Centenary College is always developing new programs for our students to pursue. Within the past 6 months, Centenary announced the addition of a Master of Health Administration program as well as a Pre-Veterinary program. Have you ever wondered what kinds of classes students took back in the early days of the school?
Classes may be extremely different now than when CCI first opened, but they still catered to a wide range of interests and pursuits. The main feature was a program for high school age students. At the time of its opening, there were only four recognized high schools in all of New Jersey, and a quality high school education was in high demand. CCI offered a two-year academic course intended to cover high school subjects. Many classes common for the time seem strange now, including Declamation, Bookkeeping, and Physiology.
Centenary started out as a model high school that also offered college level work. The founders chose to name the school Centenary Collegiate Institute because it wasn’t quite a high school, nor was it quite a college. Aside from the high school program, the school offered two college level programs: “College Preparatory for Gentlemen” and “The Ladies College”. The gentlemen’s course was intended to prepare young men for the next step in life, whether it was higher classes in college, the seminary, or a career. Gentleman had Classical, Scientific, Commercial, Literary, and Aesthetical courses of study. Within the Ladies College, two courses were offered: Classical, for which young ladies would earn the degree of M.L.A. (Mistress of Liberal Arts), and Belles-Lettres, for which the degree M.E.L. (Mistress of English Literature) would be conferred.
Interestingly, the Ladies College Classical program was a four-year program, consisting of Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years. The Belles-Lettres and Gentlemen’s College Preparatory were only three-year programs, labeled Junior, Middle, and Senior year. Of the original ten departments, Music was the most popular, with 159 of the 251 students enrolled. Centenary Collegiate made sure to offer a comprehensive education in order to give its students every opportunity for success, and we still strive for that today.
Custard, Leila Roberta. Through Golden Years: 1867 -1943. New York: Lewis
Historical Publishing Company, Inc, 1947. Print.
Centenary Collegiate Institute. (April 28, 2014). 1874 – 1885 Catalogs.