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Linguistics Department celebrates 50th anniversary with alumni and faculty from around the world

Published: September 8, 2021 Author: Lori Bauer

Ohio University’s Linguistics Department will mark its 50th anniversary by bringing back alumni and faculty from around the world to celebrate the program's mission and its resilience through a 50th anniversary colloquium series over the next two semesters.

"This is a very special year for the Linguistics Department. It’s our 50th anniversary. Well, okay, it’s our 51st year in fact, but similar to other great events like Tokyo 2020 and UEFA EURO 2020, we have had to defer our celebrations for a year," Dr. David Bell, associate professor of linguistics and chair, said. “We have certainly been through a lot in the past few years, but we have stood firm in our mission to deliver the best preparation in theory-driven, empirically validated applications for teaching and research to our students throughout the world."

Several former faculty members will return to Gordy Hall and OHIO (in person and via Teams) to present on the subject. Dr. Dawn Bikowski, who founded the English Language Improvement Program in 2009 and is now with the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, Calif., will present on Oct. 8; former chair Dr. Scott Jarvis will present via Teams on Feb. 11; and Dr. Chris Cho will speak via Teams on April 22.

There will also be alumni presentations in the fall, including Dr. Jesus Toapanta '08, Mike Dombrovski '07, Carla Consolini '19, and Michelle Ray '15, and presentations in the spring by Rickey Larkin '20, and Tanya Tytko '20.

"The big event of our 50th year will be the release of our very own linguistics anniversary beer," Bell said. “Foam Chomsky will be a Hazy IPA brewed by our very own former faculty member and alumnus, Art Oestrike, owner of Jackie O’s, and will be available on draft. Once the beer arrives, we will be having a special anniversary celebration of the Linguistics Department at Jackie O’s Brew Pub uptown, on a date to be arranged."

Foam Chomsky is named after Noam Chomsky, American linguist and philosopher and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. Bell noted that linguistics anniversary T-shirts will carry the Foam Chomsky label graphic, designed by Callie Smith, who graduated from Ohio University last May in studio art.

"We are really looking forward to everyone joining us this year, either in person or via Microsoft Teams to celebrate our anniversary," said Bell, who also invited alumni and friends to add their names to the donor wall by making a gift, of whatever amount, to the Linguistics Department’s crowdfunding campaign.

He noted that all funds go to support students’ registration and travel expenses to conferences where they will present their research.

Bell also encouraged students, faculty, staff, and alumni to stay engaged with the Linguistics Department through its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LingDeptOHIO.

Linguistics graduates 2
Graduating M.A. in Applied Linguistics students (left to right): Asmaha Heddi, Edwin Dartey, Yaw Awuah, Sandra Peñuela, and Amy Khazaal.

Also celebrating 2021 student and faculty success

"In May our graduating master's students celebrated their graduation at Emeriti Park before the open-air commencement at Peden Stadium,” Bell said. “This cohort had only one complete semester in Gordy Hall before COVID-19 closed us down. We thank you so much for all your patience and endurance through all your online classes, and we especially thank all our teaching assistants who worked so hard to make the classes they taught synchronously through Zoom and Microsoft Teams so interactive and engaging.

“Many of our students are going on to do their doctorates in prestigious programs, and I think that is further proof that our program fosters more than academic excellence. Graduating second year M.A. grads Julia Rigby and Dennis Seungwoo Choi got married. This follows the marriage of Mark Sakach and An Nguyen in the previous cohort,” Bell added.

Linguistics graduates 3
From left: Asmaha Heddi, Dr. Michelle O’Malley, Edwin Dartey, Dania Ashhab, Dr. David Bell, Sandra Peñuela, Professor Gaby Castaneda, Amy Khazaal, Masoto Takenokoshi.

Bell also congratulated Dr. Michelle O’Malley on her promotion to the rank of associate professor of instruction, and Gabriela Castañeda-Gleason for winning the Accessibility Ally Award from the Office of Sustainability Services.

"On a very sad note, Judy McGinn, the wife of former Linguistics Chair Dick McGinn, passed away from COVID-related causes in March 2021,” Bell added. “Like her husband Dick McGinn, who passed away in 2018, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, where they met. Judy was a highly active member of the University community in her own right. She worked passionately and tirelessly welcoming and supporting international students at OHIO. Her spirit of universal love and hospitality will be sorely missed."

Fall 2021 50th Anniversary Colloquia

*Some colloquia indicated will have in-person speakers in Gordy 301 on the Athens campus of Ohio University. All colloquia are accessible via Microsoft Teams.