Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts





First Advisor

Timothy Wolters


Iowa State University began as a small land grant institution that offered a narrow education in the agricultural and technical fields. The College Building, commonly referred to as Old Main, housed students and provided several classrooms for Iowa State. The structure was the focal point of the campus, and the building symbolized the college’s original narrow educational goals and purposes. After the state government amended Iowa’s educational code in 1884, the institution gradually began to broaden its curriculum and introduced new courses which triggered a backlash from farmers’ organizations. This opposition halted Iowa State’s expanding educational goals, but by the turn of the century the institution slowly returned to broadening and diversifying its curriculum outside the agricultural and technical fields. Aside from new coursework and heightened enrollment, the institution also experienced two fires in the early 1900s which destroyed Old Main. From the ashes of Old Main arose the Central Building, which the college built as a replacement. The institution experienced unprecedented growth in enrollment and curriculum, and Iowa State’s new Central Building symbolized sweeping changes. Reforged in fire explores how the Central Building helped display, facilitate, and make permanent Iowa State’s broadening educational goals and embodied the institution’s evolving purpose.

Copyright Owner

Daniel Kaiser



File Format


File Size

42 pages

Included in

History Commons