Sept. 14, 2004
By Marisa Long
Ohio University alumni in the Northeast Ohio region came together on Saturday to celebrate the University's bicentennial at the Palace Theatre in Cleveland.
Pride and dedication toward Ohio University were evident from everyone in attendance. Alumni both young and old gathered with fellow Bobcats at the fundraising celebration to reminisce about the days they spent at their beloved alma mater and how the experience changed their lives and motivated them to donate time and funding to the institution.
Bonna DeMarco, BSHE '65, served on the planning committee for the celebration. She is an active alumna who received the Medal of Merit Alumni Award for her dedication to Ohio University. She was excited to see so many alumni from the area come together. DeMarco says she gives back to Ohio University because of all it has given her.
"The 'OU' experience for me was wholesome and diverse – I loved the diversity of the people, the wonderful friendships I made and the close-knit community," she says. "I don't know how to explain it, but [Ohio University] has this magnetism that draws you in."
After taking a moment to acknowledge the anniversary of Sept. 11, the celebration began with a bicentennial video full of facts and interesting photos retracing the steps of Ohio University's rich history, and the evening's entertainment came from the Marching 110 and had the entire audience on their feet dancing to contemporary hits, classic rock and of course, the Ohio University fight song and alma mater. President McDavis, BSED '70, who is only the second alumnus to serve as president, thanked his fellow alumni for attending the event and giving back to the University. Guests donated up to $500 to attend the celebration and all proceeds benefited the Ohio University Foundation.
Frank Zammataro, BS '63, who helps direct the Ohio University Business Fellows Leadership Development Program and serves on the College of Business Executive Advisory Board, says he enjoys events with other alumni and his powerful experiences at Ohio University are the reason he gives back.
"I worked for President Alden as a busboy in his home during my last year of college, and he turned my life around," Zammataro says. "The least I can do is give back some of the wisdom and time he gave me, so I started the business fellows...the rewarding part is to see these young people explode and go beyond what they thought they could do."
Guests at the event included hundreds of alumni and friends, special guests President and Mrs. McDavis and former presidents, Vernon Alden, Charles Ping and Robert Glidden as well as U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, AB '58, HON '81, and Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell. Emcees for the evening were Leon Harris, BSC '83, HON '99, Martha Cordes Towns, BSJ '60, and Richard Feagler, AB '60.
A committee composed of members of the Ohio University Alumni Association, the Office of Development at Ohio University and many alumni in the Northeast Ohio region planned the Northeast Ohio Bicentennial Celebration.
Rick Brown, BBA'65, whose parents were active alumni, learned from his mother that dedication to Ohio University includes giving back. He summed up the sentiments of the evening.
"My parents bled green and white and so do I," he says. "My mother always used to say, 'service to others is the rent we pay for our space on this earth,' which is why we are all here tonight."
Marisa Long is a writer with Ohio University Communications and Marketing.