Plan to take a walk back through history – Mulerider history that is. Join the excitement as the Southern Arkansas University Archives Room celebrates its opening with an open house from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at Magale Library.
The Archives Room, which is located in Magale, houses significant documents, publications, and photographs related to SAU’s growth and development since 1909.
The collection is organized to reflect the University’s administrative structure and includes core documents from all units and departments dating back to 1911. Among the interesting items in the college are yearbooks beginning in 1914; photographs of early campus scenes; early print issues of The Bray and the Prespectus; microfilmed issues of The Bray from 1930-2004; and early issues of campus publications such as catalogs, sports schedules, and student handbooks. A complete list of items in the collection is available at www.saumag.edu/library/Archives.htm.
The Archives Room was established in anticipation of the University’s 100th anniversary in 2009. Faculty approved the development of a University Archives Committee during the general faculty meeting in the spring of 2005. This committee will guide on-going developments for the archives in collaboration with Magale Library staff who will be responsible for all organization, preservation, and access issues for the collection.
Based upon the holdings of the archives as well as interviews with alumni, faculty, and staff, Dr. James. F. Willis, professor of history and political science at SAU, will research and write a centennial history of the University which will be published in 2009.
Southern Arkansas University was established by an act of the Arkansas Legislature in 1909 as a district agricultural high school for southwest Arkansas and was originally named Third District Agricultural School. Students and faculty often called the school TDAS. Its first term began in January of 1911 and until 1925 its curriculum included only subjects at the secondary school level. In 1925, the state Legislature authorized the school to add two years of college work and to change the name from Third District Agricultural School to Agricultural and Mechanical College, Third Districct. The school offered both high school and junior college courses until 1937, at which time high school courses were discontinued. In the fall of 1949, the Board of Trustees decided to develop the college as a four-year, degree-granting institution. The Board authorized the addition of third-year college level courses beginning in the fall of 1950 and fourth-year courses were added in 1951. By Act 11, dated Jan. 24, 1951, the state Legislature changed the name of the institution to Southern State College.
In 1975, the institution was approved and accredited to offer a master of education degree in selected areas. Following approval of the Board of Trustees, the name of the school was changed to Southern Arkansas University.