The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Alumni share their views in letters to the editor.

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Alumni salute veterans, coverage

I was particularly pleased by the article “Veterans share their experiences” (March–April 2015).

Back in 1969, seven other Vietnam vets and I recognized that we had little in common with your average college student in age, experience and attitude. We joined together to start a veterans’ association to allow us to find other veterans and try to provide a social group with common backgrounds and objectives. I was very pleased to see that such an association still exists and has grown beyond our expectations. Keep up the good work.

Retired Maj. Carl Quinn Jr. ’73
U.S. Marine Corps
Slidell, Louisiana

You printed a great article on young Mr. Colin Busse. I cannot begin to speak about young men who have seen combat or earned Purple Hearts. Their sacrifices are incredible.

I’d like to offer a perspective from many years ago. I got out of the Army in January 1958 (no combat) and enrolled at Ohio State the following year. The big difference was utter indifference in that era.

On one hand, I welcomed the large community and anonymity. Coming from wherever you were stationed (I spent a year in Iceland), the Ohio State campus is a totally welcome relief. There is great pleasure sitting in a classroom (warm) and learning new things, not to mention football games, the South Burgh and co-eds. I didn’t know anyone, but it doesn’t take long to pick up a circle of friends.

The atmosphere that says “thank you for your service” is a recent phenomenon — and very welcome. I salute the raising of the flag at football games (as veterans are encouraged to do), and I was surprised last season when a fellow fan patted my arm to get my attention and shook my hand without ever saying a word. That didn’t happen in the ’50s.

Congratulations again to Colin Busse. I would hire him on the spot if I still had a company.

Paul Hamill ’63 (LM)
Sylvania, Ohio

I enjoyed very much your article on the Veterans House. The first sentence — “From the outside, the white house at 237 E. 17th Ave. could easily be mistaken for a fraternity house” — struck a nerve.

In 1969, I was a freshman in the College of Veterinary Medicine and wanted to join one of the two existing veterinary fraternities. A friend of mine who was a junior in the veterinary school and also a member of Alpha Psi drove me up East 17th Avenue and showed me this white mansion sitting way up on a hill. I decided that’s where I wanted to live my freshman year.

We had nine veterinary students and one undergraduate student living there. We had no air conditioning and no heat on the dormitory-like third floor, where most of us slept.

I marvel at the changes that have taken place over the years and wish I could tour the house for old times’ sake. It was sold during my junior year, to the dismay of many fraternity brothers. I have a special attachment for that old house, since it was there that I met my wife, and we’ve been happily married for 42 years!

Thomas L. Cliffe ’73 DVM (LM)
Stow, Ohio

I wanted to take the time to write and send a big thanks for honoring the military and veterans in the current issue of Ohio State Alumni.

Refreshing to see the university showing appreciation for those who have given, and are giving, their time to serve our country. We have so much to be thankful for. Unfortunately, the ROTC building looks like the most neglected facility on campus. We can only hope for better plans for the building used to train and educate those who protect our country.

Troy Henley ’92

Editor’s note: The university has begun planning for the renovation or replacement of Converse Hall, which houses the ROTC programs.

Sealed with spirit

Do you think that we could get the USPS to change the official abbreviation for Ohio from OH to OH-IO? I cannot think of any reason why they would not do this!

If we are going to call ourselves The Ohio State University, and we are No. 1 in the nation, I believe we deserve this state of Ohio recognition. Do you know how many Buckeyes would enjoy writing this on their letters and packages? It might bring people back to writing (snail-mail) letters because it will warm their hearts to be able to know and write how special the state of Ohio and OSU are.

Thanks for a great alumni magazine! Keep going.

Randal Romie ’80
Greensboro, North Carolina

Heart in Ohio

In 1984, I was born in the Ohio State Medical Center. In 2005, I graduated from The Ohio State University. In 2014, my daughter was born at Ohio State. While in Dubai, my heart never leaves The Ohio State University.

Omar Sawaf ’05
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

A pleasant reminder

It was a joyous surprise to read about Phyllis Bailey in the March–April alumni magazine. I recognized her right away.

I believe she was at Ohio State when I was a student from 1957 to 1961. Her dad, John Bailey, taught with my dad, Ralph Rood, at Fairport Harbor, Ohio, in the late ’30s and early ’40s before my dad left to teach at Lakewood (Ohio) High School in 1943. I remember a few faculty parties/picnics with all their kids in attendance.

Although I never had her for any of my physical education classes, I credit the PE department for my love of tap dancing, a class I took in my freshman year. I still am tap dancing at 75!

Donna Rood Jessee ’61 (LM)
Westlake Village, California

Producing memories

I really enjoyed seeing the Ohio State cartons from my undergraduate days here on campus (“All things Ohio State” and, March–April 2015). It would be clever if we could once again produce and provide such a service, as many universities have gone back to the process.

’Til then, nostalgia should be a sufficient cure, but I would really enjoy locating some of those cartons for the Animal Sciences Department’s archives and my own personal collection. If your readers know where I might locate some, I would love to hear from them at

Many thanks for such an entertaining article. It is difficult to know where we are going unless we take time to reflect on where we have been.

Bonnie Ayars
Dairy program specialist and dairy judging coach
Ohio State Animal Sciences Department

Thumbs up on last issue

Congratulations on the new look of the alumni magazine. I appreciated the broad and balanced range of news items about the varied activities of the university. I was particularly glad to see the short pieces about campus research and the photo of the new Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building. The last-page photo of the Khera family is priceless!

