September 11, 2017: Robert A. Kasprzak to Present “The Pilots and Personalities of the 28th Aero Squadron.”

The next meeting of the Huffman Prairie Aviation Historical Society will take place on Monday, September 11, at 7:00pm. All are welcome!

The program will be held at the East Interpretive Center, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, 2380 Memorial Road (intersection of State Route 444 and Kauffman Road), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

On Monday evening, September 11, Robert A. Kasprzak will share “The Pilots and Personalities of the 28th Aero Squadron.” Mr. Kasprzak retired in 1995 after 25 years of active duty the United States Air Force. Today he serves as president of the Military Heritage Chapter (Ohio Region) of the League of WWI Aviation Historians.

28th Aero Squadron Command Staff, November 1918. Courtesy of NARA.

For questions about the event, please call 937-775-2092 or email archives@www.libraries.wright.edu.

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WSU’s 50th Anniversary: Hamilton Hall- Why Hamilton?

As we approach the 50th anniversary of Wright State, Special Collections & Archives has been receiving a lot of questions about various aspects of campus history, which has provided us the opportunity to dig in to the University Archives to try to find some answers!  One topic that has come up multiple times is the history of Hamilton Hall- WSU’s first residence hall- and where it got its name.

Many buildings on campus are named for someone, but it has typically been for a campus founder, (Stanley Allyn, Robert Oelman), or for someone who made a major gift, (David Rike, Ervin J. Nutter). But in conversations with long-time faculty and staff, no one could recall why Hamilton Hall carried that name. More curious was that while the dormitory opened in 1970, we find no mention or reference to the name “Hamilton Hall” until 1977, known only as the WSU Residence Hall in early campus directories, maps, and publications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The answers revealed themselves in the minutes of the May 1977 Board of Trustees meeting, as described by an article appearing in The Guardian Student Newspaper on July 26, 1977. It turns out Hamilton was not a person at all, but rather a reference to a prehistoric river deep below the surface of the Miami Valley. In the fall of 1976, a board was formed to find a suitable name for the University Residence Hall, “long a nameless structure often confused with the neighboring University Center” (which is now part of the Student Union).  Students were eager to name the dorm, and while many names were considered, the committee could find no name or individual closely associated with the development of the dorm. While the names of “Golding” (in honor of Brage Golding, WSU’s first president) and “Hopewell” (in honor of the prehistoric Native American culture) were considered, the committee ultimately selected “Hamilton Hall”, a suggestion of longtime WSU administrator, Frederick White.

According to the article, “the name Hamilton refers to an underground water source, the remains of an ancient river that carved a deep gorge through the area now occupied by Dayton and Hamilton”. Formed during the Ice Age, “this underground river gorge is still filled with water, and lies basically where the Miami River lies today”.

Wright State celebrates its 50th anniversary as an independent public university in 2017, culminating with a special Homecoming celebration Sept. 29 through Oct. 1.

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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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