History of CAS

History of The College of Arts and Sciences, Appalachian State

Historical Timeline of the College

1899

Watauga Academy founded “to prepare quality teachers to teach you in the “lost provinces” of Western North Carolina.”

1900

Enrollment 150, 4 students enrolled in high school

1903

Watauga Academy becomes Appalachian Training School 

1909

Four literary societies are founded for male and female students. Male students had the Watauga and the Appalachian Societies, which met in recitation rooms weekly, and women had the Euterpean and Calliopean, which met in Lovill Home. These were the first social organizations on campus. 

1910

Chapell Wilson begins teaching history and government at ATS until 1932.

1911

Science Hall, the first specialized academic campus building is completed; later destroyed by a fire in 1946.
James M. Downum joins Appalachian faculty as professor of Latin.

1920s

Art classes, glee club, literary societies, student publications and team sports flourished for women and men. The academic program targeted teacher preparation in the form of theory and supervised practical application of methods. As the curriculum expanded, the administration added subject majors in the liberal arts to supplement these education courses.

1921

Chapell Wilson supervises teacher training and begins teaching psychology.
A. J. Greene joins faculty as an assistant in Latin and English.
James D. Rankin joins faculty as professor of English.

1929

The school became a four-year, degree granting institution named Appalachian State Teachers' College. Over 1,300 students were enrolled in the Bachelor of Science degree programs for primary grades education, physical education, math, english, science and history. 

1933

The Social Science Department is established (faculty includes 1 Ph.D.; 3 M.A.s; 1 B.A.). Dr. D.J. Whitener serves as chair until 1956.
English and History majors are offered.

1934

A major in French is offered.

1940

Smith-Wright Hall is completed, still home to psychology and sociology classes today.

1950

The Fine Arts Building, later called I.G.Greer Hall is completed. I.G. Greer Hall is home to the Dean's office and the Philosophy and Religion Department today. 

1952

F. Ray Derrick joins as the head of the Department of Biology and served until 1973.

1954

Beta Psi Chapter of the National Honorary Biological Society, Beta Beta Beta, is established. Science Club and Beta Beta Beta embark on a program to identify and label all trees on campus.

1957

A change in N.C. Legislation recognized the teaching of liberal arts at Appalachian Teacher College as part of a statewide expansion of higher education. 

1958

The first language lab is opened in the Department of Foreign Languages. It provided mainly Spanish language materials.

1960s

Student enrollment for the entire University soared to above 2,400 in 1958, only to double with baby boomers to over 5,000 by 1968; accordingly, the full-time faculty for the entire University grew to more than 300. 

1960

A new electronic language lab is added for the Department of Foreign Languages in November. It officially opens in 1961 and offers Spanish and French materials. 

1963

Rankin Science Building is completed.  Today this building has been expanded and is home to the departments of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Geography and Planning and Biology. 

1964

In October and November, Rankin Science Hall holds evening open houses on Tuesday and Friday nights to allow students, faculty and staff use of the observatory to view stars, visible planets and the moon. 

1965

The Department of Social Studies separates into the Departments of History, Political Science, Geography and Geology, and Sociology.

1967

Appalachian State Teachers College (ASTC) designated a “regional university” and name changed to Appalachian State University.
Pre-professional programs are offered in the General College, offering interdisciplinary programs for pre-law, pre-medical, pre-dental and pre-engineering degrees.

1968

Four new colleges at the University are established: General College, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Fine and Applied Arts and the College of Education.
Dr. William Strickland becomes the first Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
William Roland Neely becomes first African-American student to graduate from Appalachian State with a BA in Psychology.

1969

Sanford Hall is completed and is still home to the department of English today.
Caroline Anderson becomes the first African-American full-time faculty member in the department of Mathematical Sciences.

1969-1970

The College of Arts and Sciences has 13 departments with majors in Anthropology Biology, Chemistry, English, Foreign Languages, Geography and Geology, History, Mathematics, Philosophy and Religion, Physics, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology.

1971

Dr. Herbert W. Wey presided over the induction of Appalachian State University into the greater University of North Carolina system. 
Appalachian offers specialist degrees in biology, educational leadership, higher education and elementary education.

1972

Watauga College is founded and includes 100 freshmen, 20 sophomores, juniors and seniors (both men and women).
The first "Women in History" course is offered. 

1975

Walker Hall is completed,  home to the Department of Mathematical Sciences today. 
Ecology is approved as a major in Community and Regional Planning in the Department of Geography.

1976

Appalachian State’s Women’s Studies Program is founded.
A Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematical Science with a Computer Science option is offered. 

1979

The Center for Appalachian Studies and an MA in Appalachian Studies is established.

Late 1970s

The Department of International Studies is established (office created early 1970s).

1980

The Dark Sky Observatory is completed.

1984

Dr. James W. Byrd (Physics), Dean 

1988

The Computer Science Program is accredited by the Computing Science Accreditation Board.

1991

Donald Sink (Chemistry), Dean

1998

Dr. Faye Sawyer, Interim Dean

1999

Dr. Linda Bennett, Dean

2003

Dr. Stan Aschleman, Interim Dean 

2003

The old 1963 Rankin Science Building is demolished and Rankin Science North addition is completed.

2004

Dr. Neil Lineback, Interim Dean

2005

Dr. Robert Lyman, Dean

2008

Dr. Anthony G. Calamai (Physics and Astronomy), Dean

2016

The College of Arts and Sciences houses 16 departments, 3 programs, 2 centers and Watauga Residential College

2017

Dr. Neva J. Specht (History), Dean

Today there are over 5,800 students and 450 full-time faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences alone. 

2018

The College of Arts and Sciecnes celebrates 50 years!

Additional Historical Resources

History of The College of Arts and Sciences 2, Appalachian State