Guest Blogger: Jonathan Swann C’19, “Bringing college soccer to the masses: Live games on TV and international soccer at Davidson College”

Jonathan Swann was a psychology major at Davidson, graduating in the class of 2019. At Davidson, he wrote for the Davidsonian, was a member of the Student Government Association, and was involved in College Democrats. Originally from Maryland, he currently lives in Central Florida working at a boarding school. 

This is the fourth and final post, and it focuses on college soccer, television and resulting opportunities.

In this fourth part of the four-part series telling a different aspect of the untold story when NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship was at Davidson College, I’ll be sharing several anecdotes and stories focused on the first live college soccer championship and additional high-level soccer matches at Davidson.

In 1993, because of the success of the 1992 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson College, fans for the first time watched the semifinal and championship games in their entirety on live TV![1] The NCAA, CBS, and Davidson came up with a plan to televise the game.[2] CBS owned the rights to the championship as part of its billion-dollar men’s basketball contract with the NCAA but showed the game as edited highlights weeks after the event.[3] CBS did not air the soccer championship live because of the conflict with National Football League games.[4]

Figure 1. Picture from the 1993 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Program

Terry Holland, Davidson’s Athletic Director, served as a coordinator between all parties to negotiate for the rights to show the championship[5]. The games were broadcast nationally by Prime Network affiliates after Davidson purchased the rights to show the soccer championship live with a reach of 42 million homes.[6] The move to broadcast the games live was a significant step for college soccer and contributed to the sport’s rising popularity in the 1990s.[7]

Figure 2. Flyer for the 1994 championship

In addition, Davidson hosted College Soccer Weekly, a competition between top college soccer teams![8] College Soccer Weekly started in the fall of 1994 because of the success of the championship at Davidson.[9] College Soccer Weekly was a 10-game, made for TV series with each game featuring a southeastern team versus a nationally ranked team from another area.[10] Each game was televised locally and nationally.[11] At that time, college soccer was a rare occurrence on national television, and hosting a primetime match at weekly at Davidson further boosted the visibility of soccer.[12]

Figure 3. Terry Holland (left) with Davidson Men’s Soccer Head Coach Charlie Slagle (right)

Despite the championship leaving Davidson, Davidson would host many other nationally televised games in the 1990s![13] Davidson hosted the US men’s national soccer team in April 1994, when the U.S. beat Moldova.[14]  The women’s national team beat Finland in April 1995 and the women’s team returned to Davidson in March 1996 for a 2-0 win against Germany.[15] The U-23 men’s national team faced Ireland in June 1996 at Davidson (unfortunately losing 0-1). [16] Overall, Davidson played host to many top soccer games in the 1990s, none of which would be possible without the unprecedented success of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson!


[1] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.; Brad Johnson, “Davidson Gets High Marks as Host,” Charlotte Observer, December 5, 1992.

[2] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[3] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[4] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[5] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[6] Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[7] “Final 4’s Popularity on the Rise.” By Jon DeNunzio. December 8, 1995. Washington Post.

[8] Scott Fowler, “Weekly Soccer Series Set to Begin at Davidson,” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1994; Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018. Bob Daniels, The (Charlottesville, Va) Daily Progress.; “Soccer Makes the Screen,” NCAA Game Program for 1993 DI Men’s Soccer Championship, December 1993, pp. 8-10.;

[9] Scott Fowler, “Weekly Soccer Series Set to Begin at Davidson,” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1994; Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018.

[10] Scott Fowler, “Weekly Soccer Series Set to Begin at Davidson,” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1994; Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018.

[11] Scott Fowler, “Weekly Soccer Series Set to Begin at Davidson,” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1994

[12] Jerry Langdon, “Prime’s TV Games to Move around in ’95,” USA Today, November 1, 1994; Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018.

[13] “USMNT Results: 1990-1994.” Society for American Soccer History, February 1, 2020. https://www.ussoccerhistory.org/usnt-results/usmnt-results/usmnt-results-1990-1994/. Brad Johnson, “Hamm Stands as One of the World’s Brightest Players,” Charlotte Observer, April 29, 1995. Brad Johnson, “Davidson to Play Host to U.S. U-23 Soccer Team ,” Charlotte Observer, April 25, 1996.

[14] “USMNT Results: 1990-1994.” Society for American Soccer History, February 1, 2020. https://www.ussoccerhistory.org/usnt-results/usmnt-results/usmnt-results-1990-1994/. Brad Johnson, “Hamm Stands as One of the World’s Brightest Players,” Charlotte Observer, April 29, 1995.

[15] USMNT Results: 1990-1994.” Society for American Soccer History, February 1, 2020. https://www.ussoccerhistory.org/usnt-results/usmnt-results/usmnt-results-1990-1994/. Brad Johnson, “Hamm Stands as One of the World’s Brightest Players,” Charlotte Observer, April 29, 1995.

[16] Brad Johnson, “Davidson to Play Host to U.S. U-23 Soccer Team ,” Charlotte Observer, April 25, 1996.

