ISC during Hayden's student years, 1904-1918





Aerial view of Bearshear

Aerial view of campus in 1913 during Ada Hayden's third year as a Ph.D. student. The view is from south of the Campanile looking north.
Image credit.


During Ada Hayden's student years, many changes took place at Iowa State University (then officially called Iowa State College and Agriculture and Mechanic Arts). Enrollment during Hayden's freshman year (1904) was 1,326 and when she graduated with her Ph.D. in 1918 enrollment was close to 3,000 - more than double in size from her first year as an undergrad. New traditions started, such as the cardinal and gold cap freshman male students had to wear until the 1930s. New organizations were formed, including the first student body government (Cardinal Guild). Extension had its beginnings at Iowa State during the very early years of the 20th century, and graduate work at Iowa State was being developed into a cohesive program - which allowed Hayden to receive her Ph.D. in 1918. It must have been an exciting time to be a student at Iowa State, especially for students who were involved in campus life - which Hayden was, as this online exhibit shows.






Rapid Campus Expansion 1

Increased enrollment and the 1902 fire in the remaining wing of Old Main caused a major facility shortage for the campus. The early part of the 20th century saw an explosive campus expansion, with more than thirty-five buildings under construction between when Hayden started as an undergrad in 1904 and graduated with her PhD in 1918.2 The campus had about twenty-two buildings and 125 acres her freshman year,3 and about fifty buildings and 185 acres by her last year as a graduate student.4


College Administration 5

Iowa State College (ISC) saw multiple administrative changes during Ada Hayden's student years, including a major change within the administration of the regent universities6 the year after Hayden's graduation. Previously, the Board of Trustees had overseen Iowa State. In 1909, Iowa's 33rd General Assembly created the State Board of Education (later renamed the Board of Regents) to oversee Iowa's public institutions of higher learning.

During her student years, Ada Hayden experienced two presidents of Iowa State. Albert Storms was Iowa State's president during all of Hayden's undergraduate career, serving as president from 1903 to 1910. Edgar Stanton served as Acting President after Storms' departure. Raymond Pearson was president for all but the first year of Hayden's years as a doctoral student, serving as president from 1912 to 1926. Post-graduate work had existed since the first class' graduation in 1872, but the doctoral program was relatively new when Hayden started as a doctoral student in 1911. The college's graduate division formed in 1913, and the Graduate College was established in 1919 (one year after Hayden received her PhD). Before the creation of the graduate division, a committee oversaw post-graduate work (from 1899 to 1913).7.

Life as an ISC student 8

Many events and activities which would become memorable traditions for Iowa State alumni took place and even started during Ada Hayden's student years. Excursion Day, May Day, pushball competitions, and the dreaded beanie (cardinal and gold cap freshmen men were required to wear beginning in 1916 and continued until 1934) were all a part of the student experience in the early part of the 20th century. As this online exhibit seeks to explore, life as a student during Ada Hayden's undergraduate and doctoral years was full of changes and new beginnings. Above are just a few examples.


Campus Events 9

As with almost any campus, there were a wide variety of events throughout the year during Ada Hayden's student years. A few would continue on to be annual events, such as Homecoming.



  • 1. Image Credits: Beardshear Hall,  State Gym,  Alumni Hall,  Lake LaVerne.
  • 2. H. Summerfield Day, The Iowa State University Campus and Its Buildings, 1859-1979 (Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University, 1980), 480-481.
  • 3. Iowa State College and Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, General Catalog (1904-1905), 22-26. (The General Catalog can be found in the Special Collections and University Archives, and contains a brief description of the buildings, grounds, and equipment which could be found at Iowa State that academic year.)
  • 4. Iowa State College and Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. General Catalog, (1917-1918), 424. (The General Catalog can be found in the Special Collections and University Archives.)
  • 5. Image Credits: Beardshear Hall, 1906. For more on the president's quarters in the new Central Building, see H. Summerfield Day, The Iowa State University Campus and Its Buildings, 1859-1979 (Ames: Iowa State University, 1980), 173. Storms image, (1909 Bomb, page 15); Edgar W. Stanton in 1885; President Raymond Pearson; R. E. Buchanan.
  • 6. In 1909, Iowa's regent universities were: Iowa State University (then Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts), University of Iowa, and University of Northern Iowa (then Iowa State Teachers College).
  • 7. Earle Dudley Ross. Graduate Study at the Iowa State College; an Historical Summary, (Ames, Iowa: Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, 1941), 14-21.
  • 8. Image Credits: Iota Theta, page 132;  Dinky;  World War I.
  • 9. Image Credits: Excursion Days; for more information on Excursion Days and other past traditions, see Past Traditions from the Sesquicentennial digital exhibit.  
    May Day Festival;  additional information on these celebrations can be found through the online exhibit "VEISHEA: Iowa State's Rite of Spring.  
    President Taft visits campus, page 176.  
    Homecoming, page 147;  to find out more on the history of Iowa State's homecoming celebrations and the first 1912 homecoming events, see this online exhibit (created in 2012). The image shown is from the 1914 Bomb, a collage of images from the first homecoming game (which was against the University of Iowa).  
    Basketball, page 190;  Information for caption from Finding Aid for Iowa State University Department of Athletics Men's Basketball subject files, Iowa State University Special Collections and University Archives, accessed 3/13/2018,