Two new buildings open -- a student center named “Memorial Hall” and a men’s dormitory, “Myers Hall”, named for Dean Vest. C. Myers.

Social life consisted of the Fall Frolic, Sagamore Christmas Ball, Spring Dance and Saturday night dances.


The University’s Power Plant goes into service.

February 7
A new Field House is accepted by the College.

First Greek organizations arrive on campus -- Delta Kappa fraternity and Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. Sigma Sigma Sigma becomes the first National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sorority on campus.


Painter Floyd Hafner is hired to paint Academic Hall. Instead, he chalks “Floyd Hafner 1952” in the dome. Hafner worked for the University a total of only three days.

Sigma Tau Gamma becomes the first Interfraternity Council (IFC) fraternity on campus.


May 17
Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka was a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. It became one of the cornerstones of the Civil Rights movement and helped establish that separate-but-equal education and services were not equal.

The first African-American students enroll at Southeast: Roberta Cleasta Slayton and Helen Carter. This occurred shortly after the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

"The football team goes 9-0 under the leadership of Coach Kenneth Knox."


Group picture of the 9-0 winning football team of 1955


President Parker resigns. He is then named president emeritus.

A $2.74 million state appropriation sets off a 20-year building explosion at Southeast Missouri State College with the funds to be used for construction of triangle of buildings, intended to be part of a second campus, for science, women's physical education and practical arts. Due to financial constraints, the building for practical arts became the music building.

May 1
Dr. Mark F. Scully is announced as the new Southeast President. His tenure continues through 1975. During this period, enrollment grows from 1,500 to 8,000 students. Three residence halls, five academic buildings and a new student center are constructed between 1958 and 1973 to accommodate this growth. The college is reorganized into departments, and the Faculty Senate is created. Dr. Scully also becomes known as a stickler for rules.

Fall enrollment is 1,662.

Four degrees are offered – Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Education, and Bachelor of Science in Vocational Home Economics.


The name "Golden Eagles" is selected from several student and faculty submissions as the name of the institution's band. The band was named after a steamboat that traveled the Mississippi River.

A summer commencement ceremony is added.

A cooperative graduate program with the University of Missouri is launched with graduate courses offered during the summer sessions. Classes were in elementary and secondary education.

Ron Staten broke the color barrier and became the first African American to play intercollegiate sports for the college as a member of the 1957-1958 basketball team. Shortly thereafter in 1964, Curtis Williams followed in his path, distinguishing himself by setting several records in basketball and track. 


The 1958 Student Handbook demanded compliance with a moral code. Students were “expected to pursue their studies with diligence, to attend classes regularly, and to live decent and well-regulated lives.” Expulsion or loss of driving privileges on campus were penalties for failure to comply. Dress requirements included men in pants and women in long skirts or dresses. Women were only exempt from this requirement after 4 p.m. or if the temperature fell below freezing.


The institution changes from the quarter plan to the semester plan.

World Events

Disney’s “Cinderella” is released.

The Korean War begins.

Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” is released.

Winston Churchill becomes prime minister of the United Kingdom.


The first effective polio vaccine is developed by Jonas Salk.

Dwight D. Eisenhower is inaugurated as president of the United States.

Disney’s “Peter Pan” is released.

The three-dimensional structure of DNA is discovered.

Elvis Presley launches his musical career.

The first color television is produced.

The Civil Rights Movement begins.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Brown vs Bd. Of Education calls for an end to racial segregation in public schools.

J.R.R. Tolkien publishes the first volume of “The Lord of the Rings” called “The Fellowship of the Ring”.

Rock and Roll becomes part of the American mainstream with the song “Rock Around the Clock”.

The Salk polio vaccine receives full FDA approval.

Albert Einstein dies.

Actor James Dean dies.

Sputnik 1 launches marking the beginning of the Space Age.

The Asian Flu begins in China and marks the beginning of a worldwide pandemic.

The Boeing 707 jet airliner takes flight.

Pizza Hut is founded.

NASA is established.

The FAA is formed.

The cassette tape is invented.

Disney releases “Sleeping Beauty”.

Alaska is admitted as the 49th state followed by Hawaii as the 50th state.

The Vietnam War begins.