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OHIO Bobcats come together for the 39th Annual Holiday Luncheon in Sarasota, Florida

From staff reports | Dec 4, 2012

As part of The Promise Lives Campaign, more than 68 Florida gulf coast-area alumni came together for Bobcat fun at the 39th Annual Holiday Luncheon in Sarasota, Fla., on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012.

Held at The Field Club in Sarasota, which is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the event was hosted by The Ohio University Alumni Association and featured special guests Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis, First Lady Deborah McDavis and Byran Benchoff, vice president of OHIO's Division of Advancement.

“This event was created and hosted by the late Leona Hughes, a 1930 graduate from The Patton College of Education and a stalwart supporter of Ohio University, for many years,” said Dawn Werry, interim senior director of regional programs. “The event always has been held at The Field Club, so it’s a great tradition in which our alumni can participate.”

Werry expressed her gratitude for the help of alumnus Jim Wycoff, a 1971 graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences, his wife, Ann, host member and alumna Joan Wood, and Nelson and Patricia Ritner, both 1966 graduates - Nelson from the Russ College of Engineering and Technology and Patricia from the College of Health Sciences and Professions. “We are grateful to Jim, Ann, Joan Wood, Joan Nelson, and Pat for their inspiring, ‘can-do’ attitude while planning this event.”

The Promise Lives Campaign seeks to raise $450 million by June 30, 2015, and already has secured more than $411 million toward its goal in support of students, faculty, programs, partnerships and select facilities at Ohio University. Learn more at

"Alumni are joining together all over the country to celebrate Ohio University's successes during this campaign," said Benchoff. "The Annual Holiday Luncheon in Sarasota is special because of Leona’s legacy and because of its long-standing tradition.  It provides a great opportunity for Florida’s gulf-coast area OHIO alumni to re-engage with the University and to celebrate how special it is to be a Bobcat."

Next year will be the 40th anniversary of this historic event, so Werry encourages alumni and friends to mark their calendars now. "Next year's luncheon will take place on the first Saturday in December, back at The Field Club," she said. "We are thrilled to celebrate 40 years of Leona Hughes' legacy."