Paradigm University

History is a strict teacher — in fact or fiction. The story of Paradigm University is an example of how one institution manages to prosper despite decades of challenges, any of which contemporary academic leaders will recognize.

Founded by Ezekial Paradigm
aedification experientia – aedification posterum

The Story Of Paradigm University: A Mythical Look at the Evolution of Campus Planning

The history of Paradigm University is in many respects the history of most universities. Paradigm, as its name suggests, is a model of university development in the United States between the foundation of the nation and the end of the 20th century. As the mission of higher education evolved over two centuries, so did the physical form of learning institutions. The idea behind Paradigm University is to provide a series of comparable images which depict the growth of a typical institution over the course of 200 years.

The Founding of Paradigm Academy – 1797

On June 15, 1797 Dr. Ezekiel Paradigm opened the doors of Paradigm Academy guided by the motto: aedificatio experientia – aedificatio posterum, (building knowledge – building future). Of the original thirty students at the academy, fifteen were children of local pioneers and fifteen were the offspring of a nearby native American settlement. In addition to Paradigm, two faculty and one farm-hand were engaged to oversee the operations of the academy. In the early years of the institution, education was offered at every level from primary schooling through high school as well as at the collegiate level. Students attending the academy received an education in classics, morals, and engaged in rote exercises and recitation. When not engaged in academics, students worked the farm, assisted in building and many of the other chores that enabled the school to survive. Some of the brightest students were invited to assist Dr. Paradigm with his medical practice which he conducted from his house in the small hamlet adjacent to the Academy.

1797 Facts:

Enrollment: 30
Faculty and Staff: 5
Tuition, Room and Board: $50/year
Facilities: 6000 GSF (estimated)

Paradigm College and Agricultural School – 1863

During the Civil War, or the “war between the states,” as some of the locals referred to it, Paradigm College bid for and was appointed the state’s Land Grant College. As a condition of the land grant, Paradigm was required to offer courses of study in scientific agriculture, mechanical arts, and military science. Profits from the sale of land associated with the Morrill Act were used to bolster the endowment of these programs at Paradigm. The new science hall, which was under construction at the time Paradigm was appointed the Land Grant institution, was renamed Morrill Hall,in honor of Senator Justin Morrill of Maine. The main building was greatly expanded and modern conveniences were installed. The college farm was expanded to provide courses in agriculture and scientific farming. As early as the 1850’s students at Paradigm were held to a strict military regimen. Rising at five in the morning for drill, cadets were kept to a strict schedule until lights out every evening at 11:00 PM. Paradigm continued its tradition as a respected school of arts and letters. Shakespeare was still to be heard in the halls of Old Main, and the college’s famous debating societies vigorously discussed the most pressing issues of the day. During the Civil War, the wards of Paradigm Hospital were greatly expanded to tend to those injured in battle. On commencement day in 1864, President Horatio Elderness noted in his address, “Paradigm has grown into a modern college, an institute of scientific agriculture, and a model for the teaching of medicine. Nowhere in the land can one find a more advanced and rigorous course of study. Paradigm has at last reached the pinnacle of its growth. Her founding fathers could not have imagined such a place of learning would be possible in the wilderness. And now, with pleasure I can say that through our actions their dream is complete. Paradigm has matured and grown and shall remain so in perpetuity.”

1863 Facts:

Enrollment: 130
Faculty and Staff: 18
Tuition, Room and Board: $100/year
Facilities: 78,504 GSF (based upon insurance records)

Disaster Strikes – 1897

On New Years Eve of 1897, a malfunctioning gaslight set Old Main ablaze. While faculty and staff of the college were engaged in a celebration at the President’s residence, the fire spread to Morrill Hall, and several other buildings on campus. By midnight, one of the attendees at the New Years festivities, who had stepped outside for a breath of fresh air, found the campus hopelessly engaged in flames. Though help was promptly summoned fire-fighting was hampered by the winds and sub-freezing temperatures. By dawn, the fire had run its course and left most of the college a smoldering ruin. Trustee Daniel Augustus Paradigm pledged, “Paradigm College shall be rebuilt, and at that, better than it ever was before. This I shall set forth as my life work in sacred memory of my grandfather the founder of our beloved school.” Paradigm’s 200 students upon returning from the winter recess were housed in town and courses were held in churches and other public buildings for nearly a year until Old Main and the dormitory building were rebuilt.

