After 47 years as a student, professor, and president at Indiana State Normal School in Terre Haute, William Parsons was approaching his retirement when the Eastern Division (now Ball State University) of that institution was established in Muncie in 1918. The Eastern Division started with a set of four-year, two-year, and one-year programs in Education. 380 students enrolled that first summer, but the enrollment decreased in the fall to 225. The first commencement was held on June 13, 1919, with 10 transfer students graduating. Following the commencement, a plaque was unveiled in honor of the Ball Brothers gift to the state of the building and grounds that became the Eastern Division of Indiana State Normal School. Because of the distance from Terre Haute, Parsons did not spend long periods in Muncie. The business of the Eastern Division was conducted on a daily basis by an appointed administrative team consisting of Dean of the College Benjamin F. Moore, Dean of Men Oscar M. Pittenger, and Dean of Women Viletta Baker. Parsons retired as President in 1921.