HUNTINGTON -- When the future Marshall University entered the 1920s, the college campus still consisted of only two buildings -- Old Main, the oldest part of which dated back to 1868, and Northcott Hall, which welcomed its first students in 1916.
Finally, the campus got a third structure -- a Physical Education Building, which stood just east of the present-day Memorial Student Center. Construction began in 1919 and was completed in 1921. The brick building cost approximately $150,000 to erect.
An elaborate two-day dedication festival was conducted March 3 and 4, 1922. Dr. Frederick R. Hamilton, who was Marshall president from 1919 to 1923, gave the official dedication address. Gov. Ephriam Morgan was also scheduled to speak but was detained in Charleston by last-minute official business. Members of the State Board of Education were on hand and spoke.
Board member J.B. Darst urged the students in the audience to make something worthwhile of themselves "to return the sacrifices your parents have made for you in sending you to school." Surely a sentiment many of today's parents would applaud.
The remarks were followed by physical education demonstrations by female Marshall students and young students at the Marshall Training School. That next evening saw a volleyball demonstration by the men's phys ed classes, a basketball game between Marshall and Alderson Baptist Academy and an operetta in the Old Main auditorium. (Sounds like a rather full night, doesn't it?)
In 1961, when Gullickson Hall was opened, the old building was re-named the Women's Gymnasium and Physical Education Building. The badly dilapidated building was demolished in 1982.
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