Guest Blogger: Jonathan Swann C’19, “Years Before Online Ticketing: A Window in the Ticketing Process for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson”

Jonathan Swann was a psychology major at Davidson, graduating in the class of 2019. At Davidson, he wrote for the Davidsonian, was a member of the Student Government Association, and was involved in College Democrats. Originally from Maryland, he currently lives in Central Florida working at a boarding school.

This is the third part in a four part series and will focus on ticketing for the event.

In this third part of the four-part series sharing aspects of the untold story when Davidson hosted the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship, I’ll be sharing several anecdotes and stories focused on the ticketing for the championship.

Figure 1. Tickets from the 1992 semifinal games and the final

Over twenty thousand fans attended the 1994 championship at Davidson.[1] With that many fans, the Davidson Athletic Ticket Office were faced with a difficult logistical task.

Figure 3. Ticket from the 1993 championship
Figure 2. Ticket from the 1994 championship

For example, Becky Ervin, the ticket office manager during the 1992 championship, recalled that one of the most challenging parts of the job was making sure all the tickets were not duplicated with temporary bleachers constructed and thousands of people on the waiting list.[1] She mentioned that the days of the championship were actually fairly easy as people showed up with their tickets and adhered to policies about what they could and could not bring into the stadium, except for one fan who said their ticket flew out the window![2]

John Beyer, a 1992 Davidson graduate, worked as an intern in the ticket office.[3] Back then, ticketing was not automated like it is now, and Beyer recalls having an enormous schematic of the stadium with every seat. [4] The tickets were in boxes in envelopes.[5] Davidson didn’t have assigned seating in the stadium, so the ticket office had to adjust and come up with assigned seating by marking the seats and coloring the seats based on sections.[6] Beyer remembers whenever someone ordered tickets, the ticket office would roll out the schematic and X out the tickets.[7]

Figure 4. Stadium schematic with the ticket sections for the 1993 championship

According to the Davidson Campus Chronicle, Debbie Hogg of the admissions office showed up at the ticket window holding a sign that said, “will work for one ticket.”[1] She unfortunately did not receive a ticket.[2] According to a Charlotte Observer article from the day after the 1992 championship, the game programs for the entire Final Four were sold out before halftime of the first semifinal![1]

Figure 5. Box Office Report for the 1993 Final

Dick Cooke, who was the Davidson Baseball Coach from 1991 to 2018 and is now a Senior Athletic Director at Davidson, highlighted in our interview that the smaller venue of Richardson Stadium created a sense of urgency in buying tickets.[1] He compared Davidson hosting the soccer championship to the College World Series (CWS) that is hosted every year in Omaha in that putting the championship in a smaller venue creates a high demand for tickets.[2] The championship broke attendance records every year and the NCAA moved the championship after three years to Richmond which owned a larger stadium.[3]

Figure 6. VIP Ticket Assignments from the 1993 Championship. Handwritten!

[1] Liz Clarke, “Richmond to Reap Benefit of Davidson’s Success,” Charlotte Observer, December 9, 1994. Will Cobb, “Davidson Bids Farewell to Final Four in High Fashion,” The Davidsonian, January 23, 1995, p. 16.

[2] Becky Ervin interview. Phone interview with the author. June 2019.

[3] Becky Ervin interview. Phone interview with the author. June 2019.

[4] John Beyer. Phone interview with the author. May 2019.

[5] John Beyer. Phone interview with the author. May 2019.

[6] John Beyer. Phone interview with the author. May 2019. 1993 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament Manual. 1993 College Cup Ticket Manifest

[7] John Beyer. Phone interview with the author. May 2019. 1993 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament Manual. 1993 College Cup Ticket Manifest

[8] John Beyer. Phone interview with the author. May 2019.

[9] “Sweet Season Will Conclude on Home Turf,” Davidson College Campus Chronicle, December 1992.

[10] “Sweet Season Will Conclude on Home Turf,” Davidson College Campus Chronicle, December 1992.

[11] Brad Johnson, “Davidson Gets High Marks as Host,” Charlotte Observer, December 5, 1992.

[12] Dick Cooke. In-person interview with the author. May 2019.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Liz Clarke, “Richmond to Reap Benefit of Davidson’s Success,” Charlotte Observer, December 9, 1994.

Guest Blogger: Jonathan Swann C’19, ” Do these ticket booths look similar to you? Preparing the physical grounds for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson”

Jonathan Swann was a psychology major at Davidson, graduating in the class of 2019. At Davidson, he wrote for the Davidsonian, was a member of the Student Government Association, and was involved in College Democrats. Originally from Maryland, he currently lives in Central Florida working at a boarding school.  

Each week during the month of March, Swann will offer a post analyzing different aspects of Davidson College’s hosting of the 1992-1994 Men’s Soccer Championship and the ways in which “Distinctly Davidson” impacted the event.  This post is the second in the series, and it focuses on how Davidson prepared the outdoor environment for the 1992-1994 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.

