Caputo. When students hear that name they often think of Caputo Hall, the home of the science department. However, behind the name was a Millersville president, Joseph A. Caputo. Caputo, a native of New Jersey, had an degree in chemistry, however he served the second longest term as president in Millersville University’s (MU) history.
Caputo’s legacy left an imprint on Millersville and its campus. He reorganized campus affairs and strengthened the foundation of MU’s historic relationship with Lancaster County and integrated social diversity and tolerance into the core values. With the restructuring of Millersville campus, the social spectrum evolved into an inclusive hub of multiplicity.
In 1993, Dr. Bernice Rydell became the first woman appointed vice president. Then in 2003, MU elected the first African American female provost and chief academic officer, Dr. Francine G. McNairy. With the election McNairy, the entire educational spectrum began to shift. Through her term, MU adopted an international studies program, and in 1993, adopted women’s studies, African American studies and Latino studies minors.
The different focuses soon became a catalyst of change; students and the community began to highlight global and social issues. With the coupling of education and the technological age, Millersville began to see the ideas of gender, race and cultural identity become integrated into the campus community.
From there, MU founded the Center for Politics and Public Affairs, the Wellness Center and the Women’s Center. Administration began to focus on admitting students with a higher academic capacity and students of differing background and race. The academia and student life flourished and the campus thus expanded.
But in 1993, Millersville faced steep budget cuts, leading the institution to reduce the staff by 25 and classes by 50. Through this trial, MU converged and established a strong relationship with alumni and the local community and Commonwealth, leading to its eventual financial stability.
Athletics was still a large part of the campus community and assisted in the establishment of “Marauder Pride”. During the time period, women’s basketball flourished under Coach Mary Flieg, who led the team to win four PSAC division titles and 25 games in a single season. Gene Carpenter led MU’s football to team success, and John Kochan led the men’s basketball team to multiple game wins.
There was a dark time in 1996, when Kochan was involved in a sport scandal, including academic dishonesty, illegal cash play and unauthorized use of equipment, leading him to resign. However, MU was able to rebound and in the same year was named by U.S. News and World Report, as “one of America’s best schools.”
During this time of expansion and social prominence, The Snapper highlighted social issues and became the mouthpiece for social justice. Students wrote about social issues and other various campus evolutions, including articles on housing establishment and the movement to coeducational housing, which opened new concerns about personal safety, public health and campus crimes. They also outlined the annual coed naked relays and a picture of a naked winner graced the front page.
Overall, through the juxtaposition of social justifications, adversity and strong leadership, MU became the institution that many recognize today.