Ohio Today: For Alumni and Friends of Ohio University
From the Winter Issue
Online Exclusives
From the Alumni Assoc.
Celebrating the Bicentennial

 

Alumni memories

 

In our commemorative edition, Ohio Today brought you the perspectives of a handful of alumni who wrote and shared their memories of their days as students. Here, we bring you more submissions we received through previous requests and after you read your print edition.

 

 

Another memorable moment

I read with interest Jim Patterson's segment of "Defining Moments" in the winter Ohio Today. I, too, was a member of the sesquicentennial freshman class with plans to earn a degree in journalism. When I was a freshman, J-School Director L.J. Hortin was my counselor. It was at his suggestion that I attended the meeting for students interested in joining The Post staff that was held in late September.

 

I was pleased to be, along with fellow freshman Paul Slaughter, selected to handle a standing weekly column called "Around Other Campuses." The job required reading the dozens of college publications that were delivered each week to The Post office and condensing into three or four sentences items that might be of interest to OU students.

 

Several weeks later, City Editor (soon to be Editor) Helen Sutton told me that an appointment had been made for a staff news writer to interview President John C. Baker and that she wanted me to keep that appointment. The subject of the interview was international economics, a topic on which Dr. Baker was expert. The appointment was for 10 on Saturday morning. I was horrified to find my counselor sitting with Dr. Baker when I was ushered into the president's office for the meeting. Dr. Hortin apparently was there to observe one of his students in action. In spite of my nervousness, the interview must have gone well, because the following week the first of several feature articles I wrote for The Post was published.

 

Ultimately I elected to pursue other interests and a different major and ended my career with The Post. However, from that October Saturday in 1954 until I graduated in 1959, whenever I met President Baker on campus, he greeted me by name. It wasn't because I was special. Dr. Baker greeted every student he had one-on-one contact with by name. I guess that's one of the things that made John Calhoun Baker and the OU experience so special.       

Jim Spector, BFA '59
Ocala, Fla.

 

 

Returning home

As an Greater Cincinnati-based alum, the entire trip to Athens is culminated by the appearance of Peden Stadium and the Convocation Center when exiting Route 32 onto Richland Avenue. The moment, for lack of better words, feels just like arriving home.

 

The first bite of a burrito from the Buggy.

 

The first sip of an adult beverage in your favorite old stomping ground (bar). Watching the current flock of coeds, and except for hip huggers and cell phones, realizing that not much has changed.

 

Sharing with one's spouse the phenomena that is OU students wearing OHIO apparel en masse. (Especially if one marries a non-Bobcat.)

 

Just saying, or wearing, Muck Fiami while in Athens.

 

Walking past one's principal building of academic study and feeling a proud sense of accomplishment.

 

Bumping into any Ohio alum, no matter the time or setting, and immediately establishing a bond. (Oddly, this also seems to work with any fellow MAC alumni.)

 

Looking at the changing of the leaves on the surrounding hillsides, and wondering how I managed not to appreciate it the first time around (for four years).

 

Ordering a round of drinks for several of your old pals, including spouses, and still managing to surrender less than 10 bucks to the establishment it was ordered in.

Bill Santos-Harmon, BSC '93
Villa, Hills, Ky.

 

 

Friends! Friends! Friends!

Most of my lasting friendships were made at OU. We (international students) made friends over numerous potluck dinners held at each other's apartments during long winter nights or cool summer evenings. When I ran for president of the Graduate Senate, I knew where to go to ask for votes, international organizations or clubs. Although we have all moved on to places like Nigeria, Indonesia, Morocco, France, England and Reno, Nev., we still keep in touch via phone calls and e-mails. Last summer, a few of us reunited in London. What an experience!

 

Thanks for letting me share these memories!

Amiso George
BSC '83, BSJ '86, MAIA '87, PHD '92 (A bonafide Bobcat)
Reno, Nev.

 

A Bobcat's alphabet

Athens: fall, winter and spring. Beautiful college green. Cheering our teams. Diversity: students and townspeople. Ellis: writing adventures. Finance: enthusiastic Harry Blythe. Government: inimitable Roy Fairfield. Homecomings: parades, friends. Ideas flourishing. Just cozy. Kaleidoscope of experiences. Long walks. Mem Aud: Ralph Bunche, Cleveland Symphony, Vincent Price, Robert Frost. No limits to dreams. Octopus, our 1960 bright lavender Phi Tau float. Perseverance caught here. Serenading the girls with I Love You Truly. Trustees John Galbreath, Edwin Kennedy, Fred Johnson. Utter simplicity. Veritas (truth). Wise presidents Vernon Alden, John Baker. Xylophones, trombones, the Marching 110! Youth lingering long. Sounds!

