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winter 2020 Issue 4

1216 The Magazine of Ohio Dominican University

The Curtain Goes Up on the Matesich Theatre

contents features 2 Contemplata – Faculty Perspective Celebrating the Arts for More Than a Century For the last 109 years, the arts have had a constant presence at 1216 Sunbury Road. Today, fresh ideas, initiatives and partnerships give students access to the arts – on campus and across Columbus – like never before.


4 The Curtain Goes Up on the Matesich Theatre After a multi-year, $1 million restoration, the historic Sr. Mary Andrew Matesich, OP Theatre shines once more. 11 Student Point of View Using Art to Educate, Grow, and Heal Taylor Petree ’21 shares her unlikely path to becoming a published book illustrator, where she’s used her love for art to touch the lives of children.

departments 8 Campus Happenings 10 Alumni Profile: Turning a Passion into a Career 13 Why We Give to ODU Front cover: A brand new stage curtain and refinished stage are among the many new enhancements found in the newly refurbished Sr. Mary Andrew Matesich, OP Theatre.



1216 The Magazine of Ohio Dominican University

1216 is published twice a year for alumni, students, parents, friends, faculty and staff by Ohio Dominican University. The name “1216” represents both the founding year of the Dominican Order and ODU’s street address – a touchpoint for a publication that closely examines a particular topic or theme that is unique to each edition. It strives to engage readers, develop interest and provide a better understanding of how the University is helping students connect their passion with God’s purpose for their lives. Magazine Staff Editor Tom Brockman Managing Editor Mark Cooper Designer Monica Martin Contributors Chris Conroy ’04 Jeremy Glazier Janette Knowles, Ph.D. Nancy Recchie ’73 & Jeff Darbee Taylor Petree ’21 Mission Statement As a Catholic liberal arts university in the Dominican tradition, Ohio Dominican University is guided in its educational mission by the Dominican motto: to contemplate truth and to share with others the fruits of this contemplation. Ohio Dominican educates individuals committed to intellectual, spiritual and professional growth, who develop into lifelong learners, serving others in a global society. They in turn become ethical and effective leaders grounded in the pursuit of truth, justice and peace. Please send address changes and comments to Ohio Dominican University was founded by the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

Dear Friends, The focal point of this issue of 1216 Magazine is the debut of the newly refurbished Sr. Mary Andrew Matesich, OP Theatre. The campaign for this project began more than six years ago, and the finished product is indeed a showcase for our campus. In early October, we celebrated the grand re-opening of the Matesich Theatre with a world-class program by Columbus’ own ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, highlighted by a masterful performance by their guest artist, violinist Vadim Gluzman. It was an evening to remember. The renewal of the theater serves as a reminder of the importance of the arts in the life of Ohio Dominican University. In recent years, there has been increased emphasis in the media and in society about the need for education to serve as “career preparation,” with ROI measured in job placement rates. In fact, I’m very proud to say that ODU does very well by such measures, with 91% of our 2019 graduates either working full time or enrolled in grad school six months after graduation … well ahead of the national average. And in view of our Dominican heritage, we are rightly proud of our commitment to excellence in STEM fields of the natural sciences, technology and mathematics. At the same time, given my academic roots as a classicist, I am passionate that there is much more to a well-rounded education than just career prep. Exploration of the arts – music, theater, the fine arts, literature, as well as philosophy and theology – teaches us how to be truly human. As you’ll read throughout this issue, the arts are alive and well at Ohio Dominican University. Our Wehrle Art Gallery welcomed renowned Columbus artist Celeste Malvar-Stewart in the fall, drawing hundreds of first-time visitors to campus and giving our art students the opportunity to work alongside a visionary designer and artist. Our student performers in music and theater entertain and inspire us, and our alumni carry their artistic vision into the world. The words attributed to the German writer-philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe beautifully capture the importance of art in our lives: “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” I wish you the very best in the New Year. Robert Gervasi, Ph.D. President

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Contemplata – Faculty Perspective


Arts for More Than a Century the

ODU hosted a sustainable reception and exhibition featuring the work of internationally known fashion designer Celeste Malvar-Stewart in fall 2019.

