North Central College’s fifth president was Edward E. Rall. Rall’s tenure spanned the world crises of World War I, the boom time of the 1920’s, the Great Depression and World War II. His dynamic leadership allowed the College to weather the crises, as well as expand its physical plant, faculty and staff, and course offerings. The first challenge President Rall met was meeting new requirements for accreditation by the North Central Association, which he managed by raising the endowment to meet the new standards. During both World wars, President Rall petitioned to participate in two U.S. Army-sponsored training programs—the Student Army Training Corps during WWI and the Army Specialized Training Program during WWII. The use of campus facilities for these programs helped provide needed funds to support the College in wartime.
After the armistice ending World War I, the College was able to focus on expanding its physical facilities, including the purchase of Bolton (1921) and Johnson (1922) Halls as women’s dormitories, purchase of the Fort Hill Campus (1923), construction of Pfeiffer Hall (1926) as a chapel and performing arts venue, opening of Kaufman Hall (1928) which included a campus dining facility, purchase of the President’s Home (1929) and the completion of Merner Field House (1931). This state-of-the-art physical education facility included two gymnasiums and a pool. Rall’s relationship with the Pfeiffer family The Pfeiffer’s generosity toward the College is noted in the names of Pfeiffer Hall and Merner Field House, but they also provided generous contributions to scholarship funds and the College endowment. In 1946, Rall retired as President of North Central College.