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Spring 2024 Edition
Alumni & Friends Magazine

Letters to the Editor Spring 2024

We love hearing from our readers! Below are the letters to the editor published in the spring 2024 edition of Ohio Today.

April 11, 2024


Better buildings
I served as a student rep on the Building Priorities Committee in the early ’70s. It is refreshing to hear about the long-term plans and upgrades to dorms (“Res Halls Reimagined,” spring 2023). Providing facility options to meet individual needs is a great direction for the future. Back in my day (pre-digital, the Dark Ages), dorms were lucky to have one TV lounge for the entire building, and long-distance phone calls could only be made from a pay phone in the dorm lobby. I lived in Grosvenor and the Convocation Center. Good times in the old days! 
—David Gibson, BSED ’73

A life-changing education
I arrived as a freshman at Ohio University in 1963, in the “Alden years,” our Athens version of “Camelot.” I received a stellar liberal arts education courtesy of many outstanding faculty—John “Jack” Matthews (author and Distinguished Professor of English, 1977) being one. I will never forget the night he showed up at my dormitory to give a talk accompanied by his very, very large Irish Wolfhound. My (legally blind) grandmother, who financed my college education, said many times, “Education is something they can’t take away from you.” I’m grateful that my education at Ohio University has been an indelible, life-changing part of my life.
—Susan (Baker) West, AB ’69, MSPE ’88

Skirting the skirts
I enjoyed reading the article honoring the marching band (fall 2023 issue), having been a member during the 1961 and 1962 football seasons, which gave me a wonderful experience! In looking at the uniforms over the years, I was surprised to see only those worn by the male members. If one would peruse the Athena yearbooks of the 1960s, you would see that the uniforms of the ladies were quite different! Amazing, isn’t it? It would be great to somehow acknowledge that in a future Ohio Today publication. 
—Beverly (Garrison) Francis, BFA ’65

Editor’s note: A great observation, Beverly! We’ve updated the illustration in the web version of the story. 

Missed opportunity
I look forward to receiving each issue of Ohio Today. When it arrives in my mailbox, I am always curious to see what’s on the cover and what story the cover photo starts to tell. For the fall 2023 issue, the cover photo appears to offer a fun and celebratory welcome for new President Lori Stewart Gonzalez, but it doesn’t take much to notice the total lack of diversity for those chosen to be in the photo. It is not at all representative of Ohio University.

For future issues, I implore the editors and publishers of Ohio Today to do better and consider a more appropriate mix of students that will truly represent the awesome and diverse student body at Ohio University. 
—Matthew Freedman, BSJ ’97, MSA ’98

Editor’s note: We agree entirely, Matthew. Thank you for pointing out our unintentional oversight. Ohio Today is committed to representation and inclusion, and we will endeavor to do better in future issues.

Name changes
I always look forward to receiving the hard copy of Ohio Today and only wish it was published quarterly. Having been in print journalism for about 50 years, a printed publication has more impact and relevance to me than an electronic image on a computer screen. Regarding the College of Communication moving to the former Baker Center [Schoonover Center for Communication], I do wish the previous building where it was housed [Scripps Hall] would revert back to its original name of Carnegie Hall (“100 Years of Journalism Education,” fall 2023). There’s a lot of history, tradition and a continuity to the great philanthropist for whom it is named. It shouldn’t be forgotten. Also, the new president, Lori Stewart Gonzalez, seems to have deep roots in Appalachia. I hope she’s successful. 
—Jim Golding, BSJ ’72

Monumental memories
I remember the Soldiers & Sailors monument well (“Time Machine,” fall 2023). When I was at OHIO working on my master’s degree, it was said to be a safe place to smoke marijuana, where the police would leave you alone. I tested this hypothesis with my then-boyfriend numerous times. We were never busted, and we were often not alone in partaking at that location. Of course, these were the days of decriminalization, so the law probably had better things to do.

My late dad, John H. Beeler, AB ’40, MA ’47, HLHD ’84, told of heading to class one morning and seeing that prankster(s) had hung a large sausage between the legs of one of the statues. After he finished his bachelor’s degree, he was drafted and served as an Army artillery officer in North Africa and Italy. After the war, he returned to OHIO for his master’s degree in history, then went on to Cornell University (where he met my mother) for a doctorate. He taught history for 30-plus years at the University of North Carolina–Greensboro and became a renowned authority in his field, medieval military history. He suffered a massive coronary at only 68, in 1985. I miss him to this day.
—Hazel E. Beeler, MS ’82

Go Bobcats!
So pleased that you shared this article (“Last Word? Go Bobcats!spring 2023) and proud of the students who have successfully made their way in the big world and give credit to Ohio University for their success. From what I have gathered, the hands-on teaching experiences have a lot to do with after-college employment and starting up companies of their own. 
—Myra (Andres) Fisher, BSJ ’56

Lamenting what’s lost
I worked and lived back in New South back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and frankly it’s a shame what you’ve done back there (“Res Halls Reimagined,” spring 2023). Not only were those structures the newest, and based on their construction the easiest to modify, the smaller New South buildings had, by far, the best sense of community of the buildings that I lived in while I was a student. I get that the gutting of New South can’t be undone, but finishing the job on what’s left is not the right course of action, in my opinion, especially on the basis of giving up community for amenities. 
—Michael Schwiebert, BSC ’91

Going for a ride
Although I have the fondest recollections of Athens and campus, my most vivid memories are of long bicycle rides that I took to the woods and fields surrounding the city (“Mapping OHIO Memories,” spring 2023). My favorite haunt was the old, closed Art Park in a strip mine east of town. I’m a retired ecologist, so I guess the natural world was just “in my bones.” I haven’t returned to Athens since I graduated; I probably wouldn’t recognize it. 
—David Robertson, BS ’74

WRITE TO US: Ohio Today welcomes comments from readers. We reserve the right to edit for grammar, space, clarity and civility. Send letters by email to ohiotoday@ohio.edu, by mail to Ohio Today, Ohio University, P.O. Box 869, Athens, OH 45701-0869, or join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn and the Bobcat Network. We regret that we cannot publish all messages received in print or online.

Featured image by Eli Burris, BSJ ’16