Figure 1. Physical Plant putting up a goalpost for the soccer championship.
  Figure 2. Shot on goal during the championship

There was a great deal of hard work involved in enhancing and maintaining the campus grounds to accommodate the four soccer teams on the field and thousands of fans off the field for the championship.[1] First, Physical Plant widened Richardson Stadium so it could hold a regulation soccer field.[2] In addition, Physical Plant employees carefully fertilized and watered the natural grass to meet the stringent NCAA standards for a championship soccer field.[3] To deal with the crowds, Physical Plant erected ground control barriers and temporary fences so people couldn’t watch the games outside the bleachers without buying tickets.[4] 

Figure 3. Bird’s eye view of the 1994 championship with “The Third Time’s the Charm” banner. You can see the ground barriers around the field and the lights.

Back then, Johnston Gym was no longer the basketball arena (Baker Sports Complex opened in 1989) but had yet to be converted into the Union we know today. [5] Johnston Gym was next to the stadium, so the Gym was seen as a logical choice to set up locker rooms.[6] However, the Gym was winterized (the lights were dimmed and the heat was turned off) so Physical Plant renovated the Gym for the championship.[7]

Figure 4. Picture taken from Johnston Gym of the Championship. You can notice the smaller track around the field.

In addition, the Carpentry Department at Physical Plant built several ticket booths.[8] According to Physical Plant, one of those ticket booths is now the security booth for Lake Campus.[9] When I visited Lake Campus before I left Davidson after graduation, I did notice a strong resemblance to the current ticket booths outside Richardson Stadium! Finally, I reached out to Gary Andrews, the head track and field coach at Davidson from 1986 to 2014, because I heard that widening the field impacted the track and field team.[10]  Physical Plant tore up the first three lanes of the track, significantly affecting practices for the track and field team.[11] Andrews enjoyed the championship and watched the games but admitted to me that the torn up track was difficult for the track and field team, especially for recruiting.[12] Despite being promised a new track in a year by the athletic department, the team would not have a renovated and full-sized track until 1999.[13]

Hosting a NCAA championship was a significant undertaking with many logistical challenges. Despite it all, Davidson hosted a nearly flawless championship with rave reviews from coaches, fans, students, staff, and administrators.[14]


[1] Tom Sorensen , “Selling Soccer-Slagle’s Goal Has All Signs Leading to Davidson,” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1992. Scott Applegate. In-Person Interview with the author. June 2019. Kevin Andersen & et al. In-person interview with the author. June 2019. Liz Clarke, “Davidson Basks in Soccer Glory,” Charlotte Observer, December 1, 1992.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Irwin Brawley. In-person interview with the author. May 2019.

[4] Irwin Brawley. In-person interview with the author. May 2019.                                                                                        

[5] “Baker Sports Complex,” Davidson College, https://www.davidson.edu/about/campus-spaces/athletic-facilities/baker-sports-complex. Kevin Andersen & et al. In-person interview with the author. June 2019.

[6] Kevin Andersen & et al. In-person interview with the author. June 2019.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Kevin Andersen & et al. In-person interview with the author. June 2019.

[9] Kevin Andersen & et al. In-person interview with the author. June 2019. [1] Gary Andrews. In-Person Interview with the author. June 2019. Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. Fall 2018.

[10] Gary Andrews. In-Person Interview with the author. June 2019. Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. Fall 2018.

[11] Gary Andrews. In-Person Interview with the author. June 2019.

[12] Gary Andrews. In-Person Interview with the author. June 2019.

[13] “Irwin Belk Track.” Davidson College Athletics. https://davidsonwildcats.com/facilities/irwin-belk-track/32.

[14] Mike Digiovanna, “Soccer Capital: Davidson College Would Like to Become Permanent Final Four Site” (Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1993), https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1993-12-03-sp-63567-story.html.

 

Guest Blogger: Jonathan Swann C’19, “The life and legacy of Charlie Slagle”

Jonathan Swann was a psychology major at Davidson, graduating in the class of 2019. At Davidson, he wrote for the Davidsonian, was a member of the Student Government Association, and was involved in College Democrats. Originally from Maryland, he currently lives in Central Florida working at a boarding school. 

Each week during the month of March, Swann will offer a post analyzing different aspects of Davidson College’s hosting of the 1992-1994 Men’s Soccer Championship and the ways in which “Distinctly Davidson” impacted the event. 

In this first part of the four-part series chronicling the untold story of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson College, I’ll be focusing on the legacy of Davidson grad Charlie Slagle, who was the brainchild for the championship at Davidson. He passed away unexpectedly in July 2019 at the age of 67.[1]

Ironically, Charlie Slagle’s first sport was football, not soccer.[2] Slagle played one year of football at Davidson before switching to soccer and playing goalkeeper for the Wildcats.[3] After that, Slagle never left the soccer community.

