Blackburn College (Illinois)
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|Affiliation||Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)|
|President||Dr. John Comerford|
|Location||Carlinville, IL, USA
|Mascot||Barney the Beaver|
Blackburn College is a four-year coeducational private liberal arts college located in Carlinville, Illinois, United States which is the county seat of Macoupin County, Illinois (a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area). It was established in 1837 and named for the Rev. Gideon Blackburn. Blackburn is one of only seven federally recognized work colleges in the United States, and it has the only student-managed work program, enabling students to gain leadership experience as they manage other students. All resident students are required to work, but the program is optional for commuter students. Each student that works receives a tuition discount for the hours they work in the work program. It is also the least expensive private college in Illinois.
Blackburn College is named for the Reverend Gideon Blackburn, D.D., a Presbyterian minister and former president of Centre College in Kentucky. Like many founders of American colleges, Dr. Blackburn sought to establish an institution to train young men for the ministry.
If his ambitions were spiritual, his methods were practical indeed. He bought public lands for $1.25 an acre and resold them at $2.00 to people who believed in his mission. More than 16,000 acres were involved, and the people of Carlinville bought another 80 acres on the edge of town to provide Blackburn with a campus.
In 1837 these lands were deeded to a Board of Trustees. Since that time, Blackburn has been continuously governed by an independent Board of Trustees. In 1857, the trustees obtained a charter in the name of Blackburn Theological Seminary. The first building, University Hall, constructed in 1838, cost $12,000. A year later a primary school opened and Blackburn began to function as a teaching and learning institution.
During the Civil War a full collegiate course of study was introduced, including both the classics and the sciences, and in 1869 the name was changed to Blackburn College. Until 1912 the College continued as a small liberal arts institution, largely local in its service and influence.
But that year was a turning point. Dr. William M. Hudson was elected president and good things began to happen. During the 33 years of his administration, Blackburn grew phenomenally, in physical size certainly, but, more important, in the scope and effectiveness of its academic program.
Dr. Hudson initiated the internationally known Work Program at Blackburn a year after he took office. In 1916, the College began to offer an Associate of Arts degree in addition to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Accurately estimating the resources and the success of the two-year program,the College abandoned its four-year program in 1918 and concentrated on a two-year degree. The four-year curriculum was reinstituted in 1947.
Blackburn’s history has been one of strong purpose and imagination. For instance, the first expansion of the physical plant in some years was in 1914, when two Pullman cars were donated by the Pullman Company and used for student housing. It was a daring act of practical wisdom and it attracted a wide and admiring audience. When fire destroyed University Hall in 1927, it destroyed the College offices, chapel, library, classrooms, and the rooms of 80 men. Again, the College took to the rails - this time obtaining two parlor cars from the Pullman Company and two day coaches from the Standard Oil Company to be used as classrooms, library, and offices.
Dr. Hudson’s Work Program has had a strong influence on the character of Blackburn, and until 1943 part of its impact was agricultural. Farm work was included in the program for some 30 years with students raising livestock, poultry and produce for use in the College dining hall.
The Work Program worked wonders in other ways. Not only did it reduce costs, but it attracted the attention and generosity of a number of foundations, companies and individuals. When Dr. Hudson came to Blackburn, institutional assets were under $100,000. When he retired in 1945, they totaled nearly two million.
Nine major campus buildings have been built by student labor under the direction of professionals. Seven others were built by outside contractors. An extended athletic facility was completed in 1984 and a library addition in 1991 - the work again being undertaken by students. In 1999, Hudson Hall was completely renovated so that classrooms and offices are all air conditioned, newly furnished and equipped with the most current instructional technology, including a 21-station computer classroom.
Enrollment has risen to approximately 600 students. Curriculum and faculty have been expanded. Major fields have been added to the academic program, and the College enjoys a reputation for high quality education within an unusual and rewarding campus environment.
