Cutler Scholars Mourn Death of Founder and Director Emeritus Dr. Ping

Staff Reports
August 3, 2021

Dr. Charles J. Ping was instrumental in the founding of the Cutler Scholars Program, and his longstanding friendship and intellectual collaboration with other key founders Dr. Wilfred R. Konneker and Jack G. Ellis have shaped the lives of 246 scholars since 1996.  Dr. Ping’s work extended beyond founding and identifying funds for the program, though. Throughout the past three decades, he taught and advised scholars directly and led program staff as the program grew and transformed.

"Dr. Ping’s extraordinary vision for the promise of the Cutler Scholars Program was matched only by his incredible dedication in bringing it to life," said Dr. Myrna Perez Sheldon, executive director. "The program created a community of scholars—past and present—who take their academic studies into the wider world to make it a better place. It is a community that takes on the challenges of big ideas and urgent problems, and tackles them in local, national, and global contexts."

Cutler Scholars reflect on their experiences with Dr. Ping in their own words:

I met Dr. Charles Ping in 2013 as a timid, first-generation college student entering the Cutler Scholars Program. In my first one-on-meeting with him, I spit out my plan for an upcoming enrichment project. He contemplated. We sat in what felt like never-ending silence. Then he said, "Does that plan make you uncomfortable?" More silence. "Ah, I thought not," he said. "See you next week at the same time with your new plan." This was only the first lesson I learned from his gentle and sometimes subtle (profound!) leadership. I feel lucky to have known him for 8 short years. I know I'm not the only one.

-Makenzie Olaker, ’17 Wilfred R. Konneker Cutler Scholar

Dr. Ping was one of the most wonderful individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He had the ability to hold the attention of a room just with his presence. His soft voice carried more than any voice I’ve ever heard and commanded attention. More than that, his laughter filled the hearts of everyone around him. He made those he surrounded himself with better and shaped my life more than he will ever know. For that, I will be forever grateful.

-Brandon Shiflett, ’14 Wilfred R. Konneker Cutler Scholar

Dr. Ping's work with and for the Cutler Scholars continued long after his formal retirement, attending Advisory Board meetings and contributing his wisdom and guidance to shape the minds of scholars. 

"Dr. Ping's legacy brings together Ohio University undergraduates, faculty, staff, and alumni in a shared sense of purpose, as we pursue the very best of what a university education can be," said Perez Sheldon. "His work is an ongoing gift to the program, one for which we are continually grateful."

Read more about Dr. Ping’s immense impact on the university.