A Look Back Through Time


1873 The College of Liberal Arts is founded, with Rev. John W. Lindsay appointed first dean. It is located at 20 Beacon Street.
187379 The School of Oratory, a department of CAS and housed in the same building, includes faculty member Alexander Graham Bell, who teaches “Culture of the Speaking Voice.” A paid year’s leave allows him to perfect a medium for transmission of speech over wires. The first public transmission is from that building to the Atheneum Reading Room.
1874 The School of All Sciences (later, graduate school) opens. John W. Lindsay is appointed acting dean.
1877 Helen Magill, who was the only female in her class at Boston Public Latin school, earns her PhD in Greek, the first woman to earn a doctorate in the United States.


1881 Alice Stone Blackwell, daughter of famous suffragist Lucy Stone, graduates from CAS with honors and as class president (she received an honorary degree from BU in 1945).
1886 Founding of Klatsch Kollegium, an annual CAS festival involving students and, often, faculty. Continued until 1954.

1882 CAS moves to 12 Somerset Street.
1882 William E. Huntington is appointed second dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1884 President William F. Warren is appointed acting dean of the School of All Sciences.
1887 Henry C. Sheldon is appointed acting dean of the School of All Sciences.
1887 John Wesley Edward Bowen, a student of historical theology, Greek, and Latin, was the second person of African descent, and the first person born a slave, to earn a doctorate in the United States.
1888 Borden P. Bowne is appointed first dean of the School of All Sciences.


1891 CAS Class of 1891 creates a yell: “B.U. Boom la la! / Nonaginta Una! / Ya! Ya! Ya!”
1896 The Men’s Club of 1896 was founded “on account of the comparative weakness in numbers of the male contingent of the College of Liberal Arts.”

1892 284 out of 938 students at Boston University are in CAS.
1899 Boston University’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter founded.


1903 A Bostonia report states that although study in France would be good for students, most prefer to go to Germany because it is beneficial for their careers.
1907 Initiation of the system of having majors and minors.

1904 William Marshall Warren is appointed third dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1905 CAS offers 13 courses of instruction: Oriental Languages; Greek Language and Literature; Latin Language and Literature; English Language and Literature; Romance Language and Literature; Germanic Language and Literature; Philosophy and Education; History; Economics, Social Science, and Law; Mathematics; Natural Sciences; Bible Study, Elocution, Lectures; Music.
1906 Evening and Saturday classes for the instruction of teachers are established.
1907 CAS moves to 688 Boylston Street, named Jacob Sleeper Hall, which has the benefit of having more space, especially for science departments (previously housed at MIT at 525 Boylston St.), and more attractive surroundings. Some note that it is, however, inconvenient for North Station and other colleges.


1910 The School of All Sciences is renamed the graduate school. The matriculation fee is $10 for the MA and $25 for the PhD.
1914 After discussion of a need for a dean of women, Agnes Black, professor of elocution in CAS, is appointed Advisor of Women.
191719 World War I: CAS is very involved in war work. It provides training for women to become sick room assistants, has groups of students working with faculty volunteers to study issues related to the war; offers a course on Red Cross work; collects books for soldiers; women students knit sweaters for soldiers. CAS student council passes resolutions condemning Germany and support President Wilson.

