by Melissa A. Collett
Fifty years ago marked the beginning of the post war era. There was no ivy clinging to the walls of Founders Hall; instead, it covered the whole exterior of Miller Hall, an all women dormitory.
The college was recovering from the war years. Men were scarce during that time. The few males were housed in a room in the back of the old gym. Many male students were swept up by the armed forces, including some faculty. Two students died in the war, including a star football player.
The graduating class of 1945 had 10 students, including two males and holds the distinction of being the smallest graduating class at the University in the modern period. From this post war moment, the College began to build.
Lucille Sarafian Keeler, class representative for 1945, recalls that a majority of the war students took education classes from her father Dr. K.A. Sarafian and became teachers. “The Education Department was strong. My father chaired the Department and had a high placement rate for his graduates. He expanded his contacts during the summer by teaching education classes at the University of Southern California, the University of California Los Angeles and the Claremont Colleges.”
Keeler adds, “Music was important to us, too. Everyone loved Professor Ralph Travis. Many of us fell under his spell and majored in music.”
Tuition was $8 per unit. The application for admission asked for information such as church affiliation and the intended vocation students planned to pursue. Dancing, alcohol, tobacco and gambling were not allowed on school grounds. Two buildings dominated the campus: Miller Hall and Founders Hall. The dining room was in the basement of Miller. The library was in the west end of Founders Hall. Louise Larick was the librarian.
“La Verne College enjoys a particularly favorable location” boasted the 1946 catalog. La Verne is “a small city with modern conveniences and beautiful surroundings.”
The Campus Times was a bi-monthly newspaper, and few writers were assigned by-lines on stories such as “Cal Tech Romps LVC” and “Sixty Loyal Leopards Trek To Highest School Letter In the World Last Wednesday.”
The 1946 senior class was small, with fewer than 30 students graduating, mostly women. The junior class, with 40 students, was an all female class up until 1946. The sophomore class of 30 students was divided almost evenly between men and women. The freshmen class, the largest, held 48 men and 32 women.
While the enrollment dropped in 1943, when there were only 96 students attending the College, 75 being women, proceeding years showed a slow, steady rise through 1948. Because of low male enrollment, the football team was temporarily dropped in 1941, followed by the basketball team in 1942. Nevertheless, La Verne College sported a baseball team, which proved to be the most popular and successful sport, with the biggest team and most wins. There was also a strong Women’s Athletic Association for intramural tennis, basketball, volleyball and softball.
The war years brought Lambda yearbook dedication pages to Isaac Woody, a maintenance man, and L.M. Davenport, LVC Trustee and founder of the Davenport Foundation. Both men have ULV buildings named in their honor today.
Dorothy White, the first woman student body president in the University’s history, gained her post in 1945.
A new president, Harold Fasnacht, took the helm from C. Ernest Davis in 1948. The same year also brought on the construction of Woody Hall, an all male dormitory.
Student organizations included Alpha Psi Omega, a national honors fraternity, Girls About Town (GAT), for commuting students, the Washington Club for students from Washington state, the Home Economics Club and the Leopardette Club to give support to the male athletic teams on campus.