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Improving learning environments

October 17, 2016

During the But for Ohio State Campaign more than 150 buildings on campus received donor support that created or improved the facilities.

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How can students turn their artistic passions into a profitable career? Melissa Crum has a lot of ideas.

“I work with students and community artists who are interested in making their passion their profit,” Crum said. “So figuring out how to use dance, painting, graphic design, whatever their creativity is and making it their career.”

Donors helped Crum, the ARTreprenuer series and the Barnett Center support and teach students how to bridge the gap between their creative desires and a traditional business model.

“Art is a great way for people to speak their truth in another kind of way,” Crum said. “It’s important to invest in our students who are interested in using their creativity to speak to the world, so that they can have that avenue to be successful.”

Below, you can learn about more ways that the campaign helped enhance modern learning environments at Ohio State.

A commitment to care

The James

Perhaps the most visible example of space created and intentionally designed for collaboration and innovation is the 21-story glass structure, easily spotted from Ohio SR315 and various Columbus neighborhoods.

When The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute opened in December 2014, it was a signature moment for Ohio State’s broad and diverse cancer program. More than 250 scientists from 12 of the university's colleges are leading the charge against cancer. Their work spans molecular genetics to end-of-life care and many points in between.

The cancer hospital houses an enormous clinical trials unit; an emergency department where emergency medicine physicians work directly with oncologists and oncology nurses; 14 operating rooms with the latest tools in robotic procedures, radiology and intra-operative MRI; and radiation therapy areas in bright environments — as compared to dark basements where they are traditionally housed due to the enormous weight of the equipment.

Perhaps more significant than all of those attributes, though, is the way the unique design of The James contributes to advances in care and research. It is one of the few places in the country with a precision cancer medicine clinic. Laboratories on each floor are equipped for genomics data analysis, which allows practitioners and researchers to bring treatment from the researcher’s bench to a patient’s bedside.

For Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Professor Jessica Winter, whose work in translational cancer research took shape as she progressed through her own cancer treatments, having an abundance of resources and collaborators working so closely together presents boundless opportunities to advance the fight against cancer.

“Ohio State is a unique environment for commercialization especially in the medical arena. Not only do we have an outstanding engineering college that I have the pleasure of belonging to, but we also have a comprehensive cancer center directly here on campus, a 10-minute walk away that I can interface with, and a top-rated veterinary school, which helps in development of models to allow us to validate our technologies,” she says. “When you combine that with the Fisher College of Business, you have a unique microcosm that enables you to take products from the bench to the bedside.”

Investment in innovation


A group of students, participating a lively study session about cold and warm streams, examines a formula scrawled in dry-erase marker on windows overlooking north campus.

In a lobby six floors below, a group of fourth-year students squeezes in a quick round of Euchre. They discuss upcoming exams while shuffling. 

And in the basement below them, a student hovers over his research in a lab with 20-foot ceilings and cutting-edge equipment. On the walls hang old plaques honoring the metaphorical foundation of this building: generations of donors who have supported generations of scientists at Ohio State.

The university’s only Silver LEED-certified laboratory building, the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building opened in 2015. Its very design encourages those within to push beyond the horizons of discovery, with different disciplines connected by bridges and windows. 

More than 400 faculty, staff and student scientists and engineers have the opportunity to study and work in the two-building facility. One building is four stories and designated for experimental research and learning spaces; the other is a six-story building for theoretical research and offices. At CBEC, chemistry lectures to nuclear magnetic-resonance experiments are conducted.

At its grand opening celebration, President Michael V. Drake talked about the teaching and research that would take place in this collaborative and cutting-edge facility: “The ideas and the solutions that are developed in this particular building will really be important to us, here, in central Ohio [and] really all around the world.”

A gateway reimagined


On a sun-bathed day in September 2014, students from Ohio State’s renowned Department of Dance performed on the balcony of Sullivant Hall that faces High Street, while others swung from ropes suspended in a studio inside.

In another room, audience members performed pieces of a dance that fed into the real-time work of a member of the acclaimed Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design

Eleven pieces of performance art, titled Sullivant’s Travels, honored the arts studied, performed and celebrated within the 102-year-old building following a $6.4 million renovation. 

Today, Sullivant Hall is an example of blending history, beauty and modernity. The three-story Neoclassical Revival building is Silver-LEED certified with state-of-the-art flexible performance spaces and a reconfigurable interdisciplinary space for motion research and performance investigation, among other highlights.

In addition to the dance department and ACCAD, Sullivant Hall houses the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum; the Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy; and the Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise, which advances students’ understanding of the business side of the art world. 

“Bridging the arts and business is a nontraditional marriage that isn't happening frequently across the country. It's not happening often in many places of higher education,” says Crum. “The Barnett Center is an innovative program that makes that bridge for students. [Donors] funding the Barnett Center allow that to continue to happen.”