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University Libraries

One Day of Giving for All Flyers

By Kathleen Webb



For One Day, One Dayton on April 14, the University Libraries are focusing efforts on connecting the University and the greater Dayton community with campus, local and national history. Gifts to the University Libraries Dean’s Fund for Excellence on giving day will help to make three important collections available in digital format for learning, research and social action. The collections include historical interviews about school desegregation in Dayton; papers and recordings of Sally Cunneen, a progressive Catholic activist from the mid-20th century; and The Exponent, a student-run magazine that gives a snapshot of UD’s history through its coverage and commentary. By making these collections available digitally, the Libraries can preserve the shared histories of the University and the community while supporting learning and research. Additional funding will go toward important conservation supplies and equipment.

Thanks to the strong support of members of the Libraries Advisory Council, each gift to the Libraries Dean’s Fund for Excellence will receive a matching contribution.

More information about each of these collections is below. I’m hopeful they inspire you to support our strategic efforts.

School Desegregation in Dayton

For 37 years, education professor Joe Watras studied the effects of racial segregation and integration in the Dayton Public Schools, leading to a seminal book on the politics and controversies around the 40-year desegregation effort. His taped interviews with more than two dozen educators, administrators and members of the community provide not just the tenor of the Dayton desegregation efforts, but also tone — something a mere transcript cannot capture. Gifts to digitize these rapidly deteriorating audio recordings will help ensure that the knowledge gained during those decades can continue to inform efforts to improve educational equity and opportunity for all. 

‘The Exponent’

In The Exponent, a UD student-run monthly publication from 1903 to 1960, student perspectives, alumni news, academic achievements and athletics coverage provide one-of-a-kind snapshots of society, culture, student life, politics, religion and the economy in decades of great innovation, strife, prosperity, war and social change. Rich in detail and content, it has become one of the most popular collections used by students researching UD history for classes, honors theses, blogs, student club histories and family research. It also provides a window on early-20th-century views of peace and war, medicine and death, suffrage and voting. The coronavirus pandemic revealed the critical value of digital assets for instruction; gifts for digitization of The Exponent would significantly widen this publication’s accessibility and usefulness to students at UD and historians worldwide. And, if funding permits, we also will develop robust descriptions of the photographs and stories so they are more usable.

Sally Cunneen

The Marian Library received the papers and materials of author, educator, women’s advocate and progressive Catholic Sally Cunneen in 2012. Among her materials are 43 cassette tapes containing a variety of content — from English lectures and a conference presentation to research materials for her books. Cassettes, however, are vulnerable to both material degradation and technological obsolescence; the playback device — the cassette player — is disappearing as quickly as the recordings. Gifts to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence can ensure that this Catholic pioneer’s work remains as accessible as it is relevant.

Make a gift on or before April 14

To make a gift to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence for One Day, One Dayton, visit 

— Kathleen Webb is dean of the University Libraries.

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