About Feature 1

Draper Talman Schoonover (1942-1945)

Henry Smith

By no means was Draper Talman Schoonover a new face on campus when he became Marietta College's tenth president. It wasn't even the first time he had served as the College's leader.

Dr. Schoonover came to Marietta College as an associate professor in 1907 and later became a professor of Latin. He also served as the registrar and twice as the Dean of Academics. During his tenure as dean, he sent a message to every student on campus that stated: "Hereafter, no student in Marietta College shall be allowed to enter places where intoxicating drinks are sold. Any student found doing so will be dismissed from the college at once." Though initially this action caused a great deal of student uproar, protests eventually died down against the edict that was loosely enforced by campus officials.

At age 70, he became the front-runner for the job soon after Harry Kelso Eversull resigned from the post and the United States entered World War II. Dan McGrew described the tenth president in his book, "In the Various Branches of Useful Knowledge." "One of the great team players in MC history, Schoonover acceded and did his best to manage the place through most of the rest of the war."

Having served as interim president from 1936-37 between presidents Edward Smith Parsons and Harry Kelso Eversull, and serving for the first five months after Dr. Eversull's resignation, the Board of Trustees was confident in Dr. Schoonover's leadership abilities. His work as dean also bolstered that confidence that he could effectively serve the College's needs during wartime and economic instability.

As the war efforts went into full force, more men were either enlisting in the military or choosing to go directly into the available jobs left vacant by men serving in the war. Enrollment numbers began plunging during wartime, as high school graduates either opted to go into higher-paying available jobs being left vacant by workers enlisting in the military or by going to war themselves. By 1944, there were only 149 students at Marietta, with that year's graduating class being comprised by only 19 women and six men.

Rationing made it nearly impossible to upgrade any campus buildings and fundraising, according to McGrew, was all but nonexistent.

One saving grace for the College occurred when it became one of 280 colleges across the country to win a contract with the U.S. government. Marietta became the training site of the 25th College Training Detachment (Air Crew), U.S. Army Air Corps and, in March 1943, began housing and training 250 officers and cadets. This contract provided the necessary income for the College to remain afloat during the war years.

When the war's end seemed to be in sight, shortly after Dr. Schoonover's 1944-45 contract was approved, the Board decided to begin the search for a new president who could lead the College through the post-war era.

By mid 1945, Dr. Schoonover was able to retire to his woodworking shop in Marietta and worked in another capacity for the College—repairing hundreds of wooden dorm chairs and furniture.