Rebuilding and the Creation of a University – 1900

Donations to rebuild the school came from far and wide. A prominent architect from a nearby city was asked to prepare a plan for the rebuilding of the institution. Having just visited the Chicago World’s Fair of 1882, the ambitious architect devised a comprehensive plan that would successfully guide the development of the campus for nearly fifty years. During this time Dr. Randolph Dixon Black was appointed the first president of Paradigm University, and by 1900 the small institution had re-invented itself to reflect the educational trends of a ew century. Now organized into separate colleges, the university offered courses of study in the liberal arts, sciences, engineering, medicine and law. Dr. Black traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe in order to assemble a world-renowned faculty. During his travels Black purchased entire libraries, scientific equipment, and works of art which he sent back to Paradigm. Dr. Black had once confided to a colleague that, “The Great Fire of 1897 was probably a blessing in disguise. Had the college not suffered such a catastrophic loss, it would probably have been impossible for the institution to redefine its mission and address the problems of contemporary education.” At the same time as Paradigm witnessed an escalation in its academic reputation, the first intercollegiate athletic events were played on the rear drill field. Paradigm’s crushing defeat of Navy during the 1900 season propelled the small school into the headlines and brought with it an increased participation of alumni in the affairs of the school. It was noted that alumni financial support of the school sky-rocketed when the Fight’in Tigers had a winning season. Paradigm’s alumni president J. Madison Taylor III (’98), speaking at the 1910 commencement articulated the sentiments of many when he said, “We stand amidst a new Paradigm. Not the paradigm of our mothers and fathers, nor the Paradigm of our brothers and sisters. Rather, we are here amidst the Paradigm of our sons and daughters. Let Paradigm mature and become a leader among universities, but let not Paradigm grow beyond recognition. Let Paradigm remain as it is now, familiar, comfortable, and linked to her noble traditions.”

1900 Facts:

Enrollment: 350
Faculty and Staff: 74
Tuition, Room and Board: $500/year
Facilities: 154,000 GSF
Parking Spaces 30 (by 1927)

Paradigm University – 1940

During the first decades of the century, students organized fraternity and sorority houses. By the 1940’s, the popularity of Greek houses had grown in part because of a shortage of on-campus dormitory space. Also by the 1940’s small enclave of businesses began operating on the edge of the campus. “College Town,” as it was fondly designated by the students, provided services that catered to the special needs of the scholars. On the eve of the Second World War, the town proper of Paradigm became a bustling center of commerce. Paradigm National Bank built a 21-story building at the corner of Main Street and University Boulevard. The tower, which was capped by a pyramidal structure reminiscent of the tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus, was considered by many architects to be one of the finest examples of its style nationally. Street car service connected the business district with Paradigm Hospital and the campus proper. Paradigm Hospital’s facilities were greatly expanded in 1940 and the Medical School was rapidly becoming recognized as one of the best in the nation. Paradigm University excelled in other areas of instruction in addition to medicine. During the depression the Paradigm Writers and Artists Forum attracted some of the nation’s top literary, artistic, and musical talent to the campus. The School of Engineering was recognized as a leader in electronics research and would eventually become a significant contributor to the war effort. During the war an Army, Navy, and Army Air Corps officer training program was instituted. A collection of temporary barracks buildings were sited adjacent to the newly completed Field House. Once again the early morning shrill of trumpets and the chants of marching men could be heard on the campus. By the 1940’s Paradigm athletic teams had become regular participants in national competition. One of the most famous fight songs in the nation, “Fight Fiercely Paradigm,” composed by two brothers Andrew and Timothy O’Duane (’29) in 1928, regularly inspired record crowds at Paradigm Stadium on autumn weekends. Memorial Library opened the doors of its newly completed building in 1935. The old eclectic library building was razed in order to make way for expansion of the great east-west quadrangle later that year. University Chapel, with its memorial vestibule commemorating the sons and daughters who lived and died by the motto, “For God, Country and Paradigm,” was built at the opposite end of the great quadrangle from Memorial Library. Probably one of the best summations of pre-war sentiments concerning the institution were expressed by legendary Coach “Stone” Fraterno at the 1940 athletic awards banquet, “When you’re out there… And the chips are down… You think about that beautiful campus, her traditions, and her future. And, you know Paradigm will never change! It will always be a winner! And, you fight even harder because you know you’re part of something great! Something that is forever Paradigm!”

1940 Facts:

Enrollment: 1500 (ugrad) / 200 (grad)
Faculty and Staff: 325
Tuition, Room and Board: $1100/year
Facilities: 1,064,480 GSF
Parking Spaces: 125

