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Spring 2013: ‘I can build that puppet in one night’ and other classroom tales • Our soulful Bobcats


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Features HEART & SOUL


Alumni across the generations bond like family at Ohio University’s Black Alumni Reunion. Meet three Bobcats who reflect on the significance of this event and their connection to alma mater. THE DEAN CAME TO VISIT … AND I LECTURED ON THE AQUATIC APE


Faculty share memorable moments — some funny, others touching — from their years in the classroom. ENGINEERING A BRIGHT FUTURE


The legacy of Fritz Russ, BSEE ’42, and his wife, Dolores, lives on in five extraordinary engineering and technology faculty who serve as Russ Professors. HISTORY IN THE MAKING


What does it take to bring 14,000 people and one president to College Green for one historic evening? A lot of work — just ask our students. lty in her home country of Russia.

ON THE COVER: Associate Professor of Costume Design Holly Cole designed three dog spirits for an Ohio University production of “The Tempest.” ABOVE: Associate Professor of Geological Sciences Alycia Stigall has seen students transformed by field work. Stigall and Cole share memorable classroom moments in the story beginning on page 20. photos by

Ben Siegel BS ’02

Departments 3 Letters 4

Your Ohio

Did you take a memorable road trip as a student?



Across the College Green 6 In the news Ohio Fellows Program returns to campus.


Calendar Chapter events and campus activities

Bobcat Tracks 32 A ‘Great’ moment

President Lyndon B. Johnson was the last sitting president to visit in 1964.

38 Your alumni updates

8 Breaking the ice

News from fellow alumni, photos and reunion announcements


Cool research inspires scientist, creates collaborations with 45 In Memoriam local students. Remembering alumni, faculty and staff 9 Puppy love Finals Week brings unique 8 Last Word 4 visitors to campus. Our favorite things Best of Athens 2013 ranks Bobcat favorites with fun categories.

photo by

Sarah Barclay BS ’14




The Council for Advancement and Support of Education, headquartered in Washington, D.C., with members around the world, named Ohio Today a gold award winner of its 14-state Region V and VI Pride of CASE 2012 awards program. For the first time, the magazine was recognized as the best alumni magazine in its circulation class.


OHIO’s The Promise Lives Campaign is about students finding the promise in their passion.

photo by

Mears Photography

Students like Chillicothe Campus graduate Karissa Stauffer, BSEd ’12, who stayed in southern Ohio to share her love of learning with the region’s youth. MAKE YOUR GIFT TODAY! The Ohio University Foundation P.O. Box 869, Athens OH 45701 toll free: 800-592-FUND • email: secure online giving at


to the editor

The Wall Our Ohio Today Online Summer 2012 issue about the The Wall brought back many memories, including this one: Imagine our surprise early one morning in 1974 to see my Foster House roommate Ted Coonfield’s name in lights. Well, kinda. The happy birthday message to “Tango” (Ted) was lit at night by passing motorists and awed daylight visitors to the tradition-ladened wall. Of course, there was no guarantee how long the message would remain visible before another birthday, engagement, graduation or congratulation was painted over it! —Dale Leslie, MED ’74, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Corps support Thank you for Mary Reed’s article explaining how Ohio University produced more than 770 Peace Corps volunteers in the agency’s first 50 years, “Peace Corps Values” [Fall 2012]. My brother, John Kandel, BSJ ’70, was a three-time volunteer. He worked in Ouagadougou when Burkina Faso was called Upper Volta; in Bamako, Mali; and returned for another tour nearer Ohio to Saint Lucia, a country that is proud of its two Nobel prize winners, Arthur Lewis, economist, and Derek Walcott, still living there as a poet and playwright. The three goals Ohio University history student Frank Gillespie promoted — train host country people, promote understanding of Americans and help Americans understand other peoples better — need to be promoted. If any of you readers are in Speaker John Boehner’s district, please contact your congressperson to continue to support the Peace Corps budget. These goals need to be encouraged. —Mari Kandel Campbell, BSJ ’66 Alameda, Calif. The article “Peace Corps Values” in the Fall 2012 edition of Ohio Today makes an interesting and insightful read. I am proud to read that my alma mater has produced more than 770 Peace Corps volunteers in the agency’s first 50 years! That is unequivocally a manifestation of the Bobcat spirit, and it lives on! The importance of the Peace Corps cannot be overstressed. It is mutually

beneficial to Americans and the host country’s people. My country [Nigeria] operates a similar scheme called Technical Aid Corps through which skilled personnel and professionals from Nigeria are sent to needy African and Caribbean countries, so far limited to two zones. Going down memory lane, I can still remember as a teenager in secondary school (high school) when two American Peace Corps volunteers were posted to my school. That practice has since stopped. The two Peace Corps volunteers were cool, pleasant and amiable. The students loved them and wanted to hang around them always. Little did I know I would someday be in the U.S. to study at an institution that has been such a hub for the Peace Corps community! —Chuba Patt. I Okpaleeze, MAIA ’83 Onitsha, Nigeria

Dress, and success Like most OU graduates, I have found when Ohio Today arrives, the memories get a good stirring. Such was the case with your Fall 2012 issue. The first such memory: No article on “What did you wear?” would be complete without mention of the “Ivy League” influence on campus males of the late 1950s: three-button, trim-style seersucker jacket; Bermuda shorts with the belt in the back (whatever was the purpose of that belt, anyway?); button-down oxford-cloth white shirt with repp tie; just-under-the-kneelength stockings with loafers — and don’t forget the black, rolled umbrella!

There was no better model for this sartorial pinnacle than Van Gordon Sauter, BSJ ’57. Van also sported heavy darkrimmed glasses that brought the added touch of worldliness and Princetoniness (my invented word) to the ensemble. Hey — maybe it helped him become president of CBS News and Fox News. A second memory: Between 1954 and 1958, when Sen. George Voinovich and I were undergrads at OU, the former Baker University Center was just known as the Student Union. In addition to all the amenities it still offers, it housed the Athena yearbook, OU Post and student government offices. Since George was president of the Student Council (see 1958 Athena page 25), and I was photo editor of the Athena (op.cit. page 96), we both spent significant amounts of time in our basement suite of adjacent offices. I believe it was during one of those late-night bull session breaks from our respective commitments that George made a declaration to me: “Someday, John, I’m going to be governor of this state!” I believed him then, and proudly watched as he achieved his avowal ... and then some. Ah, OU memories ... —John Alter, BFA ’58 Malone, Fla.

Heart healthy I bake cookies and cakes for a Hilton Head Island Alzheimer’s caregivers group weekly meeting several times a month. I try to use recipes that are from old family cookbooks or from magazines such as electrical cooperatives and the one [Shively Court Shookie] in the Fall 2012 issue of Ohio Today. I will spring this on my group in short order. I will make one substitute; I was surprised to see they are using Crisco. I’ll replace the Crisco with a more heart healthy alternative such as coconut oil or butter. Thanks for the information. —Leo Everitt, BSEE ’53 Bluffton, S.C.

WRITE TO US Ohio Today welcomes letters from readers. We reserve the right to edit for grammar, space, clarity and civility. Please include your Ohio University affiliation, address and phone number when you submit your letter by email to or mail to 213 McKee House, 1 Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 45701. We regret we cannot publish all letters.

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memories and more

Did you take a memorable road trip as a student? We asked our readers and Facebook friends to comment on epic adventures. Here are some of our favorite responses:

My best road trip was with the Ohio University basketball team to Minneapolis, where the Bobcats beat Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky in the NCAA Midwest Regional only to lose to Michigan the following night. The Great Eight ... how special was that?

The trip I took with Kathy Kingsley Pilarski, BSJ ’01 and BA ’02; and Sara Vorkavich, BSC ’02 and CERT ’02, to Whitewater, Mich., for the Tau Beta Sigma/Kappa Kappa Psi NCD camping trip. There was a huge rainbow for a large part of the trip back.

—Tarra Scott, BA ’01

In the fall of 1971, members of the debate team were getting ready for the upcoming season. After working all day Saturday, we got bored and decided to take a road trip. Matt Lobas, BSC ’73; Jim Wallace, BGS ’75; and myself decided to go see the Washington Monument at night. Only problem was we had no car. So we talked Matt into seeing if this girl he had just met would let us use her car. Lynn Nally, BSED ’73, agreed, and off we drove to D.C., arriving around 2 a.m. The monument looked cool, but the initial rush was wearing off, so we decided to travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., to check on my roommate, Ed Passarelli, AB ’73, who was visiting his girlfriend, Harriet Cherberg, BSC ’71. Arriving at 7 a.m., we were greeted by a sleepy Passarelli. After a few hours of rest, we drove back to Athens. I don’t think anyone made Monday’s classes. Matt and Lynn married and now live in California. Ed and Harriet married and live in D.C. I am not too sure they visit the Washington Monument at night.

—Michael Muth, BGS ’72

My roommate and I road tripped to Nashville for spring break in 2010. We stayed in a hostel and became fast friends with a girl from London, England, who has since come to visit Athens and fell in love with the town and OU!

—Cassie Costilow, BSHSLS ’10

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James Yang

—Lee Cook, BFA ’64

The summer before my junior year I hiked and backpacked the Oregon Coast from Astoria to Brookings. Six weeks on the Oregon Coast — what’s more awesome than that?

—Jerry Schetterer, BSC ’90 Our gang LOVED to road trip. ... All around Ohio, D.C., ski trips in West Virginia, and an annual trip to rural Crossville, Tenn., to stay in someone’s grandparents’ second home — we were constantly in motion. As we didn’t yet own cellphones, we used walkie-talkies to communicate between cars! Today, we continue the ski trip tradition (2013 will be ski trip 13), only now, we bring the kids. And instead of cramming 20 people into a rental house 10 miles from the resort, we book two homes slopeside. Our road tripping adventures are inextricably woven into the fabric of our OU memories. Although we treasured our campus and never missed Athens events, our road trips created bonds that will last a lifetime — whether in friendship or marriage!

—Amy Mihalik Holle, BSHSL ’02, MAHSL ’04 Spring break of my freshman year, four of us from my Jeff Hall floor section booked ourselves a Daytona Beach package that I’m sure one of us found posted on the

bulletin board at the old Baker Center. It included bus transportation there and back and accommodations for the week. Well, we’ve all heard the saying, “When something sounds too good to be true ...” This definitely fell into that category. The “party bus” experience we’d been promised, wasn’t. The motel was so nasty that the dye in the red carpeting rubbed off on our feet, socks and shoe soles, and the shower leaked water onto the bathroom floor when it drained. One of our foursome got so sunburned on day two that she could only lie in bed covered in ice-soaked wet towels for the rest of the week. And, to cap it all off, the bus broke down on the trip home at some godforsaken truck stop just off I-75 in a place whose name I will never forget: Raccoon Valley, Tenn. It was one of the greatest weeks of my life! I don’t know when I’ve laughed harder or had more fun!

—Amy Miller, BSJ ’87 For spring break my senior year in 1994, I drove with my five roommates back home to the Jersey Shore. We went to the beach and hung out at Donovan’s, which has since been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. I’m glad my roommates got to experience a part of the Jersey Shore, and I will cherish those memories forever.

—Jennifer Hans Pratt, BBA ’94 One of my favorites was the winter backpacking trip to West Virginia headed up by [Professor] Ron Dingle with the rec department. Woke up one morning with a few inches of snow on the ground. Great trip!