1910 Upon raising $400,000 in endowment, three professorships in CAS are created.
1910 William E. Huntington is appointed dean of the graduate school.
1910 HUB Editor in Chief Emily Donnell Lord writes, “Unique among New England colleges is the personal interest that the Boston University professor has in his students.” She claims that BU faculty talk things over with students and actually enjoy class time.
1910 The new position of Men’s Secretary of CAS is created to advance the interests of men in CAS and to help prospective students. Mr. Everett Lord, AB 1900, AM 1906, is the first incumbent.
1911 Judson Coit is appointed as acting dean of the graduate school.
1912 700 out of 1600 students at Boston University are in CAS.
1913 Founding of the CAS Department of Education. A majority of CAS graduates go into teaching.
1913 The College of Business Administration (later the School of Management, later the Questrom School of Business) is established as a separate school with Everett Lord as the first dean. The idea for the separate school first emerged as part of the plan to encourage more men to go to BU.
1915 CAS has 18 courses of instruction: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Economics and Social Science, Education and Social Administration, English Languages and Literature, Germanic Languages and Literature, Greek Language and Literature, History, Latin Language and Literature, Mathematics, Music, Oriental Languages, Philosophy, Physical Instruction, Physics, Public Speaking, Romance Languages and Literature.
1916 Arthur W. Weysse is appointed dean of the graduate school.
1918 The School of Education is established as a separate school.
1918 George H. Maxwell, an attorney and trustee of BU, endows the Professorship of US Citizenship in the Department of Social Science. “The chair is designed to instruct both foreign born and native Americans in the more solid elements of citizenship, thereby avoiding the national dangers so recently illustrated by conditions in Germany and Austria.”
1918 After Professor Emil Wilm, chair of philosophy, writes an essay claiming that dancing is a natural impulse and defending modern dancing (“dancing is the outward translation of inward rhythm”), some students lodge complaints about him.
1918 Establishment of the Augustus Howe Buck Education Fund for students of “high mental ability, physique, character” who chose education for altruism, not financial gains.
1919 Founding of El Club Espagnol with interest in Spanish, literature, Spain, and Mexico. Many other cultural and language clubs follow in the 1920s.
1919 CAS assembly adopts a resolution in favor of a League of Nations.


1923 CAS holds world fellowship week with speakers to discuss “the race question.”
1924 Admissions pressure on CAS is so great that it has to turn away 100 students hoping for admission.
1924 Hazing of CAS students requires that freshmen have to wear red caps, girls wear braids with green ribbons.
1924 Lucy Jenkins Franklin (CAS 1883, MA, PhD) is inducted as the first dean of women.

1920 Founding of the BU Debating Society of CAS.
1920 BU News reports that CAS students and professors overwhelmingly supported Herbert Hoover for president.
1920 CAS house opens on Bay State Road. It held dinners, parties, open houses, and a tea once a month.
1924 President Murlin’s secretary responds to a question by W.E.B. Dubois about “colored students” at BU. In CAS there are 5 (1 woman) of the 25 in the university (only CBA has more—8). DuBois requests the information for his magazine, The Crisis, which publishes information on “colored” graduates of American colleges.
1925 President Murlin writes to CAS Dean Warren that CAS should treat women faculty better. They do better work. They should at least be allowed to go to faculty meetings. Also, CAS should hire more—aim for one-quarter of the faculty to be women.
1925 University Women’s Council founded by Louise Fist, CAS 1883.
1925 CAS offers the same courses of study as in 1915, but with more faculty.
1926 Mrs. Bacon funds the Gaspar G. Bacon lectureship on the Constitution of the United States to stimulate study of the constitution.
1928 Inauguration of BU summer programs in Europe. CAS students go to London with BU professors to study at King’s College, and to France as part of a University of Delaware program.
1929 Founding of an honors program.


1934 CAS (unusually) has more male than female students.
1936 Founding of the Department of Psychology, drawing together other separate departments.

1931 CAS women’s house opens at 334 Bay State Road.
1933 Edgar S. Brightman is appointed dean of the graduate school.
1934 Howard Marion LaSourd is appointed dean of the graduate school.
1935 CAS offers roughly the same courses of study as in 1925, except “Music” has become “Music and other Fine Arts.”
1937 Robert W. Taylor is appointed fourth dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.


194145 World War II: Only three of 11 men’s dorms at BU are occupied; students participate in war work; regular activities such as orchestras and bands stop because of lack of male students. Thirty one members of the Class of 1946 died; they received their degree posthumously.
1944 CAS begins to plan for a post-war curriculum including, especially, a better foreign area and language curriculum and higher standards and more intense courses. We should expect two hours of preparation for each hour of lecture.

