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Care to comment on an Ohio Today story? Or share a memory about your days on campus? Then drop us a letter to the editor. Here's how:
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Letters to the editor may be edited for space and style.
Readers submitted the following letters for publication in the winter Ohio Today. The first three did not appear in the print edition because of space constraints. You'll also find here the full versions of some letters that had to be edited for space in the winter print edition.
We're excited that so many readers are sharing their comments. To send us yours, e-mail them to email@example.com; mail them to Letters, Ohio Today, Scott Quad 102, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701; or fax them to (740) 593-1887. Questions about letters can be directed to Editor Mary Alice Casey at (740) 593-1890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though I always enjoy reading Ohio Today, I was especially delighted to see many familiar faces in the pages of your fall issue. Jason Keyser, BSJ '00, worked with me at the Post during college. I remember he once told me he wanted to serve as a foreign correspondent. Thanks to your article "On Location," I learned that he's now reporting about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I also enjoyed the column "This amazing e-world of ours" by Joe Donatelli, BSJ '98, another former "Postie." It's no surprise to me that he would write an article about staying in touch with friends. He has a heart of gold!
Keyser and Donatelli are the kinds of reporters that readers can only hope for -- they write beautifully, show compassion and have solid ethics. I'm glad to hear that their careers are advancing.
Thanks also for including the short article from Dr. Joseph Berman bidding us farewell as he retires. As an Honors Tutorial College student, I felt fortunate to have Dr. Berman as our dean. I could talk with him about virtually anything, including personal life, academic research and even the arts. I wish Dr. Berman well as he makes the transition to a new, exciting chapter in his life!
Rita Tiefert, BSJ '00
Administrating with heart
I just learned that Maurel Hunkins (former dean of men and director of public occasions) has passed away. I wanted to share with you most of a letter I wrote to then-Dean of Students Joel Rudy in 1995:
In 1958, I was attending Ohio University when my father died. This was not only the emotional trauma for me that you would expect, but it was a financially traumatic event as well. I had been earning most of my own money to attend college, but I was still using a checking account that was joint with my father. Since my mother had predeceased my father, and I was still a minor, under Ohio law I was legally deemed incapable of making decisions or handling money. I was made a ward of the court and my father's assets were frozen pending probate of his estate -- which included our joint account. All my summer earnings were in that account and the fall bills were due. I knew if some miracle did not occur, I would have to drop out of school because I could not pay the school bills.
I went to see the most influential man I knew -- the dean of men, Maurel Hunkins. I knew Dean Hunkins personally since I was a member of the Student Court, and I was also a regular visitor to the Dean of Men's Offices for financial help. I had appealed for financial assistance several times since I had entered school in 1955. The staff had responded and helped me obtain a job in the cafeteria of Scott Quad to pay for my food and a dormitory counselor job on East Green that paid for my room.
Dean Hunkins told me that it was essential that I remain in school and that, until the courts finished their work, Ohio University would be willing to wait for its money. He instructed me to bring all bills to him personally, as I received them, and to come pick them up from him when my funds were released by the court system.
As I remember, the probate was not finished until late spring of 1959. I went to Dean Hunkins, picked up my bills, went to the office and paid for the entire school year's accumulated bills. I never knew whether it was easy or difficult for him to accomplish the miracle I needed. I do know that several years after graduation, when I went to his home on Court Street to thank him one more time for keeping me in school, he said he appreciated my coming by; but, while he remembered me, he couldn't remember the incident. I can only conclude that taking care of one more student with a problem was so routine for him and that he considered it such a ordinary part of his job that it did not stand out in his mind. In my opinion that only makes him all the more a truly remarkable man. Ohio University was fortunate to have had administrators of his stature, and I was fortunate that he was there for me. I know that if I had been forced to drop out of school, there was a very small probability that I would have ever returned.
Being a college graduate has made a dramatic difference in my life over what it otherwise would have been. Ohio University took me, a farm boy from outside Coolville, Ohio (in Athens County), and introduced me to the world. I met my wife of 36 years in a class there. I have completed a successful career as a U.S. Army officer and a successful second career in the business world.
I learned far more at Ohio University than I ever expected. The lesson of caring for and assisting those who need a hand at a crucial time in their lives, as demonstrated by Dean Hunkins, is just one example.
I hope Ohio University still has a heart and still has miracle makers in crucial positions like Dean Hunkins, and I hope they are still be permitted to override the bureaucracy (including today's computer programs) when necessary.
