Skip to main content

William Ingham Papers

Identifier: SC 0002
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The William Ingham Papers (1945-2013), consisting of 37.13 cubic feet (113 boxes), contain the professional and academic papers of Dr. William Ingham, professor emeritus of physics at James Madison University. The materials chiefly relate to Dr. Ingham’s tenure as a physics professor at JMU between 1976 and 2010, including lecture notes and PowerPoint presentations, homework assignments, syllabi, examinations and keys, and related course documents. Other materials relate to Ingham’s scholarly pursuits both related and unrelated to physics including Dr. Ingham’s research on James Madison and the sciences. Materials documenting Dr. Ingham’s involvement in professional organizations and his commitment to professional development comprise a sizable portion of the collection. Much of the correspondence throughout the collection was generated using the VAX email system.

The second half of the collection, series 7 through 12, includes materials documenting the conflicts and controversial incidents Dr. Ingham encountered with the JMU administration during his time as a professor of physics at JMU. Specifically, these incidents include the controversial decision by JMU administration to restructure academic colleges and dissolve the Physics Department, a 1996 Honor Code “fiasco” during which administration quietly overturned an Honor Council decision, opposition by faculty and students to proposed general education curriculum, and quashed subpoenas originally served to Dr. Carrier and civic leader, Zane Showker, as part of the 1997 Jamie Raymond murder trial. At the request of the donor, the aforementioned series were restricted and closed to researchers until September 18, 2020, three years after the death of Dr. Ronald Carrier.


  • 1945-2013


Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. Staff have taken special care to identify and remove sensitive materials, particularly those relating to students’ academic records, found within this collection. However, in rare instances, privacy protected information may be revealed during use of this collection. Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within this collection, and further agree not to publish or disclose such information for any purpose. Researchers agree to alert Special Collections staff if potentially privacy protected information is found within this collection. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Bio/Historical Note

William Herbert Ingham, a distinguished member of the James Madison University Physics faculty for over three decades, was born November 29, 1947 in Rochester, New York. He received his S.B. (Scientiae Baccalaureus) in Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1968 and went on to complete his M.S. in astronomy from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1969. Ingham returned to MIT and received his Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 1976. Dr. Ingham began teaching at JMU in September 1976 and remained a member of the Physics faculty until his retirement in July 2010.

During his tenure at JMU, Dr. Ingham served as head of the Physics Department from 1986 to 1989 and also served in an acting role as Associate Dean/Acting Dean, Letters and Sciences (1989-1990) and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs (1990-1991). Dr. Ingham’s accomplishments related to furthering the science curriculum are numerous. He taught over thirty discrete Physics courses as well as courses in many other disciplines such as chemistry and math and championed a new computational science concentration. He also developed and taught four offerings of an introductory fluid mechanics course beginning the 1980-1980 academic year. In partnership with the History Department, Dr. Ingham was instrumental in creating the history of science curriculum first offered in the 1992-1993 academic year. Related material is located in the Teaching & Coursework series of this collection.

Dr. Ingham advocated for the Physics Department and the liberal studies program during university restructuring in the 1990s. He spoke out against Dr. Carrier and many others in the university administration for decisions made regarding academic restructuring and other tangentially related incidents. On the morning of Friday, January 13, 1995, Dr. Bethany Oberst, vice president for academic affairs announced restructuring plans which included moving math and sciences out of the College of Letters and Sciences and into the College of Integrated Science and Technology (CISAT) and merging the remainder of College of Letters and Sciences programs with the College of Communication and the Arts. Especially shocking to the university community and to Dr. Ingham and his colleagues was the announcement that Physics would be eliminated as a major. Throughout his papers, Dr. Ingham refers to the ensuing months and years at JMU, which included the aforementioned academic restructuring, and also a 1996 Honor Code “fiasco” during which administration quietly overturned an Honor Council decision, opposition by faculty and students to proposed general education curriculum, and quashed subpoenas originally served to Dr. Carrier and civic leader, Zane Showker, as part of the 1997 Jamie Raymond murder trial, as “the troubles.” Similar intentionally nebulous language describing these years can be found throughout materials in Series 7 through Series 12. These occurrences, particularly the plans for university restructuring, created conflict between the administration and faculty and resulted in the group, Faculty for Responsible Change (FRC), of which Dr. Ingham was a founding member. The Physics Department ultimately was kept intact and continues to be a thriving department and major at JMU.