—Jeff Moorehead, BSED ’84

NEXT ISSUE’S QUESTION: Let’s talk sports. What significant or surprising sports feat did you accomplish or witness in your student years? Tell us about your favorite moments with club, intramural or varsity sports. Write to us at 213 McKee House, 1 Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 45701, or email us at You can also “friend” the Ohio University Alumni Association on Facebook to respond to this and other fun questions.

ohiotoday Editor Mariel Jungkunz, MS ’07 Art Director Sarah McDowell, BFA ’02 Contributors Lindsey Burrows, BSJ ’09 Elizabeth Dickson, BSJ ’13 Kedrin Herron, BSJ ’13 Kaitrin McCoy, BSJ ’13, BMUS ’13 Erik Myers, BFA ‘14 Sally Parker Kelee Garrison Riesbeck, BSJ ’91 Mary Reed, BSJ ’90, MA ’93 Arian Smedley, BSJ ’07, BA ’07 Printer The Watkins Printing Co.

Ohio University

President Roderick J. McDavis, BSED ’70

photo by

Stephanie Luczkowski bsvc ‘15

Executive Director of Communications and Marketing Renea Morris


Elizabeth Dickson is a senior studying magazine journalism with a specialization in English. She has worked as an editorial assistant for Ohio Today for the past two years and is the managing editor of Southeast Ohio Magazine. She is also a proud member of Alpha Omicron Pi, which she joined her freshman year. Elizabeth looks forward to life after college and can’t wait to return for Homecoming next year.

Executive Director of Development Jennifer Shutt Bowie, BSJ ’94, MS ’99 Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations Executive Director of the Alumni Association Jennifer Neubauer Director, Advancement Communication and Marketing Janis Miller-Fox, BFA ’77

Ohio University Alumni Association

Board of Directors Bill Hilyard, BSED ’67, Chair Julie Mann, BBA ’02, Vice Chair Melissa W. Arnold, BSJ ’99 Robin S. Bowlus, BFA ’98 Craig A. Brown, BSC ’82 Cynthia Calhoun, BSEE ’88 Melissa Cardenas, BA ’96, MBA ’03 Casey Christopher, BSC ’02 Brenda J. Dancil-Jones, AB ‘70 Jeanne Gokcen, BS ’82, MA ’84 Paige S. Gutheil Henderson, DO ’02 Michael Jackson, BSED ’68 Matthew Latham, AA ’06 Jeffrey Laturell, BSC ’80, MBA ’82 Lyndsay A. Markley, BA ’02 Dustin Starkey, BS ’98 Larry Starr, BSED ’68, MED ’71 A. Cita Strauss, BFA ’77, MA ’06 Stacia Taylor, BSC ’82 Ronald Teplitzky, AB ’84 Robert Wolfinger, AA ’73, BSG ’80 Madisen Medley, Student Alumni Board president Ohio Today is published twice a year in fall and spring. Ohio Today Online is published at The magazine is produced by University Advancement with funding provided by The Ohio University Foundation. Views expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or university policies.

Arian Smedley is a reporter with The Athens Messenger, primarily covering K-12 education. She graduated from Ohio University with degrees in journalism and Spanish in 2007. After graduation, she moved to New York City, where she served as an editor with the Associated Press. After the birth of her son in 2010, she and her husband decided to move back home to Athens, where she was raised.

Janet Carleton, AB ’93 and BFA ’93, is the digital initiatives coordinator for Ohio University Libraries, where she works to get the university’s unique resources online and bring those resources to users’ attention through social media. Favorite projects include the online yearbooks (see media. and the first alumna @MaggieBoyd1873 Twitter project.

Erik Myers is a graphic design major who expects to graduate next year. A graphic design intern for Ohio Today, Erik also works for Alden Library as an assistant designer. This spring, he won two logo design competitions: one for the Ohio Museums Association and the other for Ohio University’s own Women in Philanthropy. Erik plans on pursuing a career in user experience design and is hoping to secure an internship for the summer.

Copyright 2013 by Ohio University Ohio University is an affirmative action institution.

To contact us

Editorial offices are located at 213 McKee House, 1 Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701-2979. Send story ideas, items for Bobcat Tracks or comments about the magazine to that address, email them to or call the editor, Mariel Jungkunz, 740-593-1891. Address changes may be made by visiting www. Address changes and information for In Memoriam also may be sent to Advancement Services, WUSOC 168, Athens, Ohio 45701-0869 or emailed to To reach the Ohio University switchboard, call 740-593-1000.

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n installation at the Academic & Research Center documents how Ohio University engineering and technology create for good. In the “Tag Yourself” campaign to launch a new creative identity, Russ College of Engineering and Technology students, faculty and staff personalized inventory tags and then sat for photographic portraits to show how their work improves the human condition and makes a sustainable mark on the world. Russ College alumni: Turn to page 47 to find your own tag and mail it in for the campaign. photo by Rebecca Miller MA ’12

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In the News FINE FELLOWS The Ohio Fellows Program, a nontraditional scholars program for students who distinguish themselves within their field of study, is being offered again after a 43-year hiatus. A gift from six Ohio Fellows has made the revamped program possible. Fellows will participate in enrichment opportunities with faculty, and will receive research and travel support. A class of nine students was selected from applications received by March 1. The program seeks to identify students with a potential to make an impact after graduation. “We need to find them and help them spread their wings,” says Ohio Fellow Terry Moore, who started his degree in the 1960s and completed it via distance education in 1991. “We need to encourage them to think outside the box and to become leaders in their fields.”

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW Hordes of curious students turned out for a February “Psychic Fair” at Baker University Center ballroom that offered everything from numerology to palm reading. The event was sponsored by the student-run organization University Program Council, the same folks responsible for “Banana Day” with make-your-own banana splits, “Two Shoe Tuesday” featuring soccer and hopscotch, and “Pancakes with Parents” during Parents Weekend.

FRIENDS INDEED Five journalism majors have launched “Reach Out For Friendship,” an anti-bullying campaign that offers resources, such as lesson plans and anti-bullying kits, to local schools. The campaign, which ran through February, will be entered in the national Bateman Case Study Competition sponsored annually by the Public Relations Student Society of America.

HERE FOR THE HOLIDAYS Holiday spirit filled the air as students decorated residence hall rooms and hallways during December, thanks to the new semester schedule. The semester ended Dec. 15, and students found festive ways to celebrate, including freshman Ryan Carrigan, who spruced up his room in Read Hall with a fake fireplace, Christmas tree and 28 stockings. “It’s definitely nice to be able to get into the spirit even though we are away from home,” he told The Post.

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Breaking the ice

Scientist hopes introduction to Antarctica will inspire students Scientists have been puzzled by the uneven climate change observed in Antarctica over the last few decades — and a team from Ohio University is working to unlock the mystery. While the continent’s eastern region has remained relatively stable in temperature, and even has gained sea ice, the west has recorded some of the most dramatic warming trends in the world. With a grant from the National Science Foundation, Assistant Professor of Geography Ryan Fogt and his students are analyzing a persistent atmospheric low-pressure system called the Amundsen-Bellingshausen Seas Low to determine what role it might play in this asymmetrical climate pattern. Antarctic climate change can impact marine ecosystems and terrestrial animal habitats, as well as global sea levels. Yet the continent — which is about 1.5 times the size of the United States — is home to only about 17 staffed weather stations, says Fogt. His study is the first step toward characterizing and developing a better understanding of this Amundsen-Bellingshausen Seas Low; findings were recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. In addition to the NSF grant, Fogt has received support from the Ohio Space Grant Consortium to install weather stations at six southeastern Ohio middle schools. Students can track local weather and can compare it to data from Antarctica. Fogt hopes that the project might even inspire a teen to pursue scientific exploration in Antarctica, where he admits he got “ice in the veins.” “Once I experienced Antarctica firsthand,” he recalls, “I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” A version of this article appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2012 issue of Perspectives magazine, which covers the research, scholarship and creative activity of Ohio University faculty, students and staff. ABOVE: Assistant Professor of Geography Ryan Fogt collects data from a weather station near Mount Erebus, the world’s southernmost active volcano. Photograph courtesy of Ryan Fogt

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hio University President Roderick
J. McDavis conferred an honorary degree upon Malaysian Prime Minister Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak prior to the Jan. 15 Tun Abdul Razak Lecture, the signatory event of a 32-year partnership between Ohio University and the Malaysian government. Central to this partnership is the Tun Abdul Razak Chair, a prestigious endowed faculty position at Ohio University that works to foster crosscultural understanding of Malaysian-American perspectives. McDavis honored Prime Minister Najib with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his achievements in the areas of education, democratization and unity. Prime Minister Najib is the eldest son of the late Tun Abdul Razak, in whose honor the endowed chair was named. “Through his commitments to educational access, public service and political reform, Prime Minister Najib has positioned Malaysia for continued success and international recognition,” says President McDavis. “We conferred this degree upon a well-deserving partner in Ohio University’s quest to foster cross-cultural understanding and awareness.”

More than 2,400 Malaysians have graduated from Ohio University since 1968, giving it the largest concentration of alumni outside the state of Ohio. On hand for the conferring of the honorary degree were Malaysian dignitaries, educators and alumni alike.

Top of the pots Ohio University graduate ceramics program ranked fifth by U.S. News & World Report


ccording to U.S. News & World Report, Ohio University’s master of fine arts in ceramics ranks fifth in the nation. The program secured its place in the specialties section of the master of fine arts category in national graduate school rankings that were released in March. “The fact that our U.S. News & World Report program rankings continue to advance speaks to the very high quality of our programs and to the expertise and dedication of our faculty and staff,” says College of Fine Arts Interim Dean Madeleine Scott. The CoFA houses the ceramics program. The program has been ranked for more than 20 years and is up three spots from the previous ranking of eighth in the nation. Another CoFA graduate program, printmaking, also received national attention, receiving a rank of 14, up from the previous rank of 20. In addition to the two program rankings, the CoFA itself was ranked 53rd nationally among fine arts graduate schools, up five spots the previous rank of 58. According to U.S. News & World Report, the rankings are based on peer assessments and ratings. Knowing that makes Ohio’s placements even more rewarding, Scott says. “The recognition of our peers, which is based on their knowledge of their field and the achievement of our graduates, is especially gratifying.”

Ohio University rankings from U.S. News & World Report include the ceramics program, which is fifth in the nation in the specialties section of the master of fine arts category. Also ranked are: school of hearing, speech and language sciences, 52 in audiology in health; the department of physics and astronomy, 93 in physics in science; the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education, 103 in schools of education; the Voinovich School of Public Affairs, 104 in public affairs; and others.


To ease the stress of Finals Week, Residential Housing staff organized a meet-and-greet between students and several dogs available for adoption via the Athens County Dog Shelter. The program, known as “Playtime with Puppies,” started five years ago and helps promote the shelter and raise funds for its operations. Students participating this fall semester donated $137. “Studying for finals brings a really stressful atmosphere,” participant Ananda Harris, a freshman studying theater, told The Post. “I’m definitely in a better mood.” Ohio University student Nikki Lanka plays with a puppy at the Athens County Animal Shelter’s “Playtime with Puppies” event, held every year during Finals Week, on East Green. Photograph by Ian Bates BS ’14

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Battleground state

Ohio novelist imagines foreign invasion


n each issue of Ohio Today, we feature a brief review written by a staff or faculty member of an Ohio University Press book. Here, we travel to a Dayton of the future as imagined by Ohio author Martha Moody, who also wrote the best-selling “Best Friends” and “The Office of Desire.”

