The world was changing rapidly in the 1930s, heading toward another World War and introducing new modern ideas. Up on the hilltop in Cape Girardeau, Southeast Missouri State University was changing, too.


 Life on Campus

The country was in the middle of the Great Depression, but things were still happening around campus. When you were a Southeast student in 1930, $40 was all it took to cover your fees for the entire year. In 1933, campus adopted the four-quarter academic year. 

In 1932, the ban on dancing on campus was lifted for one year by President J.A. Serena. 

The New Deal allotted money to the University to build a new indoor swimming pool in 1930. This was constructed in the basement of Academic Hall. It also provided funds for a new library. 

 Houck Officially Dedicated

To kick off the decade, Southeast dedicated one of the most well-known facilities on campus still today. Houck Field House and Houck Field were named to honor Louis Houck, a railroad entrepreneur in Cape Girardeau who served as the president of the Board of Regents from 1889-1925. 

The stadium was constructed on an old quarry. It originally cost $150,000, which is over $2,500,000 in today's money. The original stadium held 5,240 seats. Now, Southeast is looking forward to the completion of a brand new stadium space for Redhawk atheltic events. The project is nearing the end of phase one, which includes new grandstands for Redhawk fans for the fall 2023 seasons. 

The very first game after the dedication saw Southeast take on Southeast Illinois University-Carbondale in a football game on Oct. 3, 1930. 

Later in the decade, head coach Abe Stuber and his team went 9-0 during the 1937 season, giving up 0 points in their first seven games. The very first "First-Team Little American" from Southeast was Wayne Goddard this year, earning eight letters at Southeast in track and football. 

A New Alma Mater

Remember in the 1920s when there was a contest for lyrics for an alma mater? Well, in 1931, lyrics from Bera Beauchamp Foard of Doniphan, Missouri were selected. The winner received $5 for the contest. 

The music was written by a teacher in the music department, Wilhelmina Vich. 

In 1938, the alma mater was used at the recessional for the commencement ceremony for the very first time. 

Wrapping Up the Decade

Ending the decade was another big dedication on campus. On Nov. 7, 1989, Sadie Kent dedicated the brand new library. She placed a Bible on the shelf in the reading room to do so. 

The new library was built on tennis courts between Albert and Lenning Halls at that time, right across from Academic Hall. When it was built, it kept 150,000 books, a museum, a small theatre room for plays, a children's library, two seminar rooms, a reading room, a browsing room, a periodicals room, an office, and a workroom. 

Cheney Hall, originally a men's dormitory, was dedicated on the same day. It was named after the school's very first president, Lucius H. Cheney. 

What's Happening in the 1930s?

  • 1931 - The Star Spangled Banner becomes the United States' national anthem
  • 1931 - The Empire State Building in completed
  • 1932 - Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean
  • 1933 - Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany
  • 1933 - Prohibition is abolished
  • 1933 - The New Deal begins 
  • 1937 - Toyota is founded in Japan
  • 1937 - J.R.R. Tolkien publishes The Hobbit
  • 1938 - Superman first appears in books published by DC Comics
  • 1939 - War breaks out in Europe; Germany invades neighboring countries

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