At the time of his death, Slagle had been working for the Richmond Kickers, the United Soccer League team.[4] From Davidson to the Richmond Kickers, Slagle left an indelible mark on soccer in the United States.[5]

Five years after Slagle finished his playing career at Davidson, he returned to coach men’s soccer (in addition to baseball, golf, and women’s basketball!), leading the Wildcats to three Southern Conference titles and two conference tournament titles, including the remarkable 1992 underdog run to the NCAA Men’s Soccer Semifinals.[6]

Article in the Charlotte Observer from August 1992 on Slagle’s vision for the championship. From the Davidson College Archives

Slagle’s marketing prowess and relentless soccer evangelism proved highly consequential as he brought the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship to Davidson and then to Cary, North Carolina, which remains the championship’s primary hosting site.[7] Slagle realized that with the right formula, the NCAA Men’s soccer championship could thrive.[8] That formula included strong community support, a more intimate stadium meant for soccer, and passionate administrative staff who were familiar with the NCAA and the logistics of hosting a championship.[9]

Charlie Slagle gives his speech at the banquet in Baker Sports Complex during the championship. Picture from NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Photo Album held by the Davidson College Athletic Ticket Office

To me, Slagle epitomized how Davidson College graduates can develop disciplined and creative minds for lives of leadership and service.[10] Throughout his life and soccer career, Slagle fervently believed soccer could bring people together, led teams and organizations with empathy and devotion, and took on countless responsibilities to help events run smoothly.[11] I hope that these blog posts on the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship and my soon-to-be published article will shine a light on the vision Slagle had for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson.[12] Slagle told me when we chatted on the phone in April 2019 that he believed the underdog run in 1992 has outshone the unprecedented success of hosting.[13] The untold story of the hosting at Davidson should highlight one part of the remarkable legacy of Charlie Slagle.

Picture of Slagle with his family from a feature in Davidson Campus Chronicle from 1992. From the Davidson College Archives.

Charlie Slagle honored at Davidson College in fall of 2017 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1992 team.
Picture from the Davidson College website.

[1] Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html.

[2] Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html. Fox , John. “Fast Talking CV Grad Gets Kick at N.C School.” Press and Sun Bulletin. November 12, 1992.

[3] Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html. Fox , John. “Fast Talking CV Grad Gets Kick at N.C School.” Press and Sun Bulletin. November 12, 1992.

[4] Scott, David. “A Force of Nature:’ Former Davidson College Men’s Soccer Coach Charlie Slagle Dies.” Charlotte Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/college/article232225097.html.

[5]  Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html. Fox , John. “Fast Talking CV Grad Gets Kick at N.C School.” Press and Sun Bulletin. November 12, 1992.

[6] Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019.

[7] Lynn Berling-Manuel. Phone interview with the author. July 2019. Trevor Gorman. Phone interview with the author. May 2019; Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018. “DI Men’s Soccer Championship History” (NCAA, December 15, 2019), https://www.ncaa.com/history/soccer-men/d1.

[8] Charlie Slagle. Phone Interview with author. April 2019. Sorensen, Tom. “Selling Soccer-Slagle’s Goal Has All Signs Leading to Davidson.” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1992.

[9] Peter Brewington, “Big Switch for Final Four: Amenities Gained, Atmosphere Lost at Ericsson,” USA Today, December 10, 1999; David Woods, “This Stage Is Just Too Large for College Soccer’s Top Act,” Indianapolis Star, December 13, 1999.; Jerry Lindquist, “Division 1 Soccer Tournament Leaves Sponsor Seeing Red,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 24, 1999; Alex Yannis, “Attendance Is Low for Division I Final,” The New York Times, December 14, 1999. [9]  Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html.

[10] Davidson College Statement of Purpose.  https://www.davidson.edu/about/statement-purpose

[11] Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html. Fox , John. “Fast Talking CV Grad Gets Kick at N.C School.” Press and Sun Bulletin. November 12, 1992.

Lynn Berling-Manuel. Phone interview with the author. July 2019.

[12] Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018. Charlie Slagle, Phone Interview with the author, April 2019.

[13] Charlie Slagle. Interview with the author. July 2019.

Welcome to the E.H. Little Library, Ashley!

Ashley Mills and the Davidson Public Library sculpture

1. You’re just beginning to get to know the E.H. Little Library – what’s your background and how has it contributed to your work in the library?  Please tell us about your current educational endeavor as well.

My background is varied. I grew up on a barrier island in Florida, so I’ve worked in several areas of the hospitality industry. I was originally an Art major at the University of Florida, ultimately graduated with a degree in Sociology and Education, and took a lot of history classes on the side. I taught Middle School Social Studies (and substitute taught at all grade levels), spent several years focused on my children as a stay-at-home mom, passed my licenses to work in Financial Advising, and later moved into Underwriting Case Management. When I had the opportunity to change careers and go back to school, I put a lot of thought into the aspects that I’ve truly loved about jobs, and researched career paths that related to my personality types, and when it hit me – Library Science – it felt like one of those facepalm moments. “Of course! Why did it take me so long to get here?” I’ve always been an avid reader (picture the kid who walked the halls with a book held in front of her face), but apart from that, I love planning, organizing, research, learning new things, and helping people. I feel like all of these are supported and encouraged in libraries. I am currently in my second semester of a Master of Library Science degree, through East Carolina University’s remote program, and every class I take is further evidence that I love this field. 