- Reverend John C. Downer 1859-1862
- Robert B. Minton, M.A. 1862-1867
- John W. Bailey, D.D. 1867-1876
- Robert B. Minton, M.A. 1876-1877
- Edwin L. Hurd, D.D. 1877-1891
- Richard Edwards, LL.D. 1891-1893
- James E. Rogers, Ph.D., D.D. 1893-1896
- Walter H. Crowell, M.A. 1896-1897
- Walter H. Bradley, Ph.D., D.D. 1897-1905
- Thomas W. Lingle, Ph.D. 1905-1908
- Walter H. Bradley, Ph.D., D.D. 1908-1912
- William Mestrezat Hudson, Ph.D., D.D., LL.D. 1912-1945
- Robert Ward McEwen, Ph.D. 1945-1949
- Donald Matthew MacKenzie, Ph.D. 1949
- Robert Phillips Ludlum, Ph.D., L.H.D. 1949-1965
- Glenn Lowery McConagha, Ph.D., L.H.D. 1965-1974
- John Robert Alberti, Ph.D., LL.D. 1974-1982
- William Foster Denman, D. Phil. 1982-1989
- David Warfield Brown, J.D. 1989-1991
- Miriam R. Pride, D.Litt. 1991-2013
- John L. Comerford, Ph.D. 2013-Present
Blackburn’s campus occupies the 80-acre site originally chosen in 1835 by Dr. Gideon Blackburn, the College’s founder. It is typical central Illinois prairie, gently rolling terrain, with many trees and shrubs. It is good, open country with a clean sense of space and distance.Even though the College has been in existence since 1837, most buildings have been constructed since 1950. Students built nine of the principal buildings entirely or partially as part of the Work Program. You also might see Brian Hendren, a respected alumni, getting the students pumped up at a local sporting event in his Barney the Beaver Costume.
Classes are held in Hudson Hall, the F.W. Olin Science Building, the Alumni Hall of Biology, the Mahan Science Laboratory wing, the Renner Art Center, a Visual Arts Center, Isabel Bothwell Conservatory of Music, the Rahme Learning Resource Center, the David M. Woodson Center for Business and Economics, and the Woodward Physical Education Center. These academic buildings have excellent facilities for classroom instruction and studio and laboratory work.
- Alumni Hall of Biology: Housed in this building are zoology and botany laboratories, a lecture rooms, an animal room, three greenhouses, offices and storerooms. The renovated lecture hall offers new data and instructional technologies. A new potting room and several individual research labs are currently under construction. The largest single source of funds for this addition to the Olin Science Building was an alumni building fund. Students also constructed this building. Both Olin and Alumni Halls, which are interconnected, are scheduled for complete renovation and expansion. Partial renovation was begun during the summer of 2003. The new wing will include many laboratories fitted with the most up-to-date equipment. Renovated areas will house a large vivarium, two modern lecture halls, a herbarium, assigned research rooms, and math and science teaching laboratories.
- Bothwell Conservatory of Music: A gift of the late Miss Isabel Bothwell of St. Louis, this building contains a 430-seat auditorium with stage for recitals, musical productions and plays, in addition to rehearsal studios, classrooms, individual instruction rooms, offices and other facilities and equipment for instruction in music. A two-manual Allen electric organ is installed in this facility. It was given to the College in 1971 by Dr. George R. Tilton, a member of the Class of 1943, in memory of his parents, Edgar and Caroline Tilton.
- William E. Ferguson Computer Center: Located on the ground floor of Hudson Hall, the William E. Ferguson Computer Center houses laboratory areas for general use, computer-based instruction and research, and offices for Computer Science faculty and Technology Services staff. PCs in the General Lab are equipped with Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2007. PCs in the Programming and Research labs have a variety of programming environments, including JAVA, Scheme and Logo, plus other powerful tools like Berkeley Madonna, True Space,Corel Draw and Adobe CS3. Also located in Hudson Hall is a Technology classroom with 20 student PCs equipped with Office 2007. Other computer facilities on campus include a Graphic Design laboratory in the Visual Arts Center, with iMac computers running the latest Adobe and Macromedia tools, and a 30-station wireless laptop lab in the Rahme Education laboratory
- Hudson Hall: Named in recognition of the services to Blackburn College of Dr. and Mrs. William M. Hudson, Hudson Hall is the College’s main classroom building. In addition to classrooms and seminar rooms, it contains faculty offices and the Clegg Memorial Chapel. The building was constructed by students through the Blackburn Work Program assisting building contractors. In 1999, Hudson Hall was completely renovated so that classrooms and offices are all air conditioned, newly furnished and equipped with the most current instructional technology, including a 21-station computer classroom.
- Lumpkin Library: Named in honor of Clement J. Lumpkin of Carlinville and his wife, Elizabeth Pegram Lumpkin, whose generous bequest funded construction, the building was completed by Blackburn students in 1970. The library has a carefully culled collection of approximately 70,000 volumes. To supplement periodical subscriptions, the library subscribes to a number of electronic databases including OCLC FirstSearch, EBSCO Academic Elite, JSTOR, AACE, and NetLibrary. Through interlibrary loan, the Blackburn community has access to almost all library materials that circulate in the U.S. The library is a selective depository for federal government documents and also has a complete run of The New York Times on micro-film dating from pre-Civil War times. Students can research and write papers on the 17 computers located in the library.
