The First One Hundred Years (1863-1963)
of the Division of Biological Sciences
Emporia State University


(formerly, Kansas State Teachers College) Compiled by
John Breukelman
for the
100th Anniversary of Kansas State Teachers College

The Kansas State Normal School was established by the state Legislature in 1863, although instruction did not start until 1865. The catalog for the year 1880 listed Henry B. Norton as instructor in natural science and English literature. The biological science subjects listed were anatomy and physiology, botany, and zoology, but no available record shows whether or not these courses were actually taught.

In his 1875 report to the president of the college, Norton described the problems and needs of the zoology course, and reported the establishment of the Agassiz C1ub, whose members were chiefly amateur natural history collectors. By 1875 zoology had apparently become an established course and some extracurricular interests had developed. The Department of Natural Science gave every promise of success during the 70's, but in 1879 occurred a disastrous fire which almost destroyed the college. In the period of disorganization and rapid change in personnel which followed, the work in biological science was severely handicapped, especially by lack of equipment.

Even the new building, constructed in 1880, was without equipment or facilities for science. Not until 1885, with the completion of a new wing and the reorganization of the course organization of the sciences, was constructive work resumed. In that year, Dorman S. Kelly was elected to take the chair of the new Department of Natural History, as the understood, natural history included botany, zoology, geography, and geology. Enough equipment was obtained so that laboratory work became the regular procedure. In botany, morphology and physiology of plants were emphasized, with each student making a herbarium of fifty specimens; in zoology the most emphasized phases were life histories, life habits, and economic importance of animals. A reference collection of plant and animal types, started in 1886, was greatly enlarged in the subsequent half dozen years.

In his 1891 report to the president, Kelly stated that 951 students had taken some work in the department during the previous two-year period. Summer classes were started in 1891, with natural history being one of the courses offered.

Kelly resigned in 1897. He had raised the standards of the department, built up the museum and reference collection, and taken an active part in campus and state leadership. From time to time he had part-time assistants, but he was the only full time instructor in the department during the twelve years he was in charge of natural sciences.

In 1897, Lyman C. Wooster took charge of the department which was soon renamed Biology and Geology. Among his first activities in his new position were those connected with the planning of a new building. In 1905 the legislature approved the structure. Complete in 1907, Norton Science Hall was dedicated by David Starr Jordan. His address, Science and the Conduct of Life was largely a biographical discussion of the life of Agassiz.

The 1905 legislature also authorized the granting of the baccalaureate degree. Then, for the first time at the Kansas State Normal School, the sciences were conducted on a recognized level. With the new building and the new college responsibilities, there were many curricular changes during the first ten years of Wooster's tenure in the department.

During the first year in the new building there were taught eighteen courses in biology, including anatomy and physiology, and four courses in geology. A full time assistant, Alban Stewart, was employed to teach the biology courses, since a large part of Wooster's time was taken up by geology. During the year a new science club was organized, with programs to cover all the sciences.

In 1911 Frank U.G. Agrelius, a former laboratory assistant, was selected to take the place of Stewart, who had resigned to continue his doctoral studies at Harvard. Agrelius, although retired from active duty in 1941 continued well past the age of eighty to teach a small class in systematic botany and an occasional student in a special botany project. He died in February, 1962, at the age of 92. He had probably seen more changes in the Kansas State Teachers College than any other faculty member. He could remember when Indians camped in what is now Wilson Park. He knew seven of the eleven presidents of the college--all from Albert Taylor to John E King. Ted F. Andrews, present head of the Department of Biology said of Agrelius,

Probably no other biology professor in the history of Kansas has influenced favorably as many students as did Mr. Agrelius. He was known as a lovable botany professor by young and old alike in every college, school, and community in Kansas. His influence on the professional scientific and ethical attitudes of both elementary and secondary teachers in Kansas was legendary.

The Natural History Club was organized in 1914, with Agrelius, Phipps (agriculture), and Wooster as sponsors. This club was an outgrowth of the science club organized seven years earlier.

