Walking through the campus we all can quickly find our way around. It’s easy to learn the quickest ways from Cove to the Nease Library, from Spangeburg to the Mann Center, but have we ever stopped and asked the simple question of why? Why are all the buildings named the way they are? It seems like every year the joke is made how the Angell building has one “L” too many, but this is not a mistake. Many know that most of the buildings on campus are named after someone, but who are those people exactly? After some digging and a decent amount of caffeine, we may finally be able to know what these individuals did that landed their names on the sides of ENC’s buildings.
Ernest E. Angell
On August 18, 1906, back when there was no Eastern Nazarene College, the Educational Committee of the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America appointed Reverend Ernest E. Angell to be principal of Pentecostal Collegiate Institute. Angell was originally a pastor at John Wesley Pentecostal Church of Brooklyn, New York. While principal, the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America united with the Church of the Nazarene. According to James R. Cameron’s book on ENC, The Last Fifty Years, Angell brought a representative of the Nazarenes to talk with the Missionary Committee of the APCA. It was Angell that put forth the idea to build ENC even though PCI was struggling financially at the time. He was to become the secretary of the school once it opened but fell ill before it was finished. Angell’s faith and clarity have more than spoken for his place on ENC’s campus. Were it not for the tough decision he made, we wouldn’t even have an ENC to go to. Angell would later return to the college under the presidency of Fred Shields to serve as a pastor for the college.
Fred J. Shields
ENC officially opened its doors in the fall of 1918. At the time, the president of the college was J.E.L. Moore, however, in February of 1919, Moore was offered the position of president of Pentecostal Nazarene University. After turning in his letter of resignation to ENC, he recommended a Fred J. Shields who was the acting president of a Nazarene school in Nampa, Idaho. Shields accepted the offer and brought a few other influential faces: Bertha Munro and Floyd W. Nease. Talks of moving the school to Wollaston had gone on for the first few years it had been in construction, but it was President Shields that insisted that the trustees put action to words. The trustees had been looking at multiple locations (including the former Quincy Mansion School for girls and location in New Haven, Connecticut), but Shields made a final decision to move to Quincy. According to The First Fifty Years, his decision met three criteria that made Quincy stand out: “At the time, the educational standards in Massachusetts were regarded as the highest in the nation… In the second place, the educational and cultural advantages of this location were outstanding… The third distinct advantage of this location for E.N.C. was the opportunity for gainful employment for students in the community.”
Shields was a great president for the college, but one tragic day made him stand down from the college. On October 2, 1922, Shields’ five-year old daughter Grace was on the way home from playing at the beach when she was run over by a car on Wollaston Beach Boulevard. Two days later, the college chapel held her funeral and buried her. Having already been burdened by the responsibilities of the college, Shields felt the need to resign. In his last report, he left some words to live by for the future of the school:
“In my closing four years’ work at Eastern Nazarene College… I believe we can say there has been some progress for which we give God all the glory.”
Thanks to the leadership of Fred J. Shields, we are in the most advantageous location for not just students, but also for Christians in the North East.
Floyd W. Nease
As stated before, Shields decided to take some friends with him on the road trip across the country to accept the presidency; one of them was Floyd W. Nease. Nease began as the registrar and secretary of faculty, however President Shields resignation resulted in other necessary changes to people’s roles on campus. Shields and the trustees had planned to send requests to Dr. H.O. Wiley and Dr. J.B. Chapman to see if either of them were interested in becoming the next president of ENC. Should both of those efforts fail, the trustees were to invite Nease to become the next acting president of ENC. For reasons unknown, both requests failed and Floyd W. Nease accepted the presidency.
Upon accepting the presidency, Nease decide to make Shields’ second guest, Bertha Munro, the dean of students for the school. Nease demonstrated grace under pressure, having planned and constructed what is now Munro hall in under six months to accommodate the enrollment increase of more than fifty students in the fall of 1926. The building’s construction had just finished as the new students would be arriving and the heating would be fully functional before the cold settled in. As an added bonus, by creating the new dorm, a spot was open to make an athletic field since previously students simply had to make do with the basement of Canterbury chapel (now simply Canterbury).
What may have made Nease stand out is the fact that with ENC’s record of Presidents resigning, Nease was the first to ask for an extension on his contract. After being granted such an extension by the trustees, he later went on to challenge them in a Trustee meeting, urging them to appoint a full-time representative to raise funds for the college and to form some facility of employment for the students. After making this proposal twice, the trustees decided to do nothing about either proposal. Nease would later be offered the position of superintendent to the New England District. He took a day off for prayer and consideration and, on the day of the Educational Anniversary service, Nease announced “…that in view of his relationship to the Eastern Nazarene College, it would be impossible for him to serve the district as superintendent.” And thus, Nease continued his presidency until October 26, 1930. While Nease was on a trip to the Pittsburg District to fundraise for ENC, a sickness he had been fighting got the better of him.
All the hope, love and improvement that Floyd W. Nease brought to the campus would cement his name into the legacy of ENC (both figuratively and literally).
R. Wayne Gardner
Originally a professor at ENC, R. Wayne Gardner was chosen to succeed President Nease. Dean Munro felt that Gardner would be “the Joshua to continue the work laid down by President Nease [Moses].” Following in Nease’s footsteps, Gardner challenged the trustees with the simple phrase “Let us stop the complaining and get to work” (words to live by). The major issue during Gardner’s presidency was that the campus seemed to be locked in a state of depression in its various forms: emotionally by the death of Floyd W. Nease and financially by the beginning of the Great Depression. The sorrow was so much that James R. Cameron has titled Gardner’s section of the book “Fighting the Depression.” On top of this ENC had somehow accrued fifty thousand dollars worth of debt. Fortunately for Gardner, this debt made the trustees willing to listen to any proposal to alleviate it. Under his presidency, Gardner sought that the Boy’s dorms were built and made a statement for The Herald in hopes of generating more donations to the college. The article was titled “A Christmas Gift to Help Save Eastern Nazarene College.” The article helped overfund the original goal of fifteen thousand dollars; they raised eighteen thousand dollars. Gardner’s influence helped the school stay afloat during the Great Depression and the mourning of a strong President, earning him his place at the heart of ENC.
More to Follow
There are obviously other historical figures who have yet to be named. Read Part 2 to find out about Munro in greater detail, cover the loving family tale of Cove and showcase the impact of students in the life of Spangeburg.
Cameron, James R. “The First Fifty Years” Nazarene Publishing House, 1968.
Presidents Shields, Angell, Nease and Gardner: 1923 edit. of ENC Nautilus. pp 13-15. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/nautilus1923unse
Angell Hall: http://www.enc.edu/campus-tour/angell-hall/
Shields Hall: https://www.enc.edu/ic/grid.html
Gardner Hall: https://www.enc.edu/ic/grid.html