Wayne College celebrating 50th with 2 events

Wayne College celebrating 50th with 2 events

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The University of Akron Wayne College is celebrating 50 years of providing higher education in Wayne County and the surrounding region.

Two public events will be held to celebrate this milestone.

Student Celebration Days will be Sept. 19 and 20 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This two-day event will be held for all current students and will feature free doughnuts, therapy dogs, a 50th anniversary photo booth, cornhole and the Ott’s Coffee trailer providing specialty coffee and energy drinks, which also will be open for the public.

The second event is the Poetry, Prose and Acoustical Jam Community Concert on Oct. 6 from 6-8 p.m. in the student life building on campus and is open to everyone in the community. This evening will feature music, poetry and light refreshments.

In 1966 thirty-four founding members led an effort to make a college education accessible for people in the tri-county area: Wayne, Holmes and Medina. The Orrville Branch University Committee and Foundation were formed, and with guidance from the Ohio Board of Regents, they focused on building a new academic center near the Orrville area.

The following year, the Orrville University Branch Foundation purchased 160 acres of the Blatter Farm property in the northwest area of the city of Orrville. The Blatter Farm property located at Smucker and North Crown Hill Road included the site of the Bladder Airport and the oldest two-story home in Wayne County, the Barnet-Hoover Farmhouse, which celebrated its bicentennial in 2018.

In 1970 the founding members voted to give this purchase to the University of Akron. Construction of the Wayne General and Technical College’s main classroom building began on July 15, 1971. A groundbreaking breakfast ceremony was held July 28, 1971, and was attended by more than 300 citizens from Wayne, Holmes and Medina counties.

The Wayne General and Technical College officially opened Sept. 24, 1972. Opening enrollment to the college was 472, and tuition was $190 per quarter for full-time students. In 1989 the John Boyer Gymnasium was completed, adding indoor athletic and physical fitness facilities like a basketball arena with bleacher seating, racquetball and wallyball courts, a weight room, and locker rooms. The following year the college was renamed the University of Akron Wayne College.

In 2008 groundbreaking began on the student life building located near the north end of the main classroom building. The student life building includes the J.M. Smucker Multi-Purpose Room to host large university and community events, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Zip Station café, a game room and additional classrooms. The following year the building opened for fall classes and won two awards for its architecture and design.

“As a regional campus of the University of Akron, we are thrilled to celebrate our 50th anniversary this fall. It is a wonderful opportunity to honor our history and the people who contributed to this campus which prepares students for the rest of their lives,” said Dr. Heather Howley, director of regional campuses. “Not only do we look to celebrate our past, but also the future as we continue to strengthen our impact within our community for years to come.”

To learn more, visit wayne.uakron.edu.