In 1923, the name of the school was changed from Kansas State Normal School to Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia. Although it continued for many years after 1923 to be known as "the Normal", the curriculum was that of a standard college, and a large percentage of the students entered with the intention of completing work for the baccalaureate degree. After the change in name, several curricular and organizational changes occurred. In 1924, the Agriculture Department was expanded to a major department, and the courses in physiology and health were transferred from biology to a newly created Department of Health Education, with Clair K. Turner as head.

In 1926, the Natural History Club was reorganized and renamed the Science Club; at the same time the agriculture students formed a new club of their own.

Wooster resigned as head to the Department of Biology and Geology in 1928. During his thirty-one years he saw the department grow from little more than a few courses in elementary and secondary school science to a full college-level major sequence of courses, with an accompanying program of relating activities. While the actual number of enrollees did not increase materially during this period, the number of juniors and seniors, as compared to the number of freshmen and sophomores, increased by leaps and bounds.

In 1929, John Breukelman was selected to take Wooster's place as head of the Department of Biology and Geology, the position he held until 1958. Among his first duties were those associated with advanced work in biology, for in 1929 the State Board of Regents authorized graduate work toward the Master's degree. Graduate courses in biology were offered for the first time in 1932, the year in which the department was approved for a graduate minor.

With the establishment of the vocational agriculture curriculum at the Kansas State College of Agriculture and the changing requirements for full time high school agriculture teachers, training for these teachers came to be unnecessary at Emporia. The Department of Agriculture was merged with the Department of Biology and Geology and the agriculture major abolished in 1934. The department was then renamed Biological Science. After this C.F. Gladfelter, who had been employed in 1930, as an assistant in agriculture, taught progressively less agriculture and more biology.

During the period from 1929 to 1935, the separate sciences developed clubs--biology, chemistry, physics. This arose partly as a result of increased enrollments in the advanced classes in science, and partly as an expression of increased interest in the sciences as majors and as preparation for professional fields. In 1939, as a result of widespread feeling that students in the sciences were over-organized, the clubs reunited to form a second Science Club, which encompasses biology, chemistry, and physics. Ted F. Andrews, who was then a senior, was the first president of the new Science Club.

In 1946, as a result of changing emphases and greater attention to the unity among the various biological sciences, the department name was changed from Biological Science to Biology. In the postwar period, as enrollment in biology returned to what had been considered normal, and then climbed considerable above that, several new Biology faculty members came to Emporia. Among these was the present head of the department, Ted F. Andrews, who joined the faculty in 1948 to teach zoology, comparative anatomy, and field courses.

In 1946, the Department of Biology was approved for a graduate major for the degree Master of Science, and in 1958 for the degree Specialist in Education. The graduate program has from the beginning been designed to qualify persons for teaching biology in high schools and junior colleges, for continued work at the doctoral level, and for employment in various fields of biology and applied biology.

In November, 1949, a group of biology faculty members and majors met several times to discuss the need of a local chapter of an honorary biological society. The group selected Beta Beta Beta as the most appropriate organization. Application was made immediately and was accepted by the National Convention in December. The Emporia group was installed as the Delta Kappa Chapter on March 24, 1950. George Spencer was the fifth president of the chapter, which then consisted of fifty charter members, about half of them faculty members and recent graduates. The installing official was Dr. Aute Richards, of the University of Oklahoma. He gave two addresses; Chromosomes and Evolution, presented at the first annual dinner of the chapter, and Nineteenth Century Zoology--A New College Subject, presented for the public.