2. What about the Acquisitions & Collections Specialist position interested you?

In general, this position interested me because it is both very detail orientated and involves a lot of searching and organization, which is right up my alley. I get to satisfy my curiosity by perusing the books that come across my desk on subjects I might not have sought out on my own. I was also interested in it for the opportunity it gave me to gain quality library experience – with the library systems integration, cataloging, inventory projects and hopefully eventually what will probably be a giant project of prepping and storing the collection during a massive library remodel – I look at it all as an opportunity to grow! My husband told me the other day, “I’ve never met anyone who was more perfectly matched to their job than you.” I look forward to professional development opportunities and learning more about the “real world aspects” of the different areas that librarians can specialize in, as I work towards my own degree.

3. Are there any projects you’re particularly passionate about introducing to Davidson? I would love to be involved in some type of diversity audit of our collection. I think we’ll need to get through a few other types of inventory and conversion projects first, so we have a better starting point, but something to consider down the road. Prior to my arrival the Collections Strategies team had already discussed identifying local and BIPOC owned bookstores we could divert some purchases to instead of our larger vendors, and I’m currently researching and compiling a list to move forward with that, in addition to playing with some ideas to get our Main Street Books Browsing collection rotating more regularly.  I also think it would be fun to work with other teams to cultivate, purchase and then highlight in the lobby “mini collections” for students that center around current news issues or social trends; “adulting,” mental health, developing study skills, or even around some of the most popular subjects of classes taught here at Davidson.

4. You haven’t been here long yet, but what has been your most memorable or surprising experience at Davidson thus far?

My most surprising experience has been how peaceful it is here – my days fly by, and I go home content and mentally ready to be knocked over by my (very large) puppy and cornered by my 3 chatterbox kids the second I walk in the door. Although Covid/Omicron meant my first few weeks were a little different than planned – with most of the faculty/staff unexpectedly working remotely – as I slowly meet everyone I am so pleased by the welcoming atmosphere and overall Library vibe.

5. What are three things you want Davidson’s community to know about you?

I’m going to answer this question with some ice-breaker game type facts:

  1. I love being involved in my “Women’s Adventure Club” – we’ve experienced yoga sessions with Llamas, navigating white water rapids after our guide was thrown out, hiking, archery, a “U-Pick” wildflower farm, game show nights, crafts, winery 5ks…anything that gets us out there and having fun together.
  2. I’m a huge believer that anyone can connect, and age is just a number – so it doesn’t matter if you are a student worker, or think you have totally different interests than me, or are soon to retire – I would love to meet you or lend a helping hand!
  3. Not only have my husband and I known each other our entire lives, but I can honestly say that I exist because of my Mother-in-law. You can ask me the story if we meet in person!
Mills Family

Guest Blogger: Hope Anderson, C’22 Biology Major “ArcGIS and the Arboretum: New Technology Contributes to our Understanding and Appreciation of Trees on Campus”

Hope Anderson is a senior biology major and mathematics minor from Carrboro, North Carolina. She currently serves as the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Davidsonian. She is also a member of Turner Eating House and on the Executive Board of Pre-PhDs of Davidson Science and Women in Math. 

Davidson community members walking across campus would be remiss not to notice the little silver tags adorning many of the trees along their path. These tags date back to 1982 when the college first received its designation as an arboretum (Dick, “The Davidson College Arboretum”).  As of 2005, the arboretum contained over 3000 individually labeled trees and shrubs (Davidson, “Arboretum”).

Figure 7: Collecting a DBH Measurement

Nearly forty years after its establishment, the arboretum’s records remain almost entirely on paper. The most current map, created by Physical Plant in the early 90s, is a huge printed poster divided into grids and subgrids. Since then, available technology has improved dramatically. My fall 2021 independent research with Dr. Susana Wadgymar and collaborator Chloe Fisher (‘23) aims to digitize and update the arboretum’s records for both community and scientific use. To visualize data in a spatial format, we created a map of campus using Geographic Information System (GIS), which permits the storage, visualization, and analysis of data as a map ( “What Is a Geographic Information System (GIS)? U.S. Geological Survey”). In specific, ArcGIS is a popular and powerful GIS software used to create interactive and customizable maps online. Our goal was to use ArcGIS to establish a database and store arboretum data for years to come.

The Davidson arboretum is significant for several reasons. First, trees play a large role in carbon sequestration, or keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The arboretum also cools campus and creates shady areas. Finally, the diverse collection of trees represented help us study and preserve native and engaged species in our region. We created an ArcGIS map with the help of visiting assistant professor of anthropology Dr. Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire. ArcGIS maps are primarily composed of a basemap and one or more layers of information. Our arboretum map includes two layers—a feature layer storing data points, each corresponding to a tree, and a grid to help us divide campus into useful 50 x 50 meter squares. See figures 1-4 for additional information on how ArcGIS layers and the basemap work together. 

 Figure 1: Arboretum map showing both the feature layer and grid layer. Green points represent tagged trees and red represent untagged.

Figure 2: Arboretum map with only the feature layer visible.
Figure 3: Arboretum map showing both feature layers turned off; only the basemap remains.
Figure 4: ArcGIS layers can be overlaid on a variety of preset basemaps which users can quickly toggle between. Users can also create their own basemap. 