It’s been ten years since the two of us led a group of ODU students to Egypt for a two-week immersive cultural experience. This was the trip of a lifetime; we explored the pyramids, sailed down the Nile, walked among the ruins of Karnak and the Valley of the Kings, all while studying the art and literature of one of the world’s great civilizations. By Jeremy Glazier, associate professor of English & Janette Knowles, Ph.D., associate professor of Art

As amazing as that experience was, we realized that one can have an incredible arts experience without ever leaving campus, let alone flying halfway around the world. In fact, opportunities for creativity abound right here on campus and in our community. The creative arts are experiencing a renaissance at Ohio Dominican. Long a fundamental part of our liberal arts mission, the study and practice of the arts help students develop their full potential as human beings. While critical thinking has long been a buzzword in higher education, creative thinking and problem-solving are increasingly recognized as essential skills for a wide variety of today’s careers. On campus, students have many opportunities to explore the arts, express themselves, and develop their own aesthetic sensibilities. A robust Graphic Design program and a newly

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Students share work from their final portfolios in ODU’s Creative Writing class.

Students, faculty and staff celebrate the annual launch of Gesture, ODU’s journal of literature and art.

established Creative Writing minor are just the tip of the iceberg. Our students also gain valuable hands-on experience assisting with exhibitions in the Wehrle Gallery, such as the recent show of work by internationally known fashion designer Celeste Malvar-Stewart, and by editing Gesture, our campus journal of literature and art. While Wehrle Hall is home base to our art students, there are places throughout campus that offer space for artistic expression. For example, the Black Student Union hosts open mic nights in the Griffin Student Center, and its Fireplace Lounge offers an intimate setting for our literary club, The Raven, to host Valentine’s Day poetry readings and celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday by reciting sonnets.

President Robert and Jen Gervasi accompanied a group of students, faculty and staff to a performance of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s “Spanish Flamenco Festival” at the Palace Theatre in downtown Columbus in March 2019.

But we’ve taken it one step farther. Shortly after their arrival in Columbus, President Gervasi and his wife, Jen, began to develop close relationships with leaders of local arts organizations with the purpose of creating opportunities for our students to explore our city’s incredible arts scene – and at no cost to them. Because of these valuable partnerships, our students have experienced the Columbus Symphony Orchestra at the Ohio Theatre, BalletMet at the Davidson Theatre, and exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts. For many students who have gone on these trips, this has served as their introduction to live classical music or their first visit to an art museum. It is our hope that these truly unique experiences, both on and off campus, help to provide our students with a foundation for a lifelong appreciation for the arts. 1216 winter 2020


The Curtain Goes Up on the Matesich Theatre By Tom Brockman, Editor

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One of Ohio Dominican’s true gems shines as brightly today as it did nearly a century ago. After years of planning and work, the campus community officially celebrated the grand reopening of the Sr. Mary Andrew Matesich, OP Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 12. The evening’s celebration was headlined by Columbus’ own ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, which consists of 37 musicians from across the country and is led by world-renowned violinist Vadim Gluzman. ProMusica Chamber Orchestra performed on Oct. 12, 2019 to celebrate the grand reopening of the Matesich Theatre following its extensive restoration.

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Above: Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace Sr. Patricia Twohill, OP blessed the Matesich Theatre with Holy Water during a ceremony on April 24, 2019. Right: Plaques are on display outside the main entrance to the theater recognizing the generosity of the campaign’s supporters.

The evening started with a special reception in the Wehrle Gallery to recognize and thank the nearly 400 donors, businesses and foundations who helped to take the project, which was funded entirely by donations, from idea, to concept, to reality. As the audience settled into the theater’s brand new seats, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace Sr. Patricia Twohill, OP, President Robert Gervasi, Ph.D. and Tom Fitzpatrick ’69 reflected both on the project and the woman after whom the theater is named: Sr. Mary Andrew Matesich, OP, who served as ODU’s president from 1978 to 2001, and who passed away in 2005. As the orchestra played various works by Beethoven, Mozart and Vasks during its two-hour performance, music filled every corner of the 90-year-old venue, virtually all of which was touched at some point during the theater’s $1 million refurbishment. When the final

