The 1880s were a time of change and expansion at Augustana. Music continued to be an important part of campus life, and the first professor of music, Gustav Erik Stolpe, was appointed. Swedish became less important to the curriculum and ceased to be required for all "courses" or majors, while courses were added in scientific disciplines and business and phonography. Gymnastics and athletics began to appear on campus and in the course requirements. Women also began to appear on campus and in classrooms, first as non-matriculated students and later pursuing degrees. Social life also expanded with the founding of the Adelphic Society, a second literary society; the Linnean, a scientific society; the Students Foreign Missionary Society; and the Alumni Association.

Augustana establishes a scientific course, leading to a Bachelor of Science degree. The course differs from the general collegiate course in that classes in Greek and Latin are replaced with classes in natural sciences, higher mathematics, and French.
Oratorio Society rehearsing in Old Main Chapel
April 11, 1881
The first concert of the Handel Oratorio Society takes place during Holy Week. The inspiration for this organization's creation was Professor Olof Olsson's attendance at a London performance of Handel's Messiah in 1879. That performance moved Professor Olsson deeply. The choir is made up of students and members of nearby church choirs.
November 8 & 9, 1883
Augustana celebrates the 400th birthday of Martin Luther. A shell enclosing plank seating for 3,000 and named Jubilee Hall is built for the occasion. Synod leaders such as Hasslequist, Olsson, Eric Norelius, and Erland Carlsson speak. Musical selections include Handel's Messiah, Haydn's Creation, and Wennerberg's Psalms. Only one afternoon session of the celebration is given in English; all others are in Swedish.
Spring 1883
The Board approves new rules and regulations for students at the recommendation of the faculty. Students are to be properly dressed and have their rooms "properly ventilated" at 6:30 a.m., are forbidden to make noise in college buildings after 9 p.m., and are to participate in outdoor sports only at specifically designated times.
May 1885
Ines Rundstrom is the first woman to graduate from Augustana College, following the appearance of several non-matriculated female students earlier in the decade.
January 18, 1886
The Augustana Conservatory is founded for the purpose of giving training to organists and music teachers. In addition to classes in performance and music history, Christianity is also a required part of the Conservatory curriculum.
October 1888
The founding of the "Commercial Department," or the "Augustana Business College and School of Phonography." The department offers a range of course in subjects such as bookkeeping, business arithmetic, and penmanship.
Old Main
June 12, 1889
Dedication of Memorial Hall, the main campus building. Although this long-awaited building has been used for classes and meetings since February 1888, the dome remains unfinished. The building is modeled after the main building at Uppsala University and includes the library and chapel. Memorial Hall is today the oldest building still standing on the Augustana campus, and is currently known as Old Main.
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