Larry Henry, BSIT '60
Mike Johnson's letter in the spring 2002 Ohio Today about "Singing for Gam" brought back pleasant memories for me. I, too, remember fondly Ken Fisher and the Gam Glee Club. They were the best! I still have their 33 rpm recording made in 1966. If only I could have been serenaded in our Scott Quad courtyard by them! Sigh. As it was, I listened to and enjoyed their wonderful sound every chance I had.
Diane Shlumbohm Rice, BSHE '67
Alumni on the Hill
Those looking for evidence of Ohio University's extensive role in Washington need only examine the Aug. 1, 2002, issue of Roll Call (the newspaper of Capitol Hill): Page 28 for '94 graduate Kassie Stewart (BSC); Page 28 for obituary of Congressman Don Pease (BSJ '53, MA '55); and Page 34 for George Voinovich (AB '58, HON '81), who was Student Council president in 1958. Impressive!
Ken Klein, BSJ '82
Don Pease, who was quoted in Ohio Today's fall 2002 story about higher education funding, passed away in July 2002. In October, the Medina, Ohio, federal building was renamed in his honor to the Donald J. Pease Federal Building. -- Eds.
A friend and mentor
A few months ago a letter arrived from Israel notifying me of the passing of Yakov Mirviss, MED '62. Death came to this gentle man in his sleep, three months after his 102nd birthday. Who was this man? How did he affect so many young students?
"Jake," as he was affectionately known to his friends, had been the Hillel director at Ohio University during the '50s and '60s. He had the unenviable task of accommodating students who ranged the entire spectrum of Judaism. There were orthodox students and those who could not distinguish between an Aleph and a Beth. Skillfully and diplomatically, Jake was able to draw in all of the Jewish students. It was Jake who went to battle with the administration when Homecoming was inadvertently scheduled on the High Holy Days. It was Jake who monitored and countered anti-Semitic movements on campus. He also provided Hebrew and Bar Mitzwoh lessons for the children of the Athens' Jewish families.
Jake's neighbors at 95 University Terrace were an illustrious bunch of Jewish young men known as the brothers of Phi Sigma Delta. Since we were neighbors, we made full use of Hillel's facilities. Many of us attended Sabbath evening services. Some went due to spiritual needs; others attended to meet the new crop of Jewish girls. Through Hillel, Jake provided religious services not only for the Sabbath, but also when holidays occurred during the academic year. On Passover, Jake and his wife, Lillian (now deceased), the first female to earn a law degree in Wisconsin, made sure that everyone had the opportunity to partake in a Seder. Once a month, usually on a Sunday evening, Jake and Lillian would hold a "cost supper." For 35 cents one could enjoy a filling meal. Although these meals were known as "heartburn" specials, they were a vast improvement over the culinary offerings available in southern Ohio.
Jake also had a habit of being a matchmaker. Although well-intentioned, he would match up the oddest couples. As a matchmaker he drove fear into many of us when he approached us with, "Boy, I have got a girl for you!" Jake was there to counsel students when a tragedy occurred in one's family or when a student was just "dying" of a broken heart because of a romance gone sour. He was there to counsel all Jewish students. Non-Jewish students also came to him with questions about Judaism or just to seek his advice.
I enjoyed Jake's company immensely. In my student days I was more at ease conversing in Yiddish than in English. In Jake I had found a partner with whom I could speak Yiddish. He also enjoyed speaking the tongue of his forefathers.
The last few decades of his life were spent with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Israel. For many years I corresponded with him, and he always inquired about this or that former student. As he approached the century mark, his eyesight and hearing became weak. Still he would dictate letters to his friends and have return letters read to him by his caretaker. This humble, unassuming man affected so many of us. Although years have gone by since our student days, he is and will always be fondly remembered.
Herbert Hochhauser, BSED '60
Seeks broader focus
It just so happened that I read my fall 2002 Ohio Today the same day as I read an editorial, "All that cash for college -- headed for Ohio's prisons" (Akron Beacon Journal, Sept. 15, 2002). The latter discusses a report about the price Ohio pays for ranking 40th among states in public investment in higher education while prison investment has swelled by nearly $1 billion since 1985.
Ohio's public universities are now facing the same neglect that primary and secondary schools have been decrying for at least a generation. During that time, Ohio's public universities have stood on the sidelines, supporting anything that wouldn't hurt their pet projects. They supported any politician, including a graduate of OU, George Voinovich, who generously and proudly supported private schools, making this state the first in the nation in siphoning public dollars to private/parochial schools while sacrificing the public schools. All the while, the universities watched the primary and secondary schools slide as scarce funding was given away and harmful legislation continued to be passed.
