Identifying People from the Past: the Dorton Arena Model

Group looking at model for Engineers Fair venue, Dorton Arena, 1950

Group looking at model for Engineers Fair venue, Dorton Arena, 1950

Calling all students, faculty, staff and beyond! We are seeking your assistance in identifying individuals in a photograph from the University Archives. This photograph (depicted above) shows three individuals viewing a model of the Dorton Arena for an Engineers Fair in the 1950s, and their identity is unknown to SCRC staff. We strive as much as possible to provide context for images on our digital collections website, so if anyone knows the identity of any of these individuals, please contact the Special Collections Research Center at

The photograph in question is from the University Archives Photograph Collection, which contains images of organizations that provided social, cultural, recreational, and professional opportunities for North Carolina State University students, faculty, and staff from 1897 until 1990. The image depicts a model of the J.S. Dorton Arena, a modernist landmark known for its parabolic shape. The arena was designed by consulting architect Matthew Nowicki and completed by William Henley Deitrick’s architectural firm. After the building opened in 1952, the structure gained international acclaim and won numerous awards including the Engineering Gold Medal of the Architectural League of New York and the state’s first Honor Award of the American Institute of Architects. For more information about the arena and its construction, the NC Architects and Builders website has a biographical page on William Deitrick and Matthew Nowicki

If you have information about the individuals in the photograph or are interested in viewing Special Collections materials, please contact us at or submit a request online. The Special Collections Research Center is open by appointment only. Appointments are available Monday–Friday, 9am–6pm and Saturday, 1pm–5pm. Requests for a Saturday appointment must be received no later than Tuesday of the same week.

Note: Special Collections will be addressing some minor preservation issues with the only known surviving model of the Dorton Arena (depicted in this image) in order to prepare for an upcoming exhibit at the Gregg Museum which will feature the model.