The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Alumni share their views in letters to the editor.

Please write

We 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 or In Your Words, Ohio State Alumni magazine, 2200 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1035.

‘Taps’ worth considering

Your March–April 2017 article about the Oval and its role in campus plans through the years was outstanding, a word I don’t often use. It reminded me of one of the most solemn and meaningful traditions at Ohio State. But unless you carry a Medicare card, you may never have been a part of it.

The playing of “Taps” on the Oval began at the end of World War I. Each Wednesday at 10:55 a.m., as hundreds (and later thousands) of students rushed across the Oval to their next class, a single bugler would sound “Taps” to honor those in the Ohio State family who had fallen during the war. As soon as the first note was heard, everyone would stop and stand in silence for 20 seconds until the last note had been played. (Even cars circling the Oval would come to a halt.)

You can imagine how meaningful this ceremony was, especially during and after World War II.

I was a student during the Korean Conflict. Virtually everyone had a friend or sweetheart who was in the military, and most of the male students knew they would be joining them as soon as campus days were over.

Unfortunately, this ceremony was halted during the campus demonstrations of the Vietnam era, when anything associated with the military was disrespected. Within a few years, however, most people came to realize how wrong it had been to disparage the corporals and lieutenants who served during that conflict. But the ceremony was never restored.

I believe it is long past time to resume “Taps” on the Oval to honor all of our fallen Buckeyes.

James R. Kelley ’53
Air Force ROTC
Korean War veteran
Raleigh, North Carolina

Headline faux pas

I’m reading your article “From Farm to Idea Foundry” [March–April 2017]. Nowhere do you reference the actual Idea Foundry in Columbus. This article looks as though Ohio State is taking credit for that fabulous new creative outlet. Shame on the editors for missing this fact.

Judy Rush ’83 MA

Editor’s note: Thanks for pointing out our oversight. Readers can learn more at

Cover captures us

I just wanted to say that the cover of the January–February 2017 issue of the alumni magazine was beautifully designed. What a great piece of art that reflects this great university and those who walk its halls. Many of us did not have the opportunity to complete our education there, but we support and admire Ohio State nonetheless for its many gifts to our nation. (My husband, Gary Guinup, is a 1974 graduate.)

The article by Aaron Marshall on John Glenn and touching scenes at Glenn’s memorial were most appreciated as well.

Thank you for your hard work on an always interesting magazine.

Linda Stockmaster Guinup
Mason, Ohio

Drummed up inspiration

The letter from Dale Beasley [January–February 2017], about meeting TBDBITL arranger Steve Pfaffman on their airplane flight, brought back memories. Steve and I both went to Wintersville High School, and my older brother Greg was co-captain of the drum line with Steve.

After high school graduation, Steve knew I was accepted to the Ohio State percussion program run by James Moore. Steve called to congratulate me about going to Ohio State, and then he started to tell me about marching band tryouts. (He was one of the drum captains.) I told him I wasn’t interested, because I was tired of marching band. He gave me a “somewhat” professional lecture, saying I had a chance to make the band if I worked my butt off and practiced every day for two to three hours. I took his challenge.

I did make the band as an alternate my freshman year. By the end of football season, I beat out a fellow drummer and took over his spot, which I never lost until I graduated. I enjoyed playing in front of more than 100,000 fans every game through my senior year. We also traveled to the Rose Bowl twice; the Orange, Gator and Sugar bowls; a Monday Night Football game; and the World Series.

I have come back for the TBDBITL alumni game more than 30 times, and God willing, will continue as long as possible. I live in major Penn State country, so I get a lot of grief, but I also get praise for graduating from Ohio State and helping with college fairs.

Brad Grunewald ’80 (LM)
Telford, Pennsylvania

Glenn fact — or fiction?

I have heard John Glenn and Charles Lindbergh were fighter pilots together in the Pacific theater in World War II. Because I never read this in the numerous obituaries and tributes to Glenn [Ohio State Alumni, January–February 2017], I’m now wondering if this is fact or fiction.

Mary Hungerford
Fitzsimmons ’48 (LM)

Ooltewah, Tennessee

Editor’s note: We went right to the expert on this: Jeff Thomas, who maintains the John H. Glenn Archives for Ohio State University Libraries. He writes, “Yes, Charles Lindbergh flew with Marine Corps aviation squadron VMO-155, the unit John Glenn flew in during World War II.” For more on Glenn, visit

Destigmatizing disability

Thank you for the wonderful story about the Ohio State TOPS program in the alumni magazine [March–April 2017]. It highlighted what all students, including those with disabilities, deserve: high standards and ample support! I am proud of the Ohio State community for working to destigmatize disability.

I didn’t know about the TOPS program before, and I am glad to read about this necessary work and the joy it brings. And thank you for highlighting the inspiring women who created the program. What a great read to come home to on International Women’s Day.

