When construction crews lifted the cornerstone of Davd A. Straz, Jr. Hall during its renovation for the new home for the College of Nursing, they revealed a metal time capsule buried there in 1950 when the building was first constructed.
The time capsule’s contents reveal what Marquette was like more than seven decades ago, from course offerings to student schedules to a copy of the Marquette Tribune previewing that weekend’s football game. (Marquette’s mascot was the Hilltoppers at the time, and yes, we had a football team.)
As Straz Hall finds itself in transition from its former era to a new one, the time seems right to reflect on what the lives of people on campus were like when the building was new.
Business administration digest
In addition to the Marquette Tribune, some colleges had their own newspapers, including the College of Business Administration. This broadsheet publication contains event announcements, internship postings and other news from the college. It has since been replaced by a combination of social media, printed flyers and Handshake.
Bringing home the bacon
This table is the highlight of a brochure the business school published, which offered faculty commentary on current economic news.
It might seem a little silly in modern context — and it is! — but it’s important to remember two things about 1950:
-America was in the middle of the Cold War with the Soviet Union; the conflict between communism and capitalism was front-page news every day, hence the comparison on this table.
-The average urban American family spent more than 30% of its budget on food at the time, a much higher percentage than today. Affordability of bacon was, to many, more important to their standard of living than rent prices.
The Marquette Tribune’s front page
Just months after the facilities team pulled this newspaper with a front page story about a business building dedication out of the time capsule, the Marquette community gathered once again to dedicate Dr. E. J. and Margaret O’Brien Hall. We wonder if people in 2100 will be reading about that?
There’s also a full-circle moment with the sidebar story: the Summit Players, a summer stock Shakespeare troupe composed largely of Marquette students, performed “Macbeth” at the university last spring before taking it on tour across the Wisconsin state parks. The more things change…
Fighting it out on the gridiron
Marquette had a football team from 1927 until 1960, racking up a total record of 131-160-15. Unfortunately, Marquette did not find much success against the Badgers; the loss that the top right box refers to is one of 25 defeats at the hands of UW-Madison, compared to just four wins.
The Hilltoppers did regroup and beat Kansas State, 46-6, the next week at Marquette Stadium, which stood on the corner of N. 36th St. and Clybourn Ave. near where Marquette High School is now located.
Beta Alpha Psi honors top performers
Top accounting students had the privilege of joining Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary organization that recognizes high achievers.
Beta Alpha Psi still exists in the business school, but is now also open to finance, IT and analytics majors. Students with at least sophomore standing and a cumulative grade point average over 3.0 or who have a GPA of 3.25 over the most recent 30 credit hours are encouraged to apply.
Maintaining membership involves a combination of professional and service excellence, just as it did in 1950.
Always be closing
As one of the nation’s manufacturing hubs, Milwaukee needed plenty of sales professionals to turn finished product into profit. Marquette has answered that call over the years, producing responsible, ethically driven salespeople.
We don’t offer any lectures titled “Two Ways to Use Your Pencil That Help Make Sales” anymore — although that does sound fascinating — but we do offer the only collegiate sales center in the country to be housed in a Jesuit institution.
With companies like Omron Automation and Flexera as partners and world-class instructors, Marquette’s sales program graduates are as well-positioned for professional success today as they were back then.
You think you got stuck with a less-than-ideal class registration time? At least you don’t have to do it like students in 1950 did; they had to pick up a written registration coupon with all the class options on it, write in the times and names of the classes they wanted and physically leave a batch of physical forms with college staff at a row of tables in the Old Gymnasium.
Thank goodness we can take care of all those messy logistics from a laptop now.
By the book
OK, so maybe graphic design was not our passion in 1950.
This handbook may look a lot different than the contents of your orientation folder, but the contents within are derived from the same four pillars: excellence, faith, leadership and service.
It is these principles that truly stand the test of time. Physical objects rust, decay and even get buried underground. Values endure from generation to generation, defining the Marquette student just as starkly today as they did all those years ago.