(Photo gallery) Celebration to highlight Chrysler roots at UD’s STAR Campus

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(From the University of Delaware. Photo gallery courtesy of the University of Delaware)

The University of Delaware Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus will celebrate the half–century  presence of Chrysler at the site.

The free community celebration will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, at 540 S. College Ave.

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Click on link below to register.

http://events.udel.edu/event/chryslercommunity_celebration_at_star?utm_campaign=widget&utm_medium=widget&utm_source=University+of+Delaware

The open house-style event will feature light refreshments and is open to the public, but those who plan to attend are asked to register ahead of time. Former Chrysler assembly plant workers, their families and members of the greater Newark community are   invited.

The South College Avenue site, where Chrysler once produced everything from tanks to Dodge Durango sport utility vehicles  in its more than a half a century, is now attracting many Delawareans to health care clinics.

Many Chrysler employees have not set foot in the building since its closing and demolition. UD did retain the former administration building at what was Chrysler’s largest assembly plant in terms of square footage.

Others such as Gene Tupin know it well. His wife used the Delaware Physical Therapy Clinic to recover from a stroke and he is a current patient, working with UD physical therapists on back and knee rehabilitation.

Tupin’s history on the site dates back to the early 1950s when he was hired as an electrical engineer at the then-Chrysler Newark Defense Plant. On his first day in March 1953, a manager recruited Tupin to solve a complicated issue with the turret control system on the M-48 tank.

Tupin reminisces, “I could see the technicians thinking, ‘Here is another hotshot engineer who will shake his head and walk way.’”

But Tupin not only solved the issue, he did so before his shift ended, and the whole plant was buzzing about it by the following morning. Tupin would go on to tackle many more problems in his nearly half-century on the job with Chrysler.

“This celebration will put the analytical, innovative spirit of the University of Delaware on display,” says Kathy Matt, professor and dean of the College of Health Sciences. “We’re here to serve the community, using education and research to create a healthier Delaware along with our partners.”

One of Tupin’s former supervisors, plant manager Jim Wolfe, helped organize the event,

“It’s amazing to see what’s happening on the site now,” said Wolfe. “And it’s not just a UD thing; it’s open to the community, and this event will show that.”

The event will feature memorabilia and other items from Chrysler’s history and tours of the facility.

Anyone interested in sharing any Chrysler memorabilia for the evening should contact Heather Igo at hpfigo@udel.edu.

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