Wichita State News

WSU exhibit to show ties to 1936 Berlin Olympics

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Campus visitors will get a sense of the history surrounding the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin; the basketball team from Kansas that brought home a gold medal; and Wichita State University’s Olympic oak tree with an exhibit at Wichita State’s Ablah Library from Monday, July 9, through Sunday, Sept. 30.

The exhibit, laid out in the library’s Special Collections reading room, will be free and open to the public from 8 a.m.-5 p.m Tuesday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-noon Friday.

The Olympic oak tree at Wichita State was moved in the spring to make way for renovations to the Rhatigan Student Center. The tree was transplanted near the entrance of Charles Koch Arena; a dedication ceremony will be held on Oct. 12.

Lorraine Madway
Lorraine Madway
Lorraine Madway, curator of Special Collections, said the exhibit will include a poster of the winning Olympic basketball team from Kansas. That team, the McPherson Refiners, included McPherson players, former Wichita University players Francis Johnson and Jack Ragland, and former WU coach Gene Johnson, brother of Francis.

The poster shows all of the basketball players and coaches from that 1936 Olympic “dream team” and was autographed in 1996 by Francis Johnson. It includes an article about the 1936 team from a July 1992 Wichita Eagle.

Numerous university photographs will be on display of the two players from Wichita University, Francis Johnson and Jack Ragland, and the former WU coach, Gene Johnson, brother of Francis. On display will be a copy of Rich Hughes’ book, “Netting Out Basketball, 1936: The Remarkable Story of the McPherson Refiners, the First Team to Dunk, Zone Press, and Win the Olympic Gold Medal.”

The exhibit will also explain the significance of the Olympic oak tree and place the story of the team in the larger historical context of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

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Created on Tuesday, July 03, 2012; Last modified on Friday, July 20, 2012