Photographer: Kristin Heinichen
Nov 18, 2012
By Kelee Riesbeck
This story is one in a series about Ohio University's Ohio Fellows Program (OFP), initiated by Vernon Alden, OHIO's 15th president. The 1960s-era program exposed select students to unique seminars, visiting dignitaries, internship opportunities and travel that enriched their OHIO experience. Several OFP alumni recently made a gift of $365,000 for the program's revitalization as part of OHIO's The Promise Lives Campaign. In this Q&A, you'll meet one of those donors, Terry Moore, who owned and operated his own research and marketing consultancy business until he retired in 2002.
How did you become an Ohio Fellow?
Moore: I was standing in line at the dining hall and saw an article in The Post for a thing called "The Ohio Plan." I called up the director, John Chandler, and we spoke. I later got a letter, which said, "Our objective from now on is to make sure you have the most valuable learning experience that you can have at Ohio University." The program did not ask anything of anyone: no projects, no working in the community. All you have to do is come to the (Ohio Fellows Program) meetings.
What did the program mean to you?
Moore: I was at Ohio University in the late 1960s and the War in Vietnam divided the country. The new generation was not satisfied with the culture they were given by their parents, who came of age during World War II. Because of the culture and the war, we did not trust a lot of institutions, including educational institutions. In the 1960s, there was not a lot going on in the world of educational innovation. But it was clear to some that something had to be done to try to impact the future and to try to do something for the culture. The standard educational model was people go to college, they go out and are successful, and progress occurs. But a small group of people, led by (OHIO's 15th President) Vern Alden, John Chandler, Robert Greenleaf, and Leslie Rollins, had a different theory. That theory was the people who really have an impact on the culture, the game changers, don't fit the model. And if we can find people who we think are really going to have an impact on the culture in the area they are interested in, and we can expose them to real problems of leadership at a very high level, then a lot of them can be attracted to positions of leadership in general and public leadership in particular. (People in the Ohio Fellows) were the most eclectic, interesting, often challenging group of people that I have ever associated with. It was truly a remarkable group.
Did you have a mentor in the program?
Moore: Les Rollins. He always challenged everything. Two things that were remarkable about Les Rollins were that he accepted everybody for who they were: black or white, rich or poor, male or female. And he believed that regardless of who you were, it wasn't enough. You can do more; you can be more. When another fellow told Rollins he had been accepted into medical school, his response was, "Well, when you really want to do something with your life, let me know." (laughs)
You left OHIO before you graduated. Tell me about that.
Moore: I went to college having been an excellent science student in high school. Typically, I thought that's what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I got to college, I tested out of the first year of zoology courses. I couldn't take any more until I had organic chemistry, so I started taking courses in philosophy, fine arts, and so forth. I was not a particularly good student. I didn't find regular classroom setting very interesting. The thing that was interesting was the world the Ohio Fellows offered. Leslie Rollins thought I should apply to graduate school at Harvard Business School, even without a bachelor's degree. I was accepted but I left there, too, after a year. It just wasn't that interesting to me. There wasn't anybody in the classes or in the pool of instructors who I wanted to grow up and be like.
What does having an OHIO degree in General Studies mean to you? (Moore re-enrolled at OHIO and earned his Bachelor's degree through correspondence in General Studies from University College in 1991.)
Moore: It means that I am a well-rounded person. Too often today, people think of college as some kind of trade school, and ideally, it isn't. Education is the one thing that might keep us from waking up when we're 80 years old saying, "What have I done with my life?"
Servant Leadership is a big theme among Ohio Fellows. Is your Radius Foundation your servant leadership outlet?
Moore: Something that has always amazed me is people's inability to see other paradigms of how to live. So anything I can do to facilitate the crossing of paradigms, I consider it to be valuable in and of itself, and certainly it would have a positive effect on the culture.
How much of what you experienced as an Ohio Fellow makes you tick?
Moore: I would say quite a bit because there are a number of fairly subtle but very important "take-homes" from being an Ohio Fellow. One of which is the sense that you're special, and that some other people recognize that. And that it's okay to be different. An Ohio Fellow once said, "I'd never let good grades get in the way of my college education." (laughs)
Ohio Fellows had access to major cultural, academic, political and industrial figures who would sit down with us for a couple of hours. We would ask interesting questions, not just smart questions. Visitors seemed to enjoy it as much as we did. So another "take-away" is that Ohio Fellows were undaunted by celebrity. After you've sat down with captains of industry, Dean Rusk (the U.S. Secretary of State), major academic figures, and philosophers and have real discussions with them, you are a little bit less daunted by someone's magnitude.
What do spend your time doing these days?
Moore: I'm active in a number of environmental concerns and, with my wife (Lynn Shostack), in initiatives involving the arts, engineering and medicine. And then I have my work at the Radius Foundation.
Terry Moore started going to The TED Conference in California about ten years ago (most of us have now heard of TED Talks).
"There is a conceptual connection between TED and the Ohio Fellows Program," he said. "They are both very eclectic."
He has presented two TED Talks, one that illustrates a better way to tie your shoes and one that explains why is 'x' the symbol for an unknown. Here is a list of Terry's top five favorite TED Talks:
Brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor's talk on watching her own brain functions shut down one by one.
Anthropologist Wade Davis muses on the worldwide web of belief and ritual that makes us human.
Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation talks about the growing problem of plastic debris in our seas.
Barry Schwartz calls for "practical wisdom" as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy.
Bennington College president Liz Coleman delivers a call-to-arms for radical reform in higher education.