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"Ohio University, 1804-2004: The Spirit of a Singular Place" will be available beginning in early October. The hardbound edition will sell for $50 and the paperback for $30. You may reserve a copy now at the special discount for alumni and friends of $40 and $25. A deluxe edition, featuring the hardbound book signed by the author and presented in a slipcase, will sell for $75 retail and $60 to alumni and friends. In addition, 200 copies of a presidents' edition personally signed by the author and living Ohio University presidents will be available for $100. The presidents' edition will be offered only while supplies last. To order the edition of your choice, contact Ohio University Press Customer Service Manager Judy Wilson by phone at (740) 593-1154, fax at (740) 593-4536 or e-mail at jwilson1@ohio.edu. Or use the online form. Write Code M0309 on your order to ensure you receive the discount. MasterCard and Visa are accepted.

 

June 25, 2003
Cherished memories comprise loving tribute
By Katie Fitzgerald and Mary Alice Casey

Reflecting on your college days might take you ...

... to the parking garage under Jefferson Hall, where you pushed around a stranded Volkswagen Bug instead of a ball during a water polo game inspired by the Hocking River flood of 1960.

... or to the Thursday evening class of Professor Wayne Dodd, who changed your life with a poetry course when you were expecting to focus on fiction.

... or to the Mill Street home you lived in and loved despite the fact Student Senate voted it the worst off-campus residence in 2000.

With a copy of the much-anticipated "Ohio University, 1804-2004: The Spirit of a Singular Place," you can make those journeys without ever leaving your easy chair. The 364-page book, which covers the social history and daily life of the University's first 200 years, is being published by Ohio University Press in conjunction with the bicentennial. It will be available in early October.

"It's like a glorified scrapbook," says author Betty Hollow. "You can really see how student life has changed over the years when you look at the whole thing."

Close to 500 photographs from alumni, archives and the University photographer's office pepper the 10-chapter book. Also included are essays on important topics (such as the Marching 110, the Hocking River, regional campuses, international connections and more), remembrances of alumni, sidebars on special people (from first alumnus Thomas Ewing to "University Professor for Life" Fritz Hagerman) and writeups about each college and the library.

"I've been in Athens since 1968, so you would expect me to know something about the University," says Hollow, who doubles as assistant director of the Academic Advancement Center. "It turns out I hardly knew anything at all. In some ways I had a lot of guidance because there are already various histories of the University, but what I didn't have was much about student life."

So Hollow dug deep into the University's resources, setting up shop in the Robert E. and Jean R. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections to pore over back issues of The Post, old Athena yearbooks and file drawers of photos.

"It was like a treasure hunt," she says. "Every now and then I'd find something related to another item I had come across months earlier."

Some of Hollow's best information, though, came straight from the experts: alumni such as Ann Downing LaFollette, AB '56, and Huey Ball, BSED '67.

LaFollette, like many students, kept a scrapbook of her time in Athens. It is filled with dance programs, grade reports, her ID card and pictures of friends. She apparently took her lead from her mother, Ruth Thomas Downing, ELED '15 and BSED '18, who kept mementos to remind her of living in Howard Hall and picnicking on the old mental hospital grounds.

Ball shared his memories of black students' struggle for recognition by the University administration in the 1960s and the birth of what he believes was one of the nation's first black history celebrations.

"It's important that the experiences we had here be documented and be a part of what has happened at the University," Ball says. "We helped to make the University what it is."

Such perspectives set this book apart from earlier histories.

"One size doesn't fit all here at Ohio University," says David Sanders, director of Ohio University Press. "Everyone has a different experience; we wanted to make a book that captures that."

For Hollow, the bottom line was to represent the total and real character of Ohio University and its campuses.

"Hundreds of people sent photos, letters and scrapbooks," she says. "We wanted to show the tremendous spirit that students have created and still respond to in memory. I hope that is what we've done."

Katie Fitzgerald, BSJ '03, is a student writer for University Communications and Marketing. Mary Alice Casey is editor of Ohio Today. This article originally appeared in the Spring 2003 Ohio Today.

 

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