“Sharp and Dangerous Virtues, a Novel” by Martha Moody, Swallow Press, Ohio University Press, Ohio University American novelists as diverse as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sherwood Anderson and Toni Morrison have found Ohio and its past to be fertile ground for fiction. In her compelling novel “Sharp and Dangerous Virtues,” Martha Moody imagines instead Ohio’s near future. Set in Dayton in the year 2047, Moody’s Ohio is eerily familiar as her characters struggle with everyday problems of family, relationships and career even in the midst of global upheavals caused by decades of war, food shortages and economic downturns. In an effort to turn its fortunes, the United States has created “The Heartland Grid,” an expansive agricultural project over much of the Midwest. The Grid provides most of the nation’s food supply and becomes the envy of the world. As the novel begins, the U.S. faces invasion from a hostile alliance of foreign forces, who enter the nation through Cleveland with the goal of wresting the Grid from U.S. control. Primarily a novel of war, “Sharp and Dangerous Virtues” depicts Ohio as the central battleground and focuses on how these events transform the lives of ordinary

Ohioans — a church custodian whose discovery of a child’s corpse makes him a pawn in a terrifying political drama; the isolated employees of a nature preserve who become a new Adam and Eve; and a history professor who struggles to maintain normalcy for his suburban family long after their neighbors have fled the war zone. Moody wonderfully captures how average lives are affected by global strife: jobs lost, property destroyed, households relocated, and lives stolen by stray bullets and wellplanned bombing campaigns. Moody uses history professor Chad Gribble to connect the current events to those of Ohio’s past. Recalling his lectures from a Dayton history course about the city’s founding and the innovations of the Wright brothers, among other topics, Gribble finds comfort in the past survival of Dayton as a predictor of the outcome of the current war. In her presentation of this historical continuity, Moody reminds readers that we are always living through historical events, but also suggests that history itself is essentially fiction, pleasing and useful stories of the past that we tell ourselves in the present.

» PAUL JONES is a professor of English at Ohio University. Among his regular classes in American literature, he occasionally teaches a course on Ohio in the American literary imagination.

Other recent publications Ohio University’s published authors are many, and alumni across all majors have found inspiration in poetry and prose. This list includes recent publication announcements; authors should send their information to Ohio Today, 213 McKee House, 1 Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 45701 or via email to Parktails by Douglas Campbell, PHD ’79 • Mongolia (Other Places Travel Guide), by Nathan Chamberlain, BA ’04, one of four coauthors • Punchline by Nick Courtright, BSS ’04 • Landscape in American Guides and View Books: Visual History of Touring and Travel by Herbert Gottfried, PHD ’74 • Sly, Slick & Wicked, the fifth book in the Kendra Clayton mystery series, by Angela Henry, AB ’92 • White Bound: Nationalist, Antiracists and the Shared Meanings of Race by Matthew Hughey, MED ’02, CERT ’02 • Project Plowshare: The Peaceful Use of Nuclear Explosives in Cold War America by Scott Kaufman, PHD ’98 • Good

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Things, a collection of short stories, by Nicholas Knittel, BSC ’09 • The Color of Rain, a sci-fi thriller by Cori McCarthy, BA ’05 • The White Forest, a novel set in Victorian England, by Adam McOmber, BA ’98 • Frankenstein A Life Beyond, a debut novel by Pete Planisek, BSC ’99, MS ’04 • Earplugs by Bram Riddlebarger, BA ’98 • The Dream Cabinet of Dr. Kino, a collection of short stories paying tribute to horror movies of the black-and-white era, by Michael Samerdyke, MA ’89 • House of Horrors: The Shocking True Story of Anthony Sowell, the Cleveland Strangler, a book about a convicted serial killer, by Robert Sberna, BSJ ’78 • Psychopomp Volume One: Cracked Plate, the first novel by Amanda Sledz, BA ’01 • Getting Beyond the Day: Your Guide to Surviving a Job Layoff, a guide to surviving unemployment, by Nicole Antoinette Smith, BBA ’92 • Borrowing Through the U.S. Treasury’s Fast Money Tree: The Need to Balance Austerity and Growth in the 21st Century by Michael Sunner, BA ’66 • The Worst of Terms and Guns and Rosas by Fred Whissel, BSJ ’68

Prince, BS ’12, MA ‘15

photo by

Rebecca Miller MA ’12

photo by Joel


ondering what’s still the “best of Athens?” The Athens News 2013 Best of Athens list was released in January, with categories for the best places, people, businesses, local stories and campus news. Here are some of our favorite categories and their winners: Best Evidence that Athens is Moving Forward: The Nelsonville Bypass. For any student or alumnus who has made the trek through Nelsonville, the traffic jams are all too familiar, so this new time-saving route due to be finished in the next year is cause for celebration. Best Excuse for Skipping Class: It’s so nice out. Remember how beautiful Athens can be in the spring, especially on a warm, sunny day out on College Green, or out at Strouds? It’s only natural for students to sometimes

miss a class or two, to take in some sunshine and fun with friends — isn’t it? Best Late Night Food: O’Betty’s Red Hot. One of the best places to get food — late night or not — is O’Betty’s. With its specialty dogs and delicious French fries, offered with regular, garlic or cheese flavors, this hot spot takes the prize. Best Bar Pickup Line: “Hello, my name is ...” While not exactly an original answer, this category serves to show that no matter what changes in Athens (hello, bypass), some things remain the same. » ELIZABETH DICKSON TOP RIGHT: The “Gertrude” at O’Betty’s proudly features bacon, avocado and goat cheese. BOTTOM RIGHT: Students frolic at 10Fest in Athens, Ohio, enjoying the outdoors and celebrating spring weather.

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t’s one of the first and best family weekends: Sibs Weekend. Every year, Ohio University invites brothers and sisters — and cousins and other family members, too — to experience campus life and participate in fun activities, including Sibs Fest on West (a long-running tradition on West Green). This year’s favorites included the sold-out stargazing and campfire at the Ridges and wall climbing at Ping Center. At 36 feet, the rock wall extends through each floor of the building and offers 936 square feet of climbing area, making it the perfect place for siblings to bond — or burn off energy — for an afternoon. photo by Chris Franz MA ’13

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Calendar of events for alumni and friends of ohio university |


herever you live, Ohio University wants to keep in touch with you. Alumni chapters exist around the globe to help you meet and reconnect with fellow Bobcats. Of course, you’ll occasionally want to find a reason to return to campus — consider joining us for the concerts Under the Elms! For a full schedule of chapter, society and on-campus events, including reunions, visit

Join the caravan

Get on board! Ohio Bobcat Caravans feature head coaches from OHIO Athletics and are designed to build relationships with Bobcat supporters around the state of Ohio. Lancaster alumni, join us on the OU-Lancaster campus May 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. Callahan’s in Columbus will host a caravan May 16, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For the latest schedule, visit

Meet me

in St. Louis

Under the Elms College Green School of Music

The Ohio University Alumni Association presents an alumni reception May 17 at the Algonquin Golf Club in St. Louis, Mo. Join fellow St. Louisarea alumni for an evening featuring guests President Roderick J. McDavis, Vice President Bryan Benchoff, and Assistant Vice President and Executive Director of the Alumni Association Jennifer Neubauer. Contact Dawn Werry at

Save the Date! | Oct. 11-13, 2013 Come back to campus for the one-and-only Ohio University Homecoming — a time-honored tradition since 1922 (when it was actually known as the Homecoming Hop)! Don’t miss a weekend full of activities, including the Yell Like Hell pep rally, Bobcat Court and, of course­, the Homecoming Parade. Stay tuned for more details; Homecoming activities and events are brought to you on behalf of Student Affairs, the Student Alumni Board and the Ohio University Alumni Association.

Wednesdays, beginning June 5

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Heart & Soul Across generations, black alumni create community, celebrate ties to Ohio University Written by Sally Parker • Photography by Dustin Franz BS ’10, Joel Prince, BS ’12, MA ’15, Ross Mantle BS ’08


he Black Alumni Reunion is the largest formal alumni reunion at Ohio University, and for good reason: African-American students and faculty have forged strong bonds unique to their experiences, says Francine Childs, professor emerita of African American studies. “When I came here, there weren’t that many AfricanAmerican faculty and staff and no administrators,” says Childs, who was a popular professor and student ally in the 1970s and ’80s. Her home, known to students as the House of Refuge, was open to those students who ran out of financial aid and other means of staying in school. “In the African American studies department there was some kind of real bond that existed between the students and the faculty,” she says, “so we had potluck dinners, we had readings, we had all kinds of things that bridge and bring together.”

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Students who were African, African American and biracial formed lifelong bonds, she recalls. The reunion — held every three years — is one way they stay close. “Everybody knew everybody. It was like one big family.” When John Newton Templeton graduated from the university in 1828, he was only the fourth African American to graduate from a U.S. college. (The first three attended New England schools.) The generations of African Americans who followed have, like Templeton, navigated a largely white campus. But they also have found a place like home among other students and faculty of color. That’s what the reunion celebrates. “It’s the friendships that you make. It’s having that common experience,” says Connie Lawson-Davis, BSED ’67. “And now that I’m older, it’s an experience that just transcends age, race and areas of interest because all of us just have that love for Athens and for OU.”

OPPOSITE PAGE: Delta Sigma Theta members share a “Togetherness Coke” in 1965. When members were short on money, they bought one large Coke to share. THIS PAGE: Connie LawsonDavis (also pictured in the inset, on the right, with her mother) taught junior high school English in her hometown of Cleveland before becoming a librarian with the Cuyahoga County Public Library. She retired in 2001 and continues as a substitute teacher. photo by

Dustin Franz BS ’10

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When Connie Lawson-Davis, BSED ’67, set foot on campus in 1963, she was armed with a scholarship and a burden of responsibility. “I never wanted to disappoint my parents. When I got a poor grade, I felt I was letting them down,” she recalls. Her family had a comfortable life in Cleveland, and expectations were high that she would do well in college. Lawson-Davis’ brother, J. Ranaldo Lawson, BSED ’65, two years her senior, also attended the university. She threw herself into her studies, adding activities such as the drilling unit auxiliary of the ROTC after her freshman year. Like other African-American graduates of Ohio University, Lawson-Davis says the black community was like a family. She guesses that there were fewer than 200 black students in a student body of 15,000. “The African-American students were very close when I was on campus. Most of us knew each other personally, and even if there was somebody you didn’t know … you always spoke,” she says. “It was just a natural camaraderie.” While Lawson-Davis’ time at Ohio University predates the civil unrest that marked the decade’s later years, in the black community she found a safe harbor in a sea that sometimes seemed uncertain.

