By Monica Chapman
Those were the days ...
If you are an Ohio University alumnus, you've probably uttered the phrase a few times yourself in reference to bygone college days.
Later this month, Ohio University alumni will have the opportunity to relive those days through a three-day academic experience, featuring some of Ohio's most-prominent scholars.
The Ohio University Alumni College will take place on the Athens campus July 31 through Aug. 2. Participants will be treated to lectures on everything from happiness and altruism to poetry and biofuels.
"It's a great opportunity to bring alumni back to campus and let them see the stellar faculty that we have here at Ohio University," said Cristie Gryszka, director of reunions, special programs and alumni education for the Ohio University Alumni Association. "We have a wonderful lineup of professors that have agreed to take part in this."
Professors for the weekend include:
- Gerardine Botte, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering
- Samuel Crowl, Trustee Professor of English Literature
- Mark Halliday, professor of English
- Peter Mather, assistant professor of counseling and higher education
- Zanemvula (Zakes) Mda, professor of English
- Damian Nance, Distinguished Professor of geological sciences
- Jay Shubrook, associate professor of family medicine
- Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor of economics
- David Wilhelm, political strategist, founder/president of Woodland Venture Management
Session details are available online.
The weekend lineup is punctuated by a debate between political strategist David Wilhelm, a 1977 Ohio University alumnus, and Distinguished Professor of Economics Richard Vedder. The debate is titled "The Economy and the Obama Economic Plan -- Recovery/Reform or Counterproductive Meddling?"
This isn't the first time Wilhelm and Vedder have converged in Athens to dispute political concerns from Democratic-Republican perspectives. The two last faced off at the platform during an Alumni College event in 2000.
"It's one of those things that past participants still talk about to this day," Gryszka said. "One couldn't be farther from the other (in their political views). They know each other... and they love to debate each other. It's definitely going to be a lively session."
First established in 1978, Ohio University's Alumni College is being re-launched as part of the Alumni Association's 150th anniversary -- a year-long celebration featuring 10 key events throughout the summer and the 2009-10 academic year.
Trustee Professor of English Literature Samuel Crowl has been involved with every Alumni College since the inaugural event, and 2009 will be no exception. Crowl will lecture on Shakespeare and film director Kenneth Branagh through films including "Henry V," "Hamlet" and "Much Ado About Nothing" at this year's college.
"The goal of Alumni College has always been to re-engage our alumni with the intellectual and creative vitality of Ohio University," Crowl said. "Most alumni remain in contact with the university through athletic and social events. Alumni College puts them in direct touch with the heart of the university: the exchange of ideas between faculty and students.
"Over the years, distinguished faculty from a wide variety of disciplines have shared their intellectual passions and current research projects with alums eager to rekindle the excitement of their undergraduate years in Athens," Crowl said. "This experience has led many of them to come to agree with Plato that education is largely wasted on the young!"
The 2009 Alumni College includes more than six academic sessions, on- or off-campus housing, meals and entertainment. Participants will be treated to behind-the-scenes campus tours, a wine tasting and dancing, among other events. Little Professor Book Center will be on-site, offering faculty books for purchase and book signing opportunities. A graduation ceremony for all participants will take place on Sunday with Alumni Association Executive Director Graham Stewart.
Space in the 2009 Alumni College is limited to the first 50 registrants. All registrations must be received by July 10. A special campus and community rate is being offered to all area residents, regardless of alumni affiliation.
For more information about Ohio University's Alumni College or to register, visit www.ohioalumni.org/alumni-college.