Celebrating Wright State’s 50th: WSU’s Founding Faculty, Part 2

In this 2nd installment of the university history series on the founding faculty of WSU, we are spotlighting Dr. Alphonso Smith, Professor Emeritus of the College of Science and Mathematics.

Al came to the Dayton Campus in 1964 to help Ohio State develop the  mathematics program at their new branch campus here, at what would eventually become Wright State University. Al was one of the first faculty from Ohio State who came to help develop the new university, and like many of the others of that period, Al had planned to stay only a few years, but ended up staying for his entire career at the university that he helped build. Through these interviews you get the true sense of what it was like for these original faculty pioneers, and what it meant to them to help create this new university and watch it grow. We invite you to explore the history of WSU through their memories of this special period as captured through the WSURA oral history project.  Below is a video clip of Al describing the first year at the new school and the special relationship that began to develop among the original faculty.

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Tony Hall, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations and Congressman, visits Special Collections and Archives

Ambassador Tony Hall working in his collection

Special Collections and Archives was honored to have Tony Hall, former Ambassador and Congressman, visit the archives last week to do research in his papers. Accompanying Hall was his former advisor and chief of staff, Rick Carne. Hall donated his papers to Wright State in 2002 and 2006. The Tony Hall Papers document the career of Tony Hall as both a U.S. Congressman, representing the Third District of Ohio, and as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.  The papers contain voting records, congressional bills, constituent correspondence, personal correspondence, speeches, photographs, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, memorabilia, and research on a variety of topics. During his visit, archives staff had the opportunity to talk with him about the purpose of his research. Hall commented that he was very glad he donated the papers to WSU for their long term preservation and access. His purpose for coming was to review materials on North Korea to help him respond to the many interviews and requests for presentations he is receiving right now. Hall and Carne traveled to North Korea several times in the 1990s to see firsthand the state of the people in the country. He said the information he gathered from his trips is very relevant to what is happening today. History matters!

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Do you believe in ghosts? Orville Wright Sighting in Dunbar Library

Last week, Orville Wright was seen in the Dunbar Library on campus. We think it was him due to the mustache and hat. He wasn’t as tall as he was in real life, but we are pretty sure it was Orville checking up on the Wright 1903 Flyer hanging in the library atrium.

In reality, it was 7 year-old Hunter Perry. His dad and mom, Richard and Maggie, work in the library and Hunter is a frequent visitor. He has been attending WSU’s Discovery Camp this summer. During week 2 of Discovery Camp this year, Hunter participated in a class called Night at the Museum. His class visited Special Collections and Archives that week and they learned about the Wright Brothers along with other Daytonians. Hunter’s mom said, “Every day after that, he’d come to the library and look up at the replica flyer and the cutouts of the Wright Brothers from the atrium. When it came time to dress as a famous person, the Wright Brothers were at the top of the list. He made the choice to be Orville because he wanted to wear a mustache.”

Hunter does look like Orville. Here’s the proof!

If you’d like to see more photos of Orville’s mustache or learn more about the Wright Brothers, visit Special Collections and Archives in the Dunbar Library.

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