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The History of Graduate Education at LSU

By: Carolyn H. Hargrave, Associate Dean of the Graduate School and W. Lee Hargrave, Professor of Law

Date Event
1869 The University records its first graduate degree as a "Civil Engineer" degree is awarded.
1870 Charles F. Buck, "a distinguished member of the Senior Class, Session 1863-64 whose graduation was prevented by the suspension of the Seminary, on account of the war" is awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree.
1872 Thomas D. Boyd, who joined the faculty of the University in 1873 and served as its president from 1896 to 1927 is awarded the 5th Master's Degree.
1890 A total of 14 master's degrees have been awarded
1895 The first year any graduate enrollment figures are available. There were five students enrolled in 1895, two in 1900, six in 1905, and 11 in 1909. A total of 32 masters degrees were awarded between 1869 and 1909.
1905 R. Olivia Davis became the first woman to receive a graduate degree (M.A. in Latin)
1909 The Graduate School was organized with the general supervision of graduate work vested in a Committee on Graduate Studies. Eleven students enrolled for graduate instruction for the session 1909-10, nine of whom received the master's degree at the end of that year.
1916 Enrollment reaches a record high of 888, and new programs were added in forestry, journalism, music and home economics. 
1931 The Graduate School was established and the first graduate dean, Charles W. Pipkin was appointed. The former Committee on Graduate Studies was reformed into a Graduate Council with strong authority and an Advisory Committee deans and directors to advise the Council. Governor Huey P. Long and LSU President James M. Smith simultaneously announces that LSU will begin offering the degree of doctor of philosophy.
1935 The first Ph.D.'s were awarded, to Gipson Carter, Frank A. Rickey, and Wesley A, Wiksell, in Chemistry, Math, and Speech, respectively.
1939 48 Ph.D.’s had been awarded, in 13 different fields. During this period, LSU ranked 3rd in the South in numbers of Ph.D.’s, ranking behind North Carolina and Duke.
1941 The Senate committee, the Graduate Council, and the University administration reorganized the Graduate School and named a new dean, William O. Scroggs.
1941 Under the reorganization plan, a Graduate Council was to continue (9 members, including the Dean as ex-officio), but no longer with members serving unlimited terms; terms were reduced to four years. 
1941 The effort following the 1941 reorganization was to distinguish between participating members of the graduate faculty and associate members. The latter could teach graduate courses for credit, but, the formulation of Graduate School policies, including admission requirements, the establishment of curricula, standards of instruction, and requirements for the higher degrees, is the function of participating membership of the Graduate Faculty.
1942 The first meeting of the graduate faculty was held May 27, 1942
1943 The Council on Research, a committee of faculty members empowered with selecting faculty recipients for University funded research grants, was established. 
1951 Lutrill Payne Amos Sr., a 41-year-old father and World War II veteran, was admitted into the College of Agriculture and becoming one of the first African-American graduate students to integrate LSU. 
1954 In September 1954, Homer L. Hitt, professor and head of the department of sociology and rural sociology, became the first associate dean of the Graduate School.
1956 The Graduate School began publication of The Graduate Report. 
1963 The University awarded its 10,000th master’s degree.
1964 The Executive Graduate Council was established to implement system-wide graduate study regulations, and Boyd Professor Joseph H. Reynolds was appointed vice-president for instruction and research. One of the first directives from the new systems office was a restructuring of the graduate faculty into two categories, members and associate members.
1964 At the June 1964 commencement, the University awarded its 1000th Ph.D. 
1965 LSU was awarded a NSF University Science Development grant that provided over 6 years almost $6 million to develop and strengthen science programs. The Southern Review was revived. Vol. 1, no. 1 of the new series of the review was issued to critical acclaim.