The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Alumni share their views in letters to the editor.

Please write

We welcome your letters. Email them to We reserve the right to edit letters for space, clarity and civility. All submissions selected for publication will appear on this page.

Food for thought

Thanks for Erin MacLellan and Mary Alice Casey’s article (March–April 2016) on food security, and kudos to alumni clubs that address hunger.

The university’s investment in new faculty experts to address global food production and security highlights an important question: the extent to which hunger is a function of (inadequate) production or other failures in distribution and waste.

The March cover article of National Geographic on food waste points out that about a third of the planet’s food goes to waste. Data for the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand show that we collectively consume only 47 percent of fruit and vegetable production and lose or waste 53 percent. A recent article in my hometown paper states that reducing this loss by just 30 percent would yield enough food to feed every hungry American. One significant concern is the amount of food thrown away due to confusion about so-called “expiration dates.”

Of course, the loss is not only that of the food produced but also of the incredible amount of resources expended in its production, an issue that takes on added meaning as we consider a variety of increasing environmental concerns.

Finally, I urge the university not to overlook the question of hunger on the campus. My perception is that there are many more financially challenged students who endure hunger in order to afford a degree than is commonly recognized.

Bill Hoerger ’64 ’68
Oakland, California

Watch your inbox: Learn how Ohio State is helping to lead the worldwide conversation about food security through research, education, advocacy, policy development and alumni involvement. Details in your July–August magazine.

A prof's wise counsel

I am writing in response to the All @twitter question in the March–April 2016 edition: “What’s the most valuable lesson you ever learned from your favorite professor?”

I was a graduate student in physics in the late 1960s, and I would often spend time with Dr. Carlton Brown, professor of physics, talking about my interest in pursuing a college teaching career. Professor Brown looked at me one day and said, “Joe, when you are a college professor, you are your own boss 95 percent of the time. If you can’t act responsibly during all that time, you won’t make a good faculty member.” He was right, and I had a successful career teaching physics, retiring in 2005.

Joseph Keane ’70 ’73 PhD
Fayetteville, Pennsylvania

Responding on religion

I was inspired to write after reading the March–April edition and seeing all the wise and varied responses to Steven Reiss’ essay. I think the author brought up very accurate and concise points, and I want to add that I think the true problem is that a generation has been brought up with moral relativity and the clouding of an ultimate truth. This is the wrong path.

Now I want to respond directly to the letter penned by Mr. Johnson. I think his words do a disservice to those who were raised in the best of both worlds, faith and the enlightenment. The two are not mutually exclusive, and faith does not require a blind following.

A good faith life involves critically analyzing your role in it. It would be wrong to deny children the opportunity to learn about the very real moral issues we face today and planting the roots of a strong faith life. The world could stand a little more righteousness and backbone.

Thomas Myers ’12
Galloway, Ohio

Faith formation in America is in a battle with capitalism/materialism: money, job titles, sex, cars, homes. The millennials’ “self/me culture” slogan is: “What’s in it for me?”

To give faith to a supreme being is not common sense in their America. To trust in God is to have faith in something other than “me.”

Gregory Weir ’76
San Francisco, California