Pioneers of FSU

The Henry Whittemore Library is the site of Framingham State’s new exhibit called “FSU Pioneers,” which highlights 12 alumni who were considered to be pioneers of education.

The exhibit opened late Tuesday afternoon, and was coordinated by Colleen Previte, the school’s archivist, as part of FSU’s 175th-anniversary celebration.

Among the 12 pioneers are women such as Helen Heineman, Annie Johnson and the very first graduate Mary Smith, who went on to work with the blind and deaf. Included in the exhibit are journals, old newspaper articles, photographs and portraits.

“We wanted to highlight some of our pioneers because we feel like we’re a pioneer institution in itself as far as being the first state public normal school,” said Previte.

After extensive research, the alumni were narrowed down to just 10, but as Previte said, “There were just a few we couldn’t ignore, so it became 12 pioneers.”

One of the chosen pioneers, Corinna Shattuck, was a missionary in Turkey. During her time there, she sheltered the townspeople during the Armenian massacre, and saved 175 lives.

Another pioneer was the well-known Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space. She was chosen out of 11,000 applicants to be the first teacher to venture into space, which ended tragically when her shuttle, the Challenger, broke apart shortly after launch.

The exhibit also features the first men to ever attend Framingham State, and plays on the university’s origins as the first national teacher training school.

“It kind of gives you a clear image of where Framingham State started,” said Billy Levitsky, a senior education major. “A lot of people don’t get it was one of the first institutions in America, specifically for education.”

Most of the students passing through had little knowledge of the new exhibit.

“I usually don’t come to these things because I’m so busy,” said Alyssa Trybus, a senior elementary education and Spanish major.

Vice President of Enrollment and Student Development Susanne Conley said, “The idea was to take that concept of pioneers and select people and groups who really pioneered the evolution of this institution over those 175 years.”

Photo by Brad Leuchte

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