The hundred-year journey: four ways Queens has evolved since moving to Selwyn

Queens has changed a lot in the past 100 years.

My, how she’s changed.

It’s been 100 years since Queens College first called 1900 Selwyn Ave. home, and campus certainly isn’t the same as it was then. Now known as Queens University of Charlotte, the school has changed as time has passed, and in more ways than can be seen by the eye.

  1. Additions to the Campus

The changes that are the most prominent involve the construction and new buildings. Of course, the major construction project now is the Hall Brown Terrace joining with Burwell Hall, but there are many completed projects that are just as significant.

William Kervick, a member of the class of 2014, still remembers the days when the Royals called Ovens Gymnasium home, instead of the Levine Center for Wellness and Recreation. He and Raymond Warga, a member of the class of 2008, recall with fond memories the advantage the Royals had when playing in “The Oven,” a nickname earned not only due to the name of the building, but also to not having air conditioning. Unlike the Royals, visiting teams would not be used to the warm environment and would be unable to adapt to the circumstances, giving Queens the upper hand in many athletic contests.

But the Levine Center is not the only new building on campus. Parking used to be a significant problem on campus before South Parking Deck was constructed, Kervick said. Freshman used to be forced into parking at the athletic complex and riding a shuttle back to campus, which limited their mobility.

Also involving the athletic complex, Caitlin O’Rourke, a member of the class of 2011 and present Assistant Director of Admissions for Queens, can recall a time when Dickson Field did not look as it does today. Since the competition turf was installed and being used prior to the addition of bleachers, she remembers students showing up for soccer matches and her lacrosse games with a couch in tow.

Going back even further into Queens’ history, Miss Betty can remember when Wallace Residence Hall opened in her first year at the college. Wallace, more commonly known nowadays as Hall Brown Overcash Hall near Myers Park Traditional School, was built in 1962. Not only did it provide more rooms for students to live on-campus, it also provided the students a now revoked privilege: a place to sunbathe. Miss Betty distinctly recalls warm spring days when learners would scramble from class to the roof of Wallace to catch some rays and tan before the summer months.

levinecenterConnor Keith
  1. Technology

Another noticeable difference can be found in the advancements in technology. It seems that after every significant holiday, students return to a technology improvement on campus.

Dr. Bradley Brooks and Dr. Tim Burson, both professors in the McColl School of Business, have certainly seen their fair share of enhancements. They can recall teaching classes during the early and mid-90s in classrooms that still had green blackboards. Upon seeing one when he was hired to Queens College in 1991, Dr. Burson recalls telling himself “I hope I’m here long enough to see that go away.”

Not only did classrooms not have the current amenities students and professors alike take for granted, but even professor’s offices, which sometimes were additionally used as learning spaces, did not have today’s technology standards present. Less than half of professors had a computer when Dr. Brooks joined the college in 1994, and he had to make a concerted effort to have one at his disposal upon hiring.

The professors weren’t the only ones without computers, though. Students did not bring computers to class or even to the university, for that matter, and instead wrote papers on secondhand computers donated by Bank of America.

technologyConnor Keith
  1. Students

The most obvious change in Queens’ student population is the addition of males to the college following the conclusion of World War II, with complete integration in 1987.

With that aside, the student body has changed in other ways, including their learning styles. Dr. Brooks believes it is due to the fresh generation of students.

“Generation Y is a different type of learner. They don’t like lectures,” said Dr. Brooks. “They want something active.”

He said that today’s students react more to multimedia, including case analyses and videos.

He also said that today’s students are more willing to take responsibility for their learning and its results: grades. Instead of growing angry at a professor for giving them a bad grade, he said that students now are more likely to say to themselves, “I’m going to do better next time.”

That’s not to say that this new variety of learner is perfect. Although students were willing to look at distractions they brought to class (Dr. Burson says magazines and calendars were the trend when he began teaching) in the 90s, Dr. Brooks said it’s hard to find a pupil today that doesn’t check their phone or do something other than take notes on their laptops mid-lecture.

  1. Nothing

That’s not a change, but that’s what makes Queens unique.

O’Rourke said that although the student body has grown over the years, Queens’ statistics have remained constant. The student body is still as eclectic as it was when she attended the school, if not more so.

Drs. Brooks and Burson agreed: “The students make this place great.” Although they joked that they may not always do their assignments or readings, students almost always come to class with energy, wanting to learn as much as possible. They believe that this is due to the heartbeat of the institution never changing, which is to put “students first and provide a top-notch education.” Professors hired by Queens have a heart for students instead of their research, and both professors believe this is what had made Queens a special place to teach and learn.

Ms. Betty agreed with these assessments, evident by her quick and succinct response when asked if the Queens she worked at today was the same one she worked for in 1962. Her only answer: “Yes.”

Maybe Queens hasn’t changed so much after all.

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.