- The Marvin and Ingrid Mahan Science Laboratory Wing: Named in honor of one of the building’s principal benefactors, this addition opened for classes the fall semester of 2008. It is a state-of-the-art, 28,000 square foot facility with seven teaching laboratories for biology, chemistry, and biochemistry and a water analysis lab. Off the spacious lobby are science faculty offices with a large outer office area for those students who serve as faculty assistants in the Work Program. The building also contains a conference room and specimen display room. The Mahan Wing is one of the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rated buildings in central Illinois bespeaking its environmentally conscious design.
- F.W. Olin Science Building: This building, constructed by Blackburn College students and funded by a grant from the Olin Foundation, is currently undergoing renovation. The newly renovated lecture hall contains state-of-the-art electronic teaching aids and data/communication ports at each seat. Renovation of a science library and a seminar room have been recently completed.
- Mary H. Rahme Learning Resource Center: Adjacent to Lumpkin Library is a memorial to the late Mary H. Rahme, a former faculty member, made possible in large part by a gift from her husband, Selim Rahme. Partially constructed by students in the Work Program, the Center houses the Education Department’s faculty offices, classrooms and the college IT instructor’s office and lab. Just off the lower level is the Hendrickson Curriculum Library, an observation classroom for teaching elementary age students, and future classroom spaces.
- Renner Art Center: Constructed in 1967, this building is named for Theresa M. Renner, an alumna and former staff member of the College who provided a substantial portion of the cost of the building in her will. The brick and metal building houses studios for ceramics and sculpture.
- Visual Arts Center: The visual arts center adjoins the Bothwell Conservatory of Music and creates a campus center for the visual and performing arts. The building contains a gallery near the two buildings’ common entrance, a design studio, large painting and drawing studios, a photography studio, dark room and enlarging room, a fully equipped graphic arts lab, a lecture room and faculty offices.
- David M. Woodson Center for Business and Economics: The new Center for Business and Economics opened in 2005. It is housed in the newly renovated portion of Jones/Allison Hall. The Center is named for the benefactor whose gift of farmland to the College many years ago made the renovation possible. The Woodson Center is dedicated to the teaching of business administration, economics and accounting per the wishes of Mr. Woodson. What was once the main campus kitchen and dining hall is now several computer projection equipped classrooms, faculty offices, a conference room and a multi-use area able to quickly convert from classrooms to a banquet hall complete with a catering kitchen.
- Woodward Center: Named in honor of a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Herbert N. Woodward, the Center includes Dawes Gymnasium, named after donor Edward L. Dawes. In addition to the basketball court, the Center houses racquetball/handball courts, weight rooms, fitness room, locker rooms, classrooms, a training room, and faculty offices. Blackburn students, through the Blackburn Work Program, constructed all parts of the building. In addition, a varsity soccer field with permanent grandstands and press box, a junior varsity soccer field, soccer practice fields, a lighted softball field, a baseball field, and four lighted tennis courts comprise the outdoor facilities.
- C.H.C. Anderson Student Center: Mr. C. H. C. Anderson of Dallas, Texas, an 1899 graduate of Blackburn, provided funds for a student center as a memorial to his parents, William E. P. and Nellie Hamilton Anderson. It was dedicated in 1954. This building is set to undergo renovation for other uses since the opening of the Demuzio Campus Center that now houses all student center activities.
- Clegg Chapel: Given as a memorial to Sherman K. Clegg by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sherman D. Clegg, the chapel seats 300 persons in addition to the choir. An endowment fund of $100,000 for the maintenance of the chapel and the chapel program was established through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Clegg and some of their friends. Nearby is the keyboard to the set of "carillonic bells" donated by the Louis D. Beaumont Foundation and the estate of Anna V. Sterling. These were installed in Hudson Hall in 1956. In 1968-69, the chapel was extensively remodeled with funds provided in a gift from the First Presbyterian Church, Springfield, Illinois. Additional remodeling was done in 1987 and 1992. The Chapel also houses a 1930 Moeller pipe organ originally contributed by Mrs. Clegg as a memorial to her sister, Mrs. Irene Bryan. The organ was rebuilt and expanded in 2002 by Robert Dial Organ Builders of Springfield, Illinois as the result of generous gifts from Jim Curry ’51 and Mr. and Mrs. Lindell Loveless (’48 and ’49) in tribute to Mr. Curry’s wife, Mary Beaver Curry ’51. The Chapel is located on the second floor of Hudson Hall.
- Demuzio Campus Center: Named in honor of the late State Senator Vince Demuzio and the Demuzio family, the 29,240 square foot campus center is the hub of student activities. It contains the dining hall and food service, a large student activities area with snack bar, the campus store and mailroom, several informal gathering areas, study lounge, and all offices of the Student Life Department, the Work Program, and Admissions. The Campus Center opened in August 2002.
