Beaufort Summer School

Posted on August 02, 2017

Established in 1928, the Beaufort Summer School was initially a biology course at the seashore in Beaufort, North Carolina, with the aim of teaching marine research and cataloging the marine diversity of the North Carolina coast. This new program used the laboratories at Beaufort High School. By 1931, the Biology Department of the Woman’s College was offering a highly selective three-week summer term in Zoology at the Beaufort facility, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. In 1935, under the supervision of then Zoology professor Archie Shaftesbury, construction began on the Carolina Marine Laboratory in Beaufort. The City of Beaufort donated the land, and funds for construction were raised partly by federal funding and by donations from students, alumni, faculty, and other friends of the college. The new facility was opened to classes from other colleges, including Davidson, and Furman. Around this same time, Duke University began building its own marine laboratory on Pivers Island at Beaufort. In the summer of 1938, the Woman’s College for the first time offered college credit for summer courses taken at Beaufort. In addition to biology courses being offered, the Art Department also offered summer classes at Beaufort. Classes at Beaufort were suspended from 1942-1945 due to World War II, but resumed in 1946. In 1954, an extensive Fine Arts Summer Session was offered at Beaufort which utilizing public school buildings and included classes in art, dance, music, theater, and writing. For more than twenty years, Professor Shaftesbury tried, unsuccessfully, to get dormitories constructed at Beaufort. Even into the 1950s, students who came to the Beaufort Summer School were still having to arrange their own living arrangements in town, eat at local cafes, as well as arranging for their own transportation to and from the laboratory each day. Shaftesbury retired in 1959, and the last Woman’s College classes were held at Beaufort in 1962.

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