The School for Christian Workers
1885

The School for Christian Workers opens with 18 students. Tuition is free and meals cost about $3 per week. David Allen Reed, a Congregationalist minister, is the founder of the school, which was originally located at Winchester Square in Springfield, Mass.

Robert Roberts and Students
1887

“Body building” is coined by gymnasium department instructor Robert J. Roberts, considered the founder of the fitness movement.

Luther Halsey Gulick and his students
1889

The triangle is born! Luther Halsey Gulick, former director of the physical education department and “father of physical education and recreation in the United States,” creates the Springfield College triangle emblem seen in our logo today (and now lovingly referred to as the Gulick Triangle).

Peach Basket Basketball Hoop
1891

College instructor and graduate student James Naismith invents “basket ball.” The first game is played between faculty and students at Springfield College, with students winning 5-1.

William Morgan
1895

William Morgan, Class of 1894, invents volleyball at the Holyoke (Mass.) YMCA. Originally named mintonette, the game is renamed volleyball at an exhibition game at Springfield College.

William Beckett, first graduate of Springfield College, and classmates
1906

William H.J. Beckett receives the first degree ever awarded by the College, a Bachelor of Humanics. Beckett is pictured in the center of the portrait, third row from the bottom.

Marsh Memorial Library
1913

Former U.S. President William Howard Taft speaks at the dedication of Marsh Memorial Library, now home to the Office of the President.

Athletes and Students
1920

Springfield College receives the Olympic Cup from the International Olympic Committee for “merit and integrity, contribution to the progress of athletics, and clean sport.” We’re the only college to receive this honor.

Stepping Up Day
1926

Stepping Up Day—formerly called Decapitation Day, or the day when freshmen no longer had to wear their beanies—begins as a tradition.

Peter Karpovich
1927

Peter Karpovich, MD, joins the faculty. Karpovich becomes an internationally respected exercise physiologist, scholar, and researcher. Many of his philosophies still influence the development of our exercise physiology programs.

Ted Shawn Dance Class
1933

Father of Modern Dance in the United States Ted Shawn H’36 teaches at Springfield College and forms the first all-male dance group, comprised of Springfield College students. The group founds Jacob’s Pillow, located in Becket, Mass., and tours the United States.

Springfield College Sign
1954

Springfield College officially becomes Springfield College. Names of the College have included School for Christian Workers (1885), YMCA Training School (1890), International YMCA Training School (1891), International YMCA College (1912), and finally, Springfield College.

Life Magazine
1939

Springfield College earns international recognition in a Jan. 23 Life magazine article, “Men of Muscle: From Springfield College Come Physical Directors for the Nation.”

Greased Pole Climb during Sti-Yu-Ka
1961

Irving Conrad, then president of the Student Government Association, creates Sti-Yu-Ka, a celebration each spring that celebrates the end of the academic year. The greased pole climb is a tradition that continues as part of the celebrations today.

The James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame opens on the campus.
1968
The James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame opens on the campus. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has since moved to downtown Springfield.
Field Hockey Team
1963

Springfield College is prominently featured in the Dec. 2 issue of Sports Illustrated as a school that “is making an unequaled contribution to American sports.”

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gives the commencement address and receives an honorary Doctor of Humanics on June 14, despite outside attempts to persuade the College to rescind its invitation to King.
1964
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gives the commencement address and receives an honorary Doctor of Humanics on June 14, despite outside attempts to persuade the College to rescind its invitation to King.
Title IX is enacted on June 23. Congressional testimony is given by faculty member Mimi Murray ’61, G’67.
1972
Title IX is enacted on June 23. Congressional testimony is given by faculty member Mimi Murray ’61, G’67.
Tom Waddell, MD, ‘59 founds the Gay Games
1982
Tom Waddell, MD, ‘59 founds the Gay Games, a quadrennial arts and athletic event open to anyone who would like to participate. This happens 14 years after Waddell competes in the decathlon for the United States at the Olympics in Mexico City.
Professors Frank Torre
1997
Springfield College chemistry professors Chun-Kwun Wun and Frank Torre help develop a rapid test that can detect killer E. coli bacteria before tainted food, such as a hamburger, leaves the warehouse on its way to consumers.
A larger-than-life bronze statue of James Naismith is unveiled on Naismith Green.
2010
A larger-than-life bronze statue of James Naismith is unveiled on Naismith Green.
International Hall
2010
A tornado tears through campus on June 1, destroying many trees and International Hall, a residence hall on campus. Campus is quickly brought back to life and International Hall is fully restored to working order before students come back to campus in September.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren delivers the Undergraduate Commencement address on May 19.
2013
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren delivers the Undergraduate Commencement address on May 19.
Learning Commons
2017
The new Learning Commons will open on the campus and serve as an educational hub for students. With resources combined from the library, Academic Success Center, and Internet Technology Solutions, students will be able to access whatever they need academically in a technologically advanced—and beautiful—facility.