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Encyclopedia of Baldwin Wallace University History: 1980s

An Index of Historical Content and Their Sources

1981: First annual Community Day

Citation: Kieth A. Peppers, 2020.

The first Community Day was held on September 18, 1981 as a day intended to bring both B-W and the surrounding community together. Events included a picnic, parade complete with a high school band, and yellow jacket football at Finnie Field. Both President Malicky and then Mayor Trupo of Berea gave a speech to all those in attendance. Ted Theodore, Director of Alumni Relations and Community Day organizer, called the day, "a tradition of goodwill." President Malicky initiated a community day years before in order to improve the relationship with the surrounding businesses and residents. Community Day proved to be a great success with support from local businesses who donated food and prizes for giveaways.

1981: Neal Malicky becomes president

Citation: Ryan Cross and Debby Vespoli, "Through the Years...," Pursuit, Fall, 1995, vol. 27, no. 1, pg. 11.

Neal Malicky was inaugurated as the sixth president of Baldwin-Wallace College on Sunday, November 15, 1981.


Citation: Austin Patterson, 2021.

Neal Malicky served as President of B-W until 1999.


Video overview of the campus and select events from the year 1982, including...

1982: Bach Festival's 50th Anniversary

Citation: Ryan Cross and Debby Vespoli, "Through the Years...," Pursuit, Fall, 1995, vol. 27, no. 1, pg. 11.

In June, 1982, the Baldwin-Wallace Bach Festival celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Performers travelled to Washington, D.C. where they were invited to perform at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In addition their presentation of the St. Matthew Passion was broadcast over PBS television affiliates across the country.

1984: B-W's largest campaign launched

Citation: Ryan Cross and Debby Vespoli, "Through the Years...," Pursuit, Fall, 1995, vol. 27, no. 1, pg. 11.

Baldwin-Wallace launched its largest campaign in 1984 with a goal of $15 million. The College realized $19.2 million from the effort, surpassing the projected goal early in 1986. 

1985: Alternative Break Begins

Citation: Kieth A. Peppers, 2020.


The BW Office of Community Outreach began the program known as alternative break, a student-led learning option designed to allow scholars to receive hands-on experience, providing service hours to communities and projects in need. These instances of active citizenship have varied in length, focus, and location, ranging from the local to the international locations. In 2018, Baldwin Wallace received the Program of the Year award from Break Away, the national Alternative Breaks association for colleges and universities.

1986: New recreation center dedicated

Citation: Ryan Cross and Debby Vespoli, "Through the Years...," Pursuit, Fall, 1995, vol. 27, no. 1, pg. 12.

Baldwin-Wallace dedicated its new recreation facility October 18, 1986. More than 1400 friends of the College and members of the B-W community gathered for the event which included the world premiere of a new composition by Loris Chobanian, composer-in-residence.

1988: President Reagan visits B-W

Citation: Ryan Cross and Debby Vespoli, "Through the Years...," Pursuit, Fall, 1995, vol. 27, no. 1, pg. 12.

President Reagan speaking in the Ursprung Gymnasium. Source: "B-W Hosts Presidential Visit," Pursuit, Vol. 20, No. 2, Winter 1989, pg. 2. Click on image to enlarge.

In November, 1988, then President Ronald Reagan came to the B-W campus for his final Ohio political rally as president. The event marked the first time a president had visited Berea.


Citation: Jonathan Amy & Laura Parker News Editors, "Reagan brings national news snapshot to B-W," Baldwin-Wallace Exponent, Vol. LXXV, No. 5, 9 November 1988, pg. 1, 4. 

The earliest rumors started on Thursday, October 28. By noon on Friday, I had a dozen messages on my answering machine telling me President Reagan was coming to B-W.

"He'll be here sometime next week." 

"Reagan will be in the Rec Center on Tuesday at 12."

"Make that Wednesday at 2 p.m."

"No, 3 p.m. in Finnie Stadium."

"Definitely, 3 p.m. in the Rec Center."

Confusion, confusion, confusion. Sunday night we all had a general idea. Reagan was coming. Nobody knew exactly when, where, or for that matter why, but he was, definitely, on his way to Berea, Ohio.

We all wanted details. Who should we call? Nobody knew. Then, all of a sudden, came official confirmation on Monday afternoon in a letter from B-W President Neal Malicky.

