Dayton Eldridge established his legacy at The Ohio State University through a bequest in his will that indicated three designated areas to benefit from his generosity. He indicated support for the College of Business and the Alumni Association, but his straightforward designation for “The Best Damn Band in the Land” caught the most attention and caused a few smiles.
Eldridge chose to support areas that reflected his strongest connections to Ohio State. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1936 and served as a member of The Ohio State University Marching Band from 1932-1935. Eldridge also served as an alumni association leader years after he graduated from Ohio State.
Today, more than a decade after this support came to Ohio State, students studying business, alumni across the country who participate in Alumni Association programs, and members of The Best Damn Band in the Land are the greatest beneficiaries of Dayton Eldridge’s support. His designation for the band initiated the establishment of The Endowed Chair for Director of The Ohio State University Marching Band, which attracted additional support from many others who also cherish the important role of the marching band and its leader. Dr. Jon Woods has been the leader of the band for more than 25 years, having served a total of more than 35 years in service to The Ohio State University Marching Band. He is also a faculty member in the School of Music and has received a Distinguished Teaching Award for teaching a range of classes including secondary instrumental methods and marching band technique. Music students and marching band members have looked to Dr. Woods for his leadership for more than three decades.
Dayton Eldridge most certainly knew the important role of the marching band director, having served as a member of The Ohio State University Marching Band from 1932-1935 under the direction of Eugene Weigel. During Eldridge’s first year as a band member, Director Weigel introduced the Skull Session, a pregame rehearsal that has since become a beloved Ohio State football tradition and highlight of home game excitement. And, it was in 1936, that Eugene Weigel and the marching band debuted Script Ohio, the signature of The Best Damn Band in the Land.