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“I can’t really recall overt acts of hostility, but it was more of being an invisible person,” she says. “It was a very uneven experience in terms of interactions with majority students. Some of them were very warm and very welcoming in the dorm, but when we got outside of the door the people you ate and slept with didn’t recognize you outside of that setting.” Lawson-Davis also remembers feeling different from the other students during class. “The biggest issue for me sometimes was feeling isolated in classes because it was not unusual to be the only black person in class,” she recalls. “I can’t remember a class where there were more than three black students.” Greek organizations gave AfricanAmerican students a sense of joint purpose; Lawson-Davis joined Delta Sigma Theta and remains an active member. She also has been involved in the Ohio University Women’s Club since 2001, working on a committee that brings prospective students to campus from Cleveland. She is vice president of the Ebony Bobcat Network, a society of the Alumni Association that honors the contributions of African-American students and helps ease the financial burdens of promising students. Lawson-Davis was elected to the university’s Alumni Association Board of Directors and will begin her term during Homecoming. “There is something about Athens. I have dubbed it the Athens mystique,” LawsonDavis says. “Once you go to OU, and you’ve been on that campus, and you’ve seen it through the seasons, there’s just something about it that becomes a part of who you are. It keeps drawing you back.”

ABOVE: Lawson-Davis joined the Ohio University ROTC Army coed cadets, participating in the drilling unit auxiliary. She had been in the marching band since junior high; drilling came easily. “This particular unit was very well run. We participated in the Cherry Blossom Parade,” she says, “and took first place for drilling units.”

while traveling in israel, connie lawson-davis, bsed ’67, saw

two people wearing ou t-shirts in her hotel lobby. she went

over to talk to them. “it’s that way no matter where you go.”

» Rex Crawley BS ’86, MPA ’89 and

PHD ’99, was at the epicenter of AfricanAmerican social life at Ohio University during the 1980s. For starters, he was an officer of the Black Student Cultural Programming Board. The board’s job was to provide programming for African-American students, he says, “so we got to plan parties and concerts. “Being a minority student seemed less daunting because I was really at the center of that community. It felt like we had thousands and thousands of African Americans because I was so involved in the black community.” And that was only part of what he did. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Crawley had community service responsibilities associated with the Greek system, which controlled the social scene, he says. “We were responsible for shaping the excitement for black parties.” Between the programming board and Greek life, Crawley was involved in planning something social nearly every weekend of the school year. He says both arenas helped him hone skills in leadership and community building. “A student life organization like BSCPB and the fraternity really became my entire experience and also shaped the positive experience that I had,” says Crawley, who continues his service as senior vice polemarch for Kappa Alpha Psi’s East Central Province.

An assistant dean at Robert Morris University, Rex Crawley, BS ’86, MPA ’89 and PHD ’99, is a “Bobcat through and through.” “My education spanned a couple of decades,” he says. “Each one was extremely different.” photo by Ross Mantle BS ’08

Crawley returns to campus for every Black Alumni Reunion, eager to connect with friends he made in the Marching 110, his fraternity, the programming board and as an R.A. He looks forward to the upcoming reunion this fall. “I just booked my hotel room,” he says. “It’s just an incredible time. I know a high number of people because I had three college experiences.” Crawley used his role as a residence assistant to shepherd students toward more involvement in campus life. But it was his experience in the marching band that showed Crawley the larger community and his expected role in it.

“One thing that was celebrated was that for the first time in the history of the drum section there were two black students. ‘Are you kidding me? Is this really historic?’” Crawley recalls thinking; the memory makes him laugh. “It sort of helped us contextualize our minority experience at OU that we were the first of something.” Crawley returned to campus to earn a master’s in public administration in 1989. It was a different experience, one more focused on academics and less on socializing. Still, he worked in a residence hall and became president of the Black Graduate Council. “Our singular focus was to recruit black graduate students to OU. I got the chance to

travel around the state selling OU as a safe, wonderful place for students of color.” Crawley returned a second time to earn a doctorate in interpersonal communication in 1999. He holds the first endowed chair at Robert Morris University, where he is assistant dean of the School of Communications and Information Systems. He runs a think tank on African-American male educational success. It was at Ohio University that Crawley began an exploration of the experiences of African-American men in predominantly white universities. “That research agenda has guided my career and really positioned me where I am today,” he says.

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A second-generation Bobcat, senior Courtney Fort enjoys helping fellow students as a peer mentor. “Service to others is how you get ahead in life,” she says. “If you can’t give back, you can’t look forward.” photo by Joel Prince, BS ’12, MA ’15

» Growing up in Shaker Heights, Ohio,

senior Courtney Fort took for granted the multicultural environment of her school and town. That changed after she started college. When she accepts her diploma in May, Fort will be the first African-American student to graduate from Ohio University’s new nursing program. While she is excited about the skills she is learning, she also is frank about the isolation that comes from being the minority in a group. She is the only African-American student in her class. Seemingly innocent questions from white classmates — how she wears her hair, for example — can make her feel like the odd one out. “They sometimes feed into stereotypes,” Fort says. “There have been times I’ve felt alone. … Sometimes I don’t think people understand that.”

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Fort is planning a career in midwifery. As a girl she dreamed of becoming an obstetrician but changed her plans so she could spend more time with patients. “I’m drawn to midwifery because I am able to have that patient interaction and have my own practice,” Fort says. “That’s a goal for me.” After graduation, Fort plans to apply for a position at Case Western Medical Center, where she held a summer externship. The plan is to pursue a doctorate in nursing practice after a year. As an incoming freshman, Fort participated in the College Adjustment Program, which provides tutoring and advisement services and help finding internships and scholarships. She recently spoke to the Board of Trustees about her experience in the program. She also has served as a peer adviser and a peer mentor for

the College of Health Sciences and Professions and belongs to a national honors fraternity. Fort says the university does “a fantastic and phenomenal job” of helping students find ways to pursue their interests inside and outside of the classroom. “OU does a very good job of including people of all different races. Or even if it’s not (about) race, I think they do a good job of nurturing the whole student in that way,” she says. After she establishes a practice as a midwife, Fort hopes to set up a scholarship for multicultural students in nursing and is reaching out to alumni to build support. “I’d like to hear from people who’ve made it. We can talk about current issues, network, get some opportunities for students,” she says. “I’m very passionate about Ohio University.”

Just Like Family

Black Alumni Reunion unites alumni of all eras


lumni already are booking hotel rooms for the next Black Alumni Reunion, to be held Sept. 27 to 29. BAR is a weekend celebration held every three years on Ohio University’s Athens campus to honor the rich tradition of African-American heritage at the university. It is like an oversized family reunion, organizers say, drawing a couple thousand people from a wide range of graduation years. There are ample opportunities to catch up with classmates. Student organizations, Greek chapters, athletic groups and academic departments will hold mini-reunions; alumni can network at receptions and impromptu gatherings, too. There will be cookouts, a gospel reunion show, a “School Daze” party sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha and the reunion gala. Carl Walker, BSED ’56, knows firsthand the deep and lasting friendships that have formed among African-American graduates. He is a founder of BAR’s precursor, the Soulful Bobcats, a group of alumni from the 1950s and ’60s who have stayed connected since graduation. Walker and historian Betty Hollow have written a book that sheds light on those years. “Soulful Bobcats: Experiences of African American Students at Ohio University During the 1950s” contains the personal accounts of 18 African-American men and women who attended the university during a transformational time in U.S. history. “I’ve realized for some time that our generation formed a critical historical part of African-American life,” he says. “We fit right in the transitional point. Our generation often experienced separate and unequal schools and survived the old racially segregated system, yet became the fuel for the civil rights movement of the 1960s as young college-trained adults.”

Sept. 27-29, 2013 | Black Alumni Reunion

Walker helped organize the first reunion of African-American alumni in 1991. It was an emotional gathering. Though they exchanged cards and letters regularly, many participants had not seen each other in person for 25 or 30 years. Ten years later, a second gathering was held. It was nine years before the third one took place. That’s when Walker took stock of the group — they were aging; a few of their number had passed away — and requested bios from them. He believed they had a story to tell. They were a generation of firsts: the first African Americans to serve in a desegregated military (during the Korean War), the first to be widely encouraged to go to college, and the first to be racially integrated into a mainstream work environment, during the 1970s. Walker says attending Ohio University gave him and fellow alumni an advantage in competing for jobs. “I think about this a lot, how peaceful and how wonderful the co-existence between the white students and the black students was. We all knew there were the racial lines in the day-to-day life when we went there … but almost unanimously (alumni in the book) didn’t experience widespread overt racial hostility at Ohio University, and that is really amazing,” he says. “Ironically the thing we all seem to remember was the inability to get a haircut in Athens, Ohio,” he adds, laughing. “Soulful Bobcats: Experiences of African American Students at Ohio University During the 1950s” will be available on the Ohio University Press website in the fall. All proceeds will benefit the Urban Scholars program. For more information on the Black Alumni Reunion, visit

The Ohio University Alumni Association has a great weekend in store for alumni planning to return for the fall’s Black Alumni Reunion. Join us for the events listed below — and many more. » Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.

» Former members of Gospel Voices

» The B.O.B.CAT (Black Owned

» The Black Alumni Reunion Gala is

presents “Hats Off to Dr. Francine Childs,” an evening of talent benefiting the Urban Scholars Fund at Ohio University.

The schedule of events will be updated continuously online at

Business) Breakfast is a unique networking opportunity for students, faculty, alumni entrepreneurs and authors, as well as Athens community members.

of Faith and Anointed Ministries will hold a reunion show to benefit the Black Alumni Reunion Scholarship Fund.

the signature event of the weekend, including an evening filled with recognition and celebration of alumni.

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Mary Reed Elizabeth Dickson Kaitrin McCoy Lindsey Burrows Barry Falls

… AND I LECTURED ABOUT AQUATIC APES Faculty share memorable moments — some funny, others touching — from their years in the classroom.


n our second year teaching here, the dean of our college typically comes into the classroom for a day. Now the dean is technically our supervisor, our boss, so for some it can be a little nerve-wracking. I was doing my evolution of bipedalism day, the day where we talk about the Aquatic Ape, among other things. And the then-dean, Ben Ogles, he had intense curiosity about tons of things, but I was still kind of nervous because that lecture gets a little crazy and a little fun, and the students were loving what I was talking about: aliens and the aquatic apes and everything else. I couldn’t really gauge the whole lecture what his response was, but I noticed that he kept — when I was lecturing — putting little tick marks at the top of the page that he was writing notes on. At the end of the lecture he came up, shook my hand, and said, “Thanks very much. I learned 27 new things today that I never knew anything about.” Here’s this guy that’s got his Ph.D. in psychology, who has been around for years and knows a lot. To have him say he learned 27 new things was great, because I realized students were having the same experience going through the lecture. —Hogan Sherrow, assistant professor of anthropology; at Ohio University for six years


HY FIELD WORK ROCKS When she teaches, associate professor of geological sciences Alycia Stigall waits for that “aha!” moment when her students begin to connect the lectures with their work in the field. “In geology, there is no substitute for field experience,” Stigall says. “Concepts that seem esoteric to students in the classroom often become crystal clear the instant they are presented with real-world rocks.” This experience is best exemplified in the carbonate geology course she teaches on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. “It is not a simple course, and it is definitely not the vacation that our friends at home joke about!” The group studies how limestone rocks formed during the Pleistocene and visit environments in which these sediments accumulate today. Because these sediments comprise the skeletal remains of organisms, students learn to identify both living creatures and rock fragments as they work. Her first group of students astounded her: They were not only up to the task, but they were always the first to leave and last to return to the field station each day. “One night in the social area, I found some of my students engaged in a heated discussion with members of a biology class from another university. When I walked over, my students explained that these biologists simply were refusing to accept that they had been misidentifying Halimeda, a type of green algae,” she says. “My students were correct, of course.” So dedicated were her students, they were more successful at biological identification than students whose sole purpose it was to study biology that week: “I was completely blown away by the knowledge they accumulated and the burning desire to learn more.”

