Editor's note: In honor of the university's centennial year, The Daily News is counting down 100 days to the university's celebration Sept. 6 with 100 of Ball State's most famous traditions and figures. Check back each day to read about Cardinal history.
Lemuel Arthur “L.A.” Pittenger, Ball State’s fourth president, was born in Delaware County and went to Indiana State University.
He had a long career in education before coming to Ball State. He taught English at Muncie High School, was a faculty member at the Indiana normal school, taught at Bloomington High School and became head of the English department at Kent State Normal School, according to Ball State’s website.
Outside of education, Pittenger served three two-year terms in the Indiana House of Representatives. It was during his time as a representative that Pittenger also became a professor of rural education at Ball State.
While his career at the university began in 1923, Pittenger didn’t assume the role of president until the death of Benjamin Burris in 1927.
It was under his leadership in 1929 that the Indiana General Assembly separated Ball Teachers College from the Indiana State Normal School, renaming the university Ball State Teachers College.
While the name changed, it took Pittenger three attempts to get the North Central Association of College and Secondary Schools to transfer Ball State from the list of teacher-training schools to the list of colleges and universities in 1930, according to Ball State’s website.
Several buildings were added to campus during Pittenger’s presidency from 1927-42. Those included Burris Laboratory School, the Fine Arts Building and Elliot Hall.
Additionally, the Muncie Chamber of Commerce dedicated the Beneficence statue to the Ball Brothers. It was placed on campus in 1937 and has remained there since.
It was in 1942 that Pittenger resigned from the presidency due to an illness. However, he was elected to the Indiana State Senate in 1952.
It was in that year that Ball State constructed a student center on the south side of campus and named it the L.A. Pittenger Student Center after the former president.
While it is one of the older buildings on campus, the center was renovated in 2010 and now contains a food court, hotel, hair salon and bowling alley.