Diane Secoy ’60, ’62 MS (LM)
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Those were the days

I just read my March–April 2015 Ohio State Alumni magazine today and, as always, the contents and articles brought back so many memories. The cover story, Archie Griffin’s comments (oh, how we loved watching him play), all the way through the theme of veterans and the letters to the editor. I am sitting here reminiscing.

I came to Ohio State in fall 1948 as a freshman from Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The campus was crowded with veterans from World War II. Probably about five men to every female student and I’m not sure how many women veterans. It was a crowded, active place. I lived in Baker Hall, built for men, but housed women. There were no co-ed dorms. Men were only allowed on the first floor of our dorm and then only until 10 p.m. I met Howard Knofsky the first week I was there, married him two years later and was married to him for 64 years until he passed away in 2013.

He remained a devoted OSU fan from the day he entered the hallowed halls until he died. Our children and I were always surrounded with memorabilia no matter where we lived. Our basement floor had gray carpeting with a scarlet Block “O” in the middle. Posters, photos and banners tacked to the gray fake-wood walls. The small half bath had a toilet seat that said “Go Bucks” and, best of all, there was a scarlet and gray cap with Woody Hayes’ signature.

We had season football tickets and rain, shine or snow, we were there rooting as long as we were all well enough to attend. One year we took our whole family to the Rose Bowl on a trip with the group from Columbus — another great memory. We lived in Warren, Ohio, and, among other clubs, Howard was active in the Junior Chamber of Commerce. Whenever it was appropriate and possible, he would arrange to have speakers from Ohio State. They were always a big hit. When Howard died, we laid a huge OSU banner over his coffin and it went with him.

Howard was drafted in the Army after his first year at OSU, and he then returned to finish and graduate. He and I were so lucky to have met so many others who never forgot the spirit and the love of The Ohio State University. All of us are so proud of the school, the athletic programs, the phenomenal band and so much that cannot be put into words. After we moved to Florida, we made new friends who were Ohio State graduates and formed groups to get together, especially during football season. Thanks to the help of your magazine, I get to relive all my wonderful days. Keep them coming.

I will close with the thought of how much Howard would have enjoyed this past football season. I, my kids and close friends cheered even louder so that he might hear us.

Joyce Weiner Knofsky (LM)
Delray Beach, Florida

Reflections on Free Speech Front spur conversation

Thirteen people active in the Free Speech Front of 1965 attended a mini reunion in April. They met in front of the William Oxley Thompson statue — where they demonstrated 50 years ago against a rule that limited campus speakers — took a photo in Bricker Hall (the location of their peaceful sit-ins) and held a discussion in Thompson Library. Reunion attendees, from left, are: Jerry Rampelt, Paul Tucker, Tim Dempsey, Toby Emmer, Jeffrey Schwartz, Bill Shkurti, Kaaran Thomas, Dennis Knepley, Marge Gaffin, Niki Schwartz, Bill Tomlinson, Bill Crandell and Judith Crandell. As Jerry Rampelt described the group, there were four veterans, four published books and “all remember OSU fondly.”

In April 1965, President William Oxley Thompson “came out of retirement” to join the OSU free speech movement (March–April 2015). As evidenced by the 1965 photo you published, he held a sign demanding “free speech now” and demonstrated side by side with students protesting against the traditionalist values of the university establishment.

The pendulum has now swung to the opposite direction as the values of the 1960s protest generation are now firmly entrenched as the values of today’s university establishment. How much longer will it be until President Thompson once again comes out of retirement holding a “free speech now” sign to demonstrate with a new group of students protesting the new establishment’s policies of political correctness and rigidly enforced speech codes?

Louis Herod Bedford ’77 ’89 MA (LM)
Plain City, Ohio 

As an older alumnus, I find Mr. Knepley’s views (March–April 2015) at odds with mine and bet the grads of the ’50s and earlier might also. I don’t want to see Ohio State embarrassed by the kind of radical speakers we hear at certain California venues! There are probably more pre-1960s grads than post-1960s grads who would agree.

J.W. Yates ’59
Stevensville, Michigan 

It was gratifying to read the short article by Dennis Knepley extolling students’ efforts 50 years ago to gain freedom of speech on campus for themselves and the faculty. Events of today say the struggle is far from over. Brandeis University invited, then revoked, the invitation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a most courageous champion of women’s rights and proponent of reforms within Islam; Scripps College invited, then revoked, an invitation to George Will because students objected to an article he wrote.

In 2014, Christine Lagarde, first woman head of the IMF; Robert J. Birgeneau, ex-chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley; Dustin Lance Black, winner of an Academy Award for screenwriting; and Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state, were all removed as speakers at commencement exercises because of their political, social or religious viewpoints.

Fred Rogers, Henry Kissinger, Laura Bush, Al Franken, Hillary Clinton and Alice Walker are among the 88 distinguished speakers who have been disinvited — or had their speeches disrupted — at college campuses since 2001.

Mr. Knepley and his colleagues succeeded. While he was in the military, the 1969 spring commencement address was delivered by Spiro Agnew. Ohio State has welcomed both George W. Bush and Barack Obama as commencement speakers.

Mr. Knepley’s courage and steadfastness should be applauded. I hope today’s university community can learn from his example. The solution to speech with which we disagree is not banning speech, but more speech.

Vaughn J. Mantor ’70, MS ’74 (LM)
Tucson, Arizona