On Oct. 29, 1960, the California Polytechnic State College football team boarded an Arctic-Pacific Airlines charter flight at Toledo Express Airport to head home after a 50-6 loss to the Falcons. At 10:02 p.m., shortly after takeoff in heavy fog, the plane crashed, killing 22 on board.
Sixteen of the dead were members of the football team. The team manager, a booster, the pilot and co-pilot and two relatives of the co-pilot were also killed. Twenty-six passengers survived. The Federal Aviation Agency ruled the plane was 2,000 pounds overweight and the weather not conducive to flying.
Jack Harbaugh, an alumnus and senior on the Falcon team that year, remembers that night vividly, particularly the bad weather. "I had gotten an infection in my arm and was in the hospital that night. I heard about the crash the next morning. A lot of players, captains went to the hospital to visit with some of the players that were hospitalized."
In an odd twist, the BGSU team was scheduled to fly the same airline to its next away game against the University of Texas at El Paso. "Doyt got the team together early in the week and talked about the airline being grounded," Harbaugh remembered. "He said it was BG's thought to schedule another airline, but the team decided to take a train to El Paso."
More than $8,000 in money and clothing was donated to a Cal Poly Memorial Fund by BGSU organizations. "It's one thing we have in sports that has bridged decades," Harbaugh said. "We all compete athletically, but when we face a tragedy like this people come together. The athletes and students, faculty and universities came together and really reached out to the families of the players we lost and those who survived. Some were here in Toledo for an extended period. The BG community visited with them and were surrogate families for them while they were hospitalized."
A moment of silence will be held to remember the crash victims before the Falcons home game on Nov. 10.
On Nov. 9, the University will host a Centennial Academic Convocation to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the state's decision to locate a state normal school in Bowling Green, Ohio. The convocation will begin at 2:30 p.m. In Anderson Arena. More than 200 faculty members have agreed to participate in the event and be part of the academic processional.
Ron Clark, a New York Times best-selling author and the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year, will be the keynote speaker. BGSU alumnus Ryan Nowlin, staff arranger for the United States Marine Band, will return to campus to conduct the BGSU Wind Symphony in his winning composition "Fanfare: Sounds of the Centennial."
President Carol Cartwright will preside over the academic ceremony, and Larry Weiss, BGSU Centennial Anniversary Commission co-chair, will serve as master of ceremonies.
Faculty members who have indicated they will participate in the processional should report to 101 Olscamp Hall at 1:30 p.m. for the robing assembly where they will be lined up according to their colleges. There will be signage in the room to help participants locate their college.
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