Joseph Francis Bivins (1874-1904) was graduated from Trinity College in 1896 and was characterized by his instructors as a “brilliant scholar.” He graduated with highest honors, was named the valedictorian of the class of 1896, and received the Braxton Craven Scholarship Medal. In 1898, Bivins was named the first headmaster of the newly-established Trinity Park School, a college preparatory institution.Under his leadership, the school did well both educationally and financially, sending all but a few of its graduates to college, the preponderance going to Trinity. Bivins earned a license to preach in 1898, and, at the time of his death, was a member of the Methodist North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church.
Bivins Building is a two-story brick building featuring Spanish Mission architecture, erected in the summer and fall of 1905. It was used as a dormitory for Trinity Park School until that institution closed in 1922, after which it was used as a dormitory for Trinity College. From 1927 to 1930, it served as the departmental headquarters for the Botany and Zoology Departments, and then as the home of the Department of Civil Engineering. It was renovated in the 1980s as part of a Duke Arts Complex initiative, along with Branson Hall, and was converted into faculty offices for arts programs. The building currently houses the International Comparative studies program.
For Further Research:
- Biographical Reference Collection - Contains biographical information on Bivins.
- Building Reference Collection - Contains historical building information.
- Photographs on Flickr related to the Bivins Building.