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News Release

Moravian College to Celebrate Johnston Hall's 50 Years of Service

Special ceremony to honor the 52-53 men's hoop team

1952-53 Greyhound Team (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) - Moravian College will commemorate the 50th anniversity of Johnston Hall with a special ceremony on Monday, December 9, honoring the 1952-53 men's basketball team, the first team to play in the facility 50 years ago. The ceremony will be held following the women's basketball game at approximately 7:30 p.m., just before the men's team takes the floor to face Drew University.

The Moravian College men's basketball team opened Johnston Hall on December 13, 1952 with a game against local rival Muhlenberg College. Muhlenberg won the game, 87-67. That Greyhound team was coached by Harvey "Gil" Gillespie, Class of 1932 and a member of the Moravian College Hall of Fame. Gillespie was assisted by Paul Marcincin, who graduated from the College in 1948 and is also a member of the Moravian College Hall of Fame. The team finished the 1952-53 season with a 5-13 record.

Members of the 1952-53 Greyhound team were Dave Arner, Ed Barreiro, Robert Detweiler, Bernal Gawley, Larry Lynch, Pat Petruny, Lee Rayden, John Schaffer, Jim Smith, Richard Zahm and Ron Zotak. Several members of this squad will return to Johnston Hall this evening and will be honored between games of tonight's men's and women's doubleheader.

Johnston HallJohnston Hall has been named in memory of Archibald Johnston, first mayor of Bethlehem, president of Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1906-08, an active Moravian Church layman and a trustee of Moravian College and the theological seminary for 45 years. He played a major role in the development of the community, climaxed by the merger of the three boroughs into the city of Bethlehem in August, 1917.

Johnston Hall has served the campus and community in many ways over the past half century. There has been over 500 intercollegiate varsity basketball games played here and there were over 200 Middle Atlantic Conference wrestling meets held in Johnston Hall. The gymnasium has also seen over 200 varsity women's volleyball matches. It has also been the scene of the MAC basketball finals, MAC wrestling tournaments, Eastern College Athletic Conference Basketball Tournaments, MAC volleyball playoffs, ECAC volleyball tournaments, badminton matches and indoor soccer tournaments in the Bethlehem Soccer League.

Ten years ago, Johnston Hall and Moravian College hosted the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Final Four and National Championship game.

The College's physical education program has held most of its indoor activities in Johnston Hall. This has included basketball, fencing, badminton, golf, gymnastics, judo, self-defense, modern dance, tennis, volleyball, handball and weight-lifting. At times in the past, Johnston Hall has also had a handball court, golf driving range and baseball batting cage in addition to many supportive services.

The College also has used Johnston Hall for the annual alumni association antiques show and sale, the Moravian College Athletic Hall of Fame banquet, coaches clinics, the Comenius Dinner, commencements, convocations, the Cohen Arts & lectures Series, Miss Moravian programs, lectures, musical events and concerts and the Conservation Association, which supports the National Audubon Society's wildlife films and lectures.

Johnston Hall has served the community for recreational programs, the Moravian Church, Bethlehem Community Concert Association, which has featured symphony orchestras and opera celebrities, Bethlehem Steel Corporation's first aid competition, Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce annual dinners, a car show by the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce Automotive Division, and Bethlehem Boys Club Banquet of Champions.

Presidential candidates Jimmy Carter, John Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern have addressed several thousand people in Johnston Hall. Henry Cabot Lodge, a vice-presidential candidate, also spoke in the hall.

Original Name: College Hall
Overall Size: 233 feet by 166 feet
Size of Playing Area: 154 feet by 106 feet - Includes three 88 feet by 46 feet practice and intramural BB courts
Game Court: 94 feet by 50 feet
Number of Rooms: 23
Storage Room
4 Rest Rooms, 2 Public
Medical Room
Boiler Room
Faculty & Officials' Dressing Room
Handball Court
Faculty Offices
2 Shower Rooms
Varsity Dressing Rooms
3 Intramural Locker Rooms (also used by visiting teams)
TOTAL COST: $525,000
EXTERIOR: South Mountain Stone
FLOOR: End grain Douglas Fir, 2 inches deep
SEATING CAPACITY: 1,800 on bleachers. plus 1,500 folding chairs for other than sports events
CEILING: Fiber glass panels
ARCHITECTS: Trautwein and Howard, Philadelphia
CONTRACTOR: E.C. Machin, Inc., Allentown and Bethlehem
GROUND BREAKING: March 29, 1951
CORNERSTONE LAID: December 13, 1951
FORMAL OPENING: December 13, 1952, prior to the Moravian-Muhlenberg basketball game