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MU’s 2020 vision from 1974

A perusal through the archives of “The Outlook” takes readers back in time through the last 90 years of our student publication. From streakers on campus to public arguments between editors and students, “The Outlook” has never failed to provide the present with a glimpse into the past.
One article in particular from the Friday, Dec. 6, 1974 edition written by staff writer-at-the-time Bob Williams presented a prediction for how Monmouth University would look 50 years later, in 2020. As we reside in that decade itself, it’s only fitting to see which predictions of his have become fact and which have yet to come true (if at all).

“I graduated from Monmouth College in June of 1976 and like almost everyone, I made frequent visits in the years immediately afterward,” Williams began, writing from a first person point-of-view. “In the beginning,” he continued, “the nostalgia was rich, but the subtle changes that I saw taking place each time back, made me realize not so long that there was nothing here for which to come back anymore.”
He proceeds to write in a way that assumes he is a features writer for a Phoenix publication, assigned to cover colleges and universities across the country. His first prediction is as such: “Monmouth University, in the academic year 2020-2021, is alive and well, though struggling like always in the competitive realm of higher education to meet the needs of students in rapidly changing times.”

In 2020, Monmouth was in fact struggling, but notably with how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes moved online, with some labs and lectures in person for select majors. While Williams missed the specificity, the near accuracy still prevalent is eerie in its own right.
Williams continued to explain that the University now offered a major in rocketry, due to the high demand from its students. Quoting fictional University President William Slight, Williams wrote, “‘Next year, we are hoping to begin a special option for rocketry students which will provide a lot of practical experience. In conjunction with Brookdale University and Polytechnic Institute, we want to sponsor a year of research on the planet Zupo – you know, the one discovered by the Robinsons in 1997 when they were still headed for Alpha-Centauri.’”

Although there is not a rocketry major presently at Monmouth, perhaps there could be one for students within the next 50 years?

Williams did not fail to mention tuition within his predictions, accurately citing the constant raise in tuition prices. He wrote, “Mon-mouth University, like other private colleges across the solar system, has been hard hit by rising costs and declining student enrollment.” He then quoted fictional President Slight again, who is written as having said, “‘Our tuition,’ says Slight, ‘is $7,000,000,000 a semester and our enrollment is down to 2,287 full time undergraduate students, a drop of 10,000 from a decade ago, but we are confident that tuition won’t have to be increased again.’”

Currently, for comparison, Monmouth’s tuition is $22,876 per semester for 12-18 credits, according to Monmouth’s website page on tuition. Enrollment is also approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students, again according to Monmouth’s website.

In the article, Williams proceeds to predict that social life has thrived, as well as sports. Clubs such as WMCX-FM radio and “The Outlook” have remained somewhat the same, much to this editor’s satisfaction of that remaining to be true.

Overall, it is safe to say that Williams’ prediction is not so far off from the reality we have lived. From here, only time will tell if our own predictions will hold up in 2074.