Hundreds of visitors to Alden Library this weekend did not come looking for a place to do homework and write papers. Instead, they came looking to share in the story of Ohio University.
Each year during Homecoming, the Libraries hosts a fourth-floor exhibit highlighting Ohio University life through student publications, yearbooks, posters and more.
Well over 200 more visitors attended this year versus last year. According to Bill Kimok, University archivist and records manager, much of the increase in numbers comes from current students coming in to visit the exhibit both in their classes and on their study breaks.
“I think that students often think of archives as being boring, old documents created and preserved by stodgy old administrators,” said Kimok, who organizes the display each year. “But we purposely fill the display with student-life materials, and once they are here seeing it for themselves, students are surprised by how interesting and relative to their lives an archives and [our] University history can be.”
In addition to the alumni and students, the exhibit featured a visit earlier in the week from soon-to-be-inaugurated President Nellis and First Lady Nellis.
Many alumni said they attend the event each year, because the vast amount of materials give them opportunities to learn something new each year. And they can already plan their trips back next year, as Kimok said the exhibit is calendared for 2018.
“I am still more encouraged than ever to continue offering this display for years to come,” he said.
For more alumni reactions, check out the photo gallery below.
“It would have been fun to come whether or not it was Homecoming but this made it a special thing,” said Lisa Guyton (left) as she flipped through an OHIO yearbook, pointing things out to her husband, John Guyton (right). Lisa had not visited OHIO since she graduated in 1980. “[The exhibit is] nice because the you have the opportunity to look at things and peruse through them. If it were in a case, you couldn’t look through it. It’s nice that they have hard copies of things—not just digital versions.”
“My wife attended OHIO from 1971 to 1975,” said Terry Murray, who added he often visits Athens with her at Homecoming. “I think [the exhibit] is fantastic. I have an uncle who went here in the late 1950s, early 1960s, [so] I am trying to find him in the yearbook.”
“My daughter is a sophomore, and we try to make it back for Homecoming every year,” said Gretchen Davies (right), who graduated in 1998, as she laughed with her daughter, Arleigh Walton (left), while showing her old photos. “I think the exhibit is pretty amazing. [Arleigh] thought it was pretty amazing to see my picture in the yearbook with 1988 hair.”
“I like that this is not a table display,” said alumnus Ozan Suer (center) (2003,2007). “It is easy to be interactive when you are going through it. I am looking for and hoping to catch old maps. Every few decades, something on campus changes, and it is nice to look back to see you what you remember and also discover things that were here before.” Here, Suer shows his daughter, Alina Suer, age 2, and Alina’s aunt, alumna Elizabeth Schoeppner (left) (2016), some posters from OHIO clubs.
Alumnus Jon Barber (right), a member of the class of 1970, never had an official graduation ceremony, because the University closed in early May of 1970 after the riots at Kent State University in Ohio. Barber said he returns at Homecoming time every chance he gets. “I see this exhibit every time I come back,” he said. “I enjoy it. It is nice to see all the stuff that has happened.” Here, he looks at old copies of The Post, while Christopher Sabin, a current student, and alumna Maria Dutcher (1995), read old newspapers.
Alumnus Robert Maher, (1977), looks at the 1956 edition of the “Green Goat” during the annual Homecoming display in Alden Library on Oct. 7, 2017. The exhibit attracted both alumni and current students who viewed 19 tables of historic documents and artifacts.
All Photos by Lexi Browning/Ohio University Libraries