1940 The BA requirements are revised to require fewer specific courses in the first two years but to require elective courses within different categories of knowledge (“divisions”) plus requirements in foreign language and English composition.
1940 Founding of the Department of Classical Languages and Literature to combine Greek and Latin and adjust to the decline in Greek.
1943 For its 50th anniversary, the Class of 1893 raised funds for a “Judson B. Coil memorial observatory and planetarium.”
1944 Chester M. Alter is appointed dean of the graduate school.
1945 CAS still has 18 courses of study, but Latin and Greek have become Classics; Economics and Social Science has become Economics and Sociology, and the new departments are: Fine Arts, Visual Art, Music; Geology and Geography; Government; and Psychology.
1945 BU publicity office announces, “Today, BU’s College of Liberal Arts is forced to deny admission to an increasing number of applicants…regardless of race, creed, color or financial status, those who measure up to the University’s high requirements of character and ability must be given the opportunity.”
1946 Cornerstone is laid for the new CAS building.
1947 CAS moves into the new Cram and Ferguson building on Commonwealth Avenue.
1948 The beginning of Latin Honors in CAS.
1948 The Psychology Department launches a graduate degree in clinical psychology to respond to post-war needs noted by the Veteran’s Administration and public health services. It is one of 42 programs approved by the APA.
1948 Professor James Geddes, Jr. dies. He taught Romance languages from 18871937. He generously makes the largest bequest by a CAS faculty member to date.
1949 Bostonia notes that classes are using more motion pictures and slides with better technology.


1951 Enrollment in Russian language has increased by 100% since the start of the Korean War.
1955 Martin Luther King, Jr. receives his PhD in systematic theology.

1951 No faculty member wants to sponsor the student-organized CAS Tom Paine club, formed for the study of scientific social Marxism, so President Murlin appoints one. BU News notes that this “testifies to [Murlin’s] liberalism and that of the university.”
1953 Duncan E. MacDonald is appointed dean of the graduate school.
1953 Founding of African Studies, which received a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation a year later.
1953 BU expands its summer programs in Europe.
1953 Robert Thomas, an African American CAS sophomore, is invited to pledge Phi Sigma Kappa, and the national chapter suspends the fraternity in reaction.
1954 BU News reports that the director of the Latin American regional studies (Maurice Halpern) was accused of being a communist and was asked to appear before a review committee but he didn’t cooperate, and was fired for being uncooperative.
1955 CAS lists 25 courses of instruction. The changes since 1945: New listings for Economics, Latin American Studies, Military and Air Science, Religion, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Sociology and Anthropology. Public Speaking has become Speech, and Geography and Geology are listed separately.
1956 Edward Kidder Graham is appointed the fifth dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1956 Bostonia notes that the new CAS Dean, Edward K. Graham, said that there has been a change in liberal education over the past 15 years to see it as an integrated whole—a combination of skills and understandings rather than a series of semester hours in unrelated subjects.
1957 Edward Kidder Graham is appointed dean of the graduate school.
1958 Robert Lowell Poetry Workshop is established.
1959 BU News reports on two young black women from Little Rock, Essie Knolls (SFAA) and Carolyn Porter (CAS), who could not finish high school because Governor Faubus closed the schools. A Connecticut woman took them in and they came to Boston University. Carolyn Porter is studying biology.


1965 Representative Adam Clayton Powell (D-NY) speaks in CAS on “the legislative politics of desegregation.”
1965 Numerous discussions and teach-ins on the Vietnam War, often with the participation and leadership of Professor Howard Zinn.
1968 Howard Zinn travels to North Vietnam to arrange for the release of captured pilots. He says that North Vietnam will negotiate when the bombing stops.

1960 Richard Millard is appointed acting dean of the graduate school.
1960 Lewis Rohrbaugh is appointed acting dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1960 Language instruction is offered in Japanese.
1960 Founding of the Center for the Philosophy and History of Science.
1961 Richard M. Millard is appointed sixth dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1961 Richard S. Bear is appointed dean of the graduate school.
1961 The Six-Year (later Seven-Year) Liberal Arts/Medical Degree Program is established.
1964 Dean Millard expresses worries that increased specialization may endanger the liberal arts program.
1964 Howard Zinn is appointed Professor in the Government Department.
1965 CAS lists 34 fields of concentration. They are: American History and Civilization, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Classical Civilization, Comparative Literature, Economics, Economics and Government, English, Fine Arts, Fine Arts and Religion, Geography, Geology, Germanic Languages and Literature, Government, Greek, History, History and the Social Studies, Latin, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Philosophy and Government, Philosophy and Religion, Philosophy and Sociology, Physics, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology, Romance Languages and Literature, Russian Language and Literature, Sociology, Speech, Teaching of Chemistry.
1966 Founding of the Department of Astronomy and the Department of Religion.
1967 William J. Newman is appointed acting dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1967 Founding of the Division of Religious and Theological Studies (later the Graduate Division of Religious Studies).
1967 CAS stops giving academic credit for ROTC.
1968 Calvin B.T. Lee is appointed seventh dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1968 CAS replaces the 3 credit per course, 5 courses per semester system with a 4 credit per course 4-course system. It also planned that students should be able to have seminar with less than 15 students each semester. Freshmen and sophomores would have interdisciplinary subjects, and juniors and seniors would have a seminar in their area of study.
1969 Founding of the African American Studies Program and the BU Marine Program.