In 1958, Breukelman asked to be relieved of the department headship in order to give his full time to teaching and science education. His place was taken by Ted F. Andrews, who had joined the faculty in 1948. Among Andrews' first problems were those growing out of the rapid increase in the college enrollment and the simultaneous increase in interest in the biological sciences. During the five years of his administration both the enrollment in biology courses and the number of biology faculty members have more than doubled. This year there are more than 350 undergraduate majors, and 50 full time graduate students in biology. The faculty has been greatly strengthened, both in numbers and in academic preparation. There are 18 biology faculty members, 14 of whom hold the doctorate. Four biology faculty members have had many years of successful high school teaching experience, and all have experience in teaching courses designed for teachers. The biology faculty has been active in research as well as teaching. Those currently on the staff have published more than 125 scientific and educational papers. A great deal of Andrews' time has been spent in rebuilding and reorganizing of facilities for the increased enrollment, and in administering grants from the National Science Foundation and other granting agencies for research and teaching programs; more is said about these later.

On November 17, 1958, the use of a 1040-acre tract of land in west-central Lyon County and northeast Chase County was made available to the Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia by the late F. B. Ross and Mrs. Ross, residents of Emporia. Mr. Ross was a former member of the faculty and had long-time interests in natural science and conservation. The area is known as the F. B. and Rena G. Ross Natural History Reservation. Located approximately four miles west of Americus, or 14 miles northwest of Emporia, the Reservation is primarily rolling bluestem prairie, broken by several shallow ridges and limestone outcrops. A small seasonal creek and several other drainages cross the area.

In January, 1961, Mr. and Mrs. Ross gave to the College the 200-acre tract that comprises the southwestern portion of the Reservation. The gift was accepted by the Board of Regents and the Kansas Legislature. The 200-acre portion of the Reservation is therefore the property of the State of Kansas and officially a part of the campus of the Kansas State Teachers College.

The objectives of the Reservation are threefold: to aid in the teaching of biological sciences, to provide an area for research and field study, and to preserve in as nearly as possible its natural state, a segment of the Flint Hills-Bluestem grassland.

Of particular interest to elementary and high school teachers and others interested in teaching is the educational objective. Since the Reservation is easily accessible of the campus, field trips and projects may be carried out in conjunction with classroom learning. The Reservation is, in essence, an outdoor classroom or laboratory.

The past decade has seen much rapid growth in enrollment, faculty, and facilities of the Department of Biology. In the fall of 1952, the departmental enrollment was 236, of whom 119 were in general biology; in the fall of 1962, 705 of the 1673 enrollees were in general biology. During this ten-year period the academic-year graduate students in biology increased from fewer than 10 to more than 60; summer graduate students from about 15 to nearly a hundred. Ten years ago, the biology faculty consisted of four persons, two of whom held the doctorate. At the time of this writing, 13 of the 18 members of the biology faculty hold the doctorate, and the other five have done considerable graduate study in advance of the Master's degree. Then, the department shared the facilities of the old Norton Science Hall with chemistry and physics. Now the biology courses and related activities occupy all of Norton Hall, eight rooms and offices in the New Science Hall, a greenhouse, an animal house, and various facilities of the Ross Natural History Reservation.

Beginning in 1954 with a $1200 grant-in-aid from the National Wildlife Federation and the Kansas Association for Wildlife, the work of the Department of Biology has been greatly strengthened by a number of grants, now totaling more than $500,000, for research and the improvement of biology teaching. The large majority of the grants have been from the National Science Foundation; other recent granting agencies have been the National Institutes of Health, the Kansas Heart Association, the Arctic Institute, and the Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Commission. For seven years the Department carried on a research and testing program on Verdigris, Fall, and Elk Rivers, on a contract with the American Oil Company.

The Department has shared, with the Departments of Physical Science and Mathematics, in grants from the National Science Foundation for summer and in-service institutes for High School science teachers and summer science programs for high ability high school students. The 15 shared grants from 1957 to 1962, with certain additions and amendments, have totaled $1,126,340.00.

The department has enjoyed a high degree of administrative stability, with only four heads-- Kelly, Wooster, Breukelman, Andrews--since its organization in 1885. Of the 41 faculty members who have served in the department, 18 are now teaching.

MEMBERS OF THE BIOLOGY FACULTY, 1868-1962


George Adams, 1892-1894; Natural History.

Frank U.G. Agrelius, M.S. University of Kansas, 1911-1956; Botany, Nature Study, Plant Physiology, Bacteriology.