Paradigm University and a Research Mission – 1980

Following the Second World War, Paradigm experienced a period of extensive growth. In 1955, the university hired a large corporate architectural firm to oversee the expansion of the campus facilities. By the beginning of the 1960’s, architects had proposed abandoning the traditional campus master plan in favor of a “more efficient modern plan.” Though the Trustees were skeptical about many aspects of the plan, including the proposed construction of 3 high-rise dormitories, many aspects of the proposal were implemented. A single high-rise dormitory and several low-rise dormitories were completed by 1965. Subsequently, the Department of Resident Life determined the high-rise dormitory to be both financially and socially unfeasible. Plans to build two additional behemoth residence halls were set aside. An addition to Memorial Library was built during the early 1970’s that nearly tripled the size of the facility, making it one of the five largest university libraries in the world. Also during this time, the College of Engineering built a “state of the art” research building adjacent to the Old Field House and the Space Sciences Research Tower was completed nearby at the end of the decade. The 1970’s and 1980’s also saw the growth of the Paradigm Hospital and School of Medicine. Research dollars poured in necessitating the rapid, some might call it haphazard, expansion of the medical complex. Early in 1980 a bio-hazard containment incident at the Medical Research Laboratory briefly threatened the entire campus community. The University President R. Chamberlain Wilson appointed an oversight board to make recommendations concerning safety at laboratory facilities on campus. The pressure to expand facilities for intercollegiate athletics necessitated the construction of the Paradigm Arena and the expansion of Paradigm Stadium. Grumblings were heard, but often ignored, from many alumni groups who claimed that the traditional collegiate spirit of Paradigm was being abandoned in favor of corporate sponsorship. The NCAA confirmed this suspicion when it sanctioned the basketball team for recruiting and scholarship violations. The Division One national championship was forfeited in 1978 because a corporate sponsor had given several players “perks.” President Wilson promptly dismissed both the head coach and the athletic director. An athletics honor and advisory board was appointed to monitor intercollegiate competition. During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Paradigm saw a period of student unrest not unlike that evident at other institutions during the Vietnam era. Students lobbied for more participation in the formation of university policies and by the mid-1970’s President Wilson had expanded student participation in institutional governance. In 1979, the university convened the first parking committee to deal with the unsightly problem of automobiles on the lawns. By 1980, parking had taken on crisis proportions in the university. Faculty who had once lived in a neighborhood of town adjacent to the campus began to relocate to suburban developments. Greater numbers of faculty, staff, and students required automobiles on campus, thus what was once a campus dominated by wooded areas and rolling fields became transformed into a sea of asphalt. Students and faculty often joked that the Director of Campus Parking (often jovially labeled the “Dean of Parking”) was second only to the Provost and President in power wielded on campus. By the close of the 1980’s it was apparent that development on campus was rapidly approaching build-out. In 1980, when the Center for Advanced Discourse was built at the edge of Paradigm Forest, members of the campus community protested the reckless development of the campus and the lack of a viable plan for the future. Through out the 1980’s numerous committees were formed to look into the problem of growth. Provost E. L. Wilkins declared, “Paradigm had reached its maximum capacity,” and noted that, “no future growth of the campus was possible with out the demolition of many of the older less efficient portions of the campus.”

1980 Facts:

Enrollment: 9953 (ugrad) /1450 (grad)
Faculty and Staff: 3420
Tuition, Room and Board: $14,250/year
Facilities: 5,364,945 GSF
Parking Spaces: 5,428 (surface) / 921 (structured)

Creating a Sustainable University Community – 1997 and Beyond

Following Provost Wilkins’ proclamations, outcries from the campus, alumni, and trustees finally prompted the university to engage architects to undertake a comprehensive planning process that would insure capacity for future growth while preserving the natural and man-made amenities of the campus. The current plan seeks to devise a far-reaching attitude toward the development of natural landscape on the campus – an extensive landscape restoration program has resulted in the return of a significant proportion of the paved areas of the campus to landscaped spaces. Concurrent with this effort has been the construction of parking garages to alleviate the need for surface parking. The strategy in dealing with the automobile has been to provide numerous parking opportunities at the perimeter of the campus while creating a pedestrian environment at the core of the campus. New projects located on the campus have been designed to reinforce the network of linked open-spaces and quadrangles. Several of the new building projects have attempted to repair the damage done by insensitive post-war development. The new Classroom Building and the Advanced Technology Institute were conceived as buildings which would help to clarify the sophisticated matrix of quadrangles, courtyards, and landscapes on campus. The architects have attempted to once again link the physical plan of the campus to the strategic plan of the university. No longer will it be possible for the university to visualize great intellectual ideals while settling for mediocre results in its physical plant and planning process. To this end, guidelines for development and a design review process are now an integral part of the mechanism for campus growth. Members of the campus community share an equal burden with the administration and trustees in planning for the future of the institution. No longer will the plan be determined by an almost feudal battle between deans, administrators, and donors. President Elizabeth Bishop-Hennessy ’57, speaking at the unveiling of the campus master plan said: “Unlike my predecessors, I will not presume that our mission is complete. I will not suggest that the campus of today will be the same as tomorrow. We can expect change. But we must change with great care. We should preserve traditions and seek innovations which can co-exist in a world of increasing complexity. The campus should be a model for growth and development. In terms of our physical environment, we should not settle for merely adequate accommodation of our needs, rather we should seek to lead in demonstrating that an environment of quality, beauty, and sustainability is an essential aspect of a world-class institution of higher learning.”

1997 Facts:

Enrollment: 8321 (ugrad) /1200 (grad)
Faculty and Staff: 3721
Tuition, Room and Board: $21,550/year
Facilities: 14,598,340 GSF
Parking Spaces: 2,090 (surface) / 4,539 (structured)

Leave a Comment

  1. November 7, 2011
    sunday olagoke abayomi wrote:

    a developmental documentary that confirms that slow and steady wins the race.