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once had a wonderful student who was designing a huge puppet project for an off-campus theater. We took on building about two-thirds of the puppets in a craft class I was teaching while this particular student was cranking out one-third of the 40 or so puppets himself. This was a huge, crazy job filled with delightful designs that inspired us all. We were all up to our necks in puppets. Coming into the home stretch, we felt good about delivering them all on time — with one exception. A buddy and roommate of the student designer, a bright but rather vague young man, had volunteered to build a 12-foot whale puppet — a puppet that would be featured in the show. The night before the puppets had to be shipped off it became clear that this person could not deliver the goods. We were all very tired, but it was clear that my student needed help. So, my student, darling co-teaching colleague and I dug in and made the whale in one night. As is typical of many of the challenges in theater, none of us had ever made this kind of puppet before, and we needed to improvise from the materials we had left. Thank the gods, the muse was with us that night! All of our imaginations were going strong to get this big blue whale up and running. And all throughout the process my student designer — running near panic — kept leading the project. It made me very proud of him and my colleague and their passion to create something wonderful. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. —Holly Cole, associate professor of costume design; in her 25th year of teaching at Ohio University


o h i o t o d ay o n l i n e . c o m

WILL THE REAL COLLEEN O’BRIEN PLEASE STAND UP? Retired associate professor of economics Jan Palmer — who still teaches microeconomics and macroeconomics — is popular for his clarity, humor and his willingness to mix it up: Some students may recall Bring Your Dog to Class Day or a live performance from members of the Marching 110. Around 1998, Palmer had another idea: “I just on a lark told people, I make up these (homework problem) stories every night, and if you want your name to be one of the characters in there, you can.” Friends of Colleen O’Brien asked Palmer to include her in the word problems and he did. “So every day there was a Colleen O’Brien story,” Palmer recounts. “These are economics problems but I set the context. So Colleen was traveling the world, doing all kinds of stuff. She could speak all of these languages, and she was an Olympic athlete.” Palmer’s fictional O’Brien went on to other multilingual adventures, like being serenaded by a matador at a bullfight in South America. An unintended result is that the real Colleen O’Brien became something of a campus celebrity. If a student knew Colleen O’Brien, “that was something to be proud of.”

A true story is worth 1,000 textbooks For a number of years, when students studied

gynecology, we organized a panel called “The Experience of Breast Cancer.” I always imagined that, unlike the routine, this-is-how-it-should-be-done lecture, this learning experience was memorable enough to shape the way many of them practiced medicine. As the resident historian of medicine, I always introduced the subject with a brief history of breast cancer treatment. The other panel members, who were all college faculty and staff, then took turns sharing exceedingly personal stories — not only in a way infrequently revealed in medical school, but also with a degree of intimacy rarely seen in a medical examining room. One HCOM staff member discussed her breast cancer diagnosis, which came as a real shock to her, and its treatment. Her husband talked about how the illness affected him and their relationship. A biomedical scientist talked frankly, and with a healthy dose of black humor, about her decision to get a prophylactic double mastectomy because her sister and mother had both died young of breast cancer. A physician described her sister’s death from breast cancer as a young adult and how it affected her view of life, health and medical treatment. The last speaker, a physician, talked about his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis at age 30 with three young sons, and how they marshaled the strength to cope as a young family. Students were transfixed by faculty and staff demonstrating an impressive degree of ease when revealing intimate details of their own medical and personal histories. Their behavior provided memorable role modeling for students. The physicians discussed bedside manner, medical care and how to really listen to patients in ways that students found particularly credible because these were doctors who were freely criticizing common practice patterns that could be detrimental to patients. Over the years, the panel always earned a prolonged round of applause, something faculty rarely hear after a lecture. —Jacqueline Wolf, chair of the department of social medicine and professor of the

MOM FOR THE WEEKEND One day after class, Associate Professor of English Linda Rice asked a student, “You look so familiar, how do I know you?” Embarrassed, the young woman told Rice they had met when the student was in trouble with judiciaries. Rice assured her they would start the course with a blank slate. The student proved to be a hard worker and did well in the course. After the term ended, the two met for lunch. Moms Weekend was approaching, so Rice asked the student if her mom was coming to campus to visit. “She was like, ‘I wouldn’t know my mom if she walked in here,’” Rice recounts. After learning of the student’s unstable childhood, Rice offered, “How would you like to be my daughter for Moms Weekend?” The two spent that Moms Weekend — and the next a year later — having lunch, hiking at Radar Hill, going to shows and wearing Moms Weekend T-shirts. The two remain in touch, and Rice helped her mentee secure her first job with Teach for America.

history of medicine; at Ohio University since 1998

WHEN IN ROME ... YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO In terms of the study abroad program, there are always humorous moments with students. I don’t want to poke fun at students who are encountering different customs, because it’s completely understandable — but we had students this past summer who just couldn’t figure out how to work the key because it turns the opposite direction, and then I found them kind of slumped in the hallway in front of their dorm room, unable to get in. Or, for example, the tram in Leipzig has these buttons that you push to open the door when you’re waiting on the platform at the stop, and the students weren’t aware of that at first, so they just stood there, waiting for the doors to open, and then the tram left! — Kevin Grieves, assistant professor of journalism; joined faculty in 2009



created the “I Can Achieve My Dream” bonus assignment because I noticed that so many of my students [at the Zanesville campus] have so much going against them. So many are single parents trying to work and also go to school. There are tremendous odds, and yet they achieve so many amazing things. I shared some of my own personal challenges — like being in physical therapy for three years but in the end qualifying for the Senior Olympics — as well as some other people’s stories — individuals who achieved their dreams despite horrible obstacles. Then, I asked my students what was holding them back from their dreams. It had to be something they could accomplish in a semester. I had several students take me up on it, and there are a couple who really stick out. One was a nontraditional student, who had horrible diabetes. She was extremely overweight and in and out of the hospital. She decided, “This is IT.” She got on an exercise program. She changed her diet. And you know what? Not only did she lose 25 pounds by the end of the semester, but she also is off all of her diabetes medicine and feels great. It was truly life changing. That’s what I love about teaching health. It’s information that students can take and use immediately and that could even save their lives. I like to share my real-life experiences with the students and be real with them. Health is such a wonderful subject to teach because it affects all of us. We’re such an unhealthy nation collectively, and to see students go above and beyond the standard academic work and personally change their health is so rewarding. These people will never be the same and are the better because of it — and so is the whole class. — Kitty Consolo, associate professor of health sciences; joined faculty in 2002

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guess the wackiest thing that goes on in class is me, most of the time. Part of it’s trying to keep the attention going, and part of it’s just the way I am. As I’ve explained in classes before, “This stuff that comes out of my mouth, I don’t really plan this, it’s just my personality.” … The thing that I always talk about, students always

laugh when I say this — but when the hair styles change and they (students) change places in the room, I have no idea who’s sitting there. It sounds silly, but when you have to glance up and take the roll, and they’re not sitting in the right place, you don’t know who they are. You just kind of look up (and think), “OK, that could be

And then came a voice from below ... When Professor of History Katherine Jellison got notice from the Office of Disability Services that one of her History of Film students had Asperger’s syndrome — an autism spectrum disorder characterized by a lack of social and communication skills — she didn’t know what accommodations to make. “I must have erred on the side of letting him just do whatever he liked,” Jellison recalls. The student didn’t want his classmates to know of his disorder, so they both kept it a secret. “It was kind of difficult one day when he decided that what he wanted to do was lie flat,” Jellison says. The class watched, then discussed a war film. “And out of nowhere this voice, just as loud and proud as you can be, speaks up and says, ‘This was a very realistic presentation of what D Day would have looked like on Omaha Beach.’ The other students looked so confused.” Eventually, the Asperger’s student decided to share his disorder with the class. “I could see the light go on in their eyes,” Jellison says, “‘Oh, that explains it.’” The students were receptive. “In the course evaluations I got some good comments on how sensitively he and I dealt with the issue vis a vis to the other students. … It had a happy ending.”

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any number of people sitting there. Who is that? I don’t know, but I don’t have time to investigate.” Then, when you start calling on people to answer questions, and they speak up, and you look around, and you go, “OH! It’s you! You’re there! Why did you — don’t change your haircut, how am I supposed to know who you are?” You know, we have a lot going on in our heads when we’re in front of the class. One time, I emailed I was going to be out of town, and I had communicated the wrong date, so I showed up and there was no class there. And I thought, “Where are these students? Doggone it, where are they? These slackers!” And I looked at my email and went, “Oh, yeah. They’re not here because I told them not to be here, fancy that! I hate it when they do what I tell them to do! How silly is that. Why can’t they just figure it out?” Again, most of the wacky is from my end; the students are pretty good. — Matthew Morris, instructor of bassoon and music theory; at Ohio University since 2008

WAIT, WHO’S YOUR GIRLFRIEND? In his Communication Among Cultures class, Associate Professor of Communication Studies J.W. Smith often hosts a SpeakOUT! panel of LGBT students. “They sort of tell their individual stories. Those stories tend to be centered around how they came out, whom they came out to, and when,” Smith says. A couple of years ago, one of the male panelists was also a close friend of Smith’s daughter. The panelist knew his mother would have a hard time accepting his sexual orientation, so he went to great lengths in order to stay closeted to her — including having a longtime fake girlfriend. The next detail was a newsflash to Smith. “That girlfriend ended up being my daughter. I didn’t even know this!”

IN THIS CLASS, TRUST NO ONE In the applied management program, we work predominantly in a project-based environment that partners students with community organizations. One method I’ve been using with great success is “The Apprentice” approach (like the television show). Two competing teams work on two projects for a single client. The teams meet with the client, gather research, come up with their strategies and finally come together and present to the client and a whole panel of faculty and community members — people who could weigh in on the project and evaluate the quality of these teams’ efforts. All the while, students aren’t quite sure what their opposing team is up to or what to expect from their final presentation. In one class, the stakes were high; the project was huge — it had a marketing component, a marketing product to show and present and woo the client with. (Also, the project leader of the winning team gets an automatic A!) As time went on, I realized that neither of the teams was using me as a resource. Now, I was removed from the panel; I was not a voting member, though

