What was the Ottawa University Academy?
The Academy at Ottawa University originated out of the Preparatory Department which was begun before 1872 as it is listed in the first Ottawa University Catalogue which was published for 1872-1873. In the beginning the Academy shared instructors with the College; according to the Ottawa University Catalogue of 1883-4, the Academy and the College had the same instructors. According to the Ottawa University Catalogue of 1885-6, the University was restructured, so that the Preparatory had three years of courses: freshman, junior and senior and the Collegiate Department had Classical, Scientific and Eclectic Courses.
The Academy began as a three year high school, offering a fourth year of college preparation or special studies for students entering the College to start a degree. The Academy offered attending students who came from rural high schools, many advantages because these schools did not prepare students for college. The Academy served as a college preparatory high school as well as a feeder school for the College at Ottawa University. Students receiving an Academy diploma were allowed to enter the College at Ottawa University without examination.
In 1906, for the first time, Ottawa University hired a principal for the Academy, then Herbert H. Foster, who was responsible for the reorganization of the Academy in 1909. Foster served as Academy principal until 1914, when he was replaced by Lulu M. Brown.
The Academy was distinct from the College, having three of its own college trained teachers and the addition of the Normal School to its Department in 1910. According to The Ottawa Campus (May 29, 1909, p 2), there were too many untrained teachers in the rural high schools and there was a dire need for teacher certification. In response to this dilemma, Ottawa University began to offer the Normal Certificate in Academy that allowed second grade teachers’ certificates to be renewed and approved through the Kansas State Legislature, and for more teachers to be trained to work in the rural public schools. The Normal Certificate was three years, following the regular Latin courses and teachers also took education courses that included a Review of the Common Branches, Methods of teaching elementary school, Elementary Psychology, School management and general methods, Music, Drawing and Pedagogy, several of which were considered College entrance courses, so that it was easy for teachers who were interested to continue their studies in the Ottawa University College.
Students having completed eight grades in public school and were fourteen years old, could be admitted to the Ottawa University Academy’s first year. Admission to Ottawa University was given to those students of good moral character and average mental ability who could pass an examination in spelling, reading, writing, geography and arithmetic. Students wanting admission to higher classes than freshman year at the Academy were required to pass exams or provide a certificate covering the books they had read, grades they had received in previous classes, and the subjects they had studied and their length of recitation; and that then allowed them into progress to a higher level at school, provided that the examinations were passed. To be admitted as a sophomore, Academy students had to have map drawing knowledge, physical and mathematical geography and arithmetic and analysis.
Academy Coursework, Fees and Scholarships
The resident Ottawa University Faculty voted in their Faculty Meetings on student acceptance to the Academy. Students could begin during any term, provided that they had 15 units of courses from their elementary school, in order to be admitted to the Academy. The Ottawa University Academy offered attending students who came from rural high schools many advantages, because these schools did not prepare students for college and so the Academy served as a college preparatory high school, as well as a feeder school for the College at Ottawa University, since students receiving an Academy diploma were allowed to enter the College at OU without examination.
The Academy was organized into three course streams: Classical, Philosophical or Scientific, and freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes, each class voting on its own class motto and class colors. Students could continue as special students to take college courses in 4th year in Academy if they wanted to take extra Fine Arts or start college classes. Academy students took a total of fifteen units of courses, twenty hours per year, four subjects per semester or five if they had a B average and each subject was pursued four hours per week for twenty-five weeks. Students could get elementary training in commerce “business” and finance work which met state teachers licensing requirements for those wanting to teach. Commercial subjects focused on training in typing writing, stenography, commercial law, commercial geography, penmanship, spelling, salesmanship, advertising, business office training and learned how to use office equipment such as adding machines, Dictaphones, calculators and filing systems.
Academy students had to take classes from the Bible department and pass monthly examinations. Twice a term students in the Preparatory presented a Declamation and an Essay before the Chapel assembly, once per term they presented an oration. Ottawa University also offered Preparatory students the choice between taking two year elementary English classes or an advanced course which was divided into junior, middle and senior years.
Home Economics was also offered to girls in the Academy as a half a unit course, one hour lecture and six lab hours of elementary cooking and sewing and cost $4. Academy girls could only enter Home Economics course after passing the High School Sewing course. Free tuition was offered by the Ottawa University Board of Trustees each year, to female students with highest grades in county for Home Economics in the 8th grade, and they were offered the chance to study in the Home Economics Course offered in the Academy.
Those students entering courses in the Academy halfway through the semester paid a fee of $1.75 for the courses. Graduation from the Academy, after successfully completing all 15 credits, cost $2 Students could choose between taking a College Preparation Course or Commercial Course, both of which were 3-4 years in length and offered students 11-13 preparatory college credits. Academy courses cost $2 per course, and students generally took 20 hours of classes per week, but if they decided to take more than 20 hours per week, then they had to pay $2 extra per additional hour. Academy students could also get credit in the Conservatory of Music towards diploma and it cost $20 per year for Music classes and $18.75 for the Spring term. Students entering the Academy or those who excelled at their studies, often had the chance to receive free tuition and scholarship opportunities, for example, the Ottawa University Board of Trustees gave free tuition to 8th grade students ranking the highest in county in one of Academy courses and there were prizes such as the Academic English Prize of $10, which was given by Hope Converse in honor of her mother to a member of the graduating class excelling in English. Then there were also three Academy cups that were awarded on a yearly basis: the Schmelzer Arms Cup awarded to girls excelling in athletics; the ML Ward Cup awarded to boys excelling in athletics and Declamation Cup awarded to anyone excelling in debate.
