Great Expectations

A blog of the Department of English at BGSU:A place for faculty, students and alumni to connect.

Dr. Rea McCain

Posted by bgsuenglish on March 23, 2010

The latest issue of the Archival Chronicle, the newsletter of BGSU’s Center for Archival Collections, features archivist Lee N. McLaird’s profile of Dr. Rea McCain, our first Department Chair. This remarkable woman was Chair for thirty eight years and was a member of the original faculty on the very first day of classes at BGSU. As McLaird points out, “when the college’s entire teaching staff numbered just ten, that made Rea McCain the English Department.”

A native of Lebanon, Ohio, she had taught in the public schools there before earning her master’s degree at Columbia, where President Homer Williams recruited her. BGSU’s first catalog listed the following courses under English: Composition, Grammar, English for the Lower Grades, Juvenile Literature, English for the Upper Grades, Teaching of Secondary English, Victorian Literature, Shakespeare, and Tennyson and Browning. As McCain recalled some fifty years later, faculty members often taught as many as twenty course hours per week and then taught two evenings as well as at an extension location in Toledo.

Rea McCain retired in 1952 and died in Bowling Green in 1973 aged 91.

Watch out for more memories from the archives as we gear up to celebrate BGSU’s centennial in April.

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