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Summer 2005 • Volume 11, Issue 3

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During your tenure at Bradley, how did the student body change?

Cannon: We started to grow with a big influx of G.I.’s who came to school under the G.I. Bill. When Roosevelt passed that bill, he was called a socialist, a communist, and people said, “It’s the worst thing you could have done, Mr. President.” That is what led to our huge development in 1948 and 1949. We went from 600 students to almost 4,000 in a couple of years. We had classes all over the place and didn’t have the buildings for them.

Dr. Barbara PeneltonPenelton: When I came to Bradley, it was a time of student unrest— the era of civil rights, women’s rights, opposition to the war in Vietnam—so there were lots of student movements on campus, and students were very politically active and aware. Today, students are not really active in politics outside the University, at least not to the extent that they were then. They are probably more focused on careers and academic achievement and less focused on social problems.

Carter: I agree that the emphasis on career began to develop in the 1980s. One thing that I’ve noticed in the past few years is the increased emphasis on community service. We now have the Lewis G. Burger Center for Student Leadership & Public Service. I’ve talked to a number of students who recognize that community service is as important in their lives as getting a good job and making money.

Hartman: When I started teaching in the early 1960s, I might have one, two, or three women in a class of 30. By the time I retired, very often it would be a 50-50 split between men and women. Women have so many more opportunities than they did 40 years ago.

Wessler: The increase in the number of women in engineering has been significant, but it’s not nearly what it ought to be. Also, our graduates, I think, are much more professionally astute due to the introduction of year-long team projects, sponsored by industrial and other outside clients.

Penelton: In the 1960s, there were many more limitations on the careers women could choose. Many women came into education because they perceived that first, it was open to them and second, it offered a supplemental income to a husband who was the primary “breadwinner.” Now with many more opportunities for women and minorities, they can go into any field they want — engineering, business — a whole range of professions. Students in education today really do like kids and want to work with youngsters. They want to become educators.


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