In Your Words
Alumni share their views in letters to the editor.
Please writeWe welcome your letters. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to edit letters for space, clarity and civility. All submissions selected for publication will appear on this page.
Five decades, unlimited points of pride
A recent message from The Ohio State University Alumni Association congratulating me on the 50th anniversary of my graduation from medical school provoked a flood of memories of Ohio State. I have no extraordinary achievements, no endowed scholarship, no foundation, no named building. I am anonymous, yet I am Ohio State.
Fifty years ago, I came to Columbus as one of thousands of young people in search of my dream to become someone special. Of course, it was overwhelming. It was big and intimidating and traditional, and I felt uncomfortable. As the years passed, I gradually became involved with the ebb and flow of campus life.
Every student has his own story. That’s the beauty of the experience: It is entirely personal.
Only long after graduation can one better analyze the impact of Ohio State. I vividly remember an experience to illustrate my point. I was called upon to discuss a medical case during my internship at a New York City hospital. The pompous chief of medicine stopped my presentation abruptly and asked where I was from. “Ohio State,” I replied. He responded, “How did we allow anyone from Ohio State here?” to a cascade of laughter. My face reddened. I was hurt. Yet it was a turning point for me.
I was proud of my university, proud of my education and not humbled by his elitism. In fact, I know that the basic tools I have used these past 50 years were given to me at Ohio State. Hard work. Tenacity. Honesty. Integrity.
A student at Ohio State belongs to a legacy of fundamentally solid citizens with Midwestern codes of decency, humility, friendship and support. The opportunity for achievement is here. How lucky I was to be a Buckeye. I am proud of my heritage. I could not have asked for more.
Stuart Fisher ’66
Teaching Buckeye Spirit
I am a teacher in Immokalee, Florida, right outside of Naples. We mainly teach students whose parents work to pick the produce we all enjoy.
I am a huge fan of my beloved Buckeyes and never really realized until I moved to Florida how fortunate I was to be an alum of such a great university. My classroom is about as Ohio State as you can get. I call my students the Standriff Silver Bullets after our football team’s defense.
Needless to say, we have a lot of fans here in Immokalee, and one third-grade student really touched my heart this year. I assigned my students to write an essay with an opinion they had about anything they wanted to write about. She wrote about why Ohio State is better than that school up north. It is priceless to read, and to think she has never stepped foot on campus. Her essay reads:
“OSU is better than UM for a lot of reasons. Ohio State’s scarlet and gray are better colors than Michigan’s colors blue and maze. Ohio State has a better mascot with Brutus than University Michigan’s Wolverine. Ohio has won more national championships than Michigan. Ohio State has ‘The best band in the land in the land,’ and Michigan has, well, a band. This is why I think OSU is better than UM.”
Jennifer Dunaway Standriff '91 (LM)
Daniel Borcicky and his wife hosted students who spent spring break building a Habitat for Humanity house in Alabama.
Student gathering a treat
I am an Ohio State alumnus, having graduated with my master’s in architecture in 1981. I have been working in Mobile, Alabama, for 28 years as an architect for TAG/The Architects Group. I have been a partner for 25 years, and I am the director of design.
I had the pleasure of having 10 Ohio State students spend an afternoon at my house during their spring break in March. It was a great experience to talk to the students and get their perspective on things.
The students were here to help construct a home for Habitat for Humanity. I commend these students for taking time during their spring break to help our community.
My wife and I treated them to a cookout. We sat around our pool and koi pond, played billiards, enjoyed the sunny weather and conversed. It was a fantastic time!
Daniel Borcicky '78 MA '81
Words to work by
In response to your All @twitter question (May–June 2016) about lessons learned from our favorite professors: Richard Larew told students in his construction management class that if we only retained one thing it should be to “make a quick, not bad, decision.” This March, I left the construction management world after over 35 years, and those six words served me well. As I kept projects moving forward, I was able to refine my methods as more information became available without losing time, which I couldn’t control.
Dennis Sprague ’77 (LM)
Camera's era clarified
Thank you for the latest edition of Ohio State Alumni. I found what I believe is a minor error in the Jesse Owens story. A camera that Mr. Owens supposedly used to document his 1936 Olympic experience is pictured. However, the camera shown is a Taiyodo Koki Beautyflex 2.8, which was produced during the 1950s, when twin-lens-reflex cameras were all the rage.
Joseph Finocchi '69
Editor's note: Thank you for writing. University Archives’ staff received that information when the camera was donated, and we appreciate your setting the record straight.
May-June mag a hit
I want to compliment you on the May–June issue of Ohio State Alumni. It took longer than normal to read as each article was engaging and so well-written. Although I’m not an Ohio State alumna, I worked at the alumni association for over 30 years and often know many people referred to in the magazine.
After recently seeing the movie, “Race,” this issue was especially meaningful with the focus on Jesse Owens. The articles were interesting and probably introduced many readers to Owens’ accomplishments and his story. The interview with Stephan James, who played Owens in the film, made for enjoyable reading as his insights and research prior to the filming was successful in capturing Owens in so many ways.
I felt the timeline of events in Owens’ life juxtaposed with events going on at Ohio State at the time was done well and made me reflect on the film’s showing of Owens’ own time spent on campus, which wasn’t always pleasant. The pressure on him pre-Olympics while going to school was enormous, and it’s amazing that he did so well as an athlete while enduring much discrimination. (Growing up in New York City, I knew of Marty Glickman as a sports announcer, but it wasn’t until years later that I learned he had been on the U.S. Olympic track team in 1936 running in the 400-meter relay. He and another team member were suddenly forbidden to run while in Germany to appease Hitler, as they were Jewish. At the last minute, Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe took their place, and Owens won his fourth gold medal).
I knew Owens’ daughter Marlene Owens Rankin when she served on our alumni board. She and her husband, Stuart, were truly committed to Ohio State and spent much time volunteering on behalf of the university. Marlene and the family were instrumental in continuing the Owens legacy by establishing the Jesse Owens Foundation that supports scholarships to Ohio State.
I still haven’t had the chance to check out the excellent sidebars to the articles referring to the Owens’ archives at the university, but expect to do that soon.
Also, belated congratulations to Jim Smith as president/CEO of the alumni association. He’s the perfect fit.
Enjoyed your Jesse Owens’ articles in May–June issue. Owens was the speaker at my son’s Los Angeles Area Council 1978 Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner at the Bonaventure Hotel on Feb. 7, 1979. It was the most inspirational speech I have ever heard.
Charles Van Cleve (LM)
Palos Verdes, California
I just want to let you know that I especially enjoyed the current edition of the alumni magazine. In particular, I liked the articles on Jesse Owens, the research news (especially the language tip regarding people with mental illness), the Pay Forward story on mentoring and the article on the Mandela memorial. Thank you for your good work.
Deborah Hornberger ’69