Centennial Books Provide Foundation for Timeline
By Jim Mitchell
The new historical timeline feature on Oklahoma State University’s website offers the option of a more detailed look at the school’s history via links to a series of online books published during OSU’s centennial celebration in the early 1990s.
The content development of the timeline was guided by the Centennial Histories Series, which initially included 24 volumes plus a coffee table edition overview titled The First Hundred Years, Oklahoma State University: People, Programs and Places.
One of the co-authors of that volume and editor of the series, Carolyn Hanneman, credits the late Robert B. Kamm, OSU president emeritus, for leading the publishing project.
“President Kamm was especially good about making regular visits to the deans, department heads, faculty and staff who had been chosen to write one of the many centennial books. He’d cheer them on and remind them of deadlines. He had a way of ‘kindly’ twisting arms that was a big help to the rest of us,” Hanneman says.
The centennial volumes provide straightforward historical overviews of the colleges on campus, some larger departments within certain colleges, as well as specific topics of emphasis, such as research and equal opportunity.
Numerous photos with captions make the online books fun to scroll through including the coffee table edition that offers a look at OSU’s former nuclear reactor, which was used for engineering coursework from 1957 until it was shipped out in the 1970s. Those who oversaw the reactor describe it as a little less powerful than most microwave ovens today, despite its formidable appearance.
The Extension and Outreach centennial book recounts many of the projects launched from campus over the years, including one that grew to a fleet of station wagons equipped with lab materials and instructors to better prepare rural high school students for college science courses.
Sports fans will appreciate the overview of the big games andnames found in the Intercollegiate Athletics centennial volume. See the first track team lined up across a dirt road set for a dash, or flip to the mid-1980s when power hitter Pete Incaviglia and golf standout Scott Verplank gained national attention. The First Hundred Years notes Cowboy fans had cause to celebrate in 1988. For the first time in NCAA history, four athletes from the same university were named “Number One” in their respective sports. All-American and Olympic gold medalist John Smith won the 134-pound NCAA wrestling championship and was named Amateur Wrestler of the Year. All-American golfer E.J. Pfister was the NCAA individual champion in golf. All-American and Olympic third baseman Robin Ventura received the Golden Spikes Award as the outstanding amateur baseball player in the United States. All-American tailback Barry Sanders became the eighth junior in NCAA history to win the Heisman Trophy, America’s top individual collegiate football honor.
“There were so many people we relied on to help us get the centennial books produced, and it was an ongoing challenge to stay on pace,” Hanneman says. “Carol
Hiner served as an associate editor, and without her technical knowledge, I don’t see how we could have finished such an extensive project. Gayle Hiner handled much of the layout and design.”
Initial editors Judy Buchholz and Anne Matoy helped Hanneman get a start on the project. Matoy also established the policy and procedures that set the framework for the production of the published series, which was the brainchild of Dr. Richard Poole, former vice president for university relations, development and extension.
“I was pleased to see how well many of the centennial series photos transferred to the online timeline.
Some of them really brought back memories of the work involved in hunting them down,” Hanneman says. “I’m glad that the timeline offers virtually everyone free access. However, I’m old school, so I appreciate that the centennial volumes are still available at the Edmon Low Library to thumb through and check out, too.”
David Peters, now the head of the library’s special collections and university archives, was among the co-authors of the centennial volume titled The Campus, which traces the changing buildings and campus landscape during OSU’s first 100 years.
“I had the privilege of working with J. Lewie Sanderson, a 1928 alumnus who had been employed for 45 years at OSU,” Peters says. “His personal knowledge of the people and places on campus offered an invaluable link to the past that is really evident in The Campus and other centennial volumes.”
“We were indebted to so many people, including Sanderson and Dr. B.B. Chapman, an OSU history professor, who was responsible for documenting and publishing so much about the history of the campus and the area,” Hanneman says. “Twenty-five years later, it’s nice to see we left some historical information that proved beneficial for the future.”
Browse the entire collection of the Centennial Histories Series online by going to the top banner on the website at timeline.okstate.edu, click on the “Digital Collections” link, and scroll down the page to find the Centennial Histories Series link. The student newspaper and yearbook archives are also among the many options available under digital collections.
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Uploaded on May 1, 2016