 

Indeed, we sing thy praise once more.

Chuck Cornelius, BBA '63

Vincent, Ohio

 

We were saddened to hear that Chuck Cornelius passed away Oct. 18, 2003, a short time after he wrote us this letter. His wife called to tell us he had been happy to hear his letter would appear online. -Eds.

 

Special bonds

I love that I met my future husband at OU.

Natalie Pate, BA '01

Columbus

 

What I love about OU:

That no matter where I am in the world, when I see a fellow Bobcat, there is an instant connection, a certain understanding of someone else who has walked up Morton hill early in the morning and stumbled down Jeff hill late at night. I see someone who understands what Sibs Weekend means and who also knows why it was so important to have separate Moms and Dads weekends. I see someone who was there for Homecoming, heard the Marching 110 and cheered on a team that seldom won. I feel an instant bond with this stranger because they know about Bong Hill and the Greenery as well as the oh, so haunted Ridges. They have walked the bike path and spent many late nights guarding the Graffiti Wall. I form an instant connection with any fellow Bobcat we both carry with us the spirit and magic of Ohio University.

Sarah McNamara, BSC '01

Chicago

 

My Ohio moment?

My favorite OU moment is, in the dead of winter quarter, walking from the coffee shop at the corner of Court and Union streets, with hot chocolate in hand, through the Alumni Gate and across a College Green perfectly blanketed with snow and glowing from lantern lights all over the green. I remember doing this usually after an OU hockey game or two, late at night. I can remember thinking, "This is it, my Ohio moment."

Brian Silverman, BSJ '03

Dublin, Ohio

 

So much to like

What I liked most about OU is the way the leaves change to a myriad of colors in such a way that it is almost like they sneak up on you ... sort of the same feeling I had when I was a kid playing hide-and-seek and someone finally "found" me. It was a good feeling when you were found, even though you reveled in hiding. I found myself at OU ... and I changed just as the leaves changed to a cornucopia of colors. 

 

I liked the air, the laid-back atmosphere and the invincible feeling it gave that 17-year-old girl I used to be. I liked the hands-on experience I received at WOUB. I liked sitting on "the wall" at Baker Center in the spring and watching people go past. I liked riding up and down the elevator in the Music Building on the way to classes to save myself from Jefferson Hill. I used to like seeing goofy guys take trays from the cafeteria at Jeff Hall and slide down Jeff Hill when there was snow on the ground. I knew it was not safe, but it was funny to watch.

 

I like the great friends that I met at OU. It was snapshot in time that I will always cherish. I also liked the concept of being so independent. I loved working in the library in the arts section and seeing my friends as they came in and out of the building. I liked living at the end of the hall in an all-girls dorm on the South Green called Atkinson. 

 

I liked hearing about the "old-heads" and the "tenderonies" and how the upperclassmen would always try to go out with the freshmen during first quarter, then break up with them and go back to their girlfriends who where juniors and seniors. I liked playing the "dozens" in the dorm with a group of kids from Cincinnati on one side of the room and a group from Cleveland on the other. They would call Cincinnati "Nasty-nati" and we would call Cleveland "the mistake on the lake."

 

Once, a friend of mine and I climbed up a hill beside the Hocking River near the end of the South Green. We had an outstanding view of the campus.

 

I liked walking to Mount Zion Baptist Church every Sunday and hearing an elderly deacon play the horn. I liked hearing all of the original music that Obie Shelton composed for the choir, the Gospel Voices of Faith. And I still sing those songs to myself today. Little did I know that many of them were pure scripture.

 

I liked taking a course called "The Black Family" from Dr. Francine Childs. I liked her optimistic attitude toward everything. I liked her visionary view of life and her making us all feel that the sky was the limit to what we could accomplish. I liked being a DJ on WOUB, doing the news on WOUB, co-hosting a weekly call-in talk show called "Black Directions" where Associate Professor Horace Coleman and I would interview Nikki Giovanni or Stokely Carmichael or anyone who would come to town. 

 

I liked seeing Bootsy Collins and The Funkadelics perform at Mem Aud. I liked learning more about the research of faculty member Connie Perdreau and the black man who owned a hotel uptown a century ago. I liked getting my hair done at a little lady's house two streets from the church.

 

I liked my time at OU, for the most part, and that snapshot will be permanently emblazed in my mind. I also like the fact that my daughter is now a student there. 

 

What did I like about the city of Athens?

 

I liked going to the Bagel Buggy uptown. I liked the fact that you could criss-cross (like an X) while crossing the street between the two bookstores uptown. I liked being followed at this one particular dress shop, then being pleased at the expression on the sales clerk's face when I paid $100 for a sweater. In a weird kind of way, I sort of liked running through campus and down the hill beside the Oasis during the annual spring riots as the Athens police would stop at the College Gate while waving their "knee-knockers."