I facilitated the whole process and the voting later on. I wanted to be available to give advice as a neutral party. Some weeks into the quarter, I emailed the teams to check in. They all gave me status reports, but none of them engaged me with specific questions or explained what they were doing. Well, we finally reached the end, and both teams had done an excellent job. The panel really struggled with making a decision, but in the end they chose one team over the other. Later, in the debriefing, I said to the losing team, “Probably one of the deciding elements had to do with something that you folks know I did for a living for years. I’m surprised you didn’t come to me for help!” And they said, “Well, we thought you might have given information to the other team.” As if I were a mole going back and forth between teams! That’s how intense the competition was. They wouldn’t even trust me with their creative ideas, for fear that I might even accidentally leak their secrets to their competitors. —Brian Hoyt, professor of management; at Ohio University for 16 years



ome years ago, when I covered the topic of genetic engineering of living things in my non-science majors class, I thought it would be fun to do a little spoof on what some people were saying the future of genetic engineering was — tomatoes that eat people and such. So I set up a demonstration of a plant that, I told the class, I had been working on in my lab — sort of a secret project. I told them I had been able to engineer a plant that was able to 1) detect danger in its environment and 2) move away from that danger, to avoid it. I demonstrated this with a bean plant in a pot. I showed them that if I threatened the plant with an empty syringe — a big ol’, sharp needle held right up close — it did not react. This, I said, was because I had never harmed it with an empty syringe. But if I filled the syringe with a blue liquid (here I claimed the liquid was a toxic acid) and brought the syringe and needle close to the plant because I had injected it with that blue

liquid before, it would react and pull away. If I withdrew the needle, the plant would relax and go back to its original position. And lo and behold, every time the needle was brought close the plant, the class witnessed an almost involuntary shirking by the plant! The trick was that I had glued some clear monofilament line to the top of the plunger, and it ran under the cart and was attached to the plant. As the plunger came closer to the plant, it pulled the line under the cart, causing the plant to move away from the syringeplunger assembly (with the empty syringe, there’s no plunger, thus no movement). This got lots of gasps and “oohhs” from students, but as we were running out of time, I left it at that and dismissed the class. A year later, I met a former student in the elevator, who said, “Dr. Trese, you have to tell me how you engineered that plant to be afraid of a syringe. I told my roommate about your lab experiment, and he wouldn’t believe you

really did it.” It suddenly became clear to me that some students had left that room believing I had, indeed, created a plant with a sensory system, capable of distinguishing between an empty and a full syringe, a “brain” of some kind and presumably some muscles controlled by that brain so that it could react to avoid danger. Since then, I have always made a point to disclose the reality behind any sleight of hand tricks I might use to entertain a class! —Art Trese, associate professor of plant biology; at Ohio University since 1990

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Engineering a bright future Legacy lives on in five extraordinary engineering and technology faculty who have the distinction of serving as Russ Professors Fritz Russ, BSEE ’42, had a well-known knack for vision. In fall 2011, then, we weren’t completely surprised to learn that YSI, Inc. — a leading developer and manufacturer of technology for environmental water monitoring — was acquired by high-tech engineering and manufacturing company ITT. The result? An additional $29 million toward the groundbreaking gift in 2008 from the estate of Fritz and his wife, Dolores. The largest charitable donation to any public engineering college in the United States, their gift to the Russ College grew from $95 million to an astounding $124 million. The news was another example of Fritz’s foresight in engineering and technology applications — he likely invested in YSI in the 1950s. The company was founded in 1948 near Dayton, where the Russes founded their company, Systems Research Laboratories, not long after. In addition to supporting student competitions, targeted scholarships and strategic research areas, the gift has funded three new Russ Professorships. Such professorships are key to retaining promising faculty, thereby inspiring internationally important research, and opening doors for both undergraduate and graduate students who study with these teacher-scholars. Gerardine Botte, Robert Judd and Srdjan Nesic join Frank van Graas and Shad Sargand as current Russ Professors. »COLLEEN CAROW Gerardine Botte • Russ Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering • Director, Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research Gerardine Botte is internationally recognized for her research on and development of ammonia and hydrogenbased fuel cells. The first researcher to efficiently convert urine/human wastewater into an alternative fuel source using electrochemical techniques, her work has garnered more than $12 million in funding awards. She is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Robert Judd • Russ Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering • Chair, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering • Director, Center for Advanced Software Systems Integration

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Robert Judd has been a part of various research teams that have brought almost $5 million in sponsored research to the Russ College, including a long-running program sponsored by General Electric that involves designing, implementing and maintaining cost modules that are integral to GE’s turbine engine design process. Frank van Graas • Russ Professor of Electrical Engineering • Principal Investigator, Global Positioning System Research, Avionics Engineering Center Frank van Graas is an international expert in aviation landing systems. He currently serves as the principal investigator for Federal Aviation Administration precision approach and landing systems research and Air Force Research Laboratory advanced navigation and timing concepts. He is a past-president of the Institute of Navigation and director of the Consortium of Ohio Universities on Navigation and Timekeeping. Having received more than $25 million in research support, van Graas was the American Institute of Aeronautics 2011 Outstanding Lifetime Achievement awardwinner for his work in GPS navigation. Shad Sargand • Russ Professor of Civil Engineering • Associate Director, Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment • Director of the Accelerated Pavement Load Facility, Ohio University’s Lancaster Campus Shad Sargand has spent his career developing, improving and advancing the quality and performance of asphalt pavement construction. He has led almost 90 research projects that have netted more than $19 million for the college, projects that include the Strategic Highway Research Program Test Road on U.S. Route 23 in Delaware County, Ohio, and an instrumented perpetual pavement on U.S. Route 30 in Wayne County, Ohio. Sargand is recognized regionally and nationally for his research and directs the National Asphalt Laboratory, an indoor pavement test facility housed at the Russ College’s Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment.

See back cover for more on Srdjan Nesic.

Russ Professors (front row) Shad Sargand and Gerardine Botte; (back row) Robert Judd and Frank van Graas in the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations and Charles R. and Marilyn Y. Stuckey Academic & Research Center. (Pictured on the back cover: Srdjan Nesic.) photo by Ben Siegel BS ’02

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History in the making What does it take to plan an event for 14,000 people plus one president? Ask our students.

Written by Arian Smedley Layout by Erik Myers BFA ’14 Photography by Ben Siegel BS ’02

Wednesday, Oct. 10

Friday, Oct. 12

Saturday, Oct. 13

2 P.M.

9 P.M.


• Rabbi Danielle Leshaw, of Ohio University


• Student Nicholas Tuell, who since March 2012

had taken a break from his schooling to serve as a local field organizer for Obama’s campaign, receives a call from his boss about the president’s planned visit to Athens, Ohio. He notifies his colleague Shannon Welch, College Dem President. 28 •

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Hillel, is invited to provide the invocation.

12 P.M. • The visit becomes official and

local media are notified.

“I was really wondering who was going to be asked. I did want to be picked. When it happened, I was absolutely delighted. I felt like in terms of being a woman and representing a minority community here in town and on campus, I think that it was a good choice.”


n Oct. 17, 14,000 people descended upon the College Green of Ohio University’s campus to be a part of history. For the first time since 1964, a sitting president was visiting Ohio’s beautiful campus. And, of course, this wasn’t just any commander-in-chief. The university was hosting Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president. The day attracted people of all ages from all over the region. They stood elbow-to-elbow under the elms to listen to their president talk of national and international affairs, and even a few points of local interest. “I came here today because I heard you’ve got a pretty fun football team to watch,” President Obama said from the West Portico of Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium, as the crowd burst into laughter and applause. “Undefeated, if I’m not mistaken. A shot at the MAC Championship. Maybe a BCS bid. “I just want to point out that I was pushing for a playoff system — we got a playoff system. One more promise kept, for those of you who are following college football,” he said with a smile. “But it is outstanding the Bobcats are doing so well, so I want to wish you guys luck in the upcoming season.” For many, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness history and to celebrate the democratic process, no matter one’s political affiliation. For those behind the scenes, the ones who made it happen, the experience involved seven arduous days of coordinated efforts, sleepless nights and a common goal — keep the president safe and the energy positive. By all accounts, that was achieved. All parties, including the student volunteers, the campaign and White House staff, Secret Service members, university employees and even the weather, cooperated to mark the memorable occasion.

Sunday, Oct. 14

THE RIGHT VENUE? GO WITH HISTORY The story of how President Barack Obama’s campaign stop in Athens came together begins with Nicholas Tuell, a campaign field organizer at the time and now a junior studying political science. The president wanted to visit Ohio University, his boss told him on the night of Oct. 10, and the College Democrats had the opportunity to sponsor it. It wasn’t a done deal yet, so Tuell had to keep it quiet but get the ball rolling. Tuell immediately informed his fellow students and best friends Marika Bresler (also a field organizer) and Shannon Welch (the president of Ohio University’s College Democrats). “We started screaming; it was really amazing,” says Welch, recalling the moment Tuell told her the news. Not wanting to delay a moment, Welch called Vice President of Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi later that night to request permission for the university to host the event. “I was very excited at the potential of hosting a sitting president on our campus, and immediately recognized the historic potential here,” Lombardi says. President Roderick J. McDavis agreed. “I knew the opportunity to see the President of the United States of America on our College Green would be a definitive, momentous occasion for students of all backgrounds and political affiliations,” McDavis says. “I cannot think of a better way to enrich our studentcentered learning community.” Lombardi reached out to the university’s Event Services staff just as they were preparing for one of the biggest events of the year (Homecoming). Dustin Kilgour, Event Services executive director, went into overdrive after hearing the news of the possible presidential visit. For the next seven days, he and his staff, Jeremy Schaffer and Caitlin Barnhardt, would become consumed with attending meetings, communicating with the Secret Service,

Monday, Oct. 15

Wednesday, Oct. 17

9:59 P.M.

12 P.M. • Free ticket distribution for the event

visit begins. • Helicopters stage a trial landing.

• One minute before the requested

deadline, the president’s team selects a venue for the event: College Green with the Convo as a back-up.

4 A.M. • Attendees reportedly

start lining up.

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the White House and campaign staff, and coordinating efforts with university employees. Even before the College Democrats or the university were notified of the plans, representatives from the White House and the campaign had scouted out locations. Three possible venues were presented to the Event Services team: Peden Stadium, the Convocation Center and the College Green, recalls Kilgour. During a campus tour on Thursday, six days before the president’s arrival, the stadium was quickly eliminated as an option because of its proximity to the highway. It was too risky from a security standpoint. Next on the list, the Convo. The Secret Service wanted to use the Convo, again, for security reasons, but the White House event planner preferred the College Green. It had historical significance (Lyndon B. Johnson spoke there in 1964; see page 32), and it had the look of a college town that the campaign was striving for, Kilgour says. But still, the final decision hadn’t been made. Even after the visit became official and local media were notified on Friday, the venue still hadn’t been selected. Kilgour gave the White House until Monday at 10 p.m. to decide.

NEED AN INTRO? PERSONALIZE IT While Kilgour waited to hear the final word on the venue, he made arrangements to prepare the intramural fields for the helicopters’ trial landing. Two military helicopters flanked three identical aircrafts. On the day of the event, one of those three would carry the president; the other two would serve as decoys. On Sunday, the College Democrats, with the help of over 100 volunteers (mostly students) began free ticket distribution. For many, it was the first of three 12-hour days. “The next few days grew substantially crazier, that’s for sure,” recalls Welch. The student volunteers set up ticket distribution sites in Baker University Center, the

President Barack Obama visited Ohio University on Oct. 17. LEFT: Shannon Welch, president of the College Democrats, introduced him. “His campaign decided, based on how much work we had done, that they wanted to bring the president here,” she says. With just one week’s notice, the students helped prepare for his visit.

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The president traveled from the helicopter landing site on the intramural fields to Memorial Auditorium via South Green Drive and University Terrace.

Along the route, no car could be parked within 40 feet of the center line where the president would be traveling. Every trash can along the way was emptied for security reasons.

