marked the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. However, the spirit of Baylor University and the tenacity of its students remained uncompromised as student programs, initiatives, and services aided in student development, thereby enriching the student experience.
Many strides were made in making Baylor a place for student development and involvement in the 1930s. The new “Field Day” welcomed high school seniors from across the community, and the famous Keys quadruplets promoted Baylor across the country. These promotional efforts caused enrollment to increase throughout the decade, and produced a zealous student body for years to come.
Additionally, All-University Day, later to be renamed Dia Del Oso, gave students one day off from classes to participate in on-campus events and programs. This day served as an ideological symbol of fellowship, comradeship, and Sabbath in an era of economic depression and hardship.
Furthermore, the Dean of Women, Lily Russell, expanded her title by communicating the espoused values of the institution, as well as defining what the true meaning of womanhood was for Baylor women. Russell led the charge in creating young women who would become student leaders on Baylor’s campus.
Finally, the Student Personnel Bureau, the precursor to the Department of Student Life, was specifically created by the university president, Pat Neff, and was the first of it’s kind in Texas. This student-led bureau led an orientation program that consisted of one-on-one in meetings with students to assist them in discovering their strengths, interests, and vocational calling. All of these events, programs, and individuals created an atmosphere at Baylor that encouraged student involvement despite poor environmental circumstances.
Each of these aspects, while different in detail, project a large-scale image of how college administrators strove to create a better environment for their students to grow in their student experience. Therefore, the various programs and initiatives listed above contributed to a vibrant and growing student community at Baylor University in the 1930s, despite a nation drowned by economic and social depression.
The Beginnings and Causes of Dia Del Oso
(by Marie Crommett)
Lilly Russell: A Baylor Beauty
(by Amiee Brassart)
A Look at Student’s Roles in Promoting Baylor University During the 1930s
(by Katy Flinn)
(by Brandon Lokey)