SAU history online

SAU Archives screenshot

With a computer, a tablet, or a smart phone linked to the Internet, SAU alumni and friends can view the University’s history online. There are yearbook photographs of people, places, and events beginning in 1914; audio files of faculty, staff, and alumni sharing memories of their schooldays; videos with stories of SAU’s past; excerpts from the centennial history of the University that are illustrated with yearbook photographs; biographical and statistical information about faculty and staff, buildings, budgets, and enrollments; and Read More

The Varsitonians: Playing Swing Music from the Club House to the Normandie

The 1937-38 Varsitonians at the Club House, front row, left to right: Billy Bennett, Henry Mize, Walter Whitlow Stokes, James Van Sweden, and Charles E. Haydon; back row, l. to r.: Albert Prator, Roy Lewis, Sidney Smith, J. W. Gladney, and Bob James. Three musicians who went to France not shown: Harold Gilbert, Herbert Lawrence, and Harold Hunsaker.

The Varsitonians, the Magnolia A&M and SSC swing band, for some 30 years brought Benny Goodman-style jazz and dance music to thousands of students and citizens of south Arkansas and, once, even to Paris, France. French language professor Charles E. Haydon organized the first Varsitonians in 1936, drawing musicians from the Magnolia A&M College marching band. The Varsitonians played at the campus “Club House,” east of the Greek Theater, for student dances. They also entertained off-campus, earning pocket money. Professor Read More

SAU’s First Study Abroad Trip: Mexico, 1957


Southern State College first offered academic credit for study in a foreign country in 1957 when sociology Professor George Fay took a busload of students on a 38-day trip to Mexico. Students could earn six hours in history and sociology by taking notes and answering lengthy sets of questions about the 25 Mexican cities and innumerable historical and cultural sites that they visited. Essential to the venture’s success was the bus driver, Earl Miller, at the early stage of his Read More

SAU’s four alma maters

In spring 1951, just after Magnolia A&M College became Southern State College, music major Hugh Canterbury mulled over Band Director Richard Oliver’s assignment – compose a piece of original music. At the time, the SSC band played the A&M “loyalty song.” The tradition of lyrically expressing loyalty to colleges originated in 18th Century England. There, alma mater (Latin for “fostering mother”) first referred to schools venerated in poems and songs. Magnolia A&M’s “loyalty song” was written in 1927 by Harriet Read More

Early Mulerider Baseball

The First Baseball Team. At far right is Coach Hainan Holtzclaw. Players in 1911 and in 1912 included the following men, none identified in this photo: Fred Baskin, Horace L. Buffington, John W. Dawson, Marvin Dudney, Irwin Heath, Thomas Melvin Holt, Conrad Lewis, William Clifford Peace, N. Alton Sawyer, Robert Smith, and Lewis Tate. SAU Archives.

Baseball fans first heard the crack of a Mulerider ballplayer’s bat 100 years ago. On March 3, 1911, the Third District Agricultural School’s Board of Trustees authorized $70 for uniforms bearing the school’s initials. That spring the team played ball for the first time. This early start gives baseball the honor of being Southern Arkansas University’s oldest athletic program, predating Mulerider football, which began that fall. Hainan Holtzclaw, an agriculture instructor, coached the team in the early games. A baseball Read More