Bobcat Lounge and the College Democrats office on Court Street. The community member volunteers also set up a site on East State Street. Welch, who was invited to introduce the president, took a break from ticket distribution on Monday morning to focus on her speech. After submitting her remarks by the afternoon, she received an edited version from the president’s speechwriters that evening and was disappointed. “I didn’t like it,” she recalls. “They changed my words a lot.” In the first draft of her speech, which focused greatly on health care, she mentioned her appreciation for expanded health insurance coverage given her autoimmune disease. She also mentioned her brother’s condition, which was virtually eliminated from the edited speech. “I was pretty bummed about that.” It wasn’t that it was a bad speech, she adds. It was well written with important talking points. It just wasn’t her. In the end, she went with her gut. She used her original speech as a base and added in a few points from the edited version that she liked. And she made sure to include the part about her little brother. “What is more important to me is the health of my little brother,” she said from the podium in front of the sea of people. To help with her nerves, she made sure to lock eyes with her friends in the crowd. “He is 13 years old and has Type I diabetes,” she continued. “So being covered is absolutely essential to him. The pain of having to watch him deal with so much at such a young age would mean nothing compared to the pain of an insurance company denying him care. But with Obamacare, my family does not have to worry about that since they know he cannot be denied coverage.” Welch was worried about her guerrilla-style speechwriting. Would the campaign be upset that she made those changes? She wasn’t sure, but she was set at ease when the president, during his speech, said this: “Can everybody please give a big round of applause for Shannon for the great introduction?” He even pulled her aside at the end of the day to tell her how proud he was of her.

READY? MOVE THAT STAGE ANOTHER INCH Back at Event Services, two days before the president was to arrive, Kilgour grew anxious as he waited to hear of the White House’s decision on where to host the event. “We couldn’t do anything logistically until we knew,” he says.

After a last-minute change in the stage’s position, the Secret Service staged an agent in a yoga class at Inhale Yoga Studios, located above Follets Bookstore on the corner of Court and West Union streets.

Finally, at 9:59 p.m. on Monday, one minute before his requested deadline, Kilgour got the call. It would be the College Green with the Convo as a back-up. Now, it was crunch time. That night, he met with his staff to prepare work orders, cleaning times, painting arrangements, discuss light repair, cancel other events and other arrangements. Tuesday meant all-day preparation, like building the stage, sectioning off the College Green, OIT (wireless) setup and countersnipers identifying their positions. Staffs from facilities and the Ohio University Police Department worked nonstop. “I think everyone was running on adrenaline given the importance of the event,” Lombardi says. By Tuesday, Obama’s staff had grown from a handful to several dozen. The Secret Service staff, who up until that point had been friendly and sociable, quickly changed demeanor to stern and focused as the president’s arrival neared. “The intensity continued to increase each day,” Kilgour recalls. As if the stress levels weren’t high enough, the White House event planner decided, on Tuesday afternoon, to move the stage. “We’re not talking moving it from one side of the Green to the other,” Kilgour says. “She just turned it about a foot and a half to make it a better shot for the press. This opened up a whole new line of sight to the president that the Secret Service hadn’t yet secured.” The stage move wasn’t the only small last-minute change. The “Forward” sign that hung near Cutler Hall was “moved about a million times,” recalls Caitlin Barnhardt. Two inches up, then two inches down, then back up, and then back down. “It makes sense now. That is, after all, what we’re looking at now,” she adds, pointing to a photo on Kilgour’s computer screen. However tedious it may have seemed at the time, that meticulous attention to detail resulted in a seamless event. After finishing his speech, which many recall as being “positive and inspirational,” the president shook hands with a few spectators and was quickly whisked away, onto the next highly coordinated campaign stop. A few lingered on the Green, as if not quite ready to admit the moment was over. But for those behind the scenes, it meant they could rest easy and finally get a good night’s sleep. “When we heard the helicopters leaving, I just remember breathing in deeply,” Kilgour says, with a laugh. “It was a success. We all worked together to make it happen.”

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BOBCAT TRACKS for alumni and friends







‘Great’ moment In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson outlined his major policy plan for “The Great Society” at Ohio University. “Our goal” Johnson said that day, “is a Great Society in which no child is underfed or unschooled, no one is unemployed and no person is barred from any door because of his race, religion or place of birth.”

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JOHNSON VISIT PUT UNIVERSITY IN SPOTLIGHT 1. Johnson and 20-year-old daughter Lynda Bird visited Ohio University and Athens as part of a 30-hour tour of Appalachia for his War on Poverty. 2. President Vernon Alden (right) introduced Johnson, describing his job corps (a project Alden had been tasked with leading) as a “revolution in higher education.” 3. Five helicopters landed at Peden Stadium, carrying the president’s party, which included federal officials such as Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz and a full cadre of reporters. 4 and 5. From the West Portico of Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium, Johnson addressed some 15,000 students and Ohioans from as far away as Logan and Lancaster. Area public schools closed so residents could attend the event. 6. Only one block into the parade, Johnson encountered Nelsonville band members with a sign reading, “President Johnson, will you sign our bass drum?” He promptly exited the car and signed. Source: The Post

Front and center

Alumnus recalls his unique role in historic LBJ visit


im Gillespie, BA ’65 and MED ’67, was a junior in May 1964 when President Lyndon B. Johnson made a historic visit to Ohio University to announce his “Great Society” plan. At the time, an Institute for Regional Development had been created to boost Southeast Ohio counties, and the university was becoming a nationally recognized institution and “beacon for improvement” under the leadership of President Vernon Alden. That April, Gillespie had helped organize a successful mock political convention, which had garnered national attention. In an interview with Ohio Today, Gillespie shared his story: “(The mock political convention) was mentioned on the ‘NBC Nightly News’ and in Time Magazine as being this really unusual, elaborate mock election. Alden was there, and I think he thoroughly enjoyed it. And being the public relations fellow he was, he saw the national recognition we got from the political convention.” Shortly after this event, Johnson’s advance teams began scoping out the campus, paving the way for a visit. “First of all, there was no indication that he was coming until late April. … Two weeks or so before the speech, youngish men show up in bars and taverns around Athens. My fraternity brothers were saying there were guys at the watering holes, asking questions about what kind of people are around here. Remember, it was only the prior Thanksgiving that JFK was assassinated. He [LBJ] wasn’t even in office six months, so folks were a bit apprehensive and jittery about who would want to hurt the president. Later I learned they were advance men.” As the campus prepared, Gillespie started thinking about how and where the president would speak. It was then that he got involved. “About two to four days before the visit I was taken to Cutler into the trustee room. My jaw almost dropped. There was a great long table, and there’s Alden sitting at the head of it. … I’m thinking, ‘Why am I here? What do they want?’ He [Alden] says,

ALSO IN 1964

‘Young man, I hear you have some ideas for President Johnson’s visit.’ I thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be good for the university if its name was placed somewhere prominently within camera angle?’ Alden was all ears then. I thought of the flag over Baker Center and said that I could see that hanging within the camera angle of the president. Alden turns to Mr. Lauschie [the business manager] and says, ‘I want you to give this young man any assistance that he wants.’ I was about to fall through the floor. I’m an undergraduate junior, and now I’m given the power to ask for whatever I want in assistance.” After helping prepare for the visit, Gillespie had one more suggestion: He and a friend wanted to view the speech from the speakers area that day. “There wasn’t hesitation. The (university officials) said, ‘Make sure you look proper with a suit coat and tie, but yes, you may do that.’ It was remarkable, in that we were the only Ohio University students allowed in the same speakers area with President Johnson. “He gave the first general overview of ‘The Great Society.’ Now that was another jawdropper to me. I had been a student of history for almost 15 years, and I’m listening, and I’m thinking this is monumental — wow! — for me to be a very short distance away from the president of the United States during this speech. “I was thrilled going into senior year. I thought, ‘Ohio University, you have been just wonderful to me.’ It is 45 years later, and I look back and see how this was history.” Today Gillespie is “95 percent” retired after teaching high school social studies in his home county of Bartholomew. Previously, he was an administrator at Ohio University’s Portsmouth campus as well as Indiana and Purdue universities. He resides in Columbus, Ind., with his wife of 31 years, Suellen. He has a daughter, son and stepdaughter, as well as five grandchildren. »ELIZABETH DICKSON

While President Lyndon Johnson’s Athens visit stands as the most memorable event of 1964, take a look at other noteworthy events that year, including special visitors, new developments in student life and a victory for Bobcat basketball.

• Ohio University celebrated its 160th anniversary that year. The theme for the weeklong celebration was “Religion, Morality and Knowledge,” with each day themed, “Religion Day,” “Patriotic Day,” “Founders Day” and “International Day.” The week included visits from speakers such as former senator and astronaut John Glenn. • The men’s basketball team made an appearance in the Elite 8 during the NCAA tournament. They marked the best appearance of the Bobcats to date in school history. • Popular folk singing group Peter, Paul and Mary performed at Grover Center. • Following the completion of West Green, the Hocking River flooded that year, for the second year in a row. It was said the river would never flood again after ’63. A new flood record was set of over 24 feet. The flood caused the evacuation of West Green dormitories. • The opening of Bromley Hall was announced, Biddle Hall became an all-women’s dorm, and the West Green Dorms were finally named: “Irvine,” “Ryors,” “Crook,” “Treudley” and “Wilson.” • It was a “no” to telephone lines in dorm rooms. Students defeated a measure that would have put a phone line in every room for an extra charge of $18 per semester. • The university offered its first Study Travel Program in the summer of 1964: a 49-day tour through Greece, Italy, Germany, France and England. Students who completed the trip earned six hours of English course credit. • In addition to Johnson’s visit, Republican presidential nominee Sen. Barry Goldwater came to campus that September as a part of the 1964 presidential campaign. Reports say he was in town for only 30 minutes for his visit. Photos courtesy of Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections

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BOBCAT TRACKS for alumni and friends



1. Marion Campbell Kammer, BFA ’99, posted this photo of herself at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which is 19,341 feet above sea level. She climbed for eight days total, up and down the mountain, right before Thanksgiving. 2. Chad Harville, BSJ ’12, and Tasha Webber, BSJ ’12, pose in front of the Parthenon, in Athens, Greece. The picture was taken during a European trip sponsored by the Ohio University Alumni Association this past summer. 3. Dave Marshall, BBA ’77, submitted this photo of himself with fellow members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. The group met in Hilton Head, S.C., to celebrate the class of 1977’s 35th anniversary. The group has met over Memorial Day weekend in Hilton Head for several years to enjoy some golf, sun and storytelling. 4. Bryan Daugherty, BSEH ’06, and his bicycle crossed Independence Pass in the Rocky Mountains. 5. Patrick Fahey, BSCHE ’10, and Cassie Palisky, BSED ‘10, visited the Equatorial Monument (La Mitad del Mundo) in Quito, Ecuador, in April.






