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Dawne Dewey retires after 31 years at WSU

Dawne Dewey | Photo provided by Dawne Dewey | The Wright State Guardian

Dawne Dewey, head of the Special Collections and Archives at Wright State University (WSU) is retiring after 31 years. 

31 years of service

As the head of the archives, Dewey’s job includes a multitude of different things. She is in charge of outreach for the archives, community engagement, fundraising, strategic planning and much more. 

“My responsibility is to keep everyone’s eyes on the mission,” said Dewey.

Prior to her work in the archives, Dewey received all of her college education from WSU.

She has also taught as an adjunct professor in the history department and honors department. She taught an aviation class for about 10 years and ran the graduate program for public history as well.

Sharing her passion with others

“I have always had a passion for history,” said Dewey. 

Dewey loves learning and studying about history, but most of all she loves to share it with others. 

“The most important thing about the archives is the fact that we share that information and make it available whether online or in person. We make it available to everybody, whether it’s a college student, faculty member, a community member or a grade school student.”

The archives can look intimidating from the outside, but Dewey wants everyone to know how welcoming and helpful the archivists are. 

“The archives provide our students with an opportunity to read and touch and learn the past directly from the people who lived in it,” said Dewey. “It has so much to offer for students who want to enhance their papers and projects and presentations and the archivists are very knowledgeable and very talented. It’s a really welcoming place.”

History holds a special place in Dewey’s heart, and even though she is retiring, she hopes that others will discover the importance of history too.  

According to Dewey, history provides people with a strong sense of identity and helps people to be proud of who they are and where they are from. 

“It can give us a great sense of connection to the past and to our community,” said Dewey. “We’ve always heard that history repeats itself, and if we don’t study it and learn from it, we’re going to make mistakes.”

Love for colleagues and students

As much as Dewey loves history, she says that after she retires she will miss the people more. 

“The thing I will miss the most will be the people that I work with, my wonderful colleagues and staff in the archives,” said Dewey. “I really love being in the classroom with the students, getting to know them, hearing about their hopes and dreams and helping them along the way in any way I could.”

There is just something special about being able to go and pick up a 150 year old diary or letter, according to Dewey, but she knows that this is something she can still do as a researcher after she retires. 

Bittersweet ending

Dewey is going to miss her job as the head of the Special Collections and Archives, but she admits that her time is up.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Dewey. “I know that it’s time for me to start this new chapter. I’ve given the job 31 years and I’ve done everything I could to help the archives advance and grow.”

Dewey will always be thankful for her time at WSU and the opportunities the university has given her.

“I’m still very supportive of Wright State,” said Dewey. “I think it’s a great place for education and it’s afforded me so many opportunities throughout my career to grow and to give back and experience things that I never would have experienced if I hadn’t had this job.”

Wright State is holding a virtual retirement celebration for Dawne Dewey and her 31 years of service on May 29 at 2 p.m.

Makenzie Hoeferlin


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