The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Alumni share their views in letters to the editor.

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A boost for recovery

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support for Student Life’s Collegiate Recovery Community in response to your article, “Recovery takes a community” (September–October 2016).

A humbling number of people have sent donations and offered words of encouragement.

I’m so proud to be a Buckeye and work at this distinguished university that not only celebrates my recovery, but actively works alongside me to ensure that every Buckeye has the opportunity to enter and sustain long-term recovery. Thank you, Buckeye community, for creating an environment where our students do not have to choose between their education and recovery.

To learn more about Ohio State’s Collegiate Recovery Community, visit

Sarah Nerad ’15 MPA
Program manager
Collegiate Recovery Community

Welcome information

Thanks for the article about author and historian Douglas Brinkley in the September–October issue.

I read his book The Great Deluge, which provided an in-depth account of Hurricane Katrina. At the time, he was a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, giving him local insight on the disaster. His brief biography on the book cover did not mention that he was a Buckeye, so your article on his background at Ohio State was a nice surprise.

Matt Galosi ’80 (LM)
Katy, Texas

Off to a good start

My four years as an undergraduate at Ohio State was the beginning of a long journey toward my goal in life: to become a doctor. I was in my senior year when I received letters of acceptance from two medical schools, Ohio State and the University of Cincinnati.

I chose Cincinnati, but was to return to the Ohio State campus a decade later to serve for nine years as an assistant professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesia. As a former member of The Ohio State University Marching Band, President’s Club since 1969 and a 55-year football season ticket holder, I am proud to be a Buckeye.

James L. Best ’51 (LM)

About those helmets

Your “Circle of Greatness” story [September–October 2016] was one of your best. However, the cover painting description says the red striped helmet is from the 1940s. The broad stripe was actually a soft pad that Woody Hayes developed in the late 1950s to reduce the injury potential resulting from helmet hits. (Note your picture on page 14 of the 1961 banner.) Unfortunately, the pad had unintended consequences, as it encouraged players to make these hits because they falsely believed that the pad protected them. But it illustrates that Woody was well ahead of his time in recognizing the danger of these hits.

Jim Kelley ’53
Raleigh, North Carolina

Editor’s note: Thank you for this information. It is consistent with the discoveries of University Archives staff, who found photos showing that type of helmet in use beginning in 1960. The Lantern reported in 1961 that Hayes and trainer Ernie Godfrey had been campaigning for safer headgear for years. The article noted that the American Medical Association, equipment manufacturers and athletic organizations planned to launch a helmet safety study after 26 deaths in organized football that year.

Also, Bernie Speyer ’54 set the record straight about a Woody Hayes quote referenced in that story. The comment, about a 2-point conversion against Michigan in the waning moments of a huge Buckeye win, actually was attributed to Hayes after a 50–14 victory in 1968, not the 50–20 win in 1961.

Inspiring profile

I attended Ohio State from 1966 until 1970, when I graduated with a bachelor of science with a major in mathematics. I have often said that I had the best undergraduate college experience that I could possibly imagine, and I have 100 stories to back up that claim. Actually, it’s probably closer to 1,000.

I really enjoy the alumni magazine. I read it from cover to cover as soon as it arrives. The July–August 2016 edition with information on how Ohio State is addressing food needs worldwide was inspiring. I’m writing because of a story about John Brockington and his wife in the March–April 2015 edition.

While I was at Ohio State, I attended every home football game. Of course, I was there in 1968 to watch the Buckeyes win the Big Ten football championship and earn the right to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. After the final game that season (against “that team to the north,” of course), my roommate said, “We should go to the Rose Bowl game,” adding that his dad would let us use his car.

I was born and raised in Covington, Kentucky, and the drive to Columbus was about two hours long. I couldn’t imagine driving to Pasadena, California. But I asked my parents if it was OK, and (bless them) they said yes. So five students, including my roommate and I, drove from Lima, Ohio, to Pasadena.

We arrived safely in Pasadena, and we were in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 1969, to watch our Buckeyes and star running back John Brockington defeat USC and their star running back, O.J. Simpson. I followed John’s career in the NFL, but I had not heard anything about him after that until I read the story in the alumni magazine.

Although I admired his hard work and determination as a running back, I have even greater admiration for him and his wife after reading the article about his kidney transplant, their marriage and the John Brockington Foundation, which raises awareness about organ donation. Bless them for using some of their money and John’s name recognition for such a wonderful cause.

Douglas Townsend ’70
Fort Wayne, Indiana

More to the story

Thanks for the Time and Change article that University Archivist Tamar Chute wrote in the September–October 2016 edition of Ohio State Alumni magazine. I’m wondering if during her research she came across the year that African Americans were allowed to move into residence halls on campus. It is a very famous fact (sometimes shared by President Drake) that Jesse Owens, who represented the United States in the Berlin Olympics in 1936, was not allowed to live on campus.

I think this is a fascinating tidbit of information that should be more than a footnote, and I think current students trying to understand the complexities of 21st-century institutionalized racism would benefit from a more complete picture of how it operated in the 19th and 20th centuries, even in the North.

Bob Eckhart ’95 MA, ’01 JD

Tamar Chute responds: Thank you for your message. The archives staff often is asked when African Americans were allowed to move into Ohio State residence halls. We’ve never been able to find a written document stating that African Americans were not allowed to live in the residence halls officially, although that was certainly the case. In fact, two African American women took the university to court regarding their right to stay in the home economics house in the 1930s. We know that Jesse Owens was warned not to come to Ohio State because of the environment, including these lawsuits. Our Ohio congressional archivist did a great exhibit on the history of the Civil Rights Act last year related to the papers of former Congressman William McCulloch ’25 JD. As part of his research, he looked at the Ohio State material. If you have not seen it, the page about Ohio State is at

Towering in phases

I enjoyed Time and Change in the September­–October magazine, but your mention of Lincoln and Morrill Towers opening in 1967 was of particular interest. I could have sworn it was Morrill Tower that I moved into in September 1966 for my freshman year. I'm pretty sure only floors 4 through 13 were occupied. The rest were still under construction.

There were probably about 800 to 900 kids there that fall. That first year, they put 16 guys in a suite at the beginning of the year (six suites per floor). By fall ’67, they’d learned that was too many and only assigned 12 guys to a suite; I think they did the same for the ladies. We were on separate floors in those days, and you were only allowed on a floor of the opposite sex during rare “open houses.”

One other fact: When we moved in that fall of 1966, there was still scaffolding on the outside of Morrill up to the top. One night some of us managed to get by a locked door, take the stairs from the 12th to the 24th floor and walk out on the scaffolding for a great view. Luckily, no one was drinking.

Phil Church ’70
Fairfax, Virginia

Editor’s note: You’re right. Morrill Tower opened in 1966, and Lincoln Tower in 1967. Thank you for the additional details.