Eight decades of covering the campus


The Beacon is entering its 80th year of covering the the Wilkes campus.

Christine Lee, Senior News Editor

When one flips through an old issue of The Beacon, it is like taking a step back in time. Within the pages, one can find volumes of history on the development and growth of Wilkes as a college and university. This year, The Beacon marks 80 years of historical contribution to the university.

First published as The Bison Stampede in 1934, the award-winning student-run newspaper was originally published twice a month by students of Bucknell University Junior College. In 1936, the paper was re-named The Bucknell Beacon and with the re-naming of Bucknell University Junior College to Wilkes College, it became the Wilkes College Beacon. The earliest edition of the paper with its current title is from Oct. 1957.

University Archivist Harold Cox said The Beacon has served as a historical reference at Wilkes for those interested in Wilkes’ early history and how it has evolved as an institution.

“It shows the evolution of how the college runs, how the students think and how they do things,” he said.

Cox said The Beacon shows how trends change over time, most notably with the advertising of cigarettes in early issues.

“Times have changed,” Cox said. “If you compare a college magazine as a standard and if you follow one college through the issues, you can see how the thinking at that college has changed.”

Cox said the changes in headlines and formatting of the paper reflects the passage of time. However, he adds that what makes The Beacon unique is its ability to document events taking place as they are taking place.

“A newspaper is what is happening,” Cox said.

Some of the most memorable events covered include the construction and opening of the Farley Library, Stark Learning Center and the Cohen Science Center, the installation of Presidents Christopher Breiseth and Patrick Leahy, the introduction of the WIN number and the death of first President Eugene Farley.

Although the passage of time has meant a variety of changes in the layout, type, stories and staff, the one thing that remains constant is the paper’s ability to document the lives and happenings of Wilkes University.

Other stories about The Beacon’s 80th anniversary:

Beacon shines for 80 years — Times Leader

Editorial Octogenarian — Wilkes Magazine