Meet the Class of 1912
Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt University Special Collections & University Archives
Welcome! As members of the Class of 2015 you are now part of the rich tapestry that is Vanderbilt. When you graduate and go off into the world you will leave your mark on the university just as the Class of 1912 did over 100 years ago. Explore our collection of images, student publications, and newspaper articles to learn about the life and times of the Class of 1912.
VUceptor Module Guide (PDF)
**You will need at least one computer with projection screen and Internet connection for this activity. For a more dynamic session, ask five students to bring their laptops so that smaller groups of students can work on different aspects of the topic simultaneously. Alternatively, for this session you can schedule the Electronic Classroom in the main library building by contacting Ramona Romero (3-4236) at least two days before the session, or reserve the Peabody Library Learning Commons by emailing email@example.com.
When members of the Class of 1912 first arrived at Vanderbilt University in the fall of 1908, the University was only 33 years old, and still under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Teddy Roosevelt was finishing out his last presidential term while William Taft and William Jennings Bryan were gearing up for the 1908 presidential election in November. Nashville was a prosperous, bustling city of approximately 110,000 people, but it still had not earned its title "Music City, USA." What would it be like to live in a time where Ford had just introduced the Model T and a gallon of gas only set you back between 18-22¢, but most people used street cars to get around town?
Discussion Module Options
Congratulations! You have been admitted to Vanderbilt University. As members of the Class of 2015 you had to go through a rigorous application process that included taking either the SAT or ACT. The Class of 1912 had to work just as hard to get admitted to Vanderbilt. Before the SAT and the ACT there was the written entrance exam; four days of testing in a variety of subjects including Latin, Greek, Mathematics, English, and History or Science. Check out some of the exams hopeful students had to successfully pass in order to become members of the Class of 1912. We know you are Class of 2015 material, but are you Class of 1912 material, too?
Your first year at Vanderbilt is all about new experiences and adventures, but it can also be a period of upheaval in your life. You're leaving home for the first time, making new friends, and struggling through all the readings and homework assignments that professors keep handing out every time you turn around. Imagine having to deal with all of this, and also being subjected to constant “pranks” by the upperclassmen. Freshman hazing by upperclassmen was a common occurrence, and was even considered a tradition during the early 20th century. Today, Vanderbilt has a strict policy against hazing in all forms. Clearly attitudes towards hazing have changed. What role did the Class of 1912 play in changing these attitudes?
During the planning stages of Vanderbilt’s founding everyone assumed that it would be an all-male institution, but the board of trust never enacted rules prohibiting women. At least one woman attended Vanderbilt classes every year from 1875 on, and by 1887 a faculty committee was already exploring the possibility of coeducation at Vanderbilt. This move towards coeducation was not necessarily an endorsement, but perhaps driven by financial interests. Faculty salaries were subsidized by one-half of the realized tuition; tuition which women were not required pay since they could not matriculate. From 1892 to 1901 women gained full legal equality at Vanderbilt except with respect to access to dorms. Women remained a small minority on campus during those early years, but they definitely had an impact. Come explore the life and times of a Vanderbilt coed.