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Historian and author Neil McElwee will be the guest speaker at the special Clarion University-Venango Campus 50th Anniversary Lecture sponsored by the Barbara Morgan Harvey Center for the Study of Oil Heritage. The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Wednesday, October 26, 2011, in the Robert W. Rhoades Center auditorium at 7 p.m. A dessert reception will follow the program.

McElwee's presentation is entitled "Venango Campus: Fulfilling the Promise of a Brave New World." The presentation chronicles the late fifties and early sixties when the community came together to realize the dream of a higher education presence for Venango County. It also tells of the inspiring university/community partnership that has created life-changing opportunities for thousands of men and women and set the stage for the campus' current record-breaking growth and development.

The Barbara Morgan Harvey Center for the Study of Oil Heritage, located in the Charles L. Suhr Library at Venango Campus, was created in memory of Mrs. Harvey by her family, who wished to carry on her love of local history and desire to bring it to life for others. It is an endowed clearinghouse for scholarship and research about Pennsylvania history, including a variety of books that document the history of the region, newspaper clippings from the early 1900s, minutes from the meetings of early oil companies from the late 1800s, maps, photographs, and other materials. The Harvey family also established an endowment to fund ongoing cultural events designed to bring regional history to life.

Neil McElwee is a lecturer and published writer who focuses on early oil history topics and nineteenth century Victorian architecture.
Mr. McElwee earned a bachelor's degree from the College of Liberal Arts, Marquette University. Following graduation, he was commissioned a line officer in the United States Navy, and served in Vietnam as a Swift Boat Officer and as executive officer of the USS Weiss.

After his military service, Mr. McElwee was employed in Pittsburgh by the Pittsburgh Group, Columbia Gas System, where he focused on management training and early affirmative action initiatives. When the Pittsburgh Group was dissolved, Mr. McElwee was employed by Jones and Laughlin-LTV Steel and assigned to the steel firm's Aliquippa Works, where he was responsible for management training, trade and craft training and the apprentice program.
In the 1980s, Mr. McElwee began writing and publishing "McElwee's Small Motor News," a quarterly national publication for collectors. Mr. McElwee and his wife moved to Oil City in 1996, where he has authored a number of published works, including Oil City's Victorian Houses; Oil Creek, The Beginning; Standard Oil Men In The Early Oil Region; and The National Transit Co., Standard Oil's Great Pipeline Company. He continues to write on oil history and his work, George Bissell, Oil's Patriarch, is ready for publication.

Mr. McElwee has served on the board of directors and as a corporate officer of the Oil Heritage Region Corporation and its successor, the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry and Tourism, since 1999. He also served for six years as a City of Oil City councilman. He and his wife, Lois, live in an historic nineteenth century home in Oil City.

Clarion University–Venango Campus, located in Oil City, is the oldest regional campus in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. The campus provides high-quality educational programs and personalized services to help students succeed. Students can begin any of Clarion University's 90+ bachelor's degrees at the Venango Campus, earn an associate degree, a bachelor's or master's degree in select areas, obtain a one-year certificate or participate in a variety of professional development and personal enrichment courses. The campus is home to Clarion University's School of Nursing and Allied Health, the Department of Applied Technology, and the Venango Department of Arts and Sciences. Clarion University–Venango Campus is committed to serving the needs of the community.


10/18/2011 1:35 PM

Historian and Author to Present Venango Campus 50th Anniversary Harvey Center Lecture