Celebrating Wright State’s 50th: Honoring WSU’s first employee, Fred White

Have you ever wondered what White Hall was named after? Well, if you’ve been around WSU long enough, you may remember when the building was named the Fred White Ambulatory Care Center. And if you’ve been around even longer, you may remember Fred White himself, the man everyone knew and part of the heart and soul of Wright State from its earliest beginnings.


Often referred to as “Mr. Wright State”, Fred White was the first employee of the Dayton Branch of Miami University and The Ohio State University Campus, (which would become Wright State in 1967). Fred was a long time administrator at General Motors with a great interest in higher education, and as efforts to build a new state university in Dayton unfolded, Fred wanted to be a part of it. He stopped in at the Dayton Campus office in downtown Dayton to offer his services, and was soon appointed business manager for the project. White served as the business manager of the Dayton Campus from September of 1962 through July of 1965, when he was formally designated as business manager, Wright State Campus, which became Wright State University in October 1967.


A skilled manager known for his creativity and flexibility, White worked out of the farmhouse of former property owner George Warner, later known as Warner House, where he helped plan nearly every aspect of the development of the WSU campus, including land acquisitions, negotiating with base officials, working with local government, managing zoning, land use and bond issues, legislative lobbying for appropriations, and the design and construction of the campus. In 1967, White was names vice-president and treasurer of the university, and in 1972 he was appointed interim president of the university until the appointment of Rebert Kegerreis, WSU’s 2nd president, in July of 1973.


Well known for his kindness and easy demeanor, Fred White was a true architect for WSU’s future, and a most distinguished member of WSU’s past.



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Happy Preservation Week!

2017 Preservation Week

2017 Preservation Week

It is Preservation Week, 2017, and we hope you will celebrate with us by taking a step to preserve your own family history at home.  Every project starts with a first step, and one step in particular can have a huge impact on the life span of all your family treasures, whether letters, diaries, photographs, scrapbooks, tape and video cassettes, or film.  Just by taking your keepsakes out of storage areas that experience extremes in temperature and relative humidity, you will prolong their life significantly. It is estimated that the useful life of paper is cut approximately in half with every ten degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature above 68 degrees.  Avoiding storage areas in the home such as attics, garages, and basements, will go a very long way in preserving your materials.  Relocate these materials to a climate-controlled part of your home, such as a main or upper floor bedroom closet or spare room where temperature and relative humidity do not fluctuate (which causes stress to archival formats).  Below are a few more tips to help inspire you this Preservation Week:

  • Minimize handling
  • Fully support items and handle with care
  • Make sure hands are clean
  • Protect items from dust, light, and handling with acid-free boxes, folders, or polyester sleeves
  • Make copies — digital or photocopies
  • Distribute copies geographically
  • Store the original safely and use the copy for display
  • Avoid plastic containers and sleeves that smell like a new shower curtain (PVC); types of safe and inert plastics include polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyester
  • Label photographs on the back with pencil or blue photo pencil (don’t press too hard)
  • Label audio and video recordings
  • When labeling, identify people, places, and dates in detail (use full names)

Interested in more information on how to preserve family history? Visit the American Library Association’s Preservation Week website at http://www.ala.org/alcts/preservationweek.  Here you will find  a whole host of preservation resources, including free on-demand webinars on topics such as caring for your textiles, preserving your digital life, and disaster response Q&A.  Enjoy browsing the “Ask Donia” section in which preservation specialist Donia Conn answers common questions related to preserving archival material, such as “Do I dust my books?” and “What do I do with sticky photo album pages?”

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 937-775-2944 or toni.vandenbos@wright.edu.  Have a great week!

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Poems from the Past in Honor of National Poetry Month

Katharine Wright “6 or 7 yrs.”

Voices from the past speak to us through autograph albums, letters, and diaries. In honor of National Poetry Month, we’ll be sharing poems and sayings found in our collections.

Katharine Wright Autograph Album, 1882

Katharine Wright, the younger sister of Wilbur and Orville, was born on August 19, 1874, in Dayton, Ohio, to Milton and Susan Koerner Wright. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1898 and taught Latin at Steele High School in Dayton until 1908 when she resigned in order to help Orville recuperate from injuries he sustained in an airplane crash. She would later serve as director of the Young Woman’s League of Dayton and as a trustee for Oberlin College. On November 20, 1926, Katharine married Henry J. Haskell, editor of the Kansas City Star. She died on March 3, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri, and is buried in Woodland Cemetery with her parents and brothers. To learn more about Katharine’s life, please visit Special Collections & Archives on the 4th floor of Dunbar Library.

This brief verse is from Katharine’s 1882 autograph book.

May your life have 

just enough clouds

as to make a beautiful


Your friend.

Albert Long

April 22, 1882

Katharine Wright Autograph Book, 1882


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