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2013 Centennial

Carl Swain (1938-54)

At George McFarland's death in 1938, Charles Scott, director of the Training School, was appointed acting head. He served for three months until Carl Swain was appointed Minot State's fourth president.

Swain graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a bachelor's degree. He later attained a master's from Columbia University Teachers College in New York. From 1920-23, he taught in the education department at Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, Iowa. In 1923, he became president of Mayville State Teachers College, where he remained for the next 15 years. During this period, he earned an LL. D. degree from Carleton College of Minnesota.

In 1941, the National Youth Administration built two frame structures on campus — the president's house and the Student Union.

During World War II, Minot State became home to the U. S. Navy's V-5 and V-12 programs. The former trained pilots, while the latter produced deck officers. Swain shared campus authority with U. S. Navy program director R. W. Palda. Navy programs had a predetermined curriculum, and campus faculty provided the instruction. Navy support staff had offices in Old Main, Pioneer Hall and Dakota Hall. Flight training staff occupied the city's airfield.

After the war, the college phased out the Navy programs and returned to conventional college curriculum. Swain was credited with three key contributions in the postwar years.

First, he separated administration from instruction on the organization chart. Second, he won approval for a liberal arts degree, broadening the school's mission beyond teacher education. This was a development occurring in colleges around the nation at the time. He also educated the college community about the key roll the new G. I. Bill would have in higher education. Third, he emphasized the broader meaning of higher education. Colleges were character-building institutions, he said, committed to "the education of the whole man — physical, intellectual and spiritual."

Minot State undertook no new campus construction during World War II. After the war, rising enrollments made expansion possible. In 1949, the Student Union was enlarged. Two years later, a health and physical building was completed, ultimately named Swain Hall.

Swain was enormously religious. He organized Monday and Wednesday convocations in the auditorium, with students given assigned seats. The dean of women took roll. In his Christmas greeting to the college in 1952, the president said that the holiday offered the believer a chance to find a savior from sin, to know God intimately and to discover a way to peace and good will.