July 2020

Congratulations, graduates! Approximately 1,600 Ohio State graduates will be honored during a virtual summer commencement ceremony on Aug. 9. A program featuring messages from graduates, deans and other university leaders from across all campuses will precede the ceremony, and both events can be viewed via livestream. Buckeye basketball great Michael Redd, an Olympic gold medalist and 2015 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, will serve as the commencement speaker.

Focus on racial justice. The university shared details of the Task Force on Racism and Racial Inequities, charged with proposing tangible recommendations to create a more equitable, healthy, supportive and nurturing community. Ohio State also established a $1 million seed fund for research and creative work aimed at helping to better understand and eliminate racism, while the Wexner Medical Center and health sciences colleges developed an action plan to address racism as a social determinant of health.

National leadership. Ohio State Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers has been invited to join Beta Theta Pi fraternity’s national headquarters’ Commission on Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity. The commission aims to create future-focused strategies and guiding principles for the national organization and its chapters. For more on the ways that Ohio State is helping to foster meaningful change, the Focus on Racial Justice website serves as a clearinghouse for information and resources.

Buckeye generosity. An Ohio State professor emerita and alumna has committed $7.5 million from her charitable fund with The Columbus Foundation to the College of Education and Human Ecology — the largest philanthropic contribution made by an individual or foundation in the college’s history. The gift, from Dr. Gay Su Pinnell, will support an endowed professorship in reading, the first endowed clinical professorship at Ohio State, also for reading, and funds for literacy education.

Research and creative expression. Signals sent and received from cell phone microphones and speakers could help warn people when they have been near someone who has contracted COVID-19, university researchers say. And a renowned artist’s work based on touch brings new perspective in a time of physical distancing. These are just a few examples of how Ohio State scientists and artists are responding to COVID-19 while advancing the university’s research and creative expression mission.