Dr. Ingham was also an influential and involved faculty member beyond the Physics Department and beyond JMU. He served on the Faculty Handbook Task Force which was charged with editing the faculty handbook. This included editing and revising the expectations, rights and responsibilities of the faculty, and outlining the relationship between faculty members and the university. He also served on the Faculty Senate. Dr. Ingham was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award for the College of Sciences and Mathematics for academic year 2002/2003. Recommended by the Council for International Exchange of Students (CIES) for a Lecturing/Research award under the 2004-2005 J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Program. He was awarded a grant and subsequently spent the fall semester 2004 teaching Physics and conducting research at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada as a faculty-in-residence.

Dr. Ingham was professionally active throughout his career, serving as a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), particularly the Chesapeake Section (CSAAPT), and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. He was a grader for Advanced Placement (AP) Physics examinations for several years. Between 1994 and 2000, Dr. Ingham served on the AP Physics Development Committee, a six-member national committee that writes the AP Physics examinations; he chaired the committee from 1997 to 2000.

Since retirement in 2010, Dr. Ingham has remained active in the JMU community as a member of the Faculty Emeriti Association and continues to lecture on topics relating to black holes and gravitational waves.


37.13 cubic feet (113 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection, consisting of 37.13 cubic feet (113 boxes), contains the professional and academic papers of Dr. William Ingham, professor emeritus of physics at James Madison University.


The collection is arranged in thirteen series. Series 2: Teaching and Coursework, Series 4: JMU Departmental and JMU Materials, and Series 8: Faculty for Responsible Change are arranged further into subseries. All series and subseries are arranged chronologically with the exception of Series 11: Reports and Series 12: Subject Files, which are arranged alphabetically. Note that within Series 8: Faculty for Responsible Change there are two subseries. Subseries 8.1 is arranged alphabetically and subseries 8.2 is arranged numerically by exhibit number. Series 13: Media is not arranged in any particular order.

  1. Undergraduate and Graduate School Materials, 1965-1976
  2. Teaching and Coursework, 1971-2013
  3. Research and Scholarship, 1945-2013
  4. JMU Departmental and JMU Materials, 1976-2012
  5. Professional Development and Activities, 1958-2011
  6. Physics Miscellaneous, 1970-2005
  7. Chronological Files, 1986-2013
  8. Faculty for Responsible Change, 1993-2008
  9. General Education, 1993-1998
  10. Physics Program Review, 1990-1999
  11. Reports, 1989-1996
  12. Subject Files, 1992-2013
  13. Media, 1999-2004

Acquisition Information

William Ingham donated this collection to Special Collections in October 2013.

Location of Originals

Along with all other media, the USB flash drive is in the process of being digitized (copied) as of August 2016. After digitization, the original drive was returned to the owner.

Other Formats Available

Digitization of media content is in-process as of August 2016. Access will be made available to content once digitization is complete, barring any copyright or use restrictions.

Separated Material

Due to Federal laws regulating the privacy and use of student academic records (specifically the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, i.e. FERPA), material including but not limited to grades and grade books, marked papers, theses, class rosters, letters of recommendation, and instances of social security numbers or other unique identification numbers have been removed and returned to the donor. Many newspaper articles were photocopied and originals discarded. In some instances where entire newspaper issues were donated, the titles and dates of issues were recorded and originals were returned to donor. All media, regardless of original location in the organizational structure, has been removed to a single series.

Processing Information

The donor’s original order, including folder titles, were maintained whenever possible. The archivist imposed an order on any unordered files and created discrete series. Limited preservation, including removal of rusty paper clips and brittle rubber bands, was performed on materials. When appropriate, notebooks have been disbound. Newspaper clippings have either been photocopied or interleaved with acid-free paper. At the request of the donor, series 7 through 12 were restricted and closed to researchers until September 18, 2020, three years after the death of Dr. Ronald Carrier.

A Guide to the William Ingham Papers, 1945-2013
Kate Morris, Peter Watt, Tiffany Cole
December 2014, August 2015, June 2016, September 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • August 2020: Updated finding aid to incorporate description and container list of previously restricted material.

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

820 Madison Drive
MSC 1706
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612