Chart celebrates 70 years as voice of students

T.R. Hanrahan

Kenneth McCaleb didn’t mess around.

McCaleb founded The Chart at Joplin Junior College and this year the paper marks its 70th anniversary.

The first edition of The Chart was published on Nov. 10, 1939 and featured news of a social nature and a news story on Student Senate elections. In the edition of The Chart you hold in your hands is hard news about changes in the University administration, the newly commissioned campus police officers, and a story about Student Senate elections. Much has changed since 1939, but a lot of the principles that McCaleb intended for the paper remain.

“I was trying to get a sensible name for a college newspaper,” he said in 1988. “The Chart sounded like a straight-forward name that could serve as a record of the College’s progress. It must have been a pretty good name.”

Indeed.

I have spent almost 25 percent of my lifetime involved with The Chart and I thank God for every bit of it. I am not alone, either. The paper has produced reporters and editors who work for major news organizations. It has covered the growth of Joplin Junior College and every other name the institution adopted. And it has always covered important issues of the day.

One of the joys of having a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in mass communication is that I get to spend a lot of time in The Chart’s archives – mining the morgue, I like to call it. I took a look at the issues from the 1967-1968 and 1968-1969 school years and found some interesting articles.

At that time, the United States was deep into its involvement in the Vietnam War. The March 22, 1968 edition contained the following passage introducing a story:

“In the last three issues of The Chart, we have published articles concerning Vietnam’s history, the Geneva accords and U.S. involvement.

In this issue we are presenting the arguments for remaining in Vietnam and the major proponents of that policy. This article is a compilation of papers written by Mrs. Annetta St. Clair’s U.S. government classes.

In the next issue, we will give the arguments for withdrawing from Vietnam and supporters of that side of the equation.”

Annetta St. Clair just retired from the University this past May. It was a joy to find her name in that editor’s note.

Former Missouri Gov. Warren Hearnes passed away last week. 1967-1968 was also the school year that Missouri Southern College became a four-year institution. The College began offering upper division courses in the summer of 1968.

The Chart will continue to try and track the University’s progress and we will continue to look back to the staffs that came before us. On the editorial page from time to time, we will reprint excerpts from the papers pages of yesteryear.