5. Stakes Used in Early Groundbreaking Ceremony

Stakes used in early groundbreaking ceremony

Soon after the Rev. John Howard Harris became Bucknell’s president in 1889, he tasked William Gretzinger, Class of 1889, with leading the University’s publicity efforts. Gretzinger, who within a year of graduation also was named the University’s first registrar, began an unprecedented advertising campaign that included catalogs and pamphlets; paid advertisements in newspapers, prep-school publications and religious periodicals; and a news service.

The effort rapidly paid off. Enrollment nearly doubled within a decade, rising from 285 students in the 1889–90 academic year to 487 in 1899–1900, but the influx created a demand for housing as well as classroom space and teachers.

Bucknell broke ground April 3, 1899, on a building that could accommodate its growing student body: a living space for 100 men that would, until 1959, be known as West College and, thereafter, Kress Hall.

These four wooden stakes, representing the first-year through senior classes, with satin ribbons corresponding to the class colors, were driven into the ground with a wooden mallet at West College’s groundbreaking.