Beginnings: The Dayton Campus of Miami and OSU

photo of allyn hallIn the fall of 1964, a single building standing in the middle of a farm pasture opened its doors to the 3,203 students registered for classes within its walls. That building, which housed faculty, administration, student services, and classrooms all under one roof, was Allyn Hall; but the institution was not yet Wright State University. That one building was the entire Dayton Campus of Miami University and The Ohio State University.

However, those humble beginnings were the culmination of a dream by Dayton business and civic leaders to establish a public university in the Dayton area-a dream validated when the community raised $3 million in seed money to support the effort. For students accustomed to attending evening courses offered by OSU and Miami in Dayton-area high schools, the YWCA, and at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the new one-building campus was a godsend.

The campus would go on to include three more buildings within the next three years, but initially the new institution boasted a faculty numbering 55 members and a campus comprising general college, science and engineering, Dayton academic center of Miami University, and graduate center of The Ohio State University.

Gaining Independent Status

Although the campus was under the shared leadership of two universities, the need for academic leadership on campus led to the naming of Brage Golding as the first president of the Dayton Campus in the fall of 1966. Other pressures-political, community, and fiscal-began building as well, pushing the university to sever its ties from OSU and Miami and become an independent state university. It achieved that status on October 1, 1967, when its enrollment exceeded 5,000, which gave the campus the required size for full independence per Senate Bill 210.

Wright State's independence was celebrated in holiday fashion. As President Golding, Vice President of Finance Fred White, and Director of Communications Al Brown returned from the Board of Regents meeting in Columbus with the official word of Wright State's independence, they were met by a welcoming campus crowd of more than 300 from the student body, faculty, and administration, celebrating with banners and refreshments. Later, students held a mock funeral service signifying the end of the "Dayton Campus" designation. A casket was buried in the woods to the north of Founders' Quadrangle. A tree was planted over the grave to commemorate the beginning of the new university.

On October 21, 1967, the communities of Fairborn, Xenia, and Beavercreek sponsored a day-long celebration on the Wright State University campus. The theme was "The University-The Community-The Family." Festivities including an ox roast, a soccer game between the WSU soccer club and Wilberforce, a performance by the Wright-Patterson Air Force Band, an art show and sports activities strengthened the ties between the university and the community.

The Founders' Quadrangle

Four individuals stand out as principal founders of the university, and in acknowledgment of their vision, and their hard work to bring that vision to reality, the first four buildings on Wright State's campus bear their names. Allyn Hall is named for chair and chief executive officer of the National Cash Register (NCR) Corporation, Stanley C. Allyn. Allyn's successor at NCR, Robert S. Oelman, for whom Oelman Hall is named, was chair of the university's Board of Trustees in its first decade. Novice G. Fawcett, president of The Ohio State University for almost two decades, and John D. Millett, president of Miami University and then first chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, are the two educational leaders for whom Fawcett Hall and Millett Hall are respectively named.

Wright State's first commencement ceremony ever was held on the Founders' Quadrangle in 1968.

A plaque at the northwest corner of the Founders' Quadrangle commemorates the hard work and vision of Allyn, Oelman, Fawcett, and Millett, and others, with these words:

Dedicated to honor, in addition to the four men for whom the surrounding buildings are named, the thousands of individuals who, by their contributions of time, money, wisdom, and talent, made possible the founding of a campus in 1964, which became Wright State University on October 1, 1967.

Wright State Today

In the tradition of the nation's best universities, Wright State University is dedicated to teaching, research, and service. In addition, Wright State has the distinct mission of providing leadership to improve the quality of Activities for the people of Dayton and the surrounding Miami Valley. Wright State is a comprehensive state university with a diverse range of high-quality academic programs and strong links to Miami Valley schools and business, government, and community organizations.

The university serves more than 16,000 students with programs leading to more than 100 undergraduate and 40 graduate and professional degrees through six colleges and three schools. Wright State offers innovative educational programs, including doctoral programs in biomedical sciences, human factors and industrial/organizational psychology, medicine, and professional psychology; one of only two aerospace medicine residency programs for civilians in the nation; and a post-master's educational specialist degree program. Wright State's theatre, accounting, chemistry, geology, and engineering programs are recognized for excellence. . The WSU Lake Campus near St. Marys and Celina, Ohio, offers associate, bachelor’s and a select number of master’s degrees and graduate-level courses.

Wright State University's faculty is dedicated not only to advancing the frontiers of knowledge but also to applying knowledge to real problems. Students gain hands-on experience through a variety of community-based programs, cooperative education, internships, and research projects operated with industry and government.

Over 2,200 of Wright State's students live in university-affiliated residences on or adjacent to the 557-acre main campus. An extensive underground tunnel system links most campus buildings, whose modern architecture is nationally recognized for being completely accessible to people with disabilities. Although most students hold jobs on or off campus, many are involved in one or more of the 100 student clubs and organizations that give vibrancy to campus Activities.

The university offers 14 Division I intercollegiate athletic programs, and many students participate in intramural sports programs. The Ervin J. Nutter Center, a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex, and other recreational facilities are available to students on a daily basis. Besides intercollegiate athletic events, the Nutter Center hosts convocation, concerts, and other cultural and entertainment events, seating up to 12,000.

The University Libraries, consisting of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library and the Fordham Health Sciences Library, are linked through the OhioLINK system and Internet to holdings of other major academic libraries in Ohio and to a wide range of databases for electronic research. The Department of Archives and Special Collections includes an African American collection, as well as sections on the Wright brothers and early aviation history, local history, children's literature, and university history.

Wright State Fight Song

We are tough,
We are great,
We are Wright State.
We will defeat every foe,
They will know,
We are here,
When we all stand up and cheer...Victory
With our green and our gold,
Raiders onward,
We will fight right and be true,
So let's go, fight, win.
Let the action begin,
We're from W-S-U!

Wright State Alma Mater

Wright State stands above the valley
Glorious banner green and gold!
Helping build Ohio's future
With a vision grand and bold!

First to fly were Dayton's brothers!
Great deeds old inspire the new!
Wright State is our Alma Mater!
Hail Wright State! Hail Wright State U!

School of promise, school of spirit,
With great hopes and dreams endowed!
We shall ever love and serve you!
We shall strive to make you proud!

In the classroom, on the sportsfield,
We shall always honor you!
Wright State is our Alma Mater!
Hail Wright State! Hail Wright State U!
Faith and hope in our endeavors,
Ever onward day by day!
Bravely shaping new traditions,
Letting knowledge light the way!

Green and Gold, we'll not forget you!
Through the years we shall be true!
Wright State is our Alma Mater!
Hail Wright State! Hail Wright State U!