Veanise Regina Ruffin Moore, BSJ '79

Cincinnati

 

 

Favorite things

I've been thinking all morning about what is the one thing that I love/d about Ohio U., and I could not think of just "one."

 

When I just wanted a few moments of time to myself I would slip into Galbreath Chapel and just sit and listen to the organ students practicing. 

 

But what I loved most about Ohio U. is that it afforded me so many different opportunities. I loved working in Bryan Hall cafeteria. We had a great team of student employees, and Mrs. Macklin taught us all so much about dining versus eating.

 

When I think back to OU, my three years with the Food Service (and Opie and Arlene the bakers) are some of my more fun memories. 

 

I loved working at The Post. Even though I worked in the copy editing area (chief copy editor my senior year), I loved being around the atmosphere of such dedicated student journalists. Being the last one to see the paper before it headed to the printer was a special reward. 

 

I learned a lot about leadership from Tom Salm (MED '69), College Green adviser, and made a great friend in Danny Shao (AB '72), also a dorm president. 

 

Being teamed with Dan Curran (BSJ '74) for the J-Prom Committee for two years in a row was a special treat for me. It is so hard to describe J-Prom to outsiders who never saw it, but when I think of the responsibility that was handed over to those of us who had leadership roles in the event, I still cringe. Hindsight tells me that we were either very good or very foolish! 

 

I love the way the campus nestles itself in and around Athens. Walking from Bryan Hall to uptown always gave me a feeling of being home. 

 

Joining a sorority as a junior made the activity more special to me, and I think so fondly of my "sisters" and Mom Ellis, our house mother who taught us a lot about being "ladies" and the importance of making guests and strangers feel welcome. One of the most evident examples of her teaching was the night in 1970 when, after days of trying to keep tempers and demeanors calm about the Kent State students, we had a riot at Court and Union. During the riot, the office of The Post was tear gassed. It was a pretty scary event, not one that many college students get to experience. We rounded up many of the "Posties" and made our way to the Phi Mu house, where my sisters and Mom Ellis brought out their blankets and pillows and turned our living room into a dorm room for several hours until we returned to The Post. I could not have been prouder of my sorority sisters than I was that night. 

 

I am honored that I shared class or a meal or a daily greeting with such people as Rudy Maxa (BSJ '71), Andy Alexander (BSJ '72), Tom Hodson (BSJ '70) and Dave Hackel (BSC '71). What a sweet treat to see them be so successful in their careers. 

 

I loved Dr. Ralph Izard. There could not have been a better adviser, professor or mentor of students than RIZ. He led without leading, his criticisms were always suggestions, and he made sure we took our careers, but not ourselves, seriously. He also gave me the opportunity to spend time with Richard O. Linke (BSJ '41) and Norman Jewison, two moments in time I will never forget. I think I could still do Dr. Bruce Wheeler's final exam, which encompassed all three quarters of American history. Just recently someone asked me about the manifest destiny and its significance. Dr. Wheeler would have been proud. Robert Fox in the English department, whom I managed to get three different times, and I don't know how, as the professor was always TBA in the schedule book. At first I wasn't too sure about all those discussions about "Why did the author use this word" or "What was she really saying in this quote," but by the time I graduated, I learned the importance of reading for deeper meanings and began to appreciate the written word in a very different way. Some of my classmates have written the great American novel, and I envy them their talent and tenacity.

 

I guess, in the end, I just love Ohio U. Even as a student there, I knew I was having a special time and forging memories for a lifetime. I wish I had written more things down and taken many more pictures. I wish I had stayed in touch with those who touched my life - some of them will never know they are part of my college memories.

 

Thanks for giving me the chance to sort through my brain file and remember a wonderful time in life.

Darlene J. Brown, BSJ '71

Ada, Ohio

 

Friends everywhere!

No matter where you go, where you live, where you vacation, you are always a card-carrying Bobcat. I want to change lanes in traffic, another Bobcat sees my license plate (85GRAD) or my bumper sticker, and I'm in. You see an Ohio U. sweatshirt 1,000 miles from home, you have a new friend. Isn't it amazing?! Isn't it awesome!?

Debbie Wenner Burke, BSCE '85

Columbus

 

A social bunch

Ohio University has always been a fine institute of higher learning, BUT we found that part of our day included a little socializing uptown. Looking back 30 years, I remember the Towne House (25 cent Buds), The Lantern, The Union, Club 33, Abdella's, a few townie bars (unnamed and uninvited), the Tavern and even a few fraternity houses that in 1965 were strictly dry.

