Lebanon Valley College - History - Mid-century and Modern Day (1948-present)

Mid-century and Modern Day (1948-present)

World War II nearly proved to be the end of Lebanon Valley College. In the Fall of 1942, LVC's first wartime registration showed only 357 students enrolled. As the second semester began in 1943, there were only 282 students: 145 women and 137 men, the first time that women outnumbered men. 1943 Fall enrollment dropped again to only 199 students, 62 of which were on limited deferment, waiting to be called to active duty. This prompted one of the first capital campaigns to help the ailing college. The campaign to raise $550,000 received 91% support from current students. The money was to go toward an endowment and a real gymnasium, which bore the name of the president who initiated the campaign—Lynch Memorial. Right before the war ended, LVC enrollment hit bottom at 192 students. In 1946, however, enrollment ballooned to 683 students, more than 300 of which were ex-servicemen.

Enrollment steadily grew and by 1948, thanks to the G.I. Bill, it had reached 817 full-time students, far beyond the College's capacity. Eventually more facilities and residences were added to the College. Lynch Memorial Hall—which included the school's first proper gymnasium—was opened in 1953. In 1957, Science Hall (now the Derickson A apartments) was created out of the old Kreider Factory building on White Oak St., and Gossard Library also opened that year. In 1966, Miller Chapel was completed. The 1950s also saw the college expand north of Sheridan Avenue, with the Dining Hall (now East Dining Hall) built in 1958. All of the current traditional residence halls were built between the 1950s and 1970s as well—Mary Green (1956) and Vickroy (1960) in the 1950s-60s, Hammond and Keister Hall in 1965, and Funkhouser and Silver in the 1970s. Marquette and Dellinger were added in 2000 and 2002, respectively.

Enrollment also grew, although it had stagnated by the 1980s. A turnaround began under the presidency of Arthur L. Peterson, who's tenure in office was cut short due to health issues. Soon thereafter, a highly energetic and innovative president, John Synodinos ushered in a period of growth and change with the bold introduction of merit scholarships and the renovation and beautification of a substantial portion of the campus which included the addition of the Arnold Sports Center and the Arnold Gallery. With the assistance of William J. McGill, senior vice president and the dean of the faculty, academic excellence continued to be emphasized, linkages were established with other institutions and schools, an international initiative undertaken and collaborative learning experiences developed. A new technologically advanced library was opened in January 1996.

Beginning in 1996 and building on the work of his predecessor, G. David Pollick’s eight-year presidency ushered in a period of continued extraordinary growth. There was a 40 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment with applications more than doubling. New undergraduate and graduate degree programs were added and there was a large increase in the number of first-year students who studied abroad. A major public relations focus to enhance the College's standing among peer institutions was followed by a major rebuilding and renovation effort on campus and the start of a $50 million campaign. Pollick oversaw a growth plan that added athletic teams, more than a dozen new campus buildings and athletic facilities, and the College's signature Fasick Bridge. These additions almost tripled the usable space of the College, including five new facilities: the Marquette and Dellinger Residence Halls, the student center, a gymnasium, and the Heilman Center. The revitalization of both Lynch Memorial Hall and Garber Science Center also were begun during this period.

Today, the campus consists of 40 buildings, including the recently renovated Lynch Memorial Hall, the Vernon and Doris Bishop Library, a new 1,650-seat gymnasium, and the Heilman Center for physical therapy. Students reside in one of 25 residence halls which include traditional single-sex and co-educational dormitories and apartment-style residences. Students may also reside in special interest houses upon proposal and approval of LVC administration. A small number of upperclassmen are allowed to live off-campus, and a significant portion of the student body are commuter students as well. Undergraduate enrollment is now over 1,765 students.

The endowment of the college is forty-one million dollars.

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