A look at the Exponent’s history

The Exponent

ex·po·nent:  noun \ik-ˈspō-nənt, ˈek-ˌ\ a person who believes in and promotes the truth or benefits of an idea or theory.

  • The first issue of the The College Exponent was published on May 30, 1895. It featured an article by then-president James Reid articulating his ideas on higher education. The names of the editors and contributors, and even the reason behind the newspaper’s name, have been lost to time, but a framed copy still hangs in the Exponent office.

  • A little over a year later, on Oct. 21, 1896, the cornerstone of Montana Hall (then Main Hall) was laid on top of a time capsule — a box marked with Masonic emblems of the compass and square. Several copies of the Exponent were included inside the box, along with college catalogs, building blueprints, a list of Masonic members and a silver dollar. I’m not sure if the box remains today, but it’s humbling to think the Exponent was placed at the cornerstone of campus.

  • In 1910, the Exponent was officially placed under student leadership, and has remained so since.

  • Perhaps the biggest event in the Exponent’s history came in 1916 when editors Lester Cole and Fred Bullock advocated in a front-page editorial for a change from Montana State College’s old nickname “Aggies” to our current mascot, the Bobcat. A monument to their words and the change can still be seen in front of the Spirit statue, north of Montana Hall.

  • Throughout the years up to today, the Exponent has served generations of Bobcats. It has seen affluent times and hard times, been a artsy, offbeat, news magazine, and (like today) a newspaper more seriously focused on covering campus issues.

Unfortunately a lot of the Exponent’s history has been lost with time and the inevitable change of generations. Interested readers can find additional Exponent history in the soon-to-be-organized Exponent archives in our office, SUB 366, or the much better organized archives in Renne Library.