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Column: VSU’s history as a women’s college

Did you know that VSU used to be a women’s-only college?

From VSU’s inception in 1906 until 1937, it was a university meant to train teachers under the name South Georgia State Normal College, or SGSNC. This would change to Georgia State Women’s College, or GSWC, in 1922. The book “Valdosta State University” by Deborah Skinner Davis depicts a long history of the college, including how it became co-ed and the time before that.

The school became a liberal arts college in 1937, and Dr. Powell, the first President of the school, passed the role to Dr. Pound. Many famous friendships came about during this time—in fact, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt came to dedicate the new library when it was built!

During the school’s time as both SGSNC and GSWC, the school participated in many activities that are no longer offered, most of which were removed when the school became co-ed. Sure, there are still school plays and clubs for students to join, still sports to participate in.

But there were also events such as May Day festivals, Old English-style Christmas festivals, horseback riding, and traveling libraries, too. There were classes for basic skills such as cooking, sewing, and even first aid during WW2.

Even the Spectator—known as the Campus Canopy at the time—ran differently. Poems, sorority columns, and letters to the editor were featured alongside news and campus life. For Spectator readers who enjoy YikYak, you might be surprised to find that there was even a gossip column in the school paper, known as the “Kampus Kaleidoscope.” It was considered perfectly acceptable to talk about other students’ personal lives in the print paper, from relationship drama to fashion!

Of course, much of this was lost to time, especially when men were allowed to attend in 1950. But for the end of Women’s History Month, it’s fun to look back at how things changed.

Written by Bailey Wilson, Campus Life Editor. Photos courtesy of VSU Archives.

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