Rules of Life at Ferrum

Student playin guitar

Playing music at the fountain in front of Beckham Hall, circa 1930s.

A young person arriving at Ferrum Training School could expect a first-class education, but attending Ferrum meant much more. Student life included regular meals, comfortable housing, health care, clubs, sports, religious activities, and the chance to socialize daily with peers. For many, the difference between home life and the Ferrum environment was dramatic.

Within this exciting new FTS world, students were expected to follow the boundaries set by the administration. Tobacco and alcohol were, of course, prohibited. Attendance at chapel services on campus was mandatory. Until 1925 boys were required to wear khaki pants and jackets and girls to wear blue gingham dresses, in part to keep students from judging one another by their clothing.

"Who Zoo"

The student “Who Zoo,” winners of the class superlatives voting, 1925.

Interaction between male and female students was tightly controlled. Centenary Hall (now Roberts Hall) originally had separate men’s and women’s dining halls. The 1925–26 catalog warned that “the temptation of ’falling in love’ … is exceedingly displeasing to the principal and will be met with instant opposition.” Touching between the sexes was prohibited, and one alumna from the early years recalled being driven home by Dr. Beckham himself after she had casually touched a boy on the shoulder.

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