Lecture showcases Eastern’s history

Rege'nte Myers and Summer Jacobs

Eastern has undergone many changes over the course of its time as a university.

Thursday evening those changes were highlighted and discussed by an intimate group in the west reading room of Booth Library in an event called EIU: Then and Now – a Photographic Treasure.

The event was hosted by the Academy of Lifelong Learning and was free and open to the public and gave individuals the opportunity to look at Eastern throughout the years as a public university.

Over the course of the event the group looked at archived slides and listened to the audio from a similar lecture given in 1973 called EIU; Then and Now.

The original lecture showed the university from 1899 to 1969 and the lecture given Thursday expanded on that.

There were three keynote speakers for this event: David Maurer, Mac Corley and Terry Weidner; all three men are retired Eastern faculty members.

The three men discussed the changes that they have seen over their time here.

Corley was a professor here at Eastern in 1967. He taught economics in Coleman Hall until he retired in 2003 after 36 years as an educator.

Corley said he was interested in the more popular subjects at the time he was getting his education.

“I had an interest in top subjects and all my degrees are in agricultural economics. I wanted to come back with my wife from Oklahoma, so I got my PhD at Oklahoma State and moved back to Charleston for 36 years to teach,” Corely said Corley said he, Maurer and Hiram Thut, a former botany professor after whom the H.F. Thut Greenhouse is named, were all friends while they taught at Eastern.

“The memories were all good. I had a good experience and I enjoyed teaching here,” Corely said.

Thut died in 1974 following his time as a professor at Eastern for 37 years.

“There were many memorable things about professor Dr. Thut; he took students to Lake Charleston Dam and taught them how to water ski,” Wiedner said.   

Now that Corley is retired, he said he doesn’t come to Eastern’s campus often, but he does currently live in Charleston.

Corley said he has noticed many changes over time, especially regarding the use of technology on campus.

Technology plays a major role with the changes Eastern has had throughout the years.

“As a professor, I didn’t use PowerPoints, I liked to draw graphs with colored chalk on the chalkboard. I’m very old-fashioned,” Corely said.  “People started using PowerPoints when I retired.”

Weidner said a change he remembered during his time at Eastern was when the university replaced the water tower on campus.

“I remember the day they took the water tower down, it felt like an earthquake,” Weidner said.

Corley said he noticed the decline in enrollment at Eastern as well as the closure of Carman Hall.

Carman Hall was closed at the beginning of Summer 2013 due to low enrollment but was a popular hall when the campus had more students.

“Carman Hall has not been used for several years now, because there is declining enrollment,” Corley said.


Rege’nte Myers and Summer Jacobs can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].