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More Bancroft Hall Memories

I was a mechanical engineering student at UNL during 1966-71, so the Bancroft Hall article brought back fond memories.

My recollection of Bancroft Hall was that there was a student lounge room on the first floor of the building and during my engineering days we spent many hours playing bridge. The card game was pretty much continous before, between and after classes. I also have vivid memories of professor Niles Barnard leading us in one of the materials classes where students made their own sand mold and poured the molten aluminum for a component of their own design. It seemed that Bancroft had a foundry facility in the basement.

I graduated BSME in 1971, spent 30 years in the U.S. Army and retired from active duty last year. I was inducted into the Army ROTC Hall of Fame at UNL in March, 2002. I now work as a consultant to the defense industry.

Steve Flohr
Email: sflohr12@knology.net

Your article on Bancroft Hall brought back a number of fond remembrances, some even going back before my time as a mechanical engineering student at the University. The summer between my junior and senior year in high school (1944), I enrolled in a course in drafting at some youth training program in Lincoln (this was, of course, still during WWII). That program was canceled about half way through. The directors suggested that we students might want to go over to the university and see if they would do a course for us that would complete what we had started.

I talked to people in the engineering college and they agreed to offer a government-sponsored program for us called Engineering, Science and Management War Training. Looking back on it now, I am amazed at how quickly they set this program up. It seems like in just a week or two it was running and we got quite a number of students from the previous program to enroll. The course consisted of a lot of engineering drawing, but also courses in geometry, simple structures and the like. The picture you ran with the article titled “Bancroft Hall classroom circa 1943,” looked exactly as I remember the classrooms at that time. After getting my certificate, I returned to high school and completed my senior year, graduating in 1945.

I enrolled in mechanical engineering in the fall. I took more engineering drawing classes under Prof. Akus and later took classes in Engineering mechanics under Prof. Marmo, and in materials testing, strength of materials and machine design, all in Bancroft Hall. I graduated with a bachelor of science in January 1950. Fond memories, indeed. Thank you for running the article.

On another subject, if I might. Whatever became of the Nebraska Blueprint? While a student I was editor and, later, general manager. I would be interested in learning if it still exists, and if not, what is the reason for its demise.

Temple W. Newman
BSME ’50

Editor’s response: The Nebraska Blueprint remains a vital publication in the College. For several years the magazine was printed upside down, in Contacts, but two years ago, it once again became a stand-alone publication. If you would like a subscription to the Nebraska Blueprint, which is printed twice yearly and valued at $5, please send us a contribution in any amount, to Nebraska Blueprint, 114 Othmer Hall, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0642. Include your name and address, and your e-mail for a quicker response. Checks should be payable to the College of Engineering & Technology.

I enjoyed the Summer 2003 edition for a couple of reasons.

First, the letter from John Engel, showing the bridge south of Valentine that I have ridden across many times on our visits to my Grandparents house in Kilgore, Neb. The hill leading down to the bridge was the largest on the whole trip and a real treat to youngsters.

My mother was a member of the Kilgore High School band that was invited to play at the ribbon cutting for the bridge, so we got a little history story from her every time we drove over the bridge.

Secondly, it was such great news to hear that Bancroft was demolished. As an electrical engineering student I suffered through several courses at the hands of a facility that had ego’s so big they would not even fit on the campus, let alone in a building.

One evening in ’63 or ’64 I was working late in the drafting lab on a drawing. At that time they had given up on teaching us to work in ink and were teaching lead pencil skills. But as always some tradition had to be honored, so borders and title boxes had to be done in ink with a bow pen. It was hot and the windows were open. I had to balance keeping the sweat from dripping onto the sheet and keeping a total focus on applying continuous even-width lines around the entire perimeter of the large sheet of drafting paper.

As I was about to finish the last line in the title box, the old civil defense siren on the roof began to crank up. It was very big and very loud, so I just relaxed and held the bow pen steady to wait it out. At the peak, the ink in my bow pen hit a resonance with the siren, became agitated and just flowed out of the pen onto the paper. Three weeks of drafting was ruined and my grade took a serious plunge for the semester.

Oh how I wish I could have watched that building go down!

—Dennis Dickerson (ret. PE)
EE, ’66

Reader Reaches Students

I was quite impressed with the “Reaching Them While They’re Young” article in the Summer 2003 Contacts.

I read the article the day after I returned from an Awards Picnic at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. The picnic was to acknowledge 30-40 docents that volunteer their time to teach fourth through sixth-grade students in the area of science, using a vacated wind tunnel building. It is definitely a hands-on experience for each student. I believe this is a very fulfiling experience. We typically have six to eight students each for about three hours wherein we utilize the implements of space science to challenge the students.

—Gordon W. Mickelson
EE, ’56