- Ludlum Hall: Since its completion in 1966, Ludlum Hall has housed many of the administrative offices of the College. It is named for Dr. Robert Philips Ludlum, tenth president of Blackburn, and was built by Blackburn students.
- McKinley House: South of campus stands the president’s home, a brick residence of Georgian style, built in 1926 with funds provided by the late Senator William B. McKinley
- Butler Hall: Opened in 1928, this residence hall is named for the late Burridge D. Butler, a one-time trustee of the College, and was built by students through the Work Program. The three-story building houses 96 residents.
- Challacombe Hall: This air-conditioned residence hall, similar in design to Graham Hall, was completed in 1965. It houses 53 men. Dr. Wesley Adams Challacombe, in whose memory the building is named, was a member of the Blackburn Class of 1894 and a distinguished member of the faculty and administrative staff for 53 years.
- Graham Hall: This T-shaped, two-story air-conditioned residence hall for 49 residents was constructed by Blackburn students and first occupied in 1959. It is a co-ed, Quiet Hall. The building is named for the late Carl Graham, of Granite City, Illinois, who donated the funds for its construction.
- Jewell Hall: The Fred M. Jewell Residence Hall opened in the fall of 1968. Dr. Jewell, who taught biology at Blackburn from 1919 to 1924, is the inventor of the Jewell Biological Models. Best known as "Pop" Jewell to the hundreds of students and alumni he befriended, he retained an active interest in Blackburn and its students for many years. Jewell Hall is designed to house 104 students. The two, two-story wings are designated for men or for women according to the housing needs.
- Jones-Allison Hall: Opened in the autumn of 1949, this building is the gift of the late George Herbert Jones and his daughter, Ruth Jones Allison, of Chicago. Jones-Allison Hall is an air-conditioned residence hall housing 81 women. A large portion of Jones-Allison formerly housed the college food service and dining hall. That section of the building has been renovated into a center for the instruction of business administration and a multi-purpose area suitable for conferences and banquets.
- Stoddard Hall: This residence hall was completed by students through the Work Program in 1924 and was remodeled in 1979 by student labor with funds provided by the Kresge Foundation, alumni, and other friends of the College. Interior upgrades in 2007 created a floor of large single occupancy rooms and a kitchen for residents’ use. It is named for the late Mr. and Mrs. Bela M. Stoddard of Minonk, Illinois.
Blackburn College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and the teacher's education program is accredited by Illinois State Board of Education. It is a member of the Council of Independent Colleges. Blackburn College offers the Bachelor of Arts degree with an academic major. A student has the option of selecting an academic minor, but a minor is not required for graduation. Blackburn students can choose from over 40 majors in the following sixteen academic departments/programs: Art, Biology, Business and Economics, Chemistry, Communications, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Education, English, History, Mathematics, Performing Arts, Physical Education, Political Science, Psychology, and Spanish. The College also offers pre-professional programs in Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Law, Theology, Pre-Nursing, and Medical Technology.
The work program was first instituted at Blackburn College in 1913 in order to provide access to higher education to individuals with the academic ability, but who were lacking the financial means. While cost reduction remains an important value of the work program today, there is an emphasis on the opportunities it provides for student learning. The work program is intended as a vehicle for personal growth including leadership opportunities and community involvement. Most students work a minimum of 160 hours each semester (10 hours a week) in partnership with faculty and staff to help provide virtually all services essential to college operations. By sharing, belonging, and contributing through their work, students gain an added sense of community and individual responsibility, while also establishing some lifelong friendships. This combination of academic preparation and practical work experience uniquely prepares students for meeting the challenges of life, career, and any post-graduate experience.
Blackburn's athletic teams compete in Division III of the NCAA's St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Blackburn, known athletically as the Beavers, was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1914 to 1923. Blackburn has fielded championship teams in men's basketball, women's basketball, football, men's golf, and baseball. The men's golf team earn the most recent SCIAC championship in 2010.
- Cross Country
- Cross Country
- Mary Hunter Austin, nature writer and novelist
- Lois B. DeFleur, sociologist, former President of Binghamton University
- Walt Harrington, journalist and professor, produced an Emmy-Award-winning documentary 
- Mark Kirk, U.S. Senator from Illinois (attended briefly)
- Truman H. Landon, General and Commander, U.S. Air Force
- Bruce Pavitt, cofounder of Sub Pop Records (attended briefly)
- Dennis Phillips, professional poker player
- Craig F. Stowers, Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court
- Jamie Young, Assistant Coach, Boston Celtics