Readers respond to stories about John Glenn, refugees and immigrants on campus, antibiotic resistance and more.
Please writeWe welcome letters. We reserve the right to edit them for space, clarity, accuracy and civility. They represent the opinions of the letter writers, not those of the magazine staff or university. Send them to email@example.com or Letters to the Editor, Ohio State Alumni Magazine, 2200 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1035.
Proud to travel back
The March–April edition of Ohio State Alumni Magazine engendered in me a new and enhanced pride in my alma mater. The many and varied articles created a special respect, delineating so many great things going on at Ohio State. Furthermore, it brought back memories of endless afternoons I spent in activities in the old Ohio Union (with Beanie Drake, etc.) as well as memories of my days in the horse (!) artillery ROTC and my brother Winston’s time as cadet colonel of the Engineers ROTC. Upon graduation, Winston (Class of 1943) served in the Combat Engineers, earning two Bronze Stars for bravery under fire.
This issue even brought back memories of my Buckeye father, Augustine Lovell “Gus” Elliott, who in 1904 had the same engineering drawing professor, Robert Meiklejohn, as Winston in 1940 and then me in 1942!
And the clean, understated graphic treatment makes our magazine especially attractive, inviting us to read it thoroughly. Thank you for the great job you have done and are doing.
A. Lovell Elliott ’46
Senior Class President, 1945–46,
Editor Mary Alice Casey responds: The very best part of assembling this magazine is the opportunity to connect with alumni such as Lovell Elliott. What I intended to be a quick phone call to thank him for his letter turned into the kind of conversation you wish could go on all day. He told me of his time on campus (as senior class president in 1945–46, president and treasurer of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and editor of the campus humor magazine, to name a few exploits), his interesting career in advertising and his long, happy marriage to Joan Textor Elliott ’48, who passed away in 2014. Two mailings from Lovell followed — one with a photo of him and Joan dancing at a campus formal and the other, amazingly, contained three charming scrapbooks that his “doting” mother had put together during his college years. Some of those treasures are pictured at the top of this page.
I want to thank you for the thoughtful, brave stories you’re sharing in the alumni magazine.
What our nation, state, community, neighborhoods and campuses need right now is compassion, empathy and an expanded world view. I have been so disheartened by the unfair stereotypes many of my fellow Ohioans and Americans seem to believe about people of different faiths and cultures. There are a lot of ways to address that kind of dangerous and limited thinking.
In the stories and photos you chose to run in the May–June issue, you addressed the topic with courage, respect and kindness. Thank you for sharing the stories of Angie Plummer, Walid Ali and Abd Al-Rahman Traboulsi [“Open arms, helping hands”]. I hope that reading the stories of these fellow Buckeyes, who also happen to be Muslim or serve and advocate for Muslims, will broaden your readers’ perspectives.
Yes, stories like this appear in mainstream media such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. But I think they’re even more powerful when shared by a trusted university publication. You could have played it safe and stayed away from potentially controversial issues such as the refugee ban, but you didn’t.
I graduated with a degree in journalism from Ohio University in 1997 and spent many a weekend visiting friends at Ohio State. My husband, Chris Schumacher, is a 1996 graduate, and we have sponsored scholarships in the College of Business and College of Social Work for several years.
Thank you for your excellent journalism and for having the courage to share with Buckeye Nation powerful stories that need to be told. Thank you for being a voice for people who too often are silenced.
The challenge of antibiotic resistance
In the January–February issue of Ohio State Alumni Magazine, faculty member Debbie Goff discussed the threat of antibiotic resistance and referenced the use of such drugs in the meat and poultry industries. In turn, reader Mike Simpson ’68 presented several counterpoints in a letter to the editor that appeared in the May-June issue, including federal regulations within those industries that limit antibiotic use.
As their comments demonstrate, addressing the urgent issue of antibiotic resistance requires involvement from a wide range of players, including industry, government and scientists. This complexity is why Ohio State is bringing to bear the breadth of its expertise to answer the developing crisis.
Bacterial infections have always been a major challenge to our health and well-being. We are reminded of historical epidemics of cholera, tuberculosis and plague, but prior to the modern antibiotic era, even something as simple as a tooth infection or as common as childbirth could lead to sepsis and death.
Major drug discoveries in the late 1940s gave us the unprecedented ability to control a wide range of disease-causing bacteria. These tiny organisms, however, are not static. In response to antibiotic use, they can evolve in ways that make them impervious to drugs. The emergence of resistance is accelerated by improper antibiotic use, including for viral infections (for which antibiotics are completely ineffective), the use of the wrong antibiotic for a particular infection, and inadequate dosages and duration of administration.
Antibiotic resistance today is emerging at an increasing rate, rendering many of our antibiotics ineffective. At the same time, new drug development is declining dramatically because there is limited financial incentive to develop a product that may quickly become obsolete. The alarming result: We are at risk of returning to a pre-antibiotic era in which we have few treatment options for even common bacterial infections.
The solution is to use our limited arsenal of drugs responsibly — known as antibiotic stewardship — and in ways that do not encourage emergence of resistance. However, this seemingly straightforward strategy can be daunting. Antibiotics are used in human medicine, veterinary medicine and animal agriculture, and resistant organisms are carried throughout our environment by water, food and wildlife. Implementing the solution, therefore, requires a coordinated effort in all of these arenas.