In Ohio Today, President Robert Glidden asked all of us to write our state legislators regarding the deplorable funding mess of Ohio's public universities. My reply to him is, sure, I'll write, but the difference between his letter and mine is that I will once again urge my representatives to support K-16 funding as I have always done. Ironically, that is something that the presidents of Ohio's public universities should have been doing all along but still decline to rise above the politics of public school funding.
In fact, the only time primary and secondary educators have ever heard from the state's universities is when they supported the ill-developed, shortsighted Issue 2 tax that was placed on the ballot. No other education system or organization in the state supported it because it sorely lacked funding guarantees and did nothing to address the systemic funding problems identified by the Ohio Supreme Court. But it was a quick fix to get the state's funding attention away from primary and secondary and back to higher education.
What would happen if Ohio's K-16 systems got together rather than competed against one another? Unless the public universities of this state realize all of public education must become a spending priority, we will continue to pit one group against the other. Our economy will continue to slide. We will continue to spend $22,000 to keep one person in an Ohio prison for a year rather than helping four people attend a public university. The last time I checked, you needed to do fairly well in the first 13 years of school to continue on to the next four or so years. Low literacy rates mean high incarceration rates.
President Glidden, what are you doing to help Ohio's 1.8 million public school kids? I'm writing letters.
Jodie M. Grasgreen, BSC '77
A wonderful life
Your Ohio Today letters have started me thinking of my days at Ohio University. I enrolled in 1923 for a two-year course. I had only $700 for everything for two years. There were no scholarships then. I taught for three years in Jackson, Ohio, to get enough to finish my four years for a degree. I graduated in 1930 with high honors.
I attributed my success in life to my start at Ohio University. I am now 96 years old, living alone and in good health.
I taught school (one room all grades and high school) for 30 years. I have written a book, painted many pictures, helped build 10 houses, traveled extensively and have 14 great-grandchildren. For more than 50 years I have done a "Minnie Pearl" program for the minstrel, nursing homes, etc. I was in the physical education program, and since then I have been active in all sports, especially swimming. I was active in the community. I was a 4-H adviser for 25 years, a member of Women's Club for 63 years and a volunteer at the hospital.
My thanks to Ohio University for helping me to have a wonderful life for myself and others. This year marks the 80th anniversary of my arrival on campus.
Mabel Townsend Boetticher, ELED '25, BSED '30
Collecting their thoughts
Thank you for your fine article on "Athens Collects" in the fall 2002 issue. It was very well done. It's not often that those who collect get to share with others what they feel are unique items. It was a privilege and an honor to exhibit them at the Kennedy Museum of Art. Enough cannot be said of Jeff Carr, who designed all the sets and environments. We are sure that those who visited the exhibit, and those who did not, are looking toward the future when the museum has another exhibit such as this.
Mike Ritchie, BSED '74, Athens (fishing lures collection)
Chuckles in the stacks
When I was a student at Athens High School, from my sophomore year through my senior year (1946) I worked part time at the Edwin Watts Chubb Library. The library was named after the eminent Ohio University scholar, Professor Chubb. During the time of my employment, the stacks were open only to seniors, grad students and faculty. All others had to present a call slip with author title and number to a page -- me -- who fetched the book from the six floors of stacks. After three years, the library was a second home to me. There wasn't a book I couldn't find in record time, and at 25 cents per hour I was a real bargain.
The head librarian was Miss Anne Keating, who was a very precise and dainty lady whose face was always framed with lace. Her staff included Miss Manson, Miss Catherine Nelson and Miss Amy Allen, among others. Miss Allen was a spry, gray-haired lady who rode her bicycle right down Court Street to work every day. She was quick, alert, outspoken and took her work quite seriously. I once saw her rush from the front desk to the outside landing to challenge a student who had failed to display his books as he was leaving the library. Many of my friends had an Amy Allen story, all to her credit I should add.
I was at my post on duty one evening when an elderly gentleman, white-haired and somewhat stooped in posture, came shuffling by the main desk. He was carrying at least three books, which seemed to be a task for him. As he passed the desk, the student on duty called out rather curtly, "Show your books, please!" The gentleman returned, smiling amiably to display his books. As the old gentleman shuffled away I overheard Miss Allen murmur, more to herself than to anyone else, "That was Edwin Watts Chubb."
Alvin Rosser, MFA '53
Another side to Wren
As is true for all who knew Bob Wren, I was saddened to learn of his death. I appreciated the article about him in the fall issue of Ohio Today but would like to add a little Ohio University history to Bob's story. When Bob retired as baseball coach in l972, he simply moved across campus to Chubb Hall and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Bob became an assistant director of admissions, interviewing students, visiting high schools and, in general, spreading the good word -- as only Bob could do -- about the University. He continued in that position until the early 1990s. I feel confident in speaking for everyone who worked with him in admissions in saying that he was a joy to know, a man whose enthusiasm for Ohio U. knew no bounds.
The letter in the fall issue about Bob Raymond brought back some memories. I never had Bob in class, but he lived next to my parents for many years, and I remember him and Betty as thoroughly enjoyable human beings. One of the memories is something about him that I don't think many people know. In World War II he was the only American bomber pilot in the Royal Air Force. There were many American fighter pilots, but no one else flying Lancaster bombers. He wrote a book about his adventures, "A Yank in Bomber Command." I can't find my copy or I would tell you how many missions he flew from 1941 to 1943 when he was transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps. He resisted the transfer as long as he could because he did not want to leave his plane and crew.
Charles J. Krauskopf, AB '53
A quick check of "A Yank in Bomber Command" in Alden Library's Archives and Special Collections revealed that Lt. Robert S. Raymond flew 30 operational flights over Germany and Italy during his time in the Royal Air Force. The volunteer pilot served from October 1940 until April 1943. On March 11, 1944, he was presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross by Lord Halifax, the British ambassador, acting for King George VI. -- Eds.
I have enjoyed the many articles of the earlier times at Ohio University, especially since I lived those times as a "faculty daughter" in Athens. The fall 2002 issue of Ohio Today was especially interesting to me, as Paul Stocker was one of my father's first electrical engineering students at Ohio University. My father always spoke of Paul Stocker as one of his first students and one of the brightest.
My father, Darrell Green, was brought to Ohio University in 1925 to separate the electrical engineering classes from the Physics Department and to form a new Department of Electrical Engineering. Professor O.E. McClure had been teaching the few electrical engineering classes under Dean A.A. Atkinson. Professor McClure and my father shared an office in Super Hall on President Street (the building is now gone) until the "new" engineering building was built across President Street, next to the old Delta Tau Delta fraternity house. Professor McClure and Dr. Green again shared an office in the new building. My father was chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department until, due to ill health, he asked to be relieved of the chairmanship duty. One of his former students, Dr. Roger Quisenberry, was given the chairmanship. Another former student, Dr. Robe, was later chairman. My father died in 1959.
Over the years, his graduating seniors received premier jobs in the field of electrical engineering, often being offered positions over students from noted engineering schools such as MIT and Rensselaer.
Many times over the years, my father's graduates contacted him with an engineering problem related to their work. He was always happy to solve their problems for them. He wrote textbooks for many of his classes, never publishing them, but having the college mimeograph them in book form.
My father gave one of the early faculty lectures entitled, "From Electrons to Television," which was very well received by the public, as television was very new then. During World War II, he was in charge of an engineering project for the Air Force. I never knew what it was as it was a government project requiring security clearance.
In 1955, Dr. Green was one of two American delegates to the International Commission of Illuminating Engineers in Zurich, Switzerland. He was instrumental in starting the Ohio University radio station, W8PZS, as his professional engineer license was needed to legally operate under the FCC rules. His students were the engineers for the station.
He was always extremely proud of his student's accomplishments. There are probably still some of his former students reading Ohio Today.
Ursula Green Henry, BFA '49
Running into new friends
On Aug. 10, 2002, I was hiking Mount Crested Butte in Crested Butte, Colo., in support of The Breast Cancer Fund. While taking a water break three-quarters of the way up, I overheard a conversation regarding Ohio U. Having been a graduate of OU in 1962, I certainly wanted to find out who might be a fellow alumnus. I was delighted to meet Mary Ann Sears, class of '79, and her daughter Jessica Jensen, class of 2006! They had decided to join the hike while here on vacation from Akron, Ohio, while I am a part-time resident in Gunnison, Colo.
We chatted briefly since we still had a ways to go before topping out at 12,162 feet. Not only was the hike exhilarating (an altitude gain of 2,787 feet), but it was great to realize OU people are out there everywhere, even when you least expect to find them, all supporting a very worthy cause.
Incidentally, the hike was a great success, with 175 hikers turning in more than $60,000, which thrilled us all. This hike is an annual event in Crested Butte as well as on Mount Tamalpais, Calif., and in New Jersey. (Log on to www.breastcancerfund.org if you are interested in joining us on a hike next year.)
Anne White Crowley, BFA '62
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