The letter began with "The rumors are true." President Reagan would be speaking at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2 in the Recreation Center.

Tickets were made available on a first come, first serve basis. Approximately 250 preferred seating tickets were made available to faculty and staff. A combination of preferred and standing-room-only tickets were open to 750 students. Total attendance for the rally was over 6,000 in B-W's gym.

Security preparations are rumored to have begun as early as Thursday the 28th. Set-up crews, the telephone company and the Secret Service quickly took over the Recreation Center.

The weight room was turned into security headquarters. All the phones on B-W's campus were tapped and monitored in the name of National Security, according to Student Vice President Tracy Nagel. 

The gymnastics area was quickly transformed into a center for more than 100 national media representatives. Source: "B-W Hosts Presidential Visit," Pursuit, Vol. 20, No. 2, Winter 1989, pg. 2. Click on image to enlarge.

Trench-coat-clad undercover agents scoured the campus with bomb-sniffing dogs. Snow fencing was built along Bagley from Beech St. to Eastland Road for crowd control. Roads were closed from 12:30 until 4pm from Front St. to Eastland Rd., including side streets.

The Recreation Center was closed all day on Wednesday as final preparations were made. Crowds began to gather before noon on a cold and windy day. The line of ticket holders snaked around the Rec Center as they waited patiently until 1 pm. when the doors finally opened.

Members of the press and dignitaries were allowed to pass through police lines, past the bomb disposal unit and were allowed immediate access to the gym after passing security. Belongings were checked quickly as individuals passed through the super-sensitive metal detectors.

Once in the building, people were directed to Urpsrung Gymnasium where an elaborate stage and set had been constructed, Individuals were welcomed by a huge, inflatable red, white and blue elephant proudly supporting the Bush-Quayle ticket.

The gym was draped in red, white and blue banners created by B-W students. Some of the more original creations were "It's been real, Ron" (ZTA and Phi Mu), "Our newest Gam Man Ron" (AGD) and "If Reagan says Bush and Dan then Dukakis Surely Ain't the Man (ATO). 

Marching bands were in full, thundering force from Berea, Midpark, Parma and North Olmstead, and B-W's own Jazz Ensemble played. And we must not forget the Johnny Single Band from the local union.

The crowd was packed in and ready to go by a quarter to 2. At approximately 1:55 p.m., the power all over Berea and in the Rec Center went out, causing quite a panic among security officials. Power was quickly restored.

The crowd was entertained by clowns from the Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey Circus as members of the Secret Service passed out flags and signs to the crowd. Amazingly, the Secret Service managed to scan the crowd, not smile, listen through ear pieces, talk through mini microphones and patrol the catwalks above the crowd all at the same time. 

As the time grew near for the President to arrive, more and more Secret Service officials appeared. The Washington Press Corp. was shuttled about 2:45 and Reagan skipped on stage shortly after 3 p.m. to thunderous ovation. 

Special lighting, sound system, and decor transformed Urpsrung Gym into Rally Center. Source: "B-W Hosts Presidential Visit," Pursuit, Vol. 20, No. 2, Winter 1989, pg. 2. Click on image to enlarge.

First to speak was Cleveland Mayor George Voinovich, who is running for the U.S. Senate. The speech made by Reagan was general in nature as he cut down Dukakis and the Democrats, praised "George and George" and used the now infamous "L" word. He thanked members of the community, including Baldwin-Wallace College for the use of the facilities and the warm reception.

The loudest response came when Reagan said he would soon be leaving office and the crowd broke into a chant of "four more years". Reagan ended his address with his famous movie quip "Win one for the Gipper."

The crowd quickly dispensed from the gym, far more easily than they had come in. Reagan then made a brief visit across the street to the Cleveland Browns, where he tossed a few passes to Ozzie Newsome and was then off into the sunset on the endless political campaign trail. 

1989: Marting Hall Reopens

Citation: Kieth A. Peppers, 2020.


Marting Hall is reopened following a seven-year vacancy. In January 1982, cold weather combined with a power outage, causing water pipes to burst resulting in extensive damage throughout the interior. The cost to repair the building would require considerable thought, fund-raising, and conversation. Restoration began in 1986 and took three years to complete, reopening in 1989.