The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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Students attend a chemistry class in 1907.

Courtesy of University Archives

Raise your Buckeye history IQ

Brush up on your Ohio State know-how with a free online course offered in honor of the university’s 150th anniversary.

You can wear your Pajamas to Buckeye Biography: 150 Years of Ohio State, a class in which you’ll explore the history of the university with Associate Professor of History David Staley ’86, ’88 MA, ’93 PhD and University Archivist Tamar Chute. The class is available through the spring semester to anyone interested in learning more about the Ohio State story. We asked Staley what we can expect.

Best in class

No tuition fee, no need to set an alarm. Just visit to enroll in Buckeye Biography.


How is the course curriculum organized?

I always teach in my history classes that to be a historian means to read and analyze documents. Because we’re working with University Archives on this, we have four to six documents for each module, and we ask the participants to “be a historian” and analyze those documents. For instance, for the module on the Thompson era, we have two speeches: one he gave at the beginning of his tenure as president — he served over 25 years and was our longest-serving president — and one toward the end of his presidency.

What does this course cover that alumni might not know about?

I think something people will learn they weren’t expecting is how differentiated and hierarchical gender was. Attitudes toward gender really don’t start to change until the late 1960s and early 1970s, but literally there were separate facilities for women. There were two student unions, for instance. Women weren’t permitted in the men’s union — certainly not to dine. It wasn’t until they built a separate union for women that they had something like a student union.

What do you hope those who take this course come away with?

A better understanding that Ohio State is a leading research university. We’ve been a member of the Association of American Universities, which is composed of the elite research universities, since 1916. Yes, we have a proud tradition of athletics, but we’re more than just a football school. We also have a unique student life. The flavor and texture of this university is determined as much by its student life as anything else.

Extra credit

Take a deeper dive into Ohio State history with this group of digital tools you can access anywhere, anytime.

Knowledge Bank

Whether you’re trying to learn a new topic or brush up on the latest research, dive into the Knowledge Bank! Featuring research and scholarship from Ohio State faculty, staff and students, the Knowledge Bank offers top intellectual material from fellow Buckeyes.


From Woody’s Couch blog

With the click of a button, have a seat on Woody Hayes’ cozy leather couch to learn about the university’s historical treasures. Discover stories from Ohio State’s past that have stood the test of time.


Lantern and alumni magazine archives

Explore every story published in these marquee Ohio State publications. Read the scoop from a 19th century Lantern or take a look back at your favorite story from the alumni magazine.


Makio archives

Step into the past and rediscover college memories through the Makio archives, the official yearbooks of Ohio State, 1884 to 2002. Access scrapbooks, awards, administrative records and even a phonograph record.