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4 3







6. From left: Rick Thatcher, BSEE ’64; Dave Dill, BBA ’63 and MBA ’64; and Jack Kiwit, BSCOM ’62, show their West Coast Bobcats pride, holding their 1960 football team Hall of Fame plaques. 7. FROM LEFT: Dru Brown, BSC ’01; Kristen Brown O’Driscoll, BSHSS ’99 and MA ’01; Robin LeFevre, BSED ’04; Julie Kirby Brown, BSC ’98; Les LeFevre, BS ’64; and Jason Brown, BSSE ’97, show off their Bobcat pride. 8. OU Ultimate Frisbee alumni Kent Butler, BFA ’95 and MED ’02, and Lori Gromen, BS ’95 and MS ’10, visited an ancient coliseum in Lecce, Italy, in March. 9. Mindy Feinstein Meyer, BSHS ’73, and her husband, Andrew Meyer, AB ’73 and MA ’73, visited Stonehenge in October. The couple took a two-week tour through England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. 10. Elisha Robinson, BSED ’09, and Aaron Manassa, BSVC ’09, who met as freshmen in 2006, visited Saint Lucia during a recent cruise to the Bahamas with her family. 11. Matthew Vacca, BBA ’99, is an English teacher at Jeong Sang Language Academy in Daejeon, South Korea. “The Psy phenomenon has shown no signs of slowing down worldwide,” he wrote. “My kids love footage of the Marching 110 performing ‘Gangnam Style.’ This photo is from my visit to the Gangnam district in Southern Seoul during Chuseok, the great fall festival in which Koreans celebrate the equinox with a three-day holiday.” 12. Andrew Cech, BMUS ’07 and MM ’09, found his way to the summit of Haleakala on the island of Maui. Send your photos to or Ohio Today, 213 McKee House, 1 Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 45701.

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Photo by Ben Siegel BS ’02

BOBCAT TRACKS for alumni and friends

Giving back, Bobcat style Outstanding alumni volunteers — and students too — give their all for Alumni Association


n a cold February day during Madisen Medley’s first year at Ohio University, she witnessed a crowd of students running half-naked down Court Street. The occasion was Bare on the Bricks, an annual charitable event sponsored by the Student Alumni Board that donates collected clothing to those in need. Soon after the event, Medley, BS ’13, joined SAB herself — eventually becoming president. She is just one of untold numbers of students and alumni who volunteer their efforts on behalf of Ohio University. “It’s been the best experience,” says the health services administration major, citing the camaraderie of both students and alumni she has gotten to know. “I hope to be an alumna who incorporates all of the (characteristics of) alumni that I’ve met — the advice giver, the monetary giver, the person you can talk to.” But the benefits already go both ways. This year’s Bare on the Bricks proceeds went to the Metro NY Bobcats, to help with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. Byron Ward, BBA ’89, is vice president of professional services for Microdesk in Manhattan and a Metro NY Bobcat. He is also a trustee of the Ohio University Foundation Board, an external adviser to the Black Student Business Caucus and Black Alumni Reunion planner. He brings together alumni, mentors students and

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even writes recruiting postcards to would-be Bobcats. And that just scratches the surface for this super-volunteer. “For the things you care about, you make time,” Ward says. “I’ve always cared about Ohio University.” Ward encourages other alumni to go online to look for opportunities to connect “in an area where they have some kind of affinity or allegiance.” Bill Hilyard, BSED ’67, chairs the Ohio University Alumni Association Board of Directors and co-chairs the College of Fine Arts’ The Promise Lives Campaign committee. “Because Ohio University transformed my life, I feel an obligation to help transform lives today,” he says. Whether it’s getting involved in your local arts organization or your alma mater, Hilyard is as enthusiastic about volunteering as he is about being a Bobcat. “I can tell you it will be rewarding at the end of the day, and you’ll become addicted.” Log on to and find out how you can help from your own home, through a local chapter, or on campus. » MARY REED ABOVE: Student Alumni Board members say “thank you” to the volunteers who help make the Ohio University student experience so outstanding. SAB is the student branch of the Ohio University Alumni Association.

Building on success New Alumni Association executive director impressed by ‘extraordinary’ affinity of alumni


ennifer Neubauer, the recently appointed executive director of the Alumni Association, isn’t the only new Bobcat in the family: After visiting campus with his mother in the fall, Neubauer’s son decided to transfer to the university as a freshman. Ohio University and Ohio Today extend a warm welcome to Neubauer and her family; expectations are high as she pushes the association — which serves nearly 200,000 alumni — to the “edge of innovation.”

we can create an electronic neighborhood where people are able to take advantage of streaming video, career services and real time communication, and connect with one another in ways they’ve not been able up to this point. We’ve done a good job of utilizing tools such as Facebook and Twitter, but I want to see us broaden our scope and take our service offerings to the next level. I want the Alumni Association to retain its reputation of consistently being on the front edge of innovation.

You are the first woman to lead the Ohio University Alumni Association. What do you think about this accomplishment?

How has your background prepared you for this position?

I consider it both a privilege and a responsibility. And years from now, I hope it’s simply a footnote to a strong tenure as the executive director of the Alumni Association. What are some of your goals for the OUAA?

We have 35,000 students at Ohio University, 10,000 of which attend the regional campuses. As a result, I feel we have a responsibility to take a hard look at what we’re doing to engage the alumni from the five campuses outside of Athens. I’m also looking forward to deploying social media in a way that is very robust and provides alumni with an opportunity to connect on a deeper level. My hope is that

2012 was a great year! Number of Chapters – 26 Number of Societies – 19

Social Media Over 27,000 Likes at 5,925 Twitter Followers @OHIOAlumni

of energy, intellect and talent among our volunteer leadership in general and the chapter leaders in particular. ... I’ve never seen an alumni relations program with the number of scholarships this one has, and the commitment the volunteers have to building the endowments that fund those is inspiring. What do you do in your spare time?

First and foremost is spending time with my family. After that, I have a broad array of interests, from film studies and literature to sports. What’s a word or phrase to describe yourself?

The other universities with which I’ve had the pleasure to be affiliated with were very diverse in terms of the student experience, which informs the alumni experience. I believe that diversity will serve me well in looking at what is unique about Ohio University and playing to those strengths. The tremendous passion that the alumni feel, the affinity they have for this university, is extraordinary.

Committed, whether it’s to my family, my friends or my profession.

Can you share your impressions of the Alumni Association? What are some of its strengths?

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experience so far?

I’ve been incredibly impressed with our chapter leaders, their commitment and desire to reach more people, to broaden their programming. There’s a great deal

I’m absolutely thrilled to be here at Ohio University, and I’d like to thank all those who have given me such a warm welcome. Go Bobcats! » ELIZABETH DICKSON

Did you enjoy Homecoming weekend?

It was a beautiful weekend. Everything was perfect. The weather was lovely; the spirit of the alumni was so much fun; and the campus was gorgeous. Seeing 500 alumni from the 110 come home to celebrate the legacy of Ron Socciarelli was very moving.

Bobcat Store Total orders in 2012 – 2,767 Dec. 2012 – 640 orders & $38,500 revenue Broadcast Email More than 3.5 million individual sent Website Page Views in 2012 890,003


Tours We offered 16 tours with 46 participants.

OUAA Events in 2012 – 482

Scholarship Success The Alumni Association is proud to support student education. Many of our chapters and societies have made it an important part of their missions to establish annual scholarships for deserving students from their geographic regions. • During fiscal year 2012, 34 scholarships were awarded to students. • The Legacy Scholarship maintained a balance of $47,000. • We awarded three scholarships in 2012 – to Paige Fitzwater ’15, Ben Tillis ’16, and Jefferson Louis “Louie” Allen ’15


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To read Class Notes online, visit To read In Memoriam online, visit

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Numbers and values: Interview with a favorite Ohio prof


till a little intimidated by math? Then you’ve got to take one of Mike Lafreniere’s classes. This associate professor of environmental engineering technology and mathematics at Ohio University-Chillicothe runs a “collaboratory” classroom, where a creative use of technology helps students grasp difficult concepts. Among other innovations, touch-screen tablets at every station display Lafreniere’s handwriting as he jots notes; students can save the lectures and add their own comments with digital pens. “I truly want my students to be mathematically proficient,” he says. What drives this interest in math and technology? Ohio Today spoke to Lafreniere to learn more about life outside his “lab.” »KAITRIN MCCOY

You’re stranded on a desert island. What three things would you take?

If you could be a world-renowned expert at one thing outside your work, what would it be?

Describe yourself in three words.

Kayaking. I would like to have the expertise to navigate challenging waters, guide others and travel the world on different kayaking adventures, from the sublime to the exhilarating.

Duct tape, my solar-powered Kindle with all books currently loaded on it and matches. I’ve seen how one can make a sea-worthy craft out of duct tape alone. So, I would make a sea-worthy craft, catch and cook what I could to eat before heading off to sea, ready to read till I found others (or they find me). What is the proudest moment in your career?

Obtaining my first teaching assignment at Ohio University’s Chillicothe Campus in hazardous materials technology. It was quite a move from my graduate school days at the University of Florida. This first job has led to many rewarding activities and accomplishments that I’ve been fortunate to share with students and colleagues.

back then! It was the best because it was a complete surprise. Name a recent movie you’ve seen.

“Lincoln” by Steven Spielberg. What an inspiring portrayal of the work by Lincoln and others to pass the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution! What technological advancement do you hope to see during your lifetime?

Teleportation of goods (not people). Looks like this is starting to develop in a sense with 3D printers. Now, just manipulate the nano-sized resources to conjure up foods and other items. What trait do you most value in your friends and colleagues?

Clever, energetic, empathetic.

Openness to discussing the sometimeschallenging parts of living this life — purpose, faith, principles, values.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

What makes you good at math?

A BMX bike, when I was in middle school. It came with a double gooseneck and chrome frame. It was a Mongoose. Way cool

The three words that I used to describe myself allow me to be good at mathematics and mathematics instruction — clever, energetic and empathetic. I empathize with students who find mathematics challenging and foreign. I use this feeling to develop understanding of their needs and put a great deal of energy into creating clever vignettes for students to learn and use mathematics. Collaboration has been an integral part of my success in helping students learn mathematics. What is your guilty pleasure?

Video games and television. If I allow myself the time, I could spend hours playing Madden or NCAA Football and channel surfing the many shows out there on cable. Fortunately, I’ve found exercise and family time to be much more pleasurable.

OU-Chillicothe Professor Mike Lafreniere watches his 8-year-old son, Joe, practice his handwriting at their home in Chillicothe, Ohio. Lafreniere spends most of his spare time with his wife and three children. photo by Joel Prince, BS ’12, MA ‘15

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o h i o t o d ay o n l i n e . c o m



hio University boasts its own botanical oasis: the OU Greenhouse, which is housed in the Botanical Research Building, located near Morton Hall. This photo captures the diverse plant life that exists within this greenhouse, which is open year-round. The 4,576 square-foot building and one-acre outdoor garden feature more than 650 plants, from six different continents. Plants include orchids, ferns, cacti and more. The greenhouse serves to provide a diverse group of plants for students and faculty of the department of environmental and plant biology, as well as other interested members of both the university and Athens community. Photo by Dustin Lennert BS ’13


P A I D CO LU M B U S , O H I O P E R M I T N O. 4 4 1 6

Faculty standout


he largest facility of its kind in the world, Ohio University’s Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology performs corrosion research sponsored by the leading oil and gas companies across the globe. Under the leadership of Russ Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Srdjan Nesic, research funding has exceeded $20 million. Nesic, who holds visiting and adjunct professorship positions around the world, is also a fellow of the international corrosion professional society NACE International and was honored with the H.H. Uhlig Award for outstanding effectiveness in post-secondary education. A visionary gift from the estate of Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ funded his professorship. See the related story on page 26. photo by Ben Siegel BS ’02

Ohio Today Spring 2013  

Spring 2013 issue of the Ohio University alumni magazine, Ohio Today. The magazine is published twice a year, in fall and spring.

Ohio Today Spring 2013  

Spring 2013 issue of the Ohio University alumni magazine, Ohio Today. The magazine is published twice a year, in fall and spring.