Mast Fall 2001
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United by a Friend

By Jennifer Kirksey Smith

The fall 2002 issue of Ohio Today featured a story about Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College, where, by way of one-on-one tutorial sessions, students build intellectual partnerships with faculty who become mentors and even friends. Here's the story of one such relationship that took Professor of Theater William Condee out of the classroom and into one of the most important days of a student's life.

A certificate on the wall in William Condee's office proclaims he is a bishop of the Church of World Peace. Although originally just an interesting conversation starter, the certificate evolved into something much bigger.

Condee opens the doors of his eclectically decorated office to many theater students in need of counsel or tutorial advice.

One such student remembered the certificate well past graduation but had no idea of the story behind it until she asked Condee to perform the ceremony uniting her and her fiance in marriage.

Barbara Perenic, AB '01, and Andy Grimm, BS and BSCS '01, were determined to find someone close to them to perform their April 6 wedding in a room at the Nutter Center at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Then Barbara remembered Condee was a bishop.

"One day I received an e-mail from Barbara," Condee recalls. "She said 'I know you are a bishop' and proceeded to ask if I would perform her marriage ceremony."

What Barbara did not know was that Condee's ministerial position was, well, not exactly as it appeared. He confessed that the certificate actually had belonged to his father, who answered an advertisement in a magazine at the time of the Vietnam War. To become a minister, one just had to pay $5. The fees increased depending on how high a ranking the applicant sought. Condee's father, himself a professor with a rich sense of humor, framed his bishop's certificate and displayed it in his office.

After his father passed away, Condee's mother gave him and his brother a copy of the certificate. Condee replaced his father's name with his own.

"The great thing about Barb is she is a strong-willed person who sticks up for her beliefs," Condee says. "And I am an adviser who is the same way, so we butted heads plenty."

Determined that Condee was the right person to marry them, Barbara and Andy would not be swayed by a technicality. She found her adviser details about pursuing a ministerial appointment of his own from the Church of World Peace.

"It was an honor to be asked," Condee says.

Barbara and Andy's ceremony was as unique as the story behind their search for a minister. Their personalities showed in each detail, including the vows they wrote themselves. After the wedding and reception, they celebrated at Nutter Center, home of the Dayton Bombers ice hockey team, by taking advantage of game tickets they received as a gift. The bride and groom also caught a ride on the Zamboni at the end of the night.

But more personal and touching than anything was the fact that Barbara's professor, adviser and mentor provided guidance on the day they were married.

"My adviser, who led me through four years of school, was now leading me through another step of my life," Barbara says.

 

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