Academy Extracurricular Activities
The Academy had its own literary society called the Adelphian Society, and it also had its own division in each of the Collegiate Philalathean and Olympian Literary Societies. Academy student privileges included using the College library, gymnasium, athletic grounds and belonging to social, musical and religious societies. Academy students participated in music recitals, plays, intersociety debate, ministerial association, field day programs and were expected to present orations in Chapel each semester, they were not allowed to join the Collegiate Oratorical Association. The Academy students also had its own basketball, baseball and tennis teams, which were separate from the Collegiate teams, and which participated in sports tournaments against area high school teams.
The Academy Ends
In the beginning of Ottawa University the Preparatory Department (later the Academy) had more students than the college. Even as late as 1888-1889 Academy students outnumbered those in the College with there being 156 Academy students and only 40 College students. From 1904-1922 there was an average of 83 students per year in the Academy, but the number had dwindled to 34 by 1924. One reason for the decline was the growth in the number of high schools in the area. The Trustees of Ottawa University made the decision to close the Academy at the end of the 1924-1925 school year, allowing students who were in process towards their diploma to attempt completion within two years of the closure, so that nine students graduated 1925-26 and a further thirteen our of fifteen graduated in 1926-1927 from the Ottawa University Academy having completed their high school diploma.
Haworth, B Smith. 1957. Ottawa University: Its history and spirit. Kansas: Ottawa University.
LePage, S. M. 1929. Ottawa: A short history. Kansas: Ottawa University.
New Normal Courses for Ottawa University.1909. The Ottawa Campus, vol. 25, May 29, p.2.
Ottawa University Bulletin. 1884-1900. Kansas: Ottawa University.
Ottawa University Bulletin. 1901-1905. Kansas: Ottawa University.
Ottawa University Bulletin. 1907-1914. Kansas: Ottawa University.
Ottawa University Bulletin. 1915-1929. Kansas: Ottawa University.
Ottawa University Academy Timeline (1869 -1925) and Notes
- 1872 Indian department existed separate from Academ
- According to 1917 notes—1869 Ottawa University created Academy after emerging from Mission school
- Academy was reorganized into College by ML Ward
- Ottawa University Academic Department and Academy were separate tracks; more academy students and then equal
- 1879 admission was given to those of good moral character and average mental ability who could pass an examination in spelling, reading, writing, geography and arithmetic and who had a thorough knowledge of etymology and rudiments of syntax
- Second year students had to have a map drawing knowledge, physical and mathematical geography, analysis and arithmetic
- There was an elementary English class which was two years and divided into two sessions per year and an advanced course which was divided into junior, middle and senior years
- Students had to have a least 75% on the general average
- Students finishing in the Normal Department could enter the Collegiate Department to study Lain, Greek, English, Geometry, Greek History, Logic, Calculus and French or German
- There was a bible department and monthly examinations which had to be passed
- 1879 Academic Department principal was Dr Philetus Phales
- Normals Department founded to train teachers was still part of Academy in 1910
- 1883 Ward added Academic departments to university but these excluded the Academy; the Academic was the College
- 1883 Academy and College had same instructors
- 1884 College burned and had to be rebuilt
- 1886 first student graduation
- 1888 Commercial courses started
- Preparatory department of 1897 not called Academy yet but separate from College Department
- 1893 Normals School within Academy reorganized by Dr Colegrove
- Those securing a Normals Diploma could teach in the public schools and the university secured positions for them as teachers
- Regular courses included all requisites for the five year State certificate for teachers
- Two week vacations between terms which were September to January and January to June
- Twice a term the preparatory department presented a declamation, twice a term an essay and once a term an oration before a Chapel assembly
- If you completed third term of preparatory could you could enter as a first year in the Normals School to train as a teacher
- Preparatory(Academy)—Normal---Collegiate Courses
- 1898 until 1905 University had Academic Department and Departments of Oratory, Education, Music, Art and Business separate from Academy
- 1906 when Academy got its own principal university structure was College of Liberal Arts, Academy, Normals School, School of Fine Arts and Commercial School
What was the Academy?: More Notes
- By 1909 Academy was distinct from College having 3 college trained teachers
- Academic department offered classical, philosophical and scientific courses
- Students having completed 8 grades in public school could be admitted to the Academy’s first year
- Academy still offered advantages because rural high schools did not prepare students for college
- Academy was college preparatory high school
- Could choose straight college prep course or commercial course which was 3-4 years in length
- Course offerings were either Classical, Philosophical or Scientific; graduates usually were shown as graduating in one of those streams
- Can take college courses in 4th year in Academy if you want to take extra Fine Arts or start College classes
- First-Fourth year students; and special students in the Academy
- Student privileges included using the library, gymnasium, athletic grounds and belonging to social, musical and religious societies
