Photo and Commentary by Holly Galvin
As Eleanor Tupper and her family sought a place to found a college in the late 1930’s, they were especially impressed by the history and scenic beauty of Beverly’s Pride Crossing area. It seemed only fitting that a distinguished institute of higher education should be nestled oceanside within the home of the United States’ first cotton mill, Sunday school and apothecary. Thus, a location to house their dream was born: Beverly, Massachusetts, the birthplace of the American Navy. Since its establishment in 1939, Endicott College has remained a beautiful and influential fixture in the Beverly community. While certain aspects of Endicott’s past intersection with Beverly history as a whole, the college’s excellent reputation and rich academic, cultural and social aspects have etched it into immortalization over the years.
Exploration of Endicott’s recorded history provides a glimpse into how life in Beverly specifically was during different time periods. For example, excerpts from Tupper’s 1985 autobiography Endicott and I chronicle campus disturbances that took place in the late sixties and early seventies, providing detailed first hand accounts of college-aged students on the North Shore being very much in tune with the common tendencies of youth during the hippie movement and Vietnam War era: drug use, protests and extremely liberal attitudes leading to insubordination. In one passage, Tupper recounts:
The lid on the kettle did not begin to clatter in Beverly until 1969. We began to see students in a sullen, unfriendly attitude toward figures of authority on campus. Then came gesture of defiant independence-weird hairdos, dramatic makeup, bizarre dress, exaggerates laughter. Disdainful response to greetings. Deliberate release of the doors in the face of faculty and staff. We heard slogans directed at ‘the establishment’ and profanity in places of courteous speech. Marches began around campus – not destructive, but not refined. The students would stand at the open doors of administrators and yell. Clearly young Endicotters were restless and ready for action, but they were not quite sure what their objective was. (Tupper, 1985)
In May of 1970, Endicott students became outraged by the National Guard’s shooting of students at Ohio’s Kent State University and found the objective they’d been lacking by proposing ten areas they demanded the administrators to address, including the creation of student government and loosening of strict dorm regulations. A standoff between the two sides ensued for days as students picketed around campus wearing red armbands on their right arms and black on their left in respect of the Kent State tragedy. At the height of the strike, a whopping 85 percent of the student body boycotted classes. Eventually, common ground was reached and campus worked its way back to normalcy. Nevertheless, these events provide a unique look at how Beverly’s past crossed paths with the bigger picture.
Other areas of the college’s history fall in line with local and national attitudes of certain time periods as well. For much of its existence, Endicott was open to female students exclusively. In fact, men weren’t offered admission until recently in 1994. Originally, even though liberal arts courses were implemented to “undergrid career education”, as Tupper put it, the curriculum focused mainly on vocational areas considered specific to women of the late thirties to early forties such as “Secretarial Science” and “Tearoom Management.” This definitely conveys the pre-war attitude that even though women had attained the right to vote, they were still looked at in a distinctively different way career-wise. In contrast, today EC has been coeducational for over a decade and offers men and women a wide variety of academic areas surrounding over 20 majors ranging from criminal justice to international studies. While the class of 1941 consisted of merely 20 women, enrollment today sits at over 2000 people of all genders, races and creeds. Clearly, the institution has grown increasingly diverse, reflecting a change in attitudes locally over time.
Local immortalization is bred by historical weight and influence, neither of which is lacked by Endicott. A solid number of students from Beverly High School’s graduating class of years past has gone onto college there. Additionally, the college’s mere presence within the city is obviously a plus for Beverly’s overall reputation and economy. Each year Beverly is put on the map as EC’s admissions department receives thousands of applications from prospective students nationwide. In fact, for the 2004-2005 school year the College Board lists Endicott’s percentage of out-of-state students at 57%. Simply put, how can a 200-acre college campus with enrollment in the thousands exist within a community and not have an impact? The legacy of Endicott in Beverly is undeniable. Truly, the school’s community contributions are indeed worthy of “immortalization” status. Historically, the college levels up as well, predominantly because if its long tenure in the city and status as the first United States college to implement internship requirements in “every program of study.” Bordered by inviting stretches of coastline along Mingo Beach, Tupper Beach and Endicott Beach, the exteriors of the campus’ more dated buildings continue to help preserve history while adding a scenic touch to a suburban community that has become largely commercialized over the years. Due to the irrefutable influence Endicott College has had on the historic perspective of Beverly through its intersection with attitudes and social patterns of varying time periods, the institution is undoubtedly worthy of immortalization.