During the Great Depression, Texas Woman’s College was in financial trouble.
The staff took a 40 percent pay cut to keep the school open, and students were so poor that they had to pay their tuition with produce, Dr. Elizabeth Alexander said at Tuesday’s Goostree Symposium.
The symposium featured Alexander and Dr. Brenda Taylor Matthews discussing a short segment of Texas Wesleyan’s history at Martin Hall during free period.
“We aren’t necessarily focusing on all of the history,” Matthews said. “Just the 20-year segment from 1914 to 1934 when the school was named Texas Woman’s College.”
Alexander and Matthews co-wrote The College on the Hill: Texas Wesleyan University, 125 Years of Tradition, with university archivist Louis Sherwood. The book was available at the symposium, which was followed by a lunch at Lou’s Place.
Dr. Gladys Childs, chair of the Goostree committee, introduced Alexander and Matthews.
Childs said she was excited for the two professors to speak this year because they are well known around campus, she said.
“They are tough on their students but also fair and it shows in how their students respond in class,” Childs said.
During the 20 years Alexander and Matthews discussed, Texas Woman’s was mainly focused on fine arts and music and adopted many of the traditions that held long past 1934, Alexander said.
Texas Woman’s became Texas Wesleyan College in the fall of 1934. It was not until 1936 that, under the leadership of Dr. Law Sone, university president, the campus began to gain revenue, Matthews said.
“He made a $400,000 debt disappear,” Matthews said.