- Two diplomas in the Academy: College Preparatory Course and Commercial Course offering 11-13 preparatory college credits
- Can get credit in the Conservatory of Music towards diploma
- Three or four year course, fifteen units where one subject is pursued 4 hours per week for 25 weeks
- Academy students take 4 subjects per semester; 5 if they have a B average
- Students could get elementary training in commerce and finance and up to 11-13 college prep credits
- Commercial work met State teachers license requirements for those wanting to teach
- Commercial high school subjects focus on commercial training in typing writing, stenography, commercial law, commercial geography and penmanship and spelling
- Students learnt salesmanship, advertising, business office training and study of office and office equipment such as adding machines, Dictaphones, calculators and filing systems
- Home Economics course is half a unit, one hour lecture and six lab hours of elementary cooking and sewing and was available to both College and Academic women
- Academy girls could enter Home Econ after passing high school Sewing
- Academy had section in Olympian and Pilialathean Societies specifically for academy students separate from Collegiate
- 1905 –Academy and Business College were part of the College of Liberal Arts
- Academy students could not join the Oratorial Association, it was only for Collegiate students
- Academy students participated in music recitals, plays, intersociety debate, ministerial association, field day programs, orations, sports
- Most students came from KS, MO, OK and NE
- Adelphian was Academy Literary Society
- Classes chose class mottos and class colors
- Oratorial Association didn’t accept Academy students
- Preparatory commencement programs had orations and song
- 80% of Academy students three year graduates attended College in their 4th year taking College courses
- 50% of Academy graduate students actually entered College
- Completion of 8th grade at a public school and be 14 years old
- Faculty voted on student acceptance
- Students could begin in any term
- 15 units required for Academy admission
- 3-4 years to complete it
- 8th graders wanting admission to higher classes than 1st year were required to pass exams or provide a certificate covering the books read, grades, subjects studied and length of recitation that allowed them into that level at school
- Grades were sent to the parents in the middle and end of semester
- 1905 on completing grade school they could enter secondary school
- Students studied three units a year; 20 hours per year
- Diploma students could enter the College of OU without examination
- 1879 Fees were $10 per year
- 1882 Fees were $12 in first term and $9 each for Spring I and II total of $30
- Board $1.50-$2 per week
- $20 for Music and $18.75 for each Spring term
- Graduation from the Academy cost $2 and $2 per semester hour per course
- Taking more than 20 hours in Academy, had to pay $2 for each additional hour
- Students entering halfway through semester $1.75Course organization
- Home Economics Costs $4
- Students took 20 hours of class per week; $2 per hour over 20 hours at the academy
- Ministry students got help from Baptist Convention
Statistics and closure
- 1895 students in the Academy outnumbered those in the college; 1900 numbers were equal
- By 1920 Academy was 81 and College 254
- 1922 (for past 18 years) average for students attending Academy was 83 per year
- 1923 attendance was 41 and 1924 dwindled to 34;
- As high schools in area became numerous and efficient; growth of Academy diminished
- Trustees made suggestion to cut off the Academy and close it in 1925 and Lulu Brown continued as principal until 1925
- Free tuition given by Board of Trustees to 8th grade student ranking highest in county in one of Academy courses
- Academy had a scholarship: an Academic English Prize $10 given by Hope Converse in honor of her mother to member of the graduating class excelling in English
- Academy also had an Academy Scholarship separate from that
- Three Academy cups: Schmelzer Arms Cup awarded to girls excelling in athletics; ML Ward Cup boys excelling in athletics and Declamation Cup anyone excelling in debate
- 18 students in the 1st Senior class for the Academy in 1907
- Reorganization of the department 1909-9 with appointment of new principal
- Campus, 1909, Sat May 29th p 2—untrained teachers in many rural high schools
- OU to offer normal certificate in Academy so that students can be trained as teachers in rural public schools
- Three years of Academy to follow the regular Latin courses and the fourth year the senior students can choose to take Normal certificate
- They will get second grade teacher’s certificate that can be renewed—Kansas State Legislature approves it and will renew—start of 1910 introduced as part of Academy which would include courses such as Review of common branches, methods of teaching elementary school, elementary psychology, school management and general methods, music and drawing, pedagogy
- Psychology and methods and management course will be considered College entrance course
- Free tuition offered by Board of Trustees to student with highest grades in county for Home Ec in 8th grade coming to OU
- Teachers organized socials for the students in the Academy on the campus
- James H Hull a graduate of Yale College became Instructor at the Academy in Mathematics and Physics in 1908
- Ida B Shive instructed Latin and English in 1908
- 1909 three teachers trained to teach College teach in academy
- 1909 Lulu M Brown elected as instructor in Latin and English
- Teachers training class offered as part of the Academy taught by HH foster
- Teachers had to be of good moral character and have no skeptical religious view
Sports and Social
- Participation in basketball, baseball and tennis
- Phililathean and Olympian Literary Societies had two divisions, a collegiate and an academic