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phase of the project was completed in fall 2019, crews had replaced the theater’s stage curtain, carpet and seats; strengthened its exterior walls and roof; restored its intricate wood and plaster work; painted its interior walls and ceiling; enhanced its stage lighting system and audio and visual equipment; and restored its stage surface. The evening provided an opportunity for those who purchased a seat in support of the theater campaign to sit in their named seat, fitted with a plaque, as they enjoyed the performance, which was funded entirely with a gift from Diamond Hill Capital Management, which also supported the project. ProMusica now joins other well-known performers and scholars who have graced the theater’s stage, including Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, actor Ozzie Davis, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Edward Albee and Tony Kushner, the von Trapp Family Singers, best-selling

Above and Left: During the project, crews restored nearly every square inch of the theater, including its intricate plaster work located along the ceiling. Photo taken in July 2018.

Above: The theater’s original seats were removed in Dec. 2018 to allow crews to prepare the floor for the new seats and carpet.

author Frances Mayes, former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Pulitzer prize-winning syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman, and political commentator Eleanor Clift. The event was a fitting way to re-christen the theater and honor the legacy of one of Ohio Dominican’s true pioneers. As Tom Fitzpatrick stated during the celebration, “It is our hope that everyone who uses this theater takes the time to know and to be inspired by Sr. Mary Andrew Matesich.” Thanks to the generosity of so many, the theater will continue to shine for years to come.

The theater’s brand new seats were installed in Jan. 2019.

To purchase a seat to support future improvements to the Matesich Theatre, visit

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Campus Happenings Fall semester was a wonderful and beautiful time to be at Ohio Dominican. As the campus leaves turned from green to their vibrant reds, yellows and oranges, the campus community celebrated new events, initiatives, and gifts that have generated enthusiasm for an exciting 2020. President Robert Gervasi with 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients (left to right) Theresa Holleran, Ph.D. ’75, Karen Days, MBA ’09 and Thomas Winters, JD ’72.

Alumni Celebrated at Homecoming 2019 Hundreds of alumni, students, faculty and staff celebrated the University’s annual Homecoming on Sept. 21. During the celebration, the University recognized its 2019 Black & Gold Athletic Hall of Fame inductees and Distinguished Alumni Award honorees. The Panthers’ football game versus the University of Findlay was televised to a national audience on ESPN3. During the game, President Robert Gervasi was presented with a check for $600,000 from the estate of Karl and Ellen ’50 Moroney Liewer, bringing the couple’s combined lifetime and estate giving total to nearly $1 million.

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2019 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees (left to right) Cris Reisert ’09/’11, Katie Moloney ’06, Adam Arnett ’07/’08, and Joe Janusik ’08 at an awards banquet on Sept. 20.

ODU Partnership with CSCC Addresses Workforce Needs in Insurance Industry Ohio Dominican and Columbus State Community College have partnered to create a pathway to help students achieve their goal of preparing for and securing employment in the rapidly growing insurance industry. Through the CSCC-to-ODU Risk Management Program, students who complete a two-year associate degree in Business Management at Columbus State, and who meet certain academic requirements, will be guaranteed admission to ODU to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Risk Management & Insurance.

2019 Fall Incoming Class ODU’s Largest in Six Years This past fall’s incoming class was the University’s largest since 2012. In August, 358 students began their educational journey at ODU, 288 of whom were first-time freshmen, and 70 of whom were transfer students. Representing 46 Ohio counties, 11 states, and nine countries, the group achieved an average high school GPA of 3.4 and an average ACT of 22, and approximately 38% of students were ranked in the top 25% of their high school class.

Fall 2019 Athletic Highlights Ohio Dominican’s fall athletic teams enjoyed another successful season. The football team went 7-3, finishing second in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference with a 6-1 record. The Panthers have won seven-plus games in nine consecutive seasons, and the 2019 campaign saw them qualify for the inaugural America’s Crossroads Bowl in Hobart, Indiana. Women’s soccer had five student-athletes earn all-conference recognition as they finished 11-7-2 and appeared in the GMAC Tournament Finals for the second time in three years. Men’s soccer head coach Willy Merrick won his 100th career game, and the program had an all-GMAC selection in Cameron Christian. Men’s golf won its first tournament team championship in nearly five years, and Robert Holden won the GMAC Fall Invitational while setting ODU Division II-era records of 66 for a single round and 138 for 36 holes. The women’s golf team recorded three top-five finishes out of six fall events. The cross country program saw Caleb

Belmont set the men’s freshman eight-kilometer record at the GMAC Championships, and 15 of the 16 men’s and women’s runners registered personal best times throughout the season. The volleyball team had its first all-GMAC selection in Emilee Fecht.

