Happy birthday, CHASS! 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. While the humanities and social sciences have been woven into the fabric of NC State University’s history from its earliest days, our college was officially established as a unique entity in 1963.
As our Golden Jubilee neared last year, CHASS Dean Jeff Braden assembled a group of faculty, graduate students, and staff to create a project that would reflect the college’s rich history, provide some insights about who we are, and maybe even hint at what the future might hold.
Over the ensuing months, group members gathered materials from departmental and library archives, conducted interviews, and created this multimedia timeline. The timeline contains video interviews with former CHASS students, faculty, and administrators, many of whom witnessed significant portions of the college’s 50-year history.
A major theme emerged from this project: the transformation of CHASS from primarily a service-oriented college in the 1960s and 1970s — what one interviewee referred to as the humanities’ “focus on practical skills” — to a consolidated, more research-intensive college in the 1980s, a focus that continues today.
The timeline traces the location and reorganization of humanities and social science programs at NC State in the early and middle parts of the 20th century, well before these programs began to come together in the 1960s. It examines the impact of historical events like the Great Depression, and contentious political debates in the NC legislature, on these programs.
The timeline links the evolving mission of the college with the university’s land grant mission of providing education for the people of North Carolina. It identifies some of the very first students who studied here and earned degrees in the humanities and social sciences. Brief historical overviews of specific humanities and social science programs are provided as well.
The events included in the timeline do not in themselves constitute the entirety of the 50-year history. Nor does the timeline touch on all the many significant changes to each and every humanities and social science department over that span of time. It does offer a representative public history of the college and some of the more substantial forces that have helped to shape the college today.
Enjoy scrolling through the timeline. We welcome your comments and feedback on this newsblog.
And come back often. We’ll be adding to the timeline throughout our 50th anniversary year and beyond, as our history continues to unfold.