While eager freshmen wheel suitcases and lug furniture up to their new home for the semester, it’s not uncommon to picture what the future may hold for them at Ball State.
It would be hard, however, to grasp the university’s past — what it took to mold what was once a donation from the Ball brothers into the university students know today.
In fact, not even the name of the university was the same when June Yates attended Ball State.
World War II was coming to a close as Yates began her first semester at Ball State Teachers College in 1944. At the time, most men were finishing their tours of duty, making women the majority of the student population.
Before the men returned, Yates lived in Elliott Hall with one roommate. On the top floor of the residence hall was an open space for aspiring nurses being fast-tracked through the program to provide quick aid to those still fighting the war.
“I was 18, they put me with a girl who was 23. I thought, ‘Why are they putting me with an old lady?’ But, we became best friends,” Yates said. “She was a wonderful girl.”