The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Alumni share their views in letters to the editor.

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Lessons to live by

Concerning lessons I learned from my favorite professor, (All @twitter, May–June 2016): Being a biological sciences major, I was required to take an introductory course in political science. The course in American, state and local government was taught by a professor who had been involved in the government of Columbus. His course was alive with his hands-on experience as to how local government works or doesn’t work, an interest I have followed throughout my residence in New England.

Eileen Litton Wyatt ’47
Cumberland Center, Maine

Degrees of empowerment

I’m writing in response to your question about how an Ohio State degree has changed my life (All @twitter, July–August 2016). My time and degree at Ohio State gave me the opportunity to meet different types of people, hear varying viewpoints and broaden my overall outlook on society and the world. For that, I couldn’t be more grateful.

Tim Galownia ’02
Cecil, Pennsylvania

Two major things resonate with me when I think about my Ohio State degrees. First and foremost, my degrees gave me the confidence in the workplace as I knew I had received an outstanding education. Second, they continued to open doors for me well past my graduation from Ohio State, as employers universally respected and admired my credentials — a prestigious education from a first-class university. Being an Ohio State grad definitely enhanced my employability throughout my career in education.

Jeffrey Blaga ’72, ’74 MA, ’78 PhD (LM)
Racine, Wisconsin

Buckeyes join together

The tragic drowning death of a young Ohio State soccer player in June showed the care and genuine concern that the fellow players and staff have for one of their own.

The athletic director and his wife, staff, teammates and friends all were at the hospital the night of the accident to offer support to the mother of this young man. The following night, a memorial service was held, and the varsity soccer coach and his wife were there once again to show care for all of those attending. This type of support continued through the week and ended in a solemn and respectful memorial service held at the Ohio Union.

The Ohio State family should be proud of how our athletic director, coaches and, most of all, athletes conducted themselves during this exceptionally trying time. May this young athlete rest in peace, and may his family and teammates be at peace knowing there is always someone here for them at The Ohio State University.

Ralph Polletta ’83 (LM)
Hilliard, Ohio

My degree from The Ohio State University has served as a springboard into the “real world.” If I could manage to obtain a degree while working three jobs — secretary at Hagerty Hall in the mornings, waitress at the Faculty Club during the dinner hour and model for Parker Studios on weekends — plus take a year off to save money to return to Ohio State, I could tackle anything! My degree represents perseverance, resourcefulness and dogged determination, and I carry those qualities with me every day of my life.

Rosemary Osborn Hummel Barkes ’60, ’74 (LM)
Grove City, Ohio

Policymakers, readers weigh in on food security

As a follow-up to our July–August 2016 special report on food security and the many ways Ohio State is working to address the issue, we invited two Ohio State graduates — U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio — to share their views as policymakers. Both are active in efforts to end food insecurity.

Sherrod Brown

Solutions must address income inequality

Though nearly one in six Ohio families lack reliable access to food, it’s a problem that often flies under the radar.
More »
Bob Gibbs

Answers to food insecurity lie in research, reform

As this year’s Buckeye Summit at Ohio State demonstrated, access to healthful and affordable food is an issue that affects too many families in Ohio and across the nation.
More »

We also received several letters from readers on the topic.

I have never been ashamed of being a graduate of Ohio State, but never have I felt more pride than when reading the July–August issue. From Dr. Fisher’s letter, which reflected my own experiences, to the inspiring coverage of what Ohio State is doing to address food insecurity, every page increased my appreciation for the university’s contribution to the lives of all who share this planet.

Mike Flynn ’67, ’69 MA
Sequim, Washington

Thank you for the in-depth, long-form journalism “Food insecurity: Why are so many wanting in the land of plenty?” I would like to add that in the 1970s, residents of the Buckeye Village housing complex for married students were allowed to use a plot of land, and my husband and I grew vegetables and gave many away. Thanks to Ohio State for giving us this break from classes and work and the opportunity to grow our own healthy food.

Steven W. Hughes ’74 has a garden outside his classroom and has been a teacher in the Apache Junction (Arizona) Unified School District for 34 years.

Candace Hughes ’75
Apache Junction, Arizona

My grandparents raised my parents during the Great Depression. My father’s family went without food for days. My mother’s neighbor worked at a ketchup factory. The man brought home a loaf of bread and two “free” bottles of ketchup every day. That is what his family had for meals. We serve “free” nutritional breakfasts and lunches to children every day in the schools. Where we lived in Florida, the family could come for breakfast and lunch on weekends (at no charge).