New EV Charging Stations Installed AEP awarded the University a $27,600 grant to fund the installation of four permanent electric vehicle (EV) charging stations through its Electric Vehicle Charging Station Incentive Program. The stations were installed this fall adjacent to Panther Stadium and are available for use by members of the campus community as well as the general public. ODU is a member of the Smart Columbus “Accelerator Partner” program, which is made up of organizations and education institutions throughout Central Ohio that are collaborating to reduce carbon emissions and educate the workforce and the public about innovative ways to decrease reliance on fossil fuels.

Upcoming Exhibitions in the Wehrle Gallery The Wehrle Gallery will host numerous exhibitions this winter and spring that celebrate its theme, “The Year of the Body.” Have You Got a Pulse? A ceramic sculpture installation by Terri Maloney-Houston Nov. 15, 2019 – Jan. 25, 2020 Just as Life Itself New work by Julie Abijanac Feb. 14 – April 5, 2020 From the Halls of Wehrle: 2020 Senior Exhibition April 26 – June 28, 2020 More information about the Wehrle Gallery’s upcoming exhibitions can be found at

1216 winter 2020


Turning a

Passion into a Career By Chris Conroy ’04, B.A. in Visual Communication Owner, Conroy Coatings & Restoration

I’ve always been fascinated by old buildings; everything about them – from the way they look to the way they feel as you walk through them – has captivated me ever since I was a child. It’s probably not surprising then to learn that having an opportunity to work on and in these historic structures has been a lifelong dream. For me, it’s a dream that Ohio Dominican helped me achieve. Throughout my time at ODU, my art professors and advisors provided me with abundant knowledge, resources, and support that I needed to not just earn a degree, but to start my own architectural restoration company. What started as an ambitious idea a little more than a decade ago has now grown to a seven-person operation, working on dozens of projects throughout Central Ohio. Even 15 years after my graduation, I still reflect on the Dominican education I received. It taught me how to approach problems, how to think critically, and how to pursue and nurture ideas in a way that they turn into something tangible. My education helped to provide a foundation that continues to serve me well today. Because of my experience at ODU, I now have the opportunity to take something that is in disrepair, and restore it to its original beauty. For me, it’s my way of honoring the skills of craftsmen from decades or even centuries ago. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to return to campus to help restore various areas in and around Erskine and Hamilton Halls. I can vividly recall my colleagues joking with me at the time that I seemed way too happy and excited to be at work. The truth is that I wasn’t at work, I was home. Chris Conroy ’04 at a job site at St. Mary Catholic Church in Delaware, Ohio in fall 2019.

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ODU helped me connect my passion for architectural restoration with my purpose of running a business and supporting my family. For this, I am extremely grateful.

Student Point of View

Using Art to Educate, Grow, and Heal By Taylor Petree ’21, Art Education major

I admit that I perhaps did not take the college search process as seriously as some of my high school classmates. I saw college as simply being a means to an end – to earn my degree. My mom, Jamie, is a proud 1998 ODU graduate, so that was good enough reason for me to become a Panther as well. My decision to attend Ohio Dominican has turned out to be one of the biggest blessings in my life. It’s been here that over the past several years I’ve realized my passion, discovered my purpose, and been given resources and support to help both flourish. The greatest resource I have at ODU is Associate Professor of Art Janette Knowles, Ph.D. Not only have I had an opportunity to develop a close relationship

