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Letters to the Editor

Ohio State Alumni Magazine welcomes readers to continue the conversations started in stories that appear online or in the magazine’s quarterly print edition. Letters selected for publication typically address topics raised in the magazine, although the editor sometimes makes exceptions. We edit submissions for space, clarity, accuracy and civility. Letters convey the opinions of the writers, not those of members of the magazine team, alumni association staff or university community.

Submit your letter at the bottom of this page.

  • Patrice Palmer and the Morgans are inspiring

    I want to thank you for the outstanding Winter 2023 issue of Ohio State Alumni Magazine.

    My husband, Frank Dwight Stobbs ’57, died December 5, 2023, at age 89. He worked for Ohio State for some years, and then in rescuing companies from difficulties, and I feel sure that the business courses he took at Ohio State helped him to be a very good businessman. 

    I graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1960 and taught first grade for years. We married in 1964 and had three wonderful children. We had been married for 59 years.

    Dwight received your magazine for years, and I always gave it a cursory reading. However, this issue I read from cover to cover, enjoyed it very much and found it interesting and inspiring.  

    My two favorite articles were the ones about Patrice Palmer ’99 and the barn rescue work of Doug Morgan ’82 JD and Beth Morgan ’79. The article about Patrice Palmer was especially inspiring to me. She has had an incredible life and continues to live it very well. I was happy to read about old barns being saved.

    Elizabeth S. Stobbs
    Black Mountain, North Carolina
  • A forever foursome shares many of life’s milestones

    It was a group project in the fall of 1985 that brought the four of us together. We had been accepted into the EPIC teacher education program in what is now the College of Education and Human Ecology.

    Our class of 30 met at a farm northeast of Columbus to get to know one another prior to the start of the yearlong experience. 

    We were grouped together for an assignment and created a nature painting and a poem that day. We became inseparable throughout that year, spending time together inside and outside Arps Hall.

    After graduation, we went off in different directions to begin our careers. Yet we came together for each other’s weddings, the weddings of our children and baby showers for grandchildren. We have comforted each other through illness and death.

    For nearly 40 years, Jayne Carpenter Smith ’86, Cindy Corcoran Smith ’86, Karen Glesser Hammel ’86 and I have passed around that nature painting and poem. Even in group text, I can hear their voices and laughter.

    Cathy Wilson Witchey ’86, ’90 MA
    Dublin, Ohio
  • This proud swimmer also is a happy reader

    Thank you for bringing a variety of sports into the spotlight. I was on Ohio State’s varsity synchronized swimming team from 2010 to 2014. Those were the best years of my life and helped shape me to be the person I am today. I’m forever proud to be a Buckeye.

    Only when our years in Ohio State athletics are over do we truly appreciate and fathom how lucky we were to be a part of something so great. It was always surreal hearing the campus tours go by the pool: The tour guides would always share that synchronized swimming has more national championship titles than any other Ohio State sport. That’s something only a Buckeye would know!

    Editor’s note: Stay tuned in for our summer issue, which will include a story on the synchronized swimming team.

    Natalie Gaylard ’14
    Wake Forest, North Carolina
  • Block O essay prompts memories of cheer

    I enjoyed very much Michael Shmarak’s take on Block O.

    I had the fortune to meet Clancy A. Isaac Jr. ’39 during my senior year at Ohio State. I was a member of Nu Chapter of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. Clancy also was a ZBT member and came to the fraternity house before the homecoming game.

    A very high-energy person who really loved the university, Clancy did a cheer for us and then off he went to the game to root for the team that won a national championship following the 1968 regular season.

    Howard Burnett ’69
  • Essay recalls the fun of flashing (cards!)

    At the age of 90, I was thankful and  surprised to see Michael Shmarak’s story about Block O. The article truly brought a smile to my face.

    As a member of the class of 1955, I was in Block O. I fondly remember the fun we had flashing cards.

    I love Ohio State Alumni Magazine and am proud to be a Buckeye here in Hawaii.

    Frances Ebstein Shapiro ’55, ’55
    Pahoa, Hawaii
  • Story on NIL prompts call for remedies

    Having played football at Ohio State in the late 1960s, then going on to coach college football for 12 years, I’m taking real exception to what is happening in college athletics. 

    In reading the winter issue article titled “A primer on athlete pay,” [the web version of the story is “Got questions on student-athlete pay? He has answers”] I am reminded of the expression about putting lipstick on a pig. “It’s still a pig.”

    What is happening in college athletics is going to kill the game as we know it. The NIL, transfer portal, league restructuring  —  the status of college athletics has been sold out. It is no longer “amateur” athletics. The NCAA is a joke, and the college leagues have just rolled over backwards to accommodate it. What a shame!

    Tom Backhus ’70, Varsity “O” Football ’67, ’68, ’69
    Paonia, Colorado
  • Story on NIL prompts shoutout

    Your winter issue marked the first time I have read an article on NIL. As an Ohio State grad and football season ticket holder since 1969, I have been curious as to how the NIL system works, how it is regulated and how it helps students and the university. Thanks for an article that explains it well enough without getting too deeply into the details.

    Patrick Stephan ’73
    Uxbridge, Massachusetts
  • Professor made his mark with high expectations

    Many responding to your “hardest class” inquiry seem to interpret the question as seeking the most unpleasant academic experience they had at Ohio State.

    The hardest class I took as an undergrad was the late Professor Matthew J. Bruccoli’s American Literature course. The reading load was daunting, and Professor Bruccoli was a hard taskmaster. He told us that Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn because “he needed the money.” Justifiably, he wrote on one of my papers, “Stop trying to be so damn clever!” 

    I learned lessons about writing from Professor Bruccoli that I have used for a lifetime.

    A University of Virginia graduate, Professor Bruccoli wrote a letter of recommendation for my application to the UVA law school. I was waitlisted and ultimately not accepted. Though I had a strong undergraduate resumé, I felt Professor Bruccoli must have written a great letter to even get me waitlisted at UVA, a top five law school at the time.

    Things turn out for the best, however. I earned my law degree from Ohio State, where I met my mentor, Professor of Criminal Law Lawrence Herman. He encouraged me to become a career litigator and was my brilliant coach on the National Moot Court team.

    When Professor Bruccoli passed away, he had become such a famous scholar that his death merited articles in The New York Times and The Cleveland Plain Dealer. After seven years at Ohio State, he moved on to the University of South Carolina, where he taught nearly 40 years and wrote more than 50 books, most notably biographies of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.

    Thank you, Professors Bruccoli and Herman. And thank you, Ohio State.

    William B. Leahy BA ’65, JD ’68
    Shaker Heights, Ohio
  • Marching band was the