FAU’s Lifelong Learning Society at Boca Raton to Host Local Historian’s Perspective of FAU as a WWII Air Base
BOCA RATON, FL (March 2, 2011) – Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society at Boca Raton will host a lecture by local author and historian Sally J. Ling on Wednesday, March 9, at 2 p.m., in the Barry and Florence Friedberg Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. As part of the University’s 50th anniversary, Ling will discuss the story behind her 2005 book, “Small Town, Big Secrets: Inside the Boca Raton Army Air Field during WWII.”
“The perfection of airborne radar at the air field turned the tide of war in Germany and Japan, shortening the war and saving countless lives,” said Ling. “People just don’t know how vital the air field was to the allies, and no one had bothered to look at the complete story. The history of a community is so much more than what meets the eye.”
Ling’s guests will include Boca Raton Army Air Field Veteran Bob Davey, as well as the Chavez family, whose 68-year marriage began at the air base and led to a unique relationship to both the air field and FAU. Lieutenant Manuel Chavez was a pilot when he met Lieutenant Bernice Butler, a nurse at the air field. They were married in a small base chapel, and their children were born in the base hospital. Two of the Chavez children later both graduated from FAU.
The top-secret military installation, which opened in 1942, stretched from Yamato Road south to Palmetto Park Road and from I-95 east to Dixie Highway on 5,820 acres. Noted as the most significant event in Boca Raton’s history, the air base stimulated tremendous growth post-war because the already established infrastructure and buildings at the former air field encouraged the establishment of both businesses and residences. FAU took on a portion of the site in 1961 to construct the University.
A member of the Boca Raton Historical Society, Ling has written four books on the history of the area and is working on more. She serves on a joint committee to preserve the few remaining World War II buildings on the FAU campus.
Tickets for the presentation are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. To register, call FAU’s Lifelong Learning Society at 561-297-3185.
About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University , established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges : the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science . FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit www.fau.edu .