Diana Gerber ’10
Columbus, Ohio

Quartetto Grigio is a gem

I recently had the opportunity to hear Ohio State’s amazing Quartetto Grigio chamber music quartet. My hope is that more alumni might learn of and get to hear about this group. I think it is important to bolster, promote and publicize such gems of Ohio State as this quartet, especially for alums who think Ohio State is only about football or other athletic interests. These students — Leah Anderson, violin; Caleb Herrmann, violin; Sean Byrne, viola; and Stephen Forster, cello — are fabulous ambassadors of the university as well as excellent musicians.

Dana Reynolds III ’76

Unique family tradition

This time of year — as new grads prepare for their next adventures and Father’s Day approaches — reminds me of a special honor that my brother, sister and I share. It’s one I doubt few of our fellow alumni have experienced.

On June 12, 1992, my dad, Richard E. Boettcher, handed me my diploma. At the time, he was dean of the College of Social Work, a position he held from 1983 to 1993. It didn’t strike me as unusual that he stepped in to briefly fill the shoes of my dean, but now I realize how special it was.

You see, Dad handed my brother, Stephan A. Boettcher, two diplomas in 1987 — for his master’s in public administration and master’s in labor and human relations. And two years later, when my sister, Katherine E. Boettcher, earned her master’s degree from the College of Social Work, Dad was her dean and naturally presented her with her diploma.

I guess I was just expecting the same when my turn came around. But now I realize there was nothing normal about a father presenting all three of his children their diplomas from an institution of higher learning such as The Ohio State University.

If asked about this experience today, Dad would say it was no big deal. That reflects his humility, an important trait he taught us. Indeed, I’ve learned so much from him — more than I can ever express my gratitude for. But I will say this: Thank you for everything, Dad, and Happy Father’s Day.

Paul Boettcher ’92 (LM)

Producer’s perspective

As a livestock/food producer, I generally agree with the views Associate Professor of Pharmacy Debbie Goff expressed about the overuse of antibiotics in the January-February issue. But I find some statements regarding meat and milk production overreaching. I believe responsible use of antibiotics is an equally shared value that should be in place for human and animal medicine.

There has been much emphasis in animal production on maintaining the efficacy and safety of antibiotic use. For meat and milk producers, there is oversight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adulteration of food products, which addresses antibiotic residues and other contaminants. This includes adherence to withdrawal time stipulated on drug labels before meat and milk products are marketed as well as FSIS and manufacturers’ own internal sampling and testing for illegal levels of residues in products sold to consumers.

I disagree with Dr. Goff’s statement that antibiotics are “given to chickens and cattle to fatten them more quickly.” They can be and are utilized for treatment, control and/or prevention of disease. Animal welfare suffers if we don’t use antibiotics to prevent and control disease when known risk factors are present. The Veterinary Feed Directive regulations that took effect January 1, 2017, prohibit the meat and poultry industries from using antibiotics to gain efficiency.

I also disagree with Dr. Goff’s statement that we “eat antibiotics in our food.” With the checks cited above, this is not the case. Consumers can be assured that the meat and milk they consume are under the FDA’s maximum residue level for food safety. Producers follow stated withdrawals, if for no other reason than the penalty for noncompliance is too high.

The industry is continuously evaluating ways to ensure the health of animals and reduce the need for antibiotic use through research on probiotics, prebiotics and vaccines. This information also will provide valuable insight to support advances in human health.

The U.S. food animal and poultry industries take the job of producing safe, wholesome food for the consumer and the health and welfare of animals seriously. Industry- and producer-led efforts, in compliance with FDA guidelines on antibiotic use, have been in place in food animal production sectors for many years. The FDA has led efforts to establish maximum residue levels in food, and the FSIS continues to inspect our food supply so consumers can be assured food is safe and wholesome.

Mike Simpson ’68
Redfield, Iowa

Unforgettable experience

I was pleased to read the fine article by Aaron Marshall remembering John Glenn. It brought back a great memory of his appearance at the Ohio State-Navy football game in 2009, when he and Annie Glenn were invited to dot the “i” during Script Ohio.

Just prior to the game, the Glenns were welcomed at St. John Arena during the Skull Session. A thousand or so midshipmen were seated in the arena dressed in their Navy white uniforms.

John and Annie Glenn were introduced to the packed arena, and as John was beginning his remarks, the entire corps of midshipmen came to parade rest. He mentioned that although he had received a number of honors, he always wore his Marine Wings under his suit jacket lapel. He then saluted the Corps of Midshipmen, all of whom immediately went to full attention and returned the salute. The Ohio State Marching band began playing the “Navy Hymn.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the arena. It was an unforgettable experience to be there.

Harvey A. Snider ’58
Pepper Pike, Ohio

“LM” identifies life members of The Ohio State University Alumni Association. For current OSUAA membership options, visit