1970 CAS and BU students join in the national unrest over the war in Vietnam. The student union calls a two-day strike in February; and 5080% of students skip classes.
1975 Elie Wiesel accepts a permanent appointment as the Andrew W. Mellow Professor in the humanities with his base in the University Professors and the Department of Religion.

1970 William J. Newman is appointed acting dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1970 Founding of the Department of Anthropology, the American and New England Studies Program, and the Institute for Philosophy and Religion.
1971 Robert S. Cohen is appointed acting dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1971 Philip E. Kubzansky is appointed dean of the graduate school.
1972 Alasdair MacIntyre is appointed eighth dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1973 Richard S. Beal is appointed acting dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1973 Stephen Joel Trachtenberg is appointed interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
1974 Warren F. Ilchman is appointed ninth dean of the College of Arts & Sciences
1975 Warren F. Ilchman is appointed dean of the graduate school
1975 CAS lists 43 fields of departmental and interdepartmental concentration. The new ones since 1965 are: Anthropology, Applied Science, Chemistry and Physics, Economics and Mathematics, French Language and Literature, International Relations and Comparative Political Studies, Independent Concentration, Italian Language and Literature, Mathematical Astronomy, Philosophy and Physics, Philosophy and Political Science, Philosophy and Psychology, Planetary and Space Sciences, Soviet and East European Studies, Spanish Language and Literature. Philosophy and Sociology and Comparative Literature have disappeared and Government has become Political Science.
1976 Division of General Studies in the College of Liberal Arts is closed.
1976 Dean B. Doner is appointed interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and interim dean of the graduate school.
1978 Geoffrey Bannister is appointed the ninth dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and dean of the graduate school.


1982 Founding of the Department of Archaeology, the only stand-alone archaeology department in the United States.
1984 CAS achieves the $100 million mark in grants.

1981 The Boston University Humanities Foundation is founded with a seed grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
1983 Founding of the Department of Computer Science.
1985 CAS lists 59 departmental and interdepartmental fields of concentration. The new additions since 1975 are Archaeological Studies, Art History, many new varieties of Chemistry (with different minors), Classical Languages and Literature, Classics and Religion, Computer Science, Environmental Geology, French and Continental European Literatures, German and Continental European Literatures, German Studies, Greek Language and Literature, Hispanic and Continental European Literatures, Hispanic Language and Literatures, International Relations, Italian and Continental European Literatures, Italian Studies, Latin Language and Literature, Mathematics and Philosophy, Modern Greek Studies, Philosophy and Anthropology, Russian and Continental European Literatures, Urban Studies.
1985 Center for Remote Sensing established.
1985 CAS develops a policy on sexual harassment.
1987 Dennis Berkey is appointed the tenth dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and dean of the graduate school.
1988 Founding of the Center for Space Physics and the Program in Biostatistics.
1989 Founding of the Department of International Relations and the Core Curriculum.


1996 The College of Liberal Arts is renamed the College of Arts & Sciences.
1997 Professor of English and Creative Writing Robert Pinsky is named US Poet Laureate.

1991 Founding of the Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems (closed in 2011).
1994 Founding of the graduate program in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry (MCBB).
1995 CAS lists more than 63 majors (counting variants with different minors). The new majors and those with names changed since 1985 are: American Studies, Ancient Greek, Ancient Greek and Latin, Archaeology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, East Asian Studies, Earth Sciences, Environmental Analysis and Policy, Environmental Science, Latin American Studies, Linguistics, Mathematics and Computer Science, Medical Science, Urban Studies and Public Policy.
1999 Founding of the Institute for Astrophysical Research.


