#TBT On this day in 1926, dedication ceremonies began for LSU’s new campus. Called the “greater university,” it actually opened in time for the start of the 1925 fall semester. Several dates in 1925 were suggested for the ceremonies, but construction delays and the desire to have students on campus pushed the date to April 30, which is also the date, in 1812, that Louisiana was admitted to the Union.
The festivities began at 9:45 AM with an academic procession from Hill Memorial Library to the Memorial Tower led by LSU Pres. Thomas Boyd and followed by the speakers, members of the LSU Board of Supervisors, guests, faculty, invited delegates from other universities, and alumni. At 10 AM, the formal dedication ceremonies began in front of the Memorial Tower featuring an address by Gen. Robert Lee Bullard, who came as Pres. Calvin Coolidge’s representative, and the dedication of the Memorial Tower to Louisiana soldiers and sailors who were lost in World War I. At 2 PM in the Greek Theatre, Thomas Boyd (standing at the podium) welcomed the assembled delegates from other universities, members of the Movement for a Greater Agricultural College, and those who enacted the constitutional and statutory provisions that established the “greater university.” Others on the platform were, left to right, A.B. Dinwiddy, president of Tulane University, T.H. Harris, state superintendent of education, Charles A. Holcombe, state senator from Baton Rouge, Father F.L. Gassler of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, former governor John M. Parker, widely regarded as the father of the “greater university;” and Edward J. Gay, former US senator and chairman of the LSU Board of Supervisors’ Building Committee. The Stanacola Refinery Band (now Exxon) gave a concert at 5 PM in the Greek Theatre featuring several selections including the overture from William Tell and John Phillip Sousa’s Semper Fidelis.
Saturday, May 1 featured a public inspection and tours of the new campus, and alumni luncheon, a track and field meet between LSU and Tulane, and an “old-fashioned Southern barbecue” at the Indian Mounds. The dedication ceremonies ended on Sunday, May 2 following a “dedication sacred service” in the Greek Theatre. Below is a link to the dedication program that gives the entire slate of activities: http://www.louisianadigitallibrary.org/cdm/ref/collection/p120701coll24/id/58
Happy 89th birthday to the Baton Rouge campus!
Photo source: Office of the Chancellor Records, RG #A0001, Louisiana State University Archives, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, LA.