with Dr. Knowles, but she has introduced me to incredible people I now consider family and who have provided me with amazing opportunities to pursue my love for art. One of those opportunities comes in the form of an illustrated walrus named Henry, a character in a book written by Sr. Rosemary Loomis, OP ’69. In 2017, at Dr. Knowles’ recommendation, I began working with Sr. Rosie to illustrate a children’s book she had written, “Henry’s Hope.” Since then, she has written, and I have illustrated, two books, each of which is intended to help children deal with the topic of grief. My mom has even illustrated three of Sr. Rosie’s books as well – making this project a collaborative effort spanning three generations of ODU women. Having experienced my own struggles with grief, “Henry’s Hope” and its sequel, “Henry’s Gift,” have hit home with me. While I’ve gained practical experience as an artist, I’ve also found that this project has helped me heal as well. To think that my illustrations could help a child who is experiencing similar emotions is an incredible feeling. None of this would have been possible without the support I’ve found at ODU, and, in particular, from Dr. Knowles. They have changed my life forever.

Jamie Petree ’98, Sr. Rosemary Loomis, OP ’69, and Taylor Petree ’21.

Read more about this collaborative project at 1216 winter 2020


Your Support Means Everything to Us Dear ODU Alumni and Friends, It was a thrill to be a part of a very special moment during September’s Homecoming game. During a break in the Panthers’ victory over Findlay, President Gervasi welcomed Steve and Keiko Liewer onto the field, where they presented a check to ODU from the estate of Steve’s great uncle Karl and his wife Ellen Liewer ’50 in the amount of $600,000. Ellen was a 1950 graduate of the College of St. Mary of the Springs, and the love she and Karl demonstrated for Ohio Dominican through their gift is an inspiring example of the difference one person or one couple can make. Such large gifts are not a daily occurrence for schools like Ohio Dominican, so there’s a concern that someone might see this news and Steve Liewer and his wife, Keiko, present President think their “small” gift doesn’t make a difference. However, the vast Robert Gervasi with a check from the estate of majority of the gifts we receive come from loyal alumni and friends Karl and Ellen ’50 Moroney Liewer on Sept. 21. who give anywhere from $50 to $500 – or $1,000 at the President’s Club level – year after year. In fact, most major gifts come from individuals who established a habit of giving when they were younger, long before they were in a position to plan an estate gift or make a significant gift from lifetime assets. They simply gave from their hearts and within their means in appreciation for what this place meant to them. If you are making regular donations to ODU, thank you. And if you aren’t giving regularly to ODU just yet, and you value the impact that Ohio Dominican made on your life, I hope you will consider making it a habit to give something on a regular basis. Your gift of any size makes a difference. There are also many other ways to show your support for ODU. If you own a business or are in a hiring position, hire one of our graduates. Establish an internship. Be a mentor. Create a Handshake account on our Career Development website to connect with our graduates. Refer a student to ODU. Complete the alumni survey. Share your Ohio Dominican legacy. Your support truly does mean the world to our students. Have a great New Year.

Mark Cooper Vice President Advancement and External Relations

Alumni Survey for the Classes of 1969 – 2019 Attention, Alumni – we need your help to better understand and improve your experience as ODC/ODU alumni. Complete a brief 10-minute survey by Feb. 14 and you’ll be eligible to win one of five $20 Amazon gift cards!

Get started now at Have questions? Contact the Alumni Office at or 614-253-3502. 12 Ohio Dominican University

Why We Give to ODU Dominican has been a part of our “ Ohio family for generations. We’ve seen how

students, including our son, have benefited directly from the education, support, and foundation ODU provided in their lives. The quality of the institution and the character of its students inspire us to support Ohio Dominican. Our lives have been so enriched by our experiences that we feel compelled to return the favor for future generations.

Nancy Recchie ’73, Bachelor of Arts in Home Economics with husband, Jeff Darbee Owners, Benjamin D. Rickey & Co. Historic Preservation Consulting

Ohio Dominican is blessed to have alumni and friends like Nancy and Jeff who regularly give their time and treasure to help provide life-changing opportunities for its students. They have accompanied 65 students on five separate study abroad trips, and have given generously to support student scholarship initiatives and capital projects to enhance ODU’s campus for years to come.

Make a Gift Today:

1216 Sunbury Road Columbus, Ohio 43219 Return Service Requested

Profile for Ohio Dominican University

1216 | The Magazine of Ohio Dominican University Winter 2020 Issue 4