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MCAA Oral History Project Captures Campus Memories During Homecoming Weekend

Even those familiar with the story of Marietta College recall with amazement the impact of the GI Bill upon the small, four-year liberal arts institution in the years immediately following the conclusion of the Second World War.

Imagine doubling enrollment over the course of a single semester…

That's precisely what happened when returning GI's and their families descended upon Marietta in the spring of 1946 and enrollment jumped from 227 to 559. The very next academic year the number of students mushroomed to over a thousand for the first time.

Special measures were necessary to accommodate all of the would-be scholars with temporary housing arriving in all forms from portable Quonset huts to house trailers and even a U.S. Coast Guard floating dormitory!

Frank S. Trautman

Frank S. Trautman '45

Listen to Frank's memory of registering for classes at the peak of the "GI Bulge" on campus.

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Amidst this storm of activity, one fundamental element of the Marietta College experience never wavered. The personal touch remained evident to everyone including Frank S. Trautman, a local boy from Belpre just returned from a German prisoner of war camp.

When he walked in to register he never dreamed that those listening to his particular issues would track his progress personally until his graduation in 1949.

Trautman, of Zionsville Indiana, was one of several Pioneer graduates to participate in the Marietta College Alumni Association Oral History Project during Homecoming in October. A cooperative initiative of the MCAA and the Legacy Library's Special Collections and Archives, the effort is designed to supplement and enhance the record of the institution from its charter in 1835 to the present day.

Over the course of the 175th anniversary celebration, academic year 2009-2010, the College's Office of Alumni Relations will be seeking reminiscences and recollections from Pioneers spanning all eras of the College's history.

Deborah Aiken Myers ’76 and husband, William Myers '75

Deborah Aiken Myers ’76 and husband,
William Myers '75

Listen to Debbie's memory of her first news assignment at Marietta College

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Take for instance the memory of Debbie Aiken Myers '76 from Chesapeake, Virginia. Now a successful public relations executive and the recent winner of the MCAA's Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award, she recalls one of her very first experiences on campus that helped shape her future career path.

While the student newspaper, The Marcolian, didn't employ first-year students, a helpful staffer suggested she try the campus radio station as an outlet for her interest in journalism and it turned out to be, well…love at first sight.

The MCAA's Oral History Project will continue throughout the academic year of 2009-2010. If you would like more information please visit the Oral History Project page. Or contact the Office of Alumni Relations at

Help contribute to the strength of The Long Blue Line in a unique and enduring way as we celebrate Marietta College's 175th anniversary.