Former newspaper publisher shares UGA student life book with Rotary

Published 4:47 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2016

University of Georgia fans got in line following the Rotary program Tuesday to purchase a copy of Carrol Dadisman’s book, “Dear Old U-G-A.”

Dadisman, a 1956 graduate of UGA journalism school and former president and publisher of the Tallahassee Democrat, has compiled a history of the University’s student life during the years 1893 to 2013.

Much of the information is gleaned from copies of “The Red and Black” school paper and the Pandora yearbook.

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Dadisman said the 31 chapters of the book are each stand-alone essays in which he made an effort to capture the color and texture of the early days of the university.

He spoke of the origins of some of the long-standing traditions, such as the first ringing of the chapel bell and walking under “the arch.”

The photos show dramatic changes in clothing fashions worn by the students.

And, indeed, the drastic changes in student enrollment and the nature of subjects taught.

The University charter called for moral as well as academic training of students, who were required to attend daily chapel services back in the 1890’s. It was an all-male school for nearly a century. The first women students permitted to enroll were admitted in 1903 when there were special summer sessions for teachers, mainly women. The first woman undergraduate degree was awarded in 1919 in the field of Home Economics.

Even up until the 1970’s a separate set of rules applied to women students when it came to dress, dating, social events, riding in cars, etc. etc. The first female cheerleaders appeared in the 1940’s. African American students were banned until 1961 when the University greeted desegregation.

Interestingly enough, he said the current university enrollment is 51 percent women.

There are many references and photos regarding athletics. Baseball was the first competitive sport. The first football game was played in 1892 and in 1896 UGA had its first undefeated season when it won all four games.

In 1897, the university came close to cancelling football altogether after a player died of a serious concussion. The State Legislature passed a resolution to ban football throughout the state, but when the bill reached then Governor Atkinson, he vetoed it. He had received a letter from the mother of the player who wrote how much her son had loved football and how grieved he would be to see it end.

There is even a history of the famed Bulldog association, including one named Butch who was owned by a man in Warner Robins. The dog had wandered into the downtown and was shot by a Warner Robins policeman, who said he thought it had rabies.

One wag commented the policeman must have been a Georgia Tech fan.