The Infectious Diseases Institute at The Ohio State University is leading the effort with 13 colleges able to approach the challenge from a wealth of disciplines. We are developing stewardship programs in veterinary medicine, for example, that build off those in human medicine. Within animal agriculture we are working with active partners to answer myriad questions. For example, antibiotics can no longer be used solely to promote growth in animals such as chickens and hogs, but animals may be treated for a bacterial infection. Does even this use pose a threat? Should antibiotics never be used in food animal production, as required for use of the “organic” label? Published data show that antibiotic-resistant bacteria circulate in organic production facilities, and there are ethical animal welfare concerns when a treatable condition is not addressed. The questions call for study and consideration.
Beyond livestock, environmental elements are a major concern that the scientific community has only recently begun to address. How often is water or soil a source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria? How do wild birds distribute these organisms from location to location? Could wastewater from sewage treatment plants and hospital facilities be contributors? These are the types of questions we are tackling at the Infectious Diseases Institute.
To understand the interplay of these factors is to understand the ecology of antibiotic resistance, which is a necessary step in developing a mitigation strategy. As Dr. Goff and Mr. Simpson demonstrate, success depends on scientists, producers and policy-makers working in concert. And succeed we must.
Professor, Department of Veterinary Biosciences
Interim director, Infectious Diseases Institute
Reading about other alumni in our magazine helps me to stay in touch with what is going on at Ohio State. Since graduating, I was involved in a head-on collision with a truck and sustained a traumatic brain injury. I lost my job as an engineer, but I never lost my pride as a lifetime member of The Ohio State University Alumni Association. This has sustained me over the years. My current activities include volunteering at a local animal shelter, serving as a greeter for the emergency department of a children’s hospital and talking with high school students about my experiences.
Mark Beaver ’86 (LM)
The inside story
“A Sense of Our Place” was exceptional — beautifully composed and written. (I would be interested to know about the writer.) And the cover photo? Spectacular!
Charles Van Cleve ’52 (LM)
Editor Mary Alice Casey responds: Charles makes a great point about sharing more about contributors to our stories. (You’ll see more of that in this and future issues.) Writer Monica Torline DeMeglio ’02 was a newspaper reporter and editor for a decade before returning to Columbus to work for her alma mater. This award-winning journalist joined the Moritz College of Law as a writer and editor in 2011 and now works as a storyteller and content strategist for University Marketing. University Photographer Jo McCulty ’84, ’94 MA, who took that beautiful cover image, began working for Ohio State as an undergrad and never left. She has documented the endeavors of students, alumni, faculty and staff for three decades. In addition to many fans, she has earned national and regional awards and staged multiple exhibitions.
The Glenn-Linbergh connection
In the May–June issue, in answer to a question about whether John Glenn and Charles Lindbergh “were fighter pilots together in the Pacific theater,” an editor’s note states, “Yes, Charles Lindbergh flew with ... the unit John Glenn flew in during World War II.” The strong implication is that they were together. But the actual words do not say that. In fact, Lindbergh might have flown with the unit prior to WWII, while Glenn served with the unit during the war. Glenn himself in an interview said that they flew together in WWII, but he is not quoted saying that they actually met or personally knew one another.
Although Lindbergh could not fly in a military service, he apparently volunteered secretly on many flights in the Pacific. They could have been on the same flight. I hope Glenn archivist Jeff Thomas will be able to clarify these ambiguities.
Joan M. Krauskopf ’57 JD
Ohio State Moritz College of Law
Editor Mary Alice Casey responds: We regret that our effort to be concise created confusion. While Lindbergh was not a member of Glenn’s Marine Corps aviation squadron VMO-155 during World War II, he did fly some missions with the group, and Glenn and Lindbergh met while the latter was training pilots on a particular aircraft. Our thanks to Jeff Thomas for two excerpts from oral history sessions (transcripts are available through Ohio State’s Knowledge Bank) in which Glenn tells of his intersection with Lindbergh in his own words:
But there was enough problem with [the F4 Corsair fighter-bomber], and it was a suspect enough airplane that Lindbergh, then working for United Aircraft, Lindbergh actually came around, flying a Corsair to different squadrons, to give some instruction on the new characteristics of this once we had the later model of the Corsair that had been corrected. He came and stayed at our squadron for … three or four days, and so we met him, got to know him. I never got to know him well, of course, but he was around the air group there at El Centro [California], where we were training for a little while, and flew a few flights with us. Then later on, when we were overseas in combat out in the Marshall Islands, he was on a tour out there and actually flew a couple of missions with us out there, where we were doing actual live bombing on enemy positions.
— Session Number 4, pages 41-42
The heaviest load I ever knew of being flown on a Corsair was when Lindbergh came out, and he was doing demo flights with the Corsair, since he had worked for United Aircraft, and did some demo flights and flew with our squadron for a few missions. I think on one of his missions he carried two 2,000-pounders on a Corsair, and that’s the biggest load, I think, that I ever heard of being carried on a Corsair. We used 3,000 pounds as sort of our standard attack load.
— Session Number 5, page 23