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Student Life the Focus of Semi-Centennial Panel Discussion

Laurinburg, NC, February 17, 2009 --( “Back in the 1960’s, things were really different than today,” said Professor George Melton of student life at St. Andrews Presbyterian College. “I can remember for example when the men students could come and go as they wanted. But the women students were somewhat imprisoned. They had a curfew and even needed a note to go home.”

Melton’s comments came during the third installment of Semi-Centennial Sketches – St. Andrews Through the Years – one of the events marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of St. Andrews Presbyterian College. Melton is distinguished professor of history at St. Andrews.

He led a panel discussion Thursday of St. Andrews graduates who looked back at student life during their years in college. The discussion was held in DeTamble Library on the college campus.

On the panel were Director of Logistics and Photography Rooney Coffman of the class of 1968, Director of Career Services Renée Jones of the class of 1985, Controller Meke Reese-Ritchey of the class of 1996 and Assistant Director of Communications Melissa Hopkins of the class of 2000.

Melton said the 1960’s were a time of the breaking down of restraints on college campuses throughout the nation. St. Andrews was one of the first to move away from these constraints.

Coffman remembered when the Belk Main Room was the student lounge filled with furniture for students. “I remember when the students chipped in money to buy a color television for the lounge,” said Coffman. The students only had black-and-white televisions in the residence halls.

Coffman also presented a series of slides showing how the campus looked in the mid 1960’s. Trees were only saplings and not as many buildings were on the campus.

Hopkins also reminisced about the time that blown transformers on campus forced classes from the academic side of campus to the residence halls and to the Belk Center. It wasn’t unusual to be sitting in a class in the lobby of a residence hall and see someone walk through with their laundry.

Two other panel discussions have previously been hosted by the college’s library; one session focused on the founding of the college while the other focused on the college’s athletic history.

“These seminars bring together the history of the college to life through the words of current and past professors, students and staff who discuss their views of the college when they first came,” said Rita Dursi Johnson, library director.

The fourth and final panel discussion will be with Our Alumni Come Home on April 16, featuring the insights of several alumni who now serve in upper level administrative roles at St. Andrews.

For more information about these and other DeTamble Library events, contact Rita Dursi Johnson at 910-277-5048 or


About St. Andrews Presbyterian College
An innovative and bold academic venture to an interdisciplinary curriculum, a highly acclaimed college press, an award-winning pipe band, national champion equestrian teams, and first-rate scholarship have marked the distinctive character of St. Andrews. In addition to classes on the main campus, adult learners also choose the Center for Adult and Professional Studies opportunities through St. Andrews @ Sandhills and St. Andrews Online. On Aug. 29, 1958, the merger between Presbyterian Junior College and Flora Macdonald College became official with the formation St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. Further information may be obtained by visiting the College's website, calling 800-763-0198 or sending an e-mail to

In early 2008 St. Andrews Presbyterian College initiated a partnership with The Learning House, Inc., a total online education solutions provider, to assist in the development and launch of its online campus. Learning House will provide a customized package of online services, including a learning management system for eCourses, Tier 1 hosting and Help Desk services, custom course consultation, online marketing services, faculty and staff training, and consulting services.
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The Learning House, Inc.
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