2006 In his Strategic Plan, President Robert A. Brown commits to “strengthening the College of Arts and Sciences as central to the quality of our academic programs,” and looks forward to growth in the size of the faculty by as many as 100 positions in ten years.
2007 Virginia Sapiro is appointed the 12th dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and dean of the graduate school—the first woman to occupy those positions.
2009 A CAS Task Force on the First Year Experience submits a report that provides a blueprint for future development of a first year experience to support student integration and success.

2000 Founding of the Editorial Institute.
2001 Founding of the CAS Writing Program.
2002 Founding of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies.
2002 Jeffrey Henderson is appointed the 11th dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and dean of the graduate school.
2005 CAS lists almost 70 majors. The new majors and those with names changed since 1995 are: Anthropology & Religion; Astronomy & Physics; Classics & Philosophy; Environmental Earth Sciences; Geography with specialization in Human Geography; Geography with specialization in Physical Geography; Geophysics and Planetary Sciences; Japanese Language and Literature; Russian and East European Studies.
2006 Founding of the Institute for Muslim Societies and Civilizations.
2007 The Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures is divided into the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature and the Department of Romance Studies.
2008 Founding of the BU Center for the Study of Asia. Founding of the all-university Graduate Program in Neuroscience, a successor to the GRS Graduate Neuroscience Program. Founding of the Undergraduate Neuroscience Program in CAS.
2008 The Humanities Foundation is reorganized, given an expanded mission to support and encourage the humanities at BU and in 2011 is renamed the BU Center for the Humanities with new facilities allowing resident fellows.


2011 BU signs an “in perpetuity agreement” and makes a $10 million investment to become a partner in the 4.3 meter Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona, extending its partnership with the Lowell Observatory for the benefit of BU astronomy researchers and students.
2013 Bombs explode at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Among the witnesses, injured, and helpers are many BU student, faculty, and staff. Statistics graduate student Lingzi Lu is killed by the explosion, and a fellowship fund is established in her name.
2014 Founding of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies within the College of Arts & Sciences, incorporating the former Department of International Relations and the many BU area studies programs. Adil Najam is appointed the first dean.
2015 Ann Cudd is appointed the 13th dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and dean of the graduate school.

2010 The CAS Student Academic Life Office is reorganized with an expanded mission and the first full-time associate dean is hired.
2009 The Feld Family Foundation creates an endowed Feld Family Professorship of Teaching Excellence, the first professorship to be endowed in CAS as part of Boston University’s first capital campaign.
2010 The Class of 1970 has its delayed Commencement ceremony, with Dean Sapiro addressing the assembled class, including many CAS alumni.
2010 A new BA in Architectural Studies is founded and the Department of Art History changes its name to the Department of the History of Art & Architecture.
2010 Founding of the Biogeosciences Program.
2010 Submission of a report from the Women’s Studies Task Force that recommends broad changes in mission, organization, and activities. In a year, it changes its name to the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program (WGS).
2010 The CAS Honors Program is superseded by the founding of the Kilachand Honors College. CAS begins creation of a new framework for Honors in the Major, which replaces the more limited Work for Distinction framework.
2011 Founding of the BU Center for the Study of Europe and the Center for Computational Neuroscience & Neural Technology (CompNet).
2011 The Earth System Forum brings together faculty from around BU to explore research and teaching and future potential in interdisciplinary Earth systems and environmental studies and sciences at BU.
2012 CAS Student Academic Life offices and the CAS Writing Program move to the new student services building at 100 Bay State Road.
2012 Founding of the Department of Earth & Environment and the MFA Program in Playwriting.
2013 Founding of the Middle East and North Africa Studies (MENA) Program.
2013 The Department of Psychology changes its name to the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences.
2014 Long-time Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino is appointed professor of the practice in the Department of Political Science and, with Graham Wilson, becomes founding co-director of the BU Initiative on Cities. Menino dies later that year.
2015 CAS lists almost 80 majors. The new majors and those with names changed since 2005 are: Architectural Studies; Chinese Language & Literature; Cinema & Media Studies; European Studies; French & Linguistics; Italian & Linguistics; Japanese & Linguistics; Linguistics & Philosophy; Spanish & Linguistics; Marine Science; Mathematics & Mathematics Education; Middle East & North Africa Studies; Neuroscience.

Compiled by Virginia Sapiro, Daniel Plucinsky (CAS’13), and Rachel Klepper (CAS’13)