*Republished from the March 2017 issue of The Kayseean
By Catherine Walsh
This year King University celebrates its 150th anniversary. In honor of this occasion, the Development Office and a couple of members of the History Committee, as well as Bettie Hite created a book that includes photos and memories from years past. Bettie Hite, who graduated from King in 1963, was asked by the Denise Asbury to write the book. Asbury is the Director of Development and she has largely directed production of the book. Asbury contacted Bettie to see if she knew of anyone who would be interested in writing the 150th book. She replied “Me” and she claims it has “inspired her writing.”
Bettie said her parents also graduated from King. She studied English as a major and then pursued a Masters in English at East Tennessee University. She continued with Fiction writing at Duke University. During Bettie’ s 50th school reunion in 2013, the entire class received King’s Distinguished Alumni Award for its members’ outstanding service to their churches, their communities, and their college. Bettie continues to give back to the community by agreeing to write the anniversary book.
“God has had his hand in this project the whole time, there’s no way we could have done it without divine guidance.” Bettie said. For instance, in addition to all the work Asbury has done to make this project happen, Marika Kimerer is the librarian who spent her entire summer pulling documents from the archives to provide content for the book. In addition, a number of alumni contributed their memories.
Bettie and her colleagues began work on the book in April 2016 and they completed it in under five months. One hundred orders have been placed. The plan is to have the book available by Dogwood Weekend, however due to printing constraints it may be later.
The book comprises six chapters. The first is: The Beginning (1865 – 1866). This period features one of King’s first graduates. The second chapter is The Founders’ Era (1866 – 1907) This addresses the difficult times King faced and the time it was shut down due to lack of money.
Third chapter is Years of Struggle (1908 – 1942). The fourth chapter includes The Liston Era (1943 – 1968), which features the Appalachian Kids. Years of Uncertainty (1968 –1979) addresses the debt that King faced and the five Presbyterian men who didn’t just revive hope but saved the school from closing.
The sixth chapter includes ‘ Years of Rebuilding (1979 – 1996)’ followed by ‘ Years of Expansion (1997 –2017)’ which is the final chapter.The Difference Makers, which are profiles of high-impact personalities and favorite stories in King University’ s history.
Bettie shared a few short experts from the book.
“During WWII, King trained more than 500 pilots for the U.S. Army. These men took the same college courses as civilian students, and were a boon to King’s enrollment. This describes the air cadet program at King from the 1940s,” Bettie said. She also shared student life in the 1960’s.
“Chapel and church attendance was required, and a dress code was spelled out in the Student Handbook, along with a section on ‘ Social Standards.’ This section explained how to behave at family-style meals, in a receiving line, and at receptions and teas, which ‘ are usually standing affairs.’ Guests should never form a line when approaching the refreshment table at a social affair.
”Bettie noted that [female students could wear slacks only on Saturdays, and never in the dining hall. Skirts were required at all other times. “Sunday dress,” including high heels and stockings, was required for literary society meetings.
Five months of performing research, culling memories, and making the best possible selections is rewarded, according to Bettie, in this forthcoming historical account of Kings 150 years of academic service and leadership.
As Bettie said, “God has had his hand in this project the whole time.”
See images from King’s History below: