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The Ohio State University Connect  

January 2006

What's going on at Ohio State? Faculty are doing groundbreaking research, students are dreaming up stand-out projects, campus is booming with events--and you can read about it all in Connect, Ohio State's new way of keeping alumni in the loop as it climbs the academic ladder. Connect replaces @OhioState, the e-mail newsletter you have received over the past two years. Coming soon: You tell us what kind of news you like, and we'll tailor what hits your inbox.

In this issue: Bill Hall remembered, Godzilla's fossils, WOSU receives $1.6 Million, Tressel reflects, South campus face-lift, Rolling Stone feature, Future moms, and Tupac's mom on campus.

Bill Hall: A campus hero remembered

When Bill Hall gave Ohio State's commencement speech last June, the student affairs vice president had one last piece of advice for the new graduates: "Make integrity a cornerstone of your life."

Nobody is a better example of integrity than Hall, who died November 27 after an 11-month battle with cancer.

Bill Hall

A passionate advocate for students, Hall ate spaghetti dinners in their off-campus apartments, went with them to see Chris Rock, and let them paint his shiny bald head with a scarlet Block "O." He told them about everything from his family Thanksgiving dinners to "why you shouldn't apply for jobs with an e-mail address like luvs2party@hotmail."

But Hall might have been at his strongest during the sticky situations most people tend to back away from.

When racist graffiti appeared on some students' apartments at Ohio State's Wooster branch, Hall got in his car, eager to help administrators at the regional campus deal with the problem. When off-campus parties threatened to get out of hand, he patrolled the streets. And when a handful of straight students harassed gay roommates living in a south campus residence hall a decade ago, he relocated an entire dorm floor rather than look the other way.

"As a gay man who was too afraid to come out until after leaving Ohio State, I remember Bill's refusal to treat another human being as a second-class citizen," said Ohio State alumnus Dan Erwin. "I have always felt more valued at OSU because Bill stood up for people like me."

The Lantern called Hall "the ultimate Buckeye," and he was living up to that title in December, 2005, when he went to Kosovo to visit National Guard members from Ohio State. Within a month, he told students he had been diagnosed with cancer of the liver and pancreas: "Should you want to help, I'll gladly accept all positive thoughts, prayers, and amusing messages (but, please, no more jokes about hair loss!)."

View an online tribute to Hall.

"Godzilla:" Saw-toothed ancient croc ruled the seas

Godzilla illustration

With 4-inch serrated teeth that locked together when its huge jaw clamped shut, the 13-foot beast was the biggest bully in the ocean.

Ohio State researcher Diego Pol, who determined the animal was an ancient marine crocodile, has nicknamed the creature "Godzilla."

In 1996, two Argentine paleontologists working with Pol found unusual fossils in Patagonia, the region at the southern tip of South America. Using high-tech software, Pol figured out that the fossils belonged to a new kind of crocodile: Dakosaurus andiniensi, the largest and toughest of the marine animals that lived 135 million years ago.

Published in the journal Science in November, Pol's findings have been featured in the New York Times and Washington Post. Last month, Godzilla was featured on the cover of National Geographic.

See Godzilla's fossils.

Battelle commits $1.6 million to WOSU

Battelle, the science and technology think tank near Ohio State's campus, will give WOSU $1.6 million for its new digital media center at COSI, the Center of Science and Industry in downtown Columbus. WOSU and COSI, a nationally renowned science education museum, are collaborating on the center, which will house open TV and radio studios that let the community see news being produced. Battelle's gift--the largest ever received by WOSU--will pay to build the center and will create the Battelle Endowment for the WOSU Digital Media Center, to take care of the center's long-term needs. To thank Battelle, WOSU will ask the university's Board of Trustees to name the center's Studio 1 the Battelle Studio.

Read WOSU's press release.

Tressel reflects on his father's love for the Buckeyes

Jim Tressell

Jim Tressel says his dad was a Buckeye through and through. "Even as Dad was coaching at Baldwin-Wallace, he always had one eye on what Woody Hayes was doing down in Columbus." That devotion made Tressel realize early on that the Buckeyes were something special, something more than a team. "As a coach, I have a special responsibility for upholding Ohio State's great traditions, both on and off the field," Tressel says. "Believe me, I think about that every day."

Read his full essay.

Download images of the Buckeyes winning the Fiesta Bowl.

South campus comes alive

Lee Shadle graduated from Ohio State just last June, but he's already putting his Fisher College marketing degree to work: He's just opened his first restaurant, Pesto Creative Italian Bistro, right across the street from campus.

Shadle is in good company. The new Gateway Project, which replaces the old High Street "bar district," is home to a huge Barnes & Noble, restaurants, a seven-screen movie theater, Ohio State offices, grad student apartments and plenty of places to shop. Between now and next summer, Gateway will get more restaurants, a nightclub and a natural foods grocery. It'll get an extra dose of star power, too: In February, Ohio State football great Eddie George will open Grille 27. (Actor Steve Buscemi has already been to Gateway. He screened his new film, Lonesome Jim, at the Drexel in October.)

So if you haven't seen south campus lately, come check it out. Before you do, watch a video about Gateway.

*Almost* on the cover of the Rolling Stone

Lonnie Thompson

Ohio State has always known how special Lonnie Thompson is. Recently, Rolling Stone caught on.

In its November issue, the magazine put Thompson, a professor of geological sciences and a senior research scientist at the university's Byrd Polar Research Center, on a list of "25 leaders who are fighting to stave off the planetwide catastrophe." His peers on that list include Al Gore, Tony Blair, and John McCain.

Since Thompson came to the university in 1976, he's become a world authority on climate change. Thompson believes that melting glaciers and ice caps are the first signs of global warming, and that those disappearing chunks of ice hold important clues to the world's climate during the past 100,000 years. If they vanish, scientists will lose invaluable records that help predict global climate changes.

Read the Rolling Stone story.

Mom's weight important sooner than she might think

Women who want to get pregnant make all sorts of lifestyle changes. They quit smoking, stop taking certain medicines, wean themselves off wine and cold cuts.

A recent Ohio State study adds another item to would-be moms' checklists: Attain a healthy weight. It could mean the difference between an overweight child and a healthy one.

Pamela Salsberry, an associate professor of nursing, and Patricia Reagan, an economics professor, found that a woman's pre-pregnancy weight has a greater affect on her child's weight than race, ethnicity, whether she smokes while pregnant or whether she breast-feeds.

Read the research news story.

Tupac's mom kicks off Black History Month

Afeni Shakur is best known as someone's mom: Since her son, rapper Tupac, was shot to death in 1996, she's released much of his work posthumously and founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which funds arts programs for kids.

But Shakur--a former Black Panther and recovering drug addict--also has plenty of stories of her own. She'll tell them in the Ohio Union Ballrooms at 7 p.m. February 1.

Orton Hall
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