Kenneth Gordon Matheson, Chairman of the English Department, was named chairman
of the faculty and acting president of the school while a search for Hall's
successor took place. Matheson interpreted his title of acting president
literally: as a mandate to act--energetically and decisively--to further
expand the buildings and programs of the school. While President Hall solidly
established the School's reputation as the pre-eminent technical school
of the South, President Matheson can be credited with turning the technical
school into a full-fledged university.
Matheson accomplished this by focusing on key programs and services that are hallmarks of a major university and that complemented the solid technical education the School already afforded its students. John Heisman, the School's athletic coach since 1903, when he was hired away from Clemson University, obtained a baseball and football field for the School in 1903. Until this time, all games had been played in either Piedmont or Brisbane Park. Heisman leased land-the south two thirds of the present-day Grant field--from Edward Peters. Heisman leased the land with the option to buy. In 1906, during Matheson's administration, the land was purchased for $16,000. The remainder of land for present-day Grant Field was later purchased in 1913 with funds donated by John W. Grant. The field was named for Grant's son.
One of Matheson's strong interests-and of great importance to the School in its quest to be an academic institution of merit-was the development of a good library. While Chairman of the English Department, Matheson had begun a library first housed in his office and then on the third floor of the Academic Building. The Annual Announcement of 1902-1903 described the library on the third floor of the Academic Building as a "well-organized and well-selected library of nearly 2,000 volumes Valuable literary and scientific reference-books have been acquired, and departments established in fiction, history, biography, travel, philosophy and natural science." In addition, the Announcement noted that a "handsomely-furnished and well-equipped reading room" equipped with "some forty of the leading papers and periodicals" had been established in connection with the library. (21)
Matheson wrote to Andrew Carnegie and persuaded him to fund a library at the Georgia School of Technology. Carnegie donated $20,000 to build the library, provided the school "agrees to furnish $2,000 a year to sustain the library and employ trained help." (22) The architectural firm of Morgan and Dillon was hired to design the library. President Matheson was enthusiastic about the proposed design, noting "every foot of available space will be used and the building will be flooded with light." (23) The Library was designed to hold 6,000 to 8,000 volumes in the library proper, with a stack room of 30,000 volumes. The Carnegie Library opened for business September 1907.
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