My wife and I worked at a children’s home in Miami. I would go to lunch with some of the kids regularly. I would watch many of the students get their lunches. The cafeteria would serve a meat, a vegetable, milk in a carton, a fruit (maybe applesauce in a carton) and some chips in a bag. The kids would dump their food, unopened cartons and all, in the garbage and keep the bag of chips. When the kids from the children’s home would get home, the first thing out of their mouths was, “Can I get a snack? I’m starving.” You tell me why we’re “Wanting in the Land of Plenty.”

Jay Van Arsdall ’81 (LM)
Hendersonville, North Carolina

The political overtones associated with your issue on hunger were troubling. The federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was not designed to pay for all food consumed by low-income individuals or families. Rather, SNAP is a supplement, much as is the earned income tax credit, the latter a program that substantially supplements the incomes of low-income households.

To be fair, you didn’t suggest more funding for SNAP or other programs. Rather, you alluded to
hot-button issues such as the so-called living wage and their ilk (as if the earned income tax credit and other assistance programs don’t exist).

That said, President Drake’s efforts to lead Buckeye Nation toward grassroots philanthropic efforts aimed at hunger are laudable. Bravo!

But after a career in D.C., where I once controlled and spent many of your tax dollars, my observation is that private programs are typically more effective than public programs, require fewer resources and are less likely to evoke kickback by those who don’t qualify for government assistance. Thus, wise governments — and wise universities like ours — stand ready and willing to assist, support, encourage or develop conscientious private programs, religious or otherwise.

Michael P. Rethman ’74 DDS (LM)
Prescott, Arizona

I applaud Ohio State for research and new applications for feeding the world — beginning at home (“Wanting in the Land of Plenty,” July–August 2016).

I was disappointed that not one word was mentioned about population growth and control. In 1950 when I was in college, there were about 2 billion people in the world. Now it is about 7 billion and going up. Without a vigorous education and clinical program within the United States and worldwide, your efforts will result in minimal effect. Our welfare laws must be redesigned to get people to work and to diminish the cycle of more babies and more welfare.

Harold E. Manhart ’56 MD, ’63 Residency
Barneveld, Wisconsin

Ohio State has many wonderful traditions, including one of transforming compassion into action in response to pressing social issues. For me, the recent Buckeye Summit on food security was such an opportunity.

My first exposure to the issue of food security occurred when I was a grad student in the late 1970s and early ’80s. It played out in many ways. Much of the campus activity on the issue involved the Campus Ministry Association. We collected food and clothing donations to support the efforts of Neighborhood Services. Several of us also volunteered there on a weekly basis, doing client intake interviews, sorting clothing, filling food requests and making home deliveries to people unable to make it to our location in the basement of Summit United Methodist Church. I eventually served on the Neighborhood Services board.

In the autumn, we organized teams to participate in the annual Columbus CROP Walk, sponsored by Church World Service to raise money for local, domestic and international hunger relief efforts. Thousands of concerned citizens would gather downtown at the Statehouse for a brief commissioning and then disperse in all directions to walk through the city back to our places of worship as a living witness to the need. The groups from Ohio State would walk all the way up High Street to campus.

The Thursday before Thanksgiving, many would participate in the OXFAM America Fast for a World Harvest, which would conclude with a simple meal and program at one of the participating congregations. When there was pending legislation in the Ohio legislature or Congress (related to food stamps, WIC, CHIPS, USAID, etc.), with guidance and education from Bread for the World, people would write letters to their representatives to express their opinions on the proposed bill. When possible, we would visit with our congressman (Chalmers P. Wylie at the time) when he was in his Columbus office. That was my first exposure to and opportunity to participate in federal advocacy efforts.

Today, there are many opportunities for collaboration and synergy on the topic of food security at Ohio State and with organizations around Ohio and around the nation. Achieving short-term goals provides the sustaining energy, enthusiasm and desire needed for the more crucial, longer-term goals that will ultimately diminish and end hunger. Once again, Buckeyes will respond!

George Pantalos ’75, ’78 MS, ’83 PhD
Louisville, Kentucky

As soon as I received my latest edition of Ohio State Alumni magazine (July–August 2016), I knew the feature article on food insecurity would be a must-read for me.

Congratulations to the staff for putting together a fabulous story on how many disciplines and departments within the university are tackling the problem. I was especially interested in the articles on food waste and the role of the community clinic. Food is dear to my heart as I was a dietetics major in the College of Agriculture’s School of Home Economics. What an ambitious and worthy goal for the university to undertake.

Mary LaValley Hodge ’70
Plymouth, Michigan