Students in Dr. Lamoureux-St-Hilaire’s fall 2021 Imaging the Earth class collected the majority of the data thus far using the ArcGIS Field Maps app. Each student spent a week in October recording data, collecting information on a tree’s location, whether or not it is tagged, whether the tree is coniferous or deciduous (see figs. 5 and 6), and the tree’s diameter at breast height (DBH, see fig. 7 at the top of the post). DBH is a simple but powerful dendrological measurement often used as a proxy for biomass and can be analyzed alongside height to approximate a tree’s carbon sequestration. Find a video demonstrating how to collect all these measurements at the end of this post. 

Figure 5: An example of a deciduous tree on campus. 
Figure 6: An example of a coniferous tree on campus.

After the initial census, Chloe and I started auditing individual grid squares (see fig. 1) to fill in any missing trees. This project is far from over; next semester Chloe and I will continue to audit the current data and identify trees without tags. We also plan to revisit previously collected points to update data the anthropology students didn’t collect, such as height and species. We’re hoping to involve additional members of the Davidson community with an interest in the arboretum. In future years, students can use the same map to collect new measurements for each tree, in order to continually update the online version of the map and compare data across years. 

Thank you to Dr. Lamoureux-St-Hilaire, Dr. Susana Wadgymar, and Chloe Fisher for all their help this semester. I look forward to continuing this project in the spring and setting up future lab members for even more exciting research. 

Video – “Collecting basic measurements using the ArcGIS Field Maps app” 

References 

Cottle, Jessica. “National Park and Recreation Month: Davidson College Arboretum.” Around the D: The Davidson College Archives & Special Collections blog (post), July 13, 2018. Accessed December 9, 2021. https://davidsonarchivesandspecialcollections.org/aroundthed/national-park-and-recreation-month-davidson-college-arboretum/.

Davidson, North Carolina 28035894-2000. “Arboretum.” Davidson. Accessed December 9, 2021. https://www.davidson.edu/offices-and-services/physical-plant/arboretum.

Dick, Lacy. “The Davidson College Arboretum: A Time Line | News of Davidson.” Accessed December 9, 2021. https://newsofdavidson.org/2018/07/29/7205/the-davidson-college-arboretum-a-time-line/.

“What Is a Geographic Information System (GIS)? | U.S. Geological Survey.” Accessed December 9, 2021. https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/what-geographic-information-system-gis.

Guest Blogger: Alice Berndt, C’22 English Major “Meeting My Grandfather in the Pages of Quips and Cranks”

Alice Berndt ’22 (she/her) is an English major and Art History minor from Maplewood, New Jersey. On campus, she interns in the Van Every/Smith Galleries, writes for The Davidsonian, and is on the editorial staff for both Hobart Park and Libertas.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my grandfather since he passed fifteen years ago, it’s how much he loved Davidson College. I recently examined an issue of Quips and Cranks from 1958, his senior year, while working on a project for ENG 422: Creating Narratives. My grandfather, Ross Jordan Smyth, died when I was six years old after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, a disease I never knew him without. As I flipped through the pages of the annual, I saw his face over and over again, at the same age that I am now.

1. Senior Portrait, Quips and Cranks, 1958.

Finding my grandfather alive in the pages of Quips and Cranks — alive and busywas a special experience. The publication lists each senior along with their campus involvement. My grandfather has eighteen clubs, organizations, and accolades next to his name, taking up noticeably more space on the page than some of his peers [Image 1].

I already knew he was an English major like I am. I knew he helped to launch Davidson’s soccer program as an official varsity sport in 1956 (See The Davidsonian article October 5, 1956 for more information) and was captain during his junior and senior years. And I knew he served as student body president, which at the time also meant heading the Honor Council.

2. President of the Student Body Quips and Cranks, 1958.
3. ROTC Regimental Staff, Quips and Cranks, 1958.

But I didn’t know that he was a cheerleader, in the chapel choir, or on the editorial staff of Quips and Cranks. Through these pages, I learned that my grandfather was serious and professional, as seen in his presidential portrait [Image 2] and a shot from ROTC [Image 3].

At the same time, these pages also suggest how much he enjoyed his time at Davidson, participating in many activities and organizations and getting to know a range of people in the process.

4. Honor Men of 1958, Quips and Cranks, 1958

A page in the athletics section titled “Honor Men of 1958” shows my grandfather sprinting across the soccer field [Image 4]. Interestingly, soccer at Davidson only started up again in 1956 after an absence due to students leaving the college to fight in World War II (See Davidson encyclopedia entry for soccer for more information).

5. Student Government “Under the Influence,” Quips and Cranks, 1958

In an image in the student government pages, my grandfather is seated at the head of a table holding a gavel, the same one he holds so earnestly in his presidential portrait. This time he’s captured mid-laugh, the other students at the table frozen in similar expressions. That year student government negotiated with the administration about alcohol consumption on campus. The photo’s caption reads “…seeking a clarification of ‘UNDER THE INFLUENCE’” [Image 5].

6. Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, Quips and Cranks, 1958

In the fraternity section, A photo of SAE brothers enjoying a meal is playfully captioned “Bradford and Smyth retain their composure over the masses” [Image 6].

7. Sigma Alpha Epsilon Year in Review, Quips and Cranks, 1958

Another SAE page lists highlights from the year as inside jokes including one that reads “Ross WHO?” [Image 7]. Those who knew my grandfather often remark with a laugh that he knew, did, and won everything and everyone. But it wasn’t about being the best it was about genuine interest, curiosity, and passion. I can guess that this line is a nod to his ubiquitous presence at Davidson — the way that his energy flowed throughout campus and touched many people. I hope to have had even a fraction of this impact in my time at Davidson.

Image Citations

Image 1. Davidson College. Quips and Cranks. Davidson: Davidson College, 1958. Page 45.

Image 2. Davidson College. Quips and Cranks. Davidson: Davidson College, 1958. Page 87.

Image 3. Davidson College. Quips and Cranks. Davidson: Davidson College, 1958. Page 91.

Image 4. Davidson College. Quips and Cranks. Davidson: Davidson College, 1958. Page 119.

Image 5. Davidson College. Quips and Cranks. Davidson: Davidson College, 1958. Page 86.

Image 6. Davidson College. Quips and Cranks. Davidson: Davidson College, 1958. Page 185.

Image 7. Davidson College. Quips and Cranks. Davidson: Davidson College, 1958. Page 183.

Guest blogger: Samantha Ewing, C’23 English Major “Attitudes Toward Sexual Assault”

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Samantha Ewing C’23 is an English major and Communication Studies minor. She transferred to Davidson in 2020 after spending her freshman year at the University of Georgia. On campus, she is Vice President of SGA, Co Editor-in-Chief of Libertas Magazine, Treasurer of Student Against Sexual Violence (SASV), and a Senior Staff Writer for The Davidsonian.

As the treasurer of SASV for the 2021-2022 academic year, I have become immersed in the fight against rape culture as it plagues college campuses. I would imagine that sexual assault has been prevalent at Davidson since the institution began admitting women in 1972. Yet, it seems that 1990 was the year students began to reckon with the issue as “Rape Awareness Holds Campus Forum” details the founding of the Rape Concerns Committee. 

Excerpt from “Rape Awareness Holds Campus Forum” by Frances Morton (C’ 1993) in the Davidsonian, April 8, 1991.

Encountering this piece in the Davidsonian was disturbing, as it illuminates the history of victim blaming at Davidson. According to the article, the committee showed a film as a part of a forum to increase rape awareness on campus. However, Frances Morton (C’93) describes the film as a narrative fixating on how women can avoid rape, rather than addressing the actions of perpetrators.

Excerpt from “Rape Awareness Holds Campus Forum” by Frances Morton (C’93) in the Davidsonian, April 8, 1991.

Frances Morton, 1991 Quips and Cranks

Women are advised “not to prop open doors,” to “avoid isolated areas and walking alone,” and to “avoid mixed signals.” Each of these instructions frame rape as a consequence for women failing to prevent it, rather than the fault of the rapist; it seems that the committee was not bringing awareness to the issue of rape, but rather, was conditioning women to learn how to avoid it. I was astounded to find such rhetoric from a female student, especially as she was discussing the actions of an organization purposed to combat sexual assault. Additionally, I was shocked to see the word “co-eds” used to refer to female students. Even 20 years after women began to be admitted, they were demarcated into a separate category from the male students, indicating perpetuated division and exclusion. 

The language in this article provides insight into what it must have been like to be a woman on campus in the 1990s. The burden of protection placed on female students is much clearer, as I can now grasp how the community perceived and addressed rape: purely a women’s issue. I can empathize with the trepidation that must have accompanied women, knowing that if they were assaulted, they were the ones that would be held accountable. Being a female student at Davidson in 1991 entailed being othered not just as a student, but as a human being.


Early Davidson and a few intricate Familial Connections

Hello everyone! Andrés Paz ‘21, current JEC Fellow here. As the days get colder and we switch our attires to warmer ones, I figured it would not be a bad idea to talk about some of the early days of Davidson. Why not grab a warm drink and let me tell you a bit about how it looks to research about Davidson as part of the Archives, Special Collections and Community team? 

Before anything, it is relevant to say that some of the sources I touch upon depict racist, discriminatory, or violent language and/or actions. This content can be distressing. It is also helpful to acknowledge that the life of individuals and communities in the past was as complex as we can feel ours to be now. For this reason, much of what I share will be incomplete, but hopefully encourages at least someone to keep reflecting on the meaning of living, working, studying, and just being around Davidson.

As we become increasingly interested in certain aspects of Davidson’s past, figuring out how to present a somewhat complete narrative of anything tends to be a hard task, particularly because official records and archives can, in subtle and overt ways, silence the lives and actions of certain groups: enslaved people, women, and children are important examples. As we grapple with such circumstances, it is too easy to write yet another narrative about powerful, influential white men. More important, however, is simply to abstain from grandiose stories of great men who had virtually no flaws. As I just said, we know life is more complex than that!