Donald Ahshapenek, Ph.D. University of Oklahoma, 1962- ; Plant Morphology and Physiology.

Ted F. Andrews, Ph.D. Ohio State University, 1948- ; Zoology, Limnology, Ecology.

E.T. Bartholemew, 1910-1912; Physiology.

Paul Basch, Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1959-1962; Comparative Anatomy, Embryology.

Robert J. Boles, Ph.D. Oklahoma State University, 1960- ; Aquatic Biology, Natural History, General Biology.

John Breukelman, Ph.D. State University of Iowa, 1929- ; Zoology, Genetic, Field Biology, Modern Developments in Biology, Current Literature in Biology.

Merle E. Brooks, Ph.D. University of Colorado, 1947-1959; Botany, Bacteriology.

Jack Carter, Ph.D. State University of Iowa, 1962- ; Coordinator of Institutes, Botany.

Robert F. Clarke, M.S. Kansas State Teachers College, 1956- ; Zoology, Natural History of Vertebrates.

A. M. Collette, 1891-1893; Zoology.

Charlotte Elva Crary, B.S. Kansas State Normal School, 1905-1915; Botany, Zoology, Plant Morphology.

S.C. Delap, B.S. Millersville State Normal School, Pennsylvania, 1875-1877, 1878-1879; Physiology and Hygiene, Botany, Zoology, Entomology.

Richard Dickerman, Ph.D. University of Texas, 1962- ; Genetics.

R.B. Dilworth, A.M. Princeton, 1870- ; Natural Science.

Thomas H. Dinsmore, York College, 1885-1897; Physiology.

Thomas A. Eddy, M.S. University of Arizona, 1960- ; Entomology, Nature Study, Conservation.

Ralph P. Frazier, Ph.D. University of Illinois, 1960- ; General Biology, Biology Teaching.

C. F. Gladfelter, M.S. Kansas State University, 1935- ; Agriculture, Wildlife Management, Conservation, Historical Geology.

Emily L. Hartman, Ph.D. University of Kansas, 1958-1960; Botany, Microbiology.

Robert Hanson, M.S. Kansas State Teachers College, 1947-1948; Zoology.

Gilbert Hughes, Ph.D. Florida State University, 1961-1962; Microbiology, Mycology.

William H. Keller, 1908-1912; Physiology, Museum.

Dorman S. Kelly, 1885-1897; Organized Department of Natural History, 1885; Botany, Physiology and Hygiene, Zoology.

Gilbert A. Leisman, Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 1955- ; Botany, Ecology, Paleobotany.

Helen McElree, Ph.D. University of Kansas 1961- ; Bacteriology, Cellular Biology.

Loren W. Mentzer, Ph.D. University of Nebraska, 1946-1947; General Biology, Botany.

H. B. Norton, A.M. Illinois Normal University, 1868-1870; 1873-1875; Anatomy and Physiology, Botany, Zoology.

Joseph D. Novak, Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 1956-1958; Botany, Biology Teaching.

David Parmalee, Ph.D. University of Oklahoma, 1958- ; Vertebrate Zoology, Ornithology.

Carl W. Prophet, Ph.S. University of Oklahoma, 1956-1960; 1962- ; Zoology, Aquatic Biology.

Holmes E. Sadler, 1880-1885; Physiology, Botany, Zoology.

Earl Segal, Ph.D. University of California at Los Angeles, 1955-1960; Physiology.

Alban Stewart, 1910-1911; Natural History, Botany.

Ted Surdy, Ph.D. Purdue, 1962- ; Microbiology.

Elza E. Taylor, 1894-1895; Natural History.

Cornelius E. White, M.S. Kansas State Teachers College, 1959-1962; Conservation, Natural History.

James S. Wilson, Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1959- ; Botany.

Lyman C. Wooster, Ph.D. Milton College, 1897-1935; Botany, Physiology and Hygiene, Zoology, Field Zoology.

L. Dwight Wooster, Ph.D. Stanford, 1913-1914; Zoology.