Founders Day, which is celebrated annually on Feb. 18, commemorates the 1804 establishment of Ohio University by the general assembly of the state of Ohio. For the past several years the Libraries has created an exhibit in celebration of Founders Day.
This year’s exhibit titled, “Making OHIO Home: History of Housing and Residence Life from the 1800s to the Present,” will focus on the history and impact of housing and residence life on OHIO’s Athens campus. The exhibit, which opens on Feb. 18, is located in the lobby outside the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections on the fifth floor of Alden Library.
According to Peter Trentacoste, executive director of housing and residence life, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the East Green and the 50th anniversary of the convocation center, making this year the ideal time to highlight housing and residence life.
“Ohio University residence halls have a rich history and many of our alumni have a strong affinity toward their residence hall and the green they lived on. The friendships and bonds that are made during someone’s residential college experience are really hard to reproduce in any other environment after college. There are many stories and legacies that go along with each of our residence halls,” Trentacoste explained. “… we are very excited to share this experience with the campus.”
Dana Wright, administrative specialist and one of the co-curators of the exhibit, expressed similar sentiments regarding the Founders Day exhibit. Wright said that nearly every Bobcat that attends OHIO’s Athens Campus has a common experience of living in the residence halls, and believes this exhibit will give viewers a chance to reminisce.
“I see this as an exhibit for students… It [the exhibit] really focuses on the everyday student experience… Residence halls are where students live, but it’s also where they create some of their lifelong friendships and best memories from Ohio University. We are celebrating those personal aspects of living on campus through the exhibit,” Wright said.
She also hopes viewers’ eyes will be opened to the impact of residence life on the student experience.
The exhibit will include, photographs, documents, artifacts, biographies and other elements from the Mahn Center. A wall-size timeline of housing and residence life will also be on display, and will chronologize national events and their impact on campus life throughout the years.
“Having the opportunity to do this exhibit and dive into what I feel like is just the very beginning of what is available through these collections has been really eye opening… There is so much fascinating information that you could get lost in. The [Libraries] collections here are very impressive,” Wright said.
Bill Kimok, University archivist and records manager and co-curator of the exhibit, said that creating this exhibit every year has afforded the Libraries a wonderful opportunity to show off the depth and breadth of the University Archives collections.
The Libraries encourages anyone who may be interested to stop by the exhibit and view the items on display.
“We hope that anyone who has spent any time at OHIO—as students and now as alumni, faculty, staff, or just part of the Athens and Southeast Ohio community will enjoy visiting the exhibit. We do hope that seeing interesting documents, photos and artifacts in the exhibit will entice visitors to return for further exploration of our collections,” Kimok said.