So, how can it look to do research about Davidson as part of the ASCC team? Let me answer that by (re)telling fragments of a story, which is perhaps more a compendium of facts and half-facts difficult to corroborate that can begin in many places… in the same way that your own research about a person, place, or event could do! 

In its early days, Davidson College opened its doors to young men that came mostly from North and South Carolina. Many of them, as in the case of Dr. James Hiram Houston, Jr. (class of 1845), often came from nearby plantations and the prominent families that ran them.  Only one mile north of campus, Houston came from Capt. James Houston’s “Mt. Mourne.” The Houston house (today known as the George Houston House) is also close to Rufus Reid’s own “Mt. Mourne Plantation” and George W. Stinson’s (Davidson trustee 1842-47) “Woodlawn.” These three 19th century buildings are all in the National Register of Historic Places.* Incidentally, they are also located in an area that was once the land-grant property of Alexander Osborne and later his son Adlai Osborne, an area or plantation that was known as “Belmont.” 

“George Houston House” – Preservation North Carolina Historic Architecture Slide Collection, 1965-2005 (PNC slides), Preservation North Carolina

According to the 1800 Iredell Tax List, “Bellmont” was then valued at $1,800, the Houston’s place at $700, and Ephraim Davidson’s at $550. These were the highest valued properties in lower Iredell. Many decades later, the 1860 Iredell County Slave Schedule still recorded these families among the most prominent slaveholders: Isabella Reid (Rufus Reid’s widow) registered the possession of 62 enslaved persons; James Smith Byers (George W. Stinson’s twice father-in-law) registered 54; George W. Stinson himself reportedly had 43 enslaved people at “Woodlawn”; George F. Davidson (Ephraim Davidson’s son, and you guessed correctly: also J. H. Houston’s guardian while a student at Davidson College) registered 50; William Lee Davidson II also appeared in the records with 26. 

J. H. Houston’s familial connections did not only grant him much economic and social power in the area, but were in fact, fundamental to the history of Davidson College in one way or another.  He was part of Davidson’s Board of Trustees from 1850 to 1856. Observing important sessions as secretary to the board, his name appears, for example, in the minutes of meetings held to accept and manage Maxwell Chamber’s donations to the College. His mother was Sarah Davidson Kerr, whose second husband (they married in 1850) happened to be her cousin William Lee Davidson II, a Davidson trustee from 1836 to 1853. According to the Presbytery Minutes, he sold the initial 469 acres for $1,521 to the institution that would bear his father’s name. Additionally, you might find it interesting that this sale consisted of two tracts, a 269 acre tract referred to as the “Jetton” tract, and a 200 acre tract known as the “Kerr” or “Lynn” tract. Before belonging to W. L. Davidson II, the latter piece of land was in the hands of Alfred D. Kerr, Houston’s uncle. 

Both W. L. Davidson II and A. D. Kerr appear prominently as “grantors” and “grantees” in the Iredell County “Slave Deeds,” which are property deeds such as bills of sale, deeds of trust, divisions of property that are registered with county courts and that contain information about enslaved individuals (see: People Not Property project).  In 1847, for instance, 5 adults named Jim, Mary, John, Amelia, and Caroline, as well as an unnamed child, were bought for $2,375 by W. L. Davidson II, A. D. Kerr, and George F. Davidson (who was also a UNC trustee 1838-1868).[i] In comparison to the great majority of other records, this one stands out for the relatively high amount it represented and the fact that there were 3 different grantees. Could the amount be a hint of the types of skills these 6 people had or the work they would be forced to do? It is also possible that they travelled with W. L. Davidson and Sarah Kerr when they moved to Alabama before 1850. 

Iredell County, North Carolina Register of Deeds – Book X, p. 463.

In 1826, when J. H. Houston’s father died, and with A. D. Kerr as executor, 8 children with the names of Sarah, Betty, Lucy, Phebe, Simon, Debby, Bill, and Molly were all granted to W. L. Davidson II for $10.[ii] Similarly, in 1835, Dick, Mary, Jackson, Jane, Isaac and Ibby, appear in the records as a gift from Alfred Kerr to his sister Sarah and George F. Davidson.[iii] These records tell us almost nothing but the names of these children, who surely had descendants of their own.

Despite the fact that our little fragmented story begins with Dr. J. H. Houston Jr., he fails to be the center of it. On the other hand, what appears to be central from this are the questions it raises about the connections between groups such as early trustees, students, nearby plantations, and the communities within and near Davidson. How was the geography of what we know as “Davidson” different? What type of connections did it foster?  Who was able to attend Davidson and in what capacity? Why was it overwhelmingly supported by wealthy slave owners? As our interest and knowledge about the early days of Davidson College increases, maybe similar questions can continue to be our best guide. 

Notes and References:

[i] Iredell County, North Carolina, Deed Book X: 463.
[ii] Iredell County, North Carolina, Deed Book M: 314.
[iii] Iredell County, North Carolina, Deed Book R: 150.

*Many thanks to Andy Poore of Mooresville Public Library for access to relevant documents and his extensive knowledge of the area.

More resources: