When I first started this project, I had no idea that it would be such a massive undertaking. My summer job description was to “write historical articles about Mansfield.” I had to narrow my focus quickly. As I stood on the porch of Beecher House, looking at Doane Center and the Kelchner Fitness Center, I wondered exactly who this Doane person was. I remembered being present at the dedication of Rod C. Kelchner Fitness Center and I knew there was no one more deserving of such an honor. Was this Doane guy really as deserving of such an honor as Rod Kelchner? I wondered.
The focus of my work became the people who have buildings, fields, and rooms named for them at Mansfield University. So, was Dr. Doane that deserving? The answer turned out to be an emphatic “yes.”
For such a small university, Mansfield has plenty of buildings named for people. As of the fall semester of 2006, there were 25 people’s names attached to buildings, plus one that formerly carried someone’s name. In all, that comes to 26 stories written over the summer of 2006.
This project would have been impossible without the efforts of many people and organizations. Their work and dedication to preserving the past was an incredible help in this undertaking. Those people include:
Joyce M. Tice of Mainesburg and her many friends. Joyce operates the website “Tri-Counties Genealogy and History by Joyce M. Tice” and features more than 14,000 pages of material. Of her contributors, Chester and Mary Bailey, former owners of the Mansfield Advertiser, provided much of the important historical detail.
The Green Free Library of Wellsboro and the Wellsboro Gazette. Recently, the library posted back issues of the Gazette as well as the old Wellsboro Agitator on their website. Much of the information for these stories came directly from old newspaper stories. Also thanks to the staff and management at the Gazette, (where I worked as a reporter for six years and served as editor for two years) for allowing me to use information for this project.
The Armed Guard website and its webmaster. This site provided information about the Simon B. Elliott Liberty ship.
Finally, thanks to the staff at Mansfield University for their support of this project. This project would not have been possible without financial planning director Chris Vaughn, who found the funding to enable me to work through the summer to complete this project; Steve Orner, the graduate of Mansfield State College who stayed on as a maintenance worker and volunteer historian; LesErik Ackey, university archivist who provided access to old trustees minutes and other valuable resources; Public Relations Director Dennis Miller, who gave me this project; and Dixie Sheridan and the staff at Alumni House, who have at least one copy of every Carontawan ever published.
Chris McGann, Classes of 1997 and 2006