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Daily Campus celebrates 100th birthday (Released: 5/8/96)

by Renu Sehgal, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- The University of Connecticut's student newspaper, The Daily Campus, marks its 100th anniversary this year. The newspaper celebrates a century of growth through two world wars, the women's movement, the civil rights crusade and now the technological revolution.

The newspaper's format, editorial style, content -- and even its name -- has changed to reflect the world's evolution from its first edition May 11, 1896, as the Storrs Agricultural College Lookout.

''To the readers of the first issue of the 'S.A.C. Lookout.' Greeting. We all now feel that the college has risen one degree higher in its development for it now has a college paper,'' read the initial editorial.

The four-page monthly newspaper had an article on patriots and patriotism, poems and a section on events in the military department. Subscriptions were 50 cents a year.

In 1897, the Lookout became more of a magazine, taking on a booklet format. Advertisements steadily increased as typography improved. The school was renamed the Connecticut Agricultural College in 1899 as the Lookout changed its cover several times and improved sketches and the print quality. The paper increased from four pages to an average of 19.

The newspaper changed its name to the Connecticut Campus and Lookout in 1914. Now issued twice a month, the newspaper returned to a broadsheet of four pages and increased subscriptions from $1 to $1.25. Then World War I left few college students on campus.

''Students are leaving C.A.C. daily, some have taken positions as garden supervisors, others have taken jobs on farms and still others have gone into training for the U.S. Army," said an editorial published April 30, 1917. "The editor-in-chief of The Campus has left college and with him many other members of the board."

Articles and advertisements pleaded with farmers to ''Plant! Plant!! Plant!!!'' and use every possible acre to alleviate the food shortage. The College closed May 12, 1917, because of the demand for men trained in agriculture. The newspaper took a five-month hiatus, returning as The Campus. It proclaimed a banner enrollment year - 29 women had registered for classes.

''Whistles shriek news of peace,'' proclaimed a headline on Nov. 29, 1918, as news of the armistice came earlier that month. But the editorial informed its readers that the demand from the Student Arny Training Corps was too great and that the paper would be published by women for the next year.

And the women took over without missing a beat, filling the pages with service records and detailing how the college was returning to normal. When men returned to the newspaper in Feburary 1919, women continued to be reporters and part of the editorial board. In September 1919, The Campus became a weekly.

The school changed its name to Connecticut State College in 1933 and became the University of Connecticut in 1939. World War II mobilized the campus once again as the Women's Land Army was formed to train women to ease the farm labor shortage. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelet visited UConn in March 1943.

''Our lives were engulfed in war, so we didn't have a regular newspaper,'' said Lois VerVeer Pratt '45, of North Bergen, N.J., who filled in as a reporter when the men went to war. ''We had death all around us. The newspaper was a serious business. We had to report on who had been drafted, injured and killed. My class was decimated.''

UConn slowly returned to normal. In September 1950, freshmen enrollment surged to 1,885, according to The Campus. Subcriptions rose to $2 for the school year and $3 for the year. In 1955, the newspaper changed its name to the Connecticut Daily Campus and featured more photographs than ever before. The Daily Campus became a tabloid in the 1960s, when its reporters began to confront issues on their own doorstep.

''We were just beginning to address serious issues. The Vietnam War, the sexual revolution and the women's movement were just hitting campus,'' said G. Claude Albert '72, a former managing editor of the paper who is now deputy managing editor of The Hartford Courant. ''We were feeling our way. It was a controversial time on campus. Now, students are used to dealing with such issues.''

Today's newspaper averages 24 pages, has a circulation of 10,000 and looks completely different from its predecessors since computers joined the staff in 1986.

''The paper is much bigger and more professional than when I was there,'' said Albert, who is on the paper's board of directors.

While the Daily Campus still teaches students how to run a newspaper, it now also teaches them the financial aspect as well.

''I think of the Daily Campus as one big classroom,'' said Alena Cybart, 21, of Waterbury, the current publisher. ''A lot of the time I've had to play the role of a teacher to my peers.''

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