 

We all seemed to have graduated and went on to wonderful careers, but I must tell you I remember OU almost every day and truly wish I could turn back the clock to those carefree days. I hope to see and challenge all 1960s alumni to a great reunion in 2004.

Dan Clark, BBA '67

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

 

 

How OU influenced my life

I hadn't given any thought to going to college in 1941. In those days, even without the war, very few people went to college. The Great Depression was still a factor in many people's lives; that certainly was the case in our family. Besides, the excitement of the war, which everyone thought would eventually involve the United States, dominated the atmosphere of life at that time.

 

I found a job as a shipping clerk in a wholesale shoe company in Boston and waited to be called up. In February 1943, at last, I was inducted into the Army. In December 1943, my anti-aircraft artillery battalion was sent to England. On July 1, 1944, we crossed the channel to Normandy Beach, where we stayed for two months. After that our unit and all of the Allied forces moved through France, Belgium and into Germany.

 

In Europe, American forces were kept where they were in the summer of 1945. Plans were being developed, we heard, to ship troops from Europe to the Far East if needed. In the meantime, the Army came up with various activities to keep us busy. One time it was announced that a four-week journalism class was being organized; I signed up. We attended a class every morning given by a sergeant who had been an editor of a newspaper in Pennsylvania. Two or three times a week in the afternoon, two of us would be given a Jeep and directions to visit interesting places. We would then write about those places. I learned a lot about news writing and writing in general, and especially re-writing.

 

I sailed home on a Navy ship in early December 1945 and was discharged at Fort Devens, Mass., on Dec. 7, 1945.

 

On Feb. 1, 1946, a mere seven weeks after I had returned from three years of Army life, I arrived in Athens, Ohio. At the time, we did not fully understand what a drastic and traumatic transition that was. I was among the first group of returning war veterans who, with the help of the G.I. Bill, registered for the second semester at Ohio University. Some students may come to New England for college to get away from home or to see another part of the country. Well, I was born and raised in Boston; I wanted to go to college somewhere else.

 

The Veterans Administration required that students under the G.I. Bill declare a major at the time they registered. I indicated mine as journalism. Among the courses I signed up for were news writing and English composition. During the first two weeks of classes, I became disillusioned with the news writing class because I had just learned about news writing only a few months earlier in the Army. The English class, on the other hand, was a pleasure. Professor Edward H. Davidson made the class very interesting, especially with regard to the reading and interpretation of literature. He was an inspiration for me. I asked him to be my academic adviser, and while I did not always follow his advice, I respected him as a very fine man and a good teacher. The next time I had to declare my major, I wrote "English."

 

Among the English professors I respected and admired were Harry Peckham, (C.N.) MacKinnon, Raymer McQuiston and Edith Wray.

 

I graduated in February 1949 and returned home to Boston. I had been engaged for almost a year to a woman from Providence, R.I., but without career prospects and in a condition of slow recovery from back surgery, I was frustrated. It was a recession year; unemployment was high, and I was floundering.

 

One day, in what proved to be a major turning point in my life, a letter appeared in my mailbox from the dean of the graduate school at Ohio University. I was informed that Professor Edith Wray, with whom I had had two or three courses, had submitted my name for an English department assistantship for a master?s degree with a stipend of $750. My fiancée and I were married Aug. 28, 1949. After a honeymoon on Martha?s Vineyard, we drove back to Athens in my 1931 Studebaker President.

 

In the following 10 months, I completed the master's degree.Twice during the year, when Professor Wray wanted to attend a meeting or conference that conflicted with her undergraduate classes, she asked me to teach. I felt honored that she thought I could teach a college class. Edith Wray was a very dedicated, effective and fair teacher. Near the end of the year, in a conversation with her, one of us, I don't remember who made the comment that I now was overeducated for practically any other profession except teaching.

 

I applied to and was accepted by six graduate schools to work toward a doctorate. I chose Western Reserve University, now Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland. In the fall of 1952, with an infant daughter in hand, we moved back to my hometown of Boston, where I was hired by Northeastern University. I taught English and one course in literature for three years. I might have stayed longer had I not been offered a position at the University of Miami. With our infant son, 2, and daughter, 4, we drove to Florida. I stayed at the University of Miami for 34 years. All things considered, I had a satisfying and successful career. I retired as professor of English in 1990.

 

Had Professor Edith Wray not submitted my name for a graduate assistantship, I do not have the faintest idea what I would have done in my life. Although I did thank her during that academic year in which I earned the master's degree, I consider it one of the errata of my life that, in later years, I did not have any contact with her. When, belatedly, I tried to contact her several years ago, I was told that she had passed away.

Robert Sandler, AB '49, MA '50

Miami

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