Centenary College for Women


This year marks the 150th anniversary of the charter of Centenary University! To celebrate, the blog will be highlighting past posts about Centenary’s history.

The school has evolved greatly since it started in 1867. Centenary Collegiate Institute, as it was known in the beginning, taught high school and college preparatory courses. There were two college programs – one for men and one for women. When the school opened in 1874, there were ten basic departments of instruction:


Read more about the original classes here!

After the Fire of 1899 destroyed the main building, Centenary ran a day school focusing on college preparatory classes while a new building was being constructed. The institute became an all-girls’ school in 1910, and in 1929 introduced a two-year college degree program. During that time, the College Preparatory School offered programs in general academics, Home Economics, and Music, and the Centenary Junior College was equivalent to the first two years of a standard college course. CJC did so well that in 1940 the Preparatory School was discontinued. The school remained a junior college until 1956, when it adopted the name Centenary College for Women. CCW offered a number of ‘pre-‘ college programs (pre-nursing, pre-occupational therapy) that would give students an introduction to a four-year degree. By the 1970s, the school offered a number of Associate degrees, as well as Bachelor degrees in early childhood and elementary education (B.A.), general studies (B.A.), performing arts (B.F.A.), and medical technology (B.S.).

The school changed its name to Centenary College and started admitting men. It also started increasing its four-year degree programs and introduced graduate degrees. The College is now a University and continues to expand its degree programs.




“High on top of Mount Bethel Road at Oak Hill Manor there is a tower…”

This sentence appears in the January 28, 1958 issue of the student newspaper, Spilled Ink, along with a picture of the tower. What was it? It was Centenary College’s new radio tower! In mid-February of 1958 WNTI began broadcasting from a studio in Van Winkle Hall.

1953 or 1954: Carol Burgess Lackland, '54, and others broadcasting at Centenary Junior College's radio station, five years before WNTI.

1953 or 1954: Carol Burgess Lackland, ’54, and others broadcasting at Centenary Junior College’s radio station, five years before WNTI.

The call letters ‘NTI’ were requested by the college and are the initials of a Latin phrase that translates to “Know Thyself”, a fitting motto for an educational institution. When the station opened, it was directed by a member of the faculty and staffed by students in radio and television programs. The station was on air from 3 to 7 pm Monday through Friday, as well as covering special college events. The college began broadcasting 24 hours a day around 1980, when the ability to record programming ahead of time became available.

Broadcasting in 1960

Broadcasting in 1960

The station hosted yearly Theater of the Air contests, in which local high schools produced half hour radio shows. During the first contest, students presented the gift of a radio to Centenary College’s President Seay to thank him for establishing a radio facility.

1958 president seay rcvs radio

1958: President Seay, center, receives a radio as thanks while Ernest Dalton, Director of Public Relations, looks on.

Late 1930s: Bette Cooper, Miss America 1937, and others on WEST out of Easton PA.

Late 1930s: Bette Cooper, Miss America 1937, and others on WEST out of Easton PA.

Before Centenary had its own station, students were able to get practical experience in radio by broadcasting over local radio stations and by simulating real broadcasts in their own mock radio station. 


Most recently the radio station had 3 full time staff that appeared on air, 29 community volunteers who broadcast on a weekly basis (including 2 student-run programs), and a 137 member street team – those who did not appear on air but helped at WNTI events.

On October 12, 2015, it was announced that WNTI would be purchased by Philadelphia public radio station WXPN. The changeover happened October 15 at noon, but WNTI will live on with the launch of WNTI.org Internet Radio from Centenary College. Friday, October 30, 2015, marks the new beginning for WNTI.org, and the Centenary community is looking forward to attending a celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony from 5 to 6 pm in the parking lot of the Lackland Center. The event is open to the public and we are eager to celebrate the launch of WNTI.org.


Taylor Memorial Library recently created an Irish Studies Collection, and to help distinguish these books from the books in our regular collection, we created a bookplate and classification sticker for each item.

bookplate 2010s

Our Irish Studies Collection bookplate.

Our library has used several bookplates over the years to designate ownership of the books. Assembled here are some of the bookplates we’ve found in our collection.

We know these bookplates were used before 1954, because that was the year Taylor Memorial Library was named. We approximate their dates as: Top left: 1870s, top right: 1930s. Bottom left: 1940s, bottom right, unknown.

The dates are approximated as follows: Top left: 1890 – 1915, top right: 1920 – 40s. Bottom left: 1930 – 1940s, bottom right, 1910- 20s.

When the Taylor Memorial Library opened in 1954, a new bookplate had to be created to include the library’s new name. In order to choose a new bookplate, students were invited to participate in a design contest. This design would be place in every new book the library received. Students submitted original designs no larger than 3 x 4 inches, using only India Ink and white paper. Each entry had to contain the phrase “Taylor Memorial Library, Centenary Junior College, Hackettstown, New Jersey.”

These are some of the submitted designs.

Some entries have no name. They are denoted with a line of dashes. Top Row: 1. ——- 2. Karen Colthup 3. ——- Middle Row: 1. ——- 2 Sue Frankel 3. ——- Bottom Row: 1. Doris Houston 2. Anita Brunner 3. ——-

entries 2

Top Row and Middle Row: 1 – 6. Judith Yokell Bottom Row: 1. Carol Ann Brooks 2. & 3. Lois Petersen

entries 3

Top Row: 1. ——- 2. Cynthea Halvorsen Bottom Row: 1. Dorothy Lowry 2. Patricia Sloate

Judging the contest were librarian Ruth Scarborough, art teacher Gilberta Goodwin, commercial art teacher Howard Knapp, and senior Patrician Robinson. A second senior, Pamela Hasting, was originally on the judging committee, but resigned in order to enter the contest herself. The contest began in February of 1954 and ended on April 4, 1954, just before Centenary’s Easter vacation. The winner received a book of their choosing. Freshman Ellen Friedman won the contest with a design of the library done in white on black paper.

CCI library 1950s

This is the bookplate that first adorned Taylor Memorial Library books. The black background of the entry design was replaced with a friendlier blue.

When the college name changed from Centenary Junior College to Centenary College for Women, the bookplate was adapted to fit.

CCI library 1970s

The bookplate during the 1950s-70s.

The college changed names again in the 1980s after it reverted back to a co-ed institution. We don’t know if the library had any bookplates after that. Later on, Taylor Memorial Library switched to a stamp, and just this year we created an embosser to replace the stamp. Who knows, maybe we’ll go back to using a bookplate in the future!