The Kennedy Challenge

Dr. Clifton W. Potter, UofL History Professor~

Next Tuesday is election day, perhaps one of the most important contests in our nation’s history. The ballots cast, the races won, and the races lost could determine the course of our nation’s history for at least the next generation, if not beyond that. Possibly not since 1932 has the United States faced such critical choices as it does next week. If you are a registered voter, do not fail to do your civic duty.

However, in this column I want to turn back the clock to another moment in time when the horizon was cloudless, and the future stretched before some of us like a road without curves, bumps, or barriers. It was the fall of 1960.

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Gone to the Dogs

Dr. Clifton W. Potter, UofL History Professor~

pupsFrom time to time the University of Lynchburg has gone to the dogs—at least in my memory. I well recall Trooper, a large black and white spaniel who guarded his mistress, Margaret Candler ’60, whenever she was on campus. She was a town student whose family lived on College Street.

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The Hundley Legacy

Dr. Clifton W. Potter, UofL History Professor~

Last week as Hurricane Michael approached Central Virginia representatives from the City of Lynchburg echoed their strident remarks about College Lake—a local landmark that vanished during the night of August 2, 2018.  The powers that be in City Hall have ignored the problems associated with College Lake that have been accumulating for years like the silt and Escherichia coli which now fill the site. When the long-neglected dam—which the city owns—seemed on the verge of collapsing, the order was given that that lake be drained, and thus was removed part of the legacy of our fourth president, Dr. John T.T. Hundley, who was elected to that office on June 7, 1915.  He would alter the very character of the college during his twenty-one tenure.

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The End of An Era!

Dr. Clifton W. Potter, UofL History Professor~

retirement

Last Thursday, my retirement at the end of this academic year was announced on social media, and in a heartbeat, it was all over the web. Sixty years ago, an announcement of this kind would have been appeared first in The Critograph. My career in collegiate journalism began in September 1958, but by the time I graduated in 1962, I had worked on all the Lynchburg College publications, edited The Prism, and was President of The Board of Publications.

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Parisian Dreams

Dr. Clifton W. Potter, UofL History Professor~

Last Friday my wife, younger grandson, and our son returned from a trip to France. We had been part of a group that toured the battlefields, cemeteries, and memorials associated with the American soldiers who fought and died in World War I.  Our son is a museum curator, so he was one of the tour guides. I had not been in France since 1973, but slowly my command of French returned. That made all the difference in my enjoyment of our journey. Why bother to learn foreign languages? They are the gateways to truly understanding another culture. One can read the great classics in an English translation, but it is not the same. It is possible to grasp the basics of an author’s work, but the nuance is lost. This is particularly true of authors like Voltaire. Being able to speak a foreign language gives a student the chance to avoid being an ordinary tourist, but to enter another culture.        

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Lynchburg in History: Our College Lake

Dr. Clifton W. Potter, UofL History Professor~

Virginia Christian College, which was our name until 1919, was in a rural setting outside the city limits of Lynchburg, just beyond the terminal point of the streetcar line.  When Westover Hall was constructed in 1890, some of the land around the structure was cleared, but the site was still heavily wooded in 1903 when Dr. Hopwood purchased the property.

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Lynchburg in History: U.L. in History

Dr. Clifton W. Potter, UofL History Professor~

On April 18, 1903, Dr. Josephus Hopwood and the men who would form the core of the first Board of Trustees of Virginia Christian College paid $13,500 ($382,000 in 2018 dollars) for the deserted Westover Hotel, its contents, and a large tract of land.  The defunct resort had been built in 1890 during a nationwide land boom as the anchor of the West Lynchburg Land Company. Read More