Coping with College

A June 2017 New York Times article, “Colleges Get Proactive in Addressing Depression on Campus,” mentions several programs at Davidson College and quotes the recently retired Dean Shandley as well. The article explains that colleges and universities are hosting numerous mental and emotional health programs to see what works the best and for the “broadest swath of students.”

I decided to take a look at Davidson College roughly fifty years ago to see what was offered. In the 1962-63 Davidson College Reference Catalogue (part of our digital collections), there are numerous references to “counseling” and this service was found in several departments and offered in various locations on campus.

Inquiries regarding “Student Interests and Counseling” were to be addressed to the Dean of Students and this was indicated on the first page of the catalogue. In addition to the Dean of Students, there was also an employee with the title, Director of Student Counseling.

Alumni Weekend, June, 1963, Dr. William Hight,
Director of Student Counseling

The David Ovens College Union is described as a “laboratory of student management and self-expression as well as a place for informal counseling and guidance.”

Aerial photo of Johnston Gym and Richardson Stadium and Field; the roof of the Ovens College Union is visible.

As one might expect, one of the responsibilities listed for the College Chaplain was “personal counseling;” although, expectations that the Chaplain would provide counsel regarding summer employment, another stated assignment, would probably not be anticipated. The Supervisor of Dormitories was also encouraged to offer advice and counsel students regarding problems in campus housing.

Mrs. Moore, Supervisor of Dormitories, surrounded by students.

Although the term would probably not be applied the same way on today’s campus, in the 1960s, counseling began with Freshman Orientation and continued throughout a student’s career, according to “The Degree Programs” section of the 1962-1963 catalogue.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact archives@davidson.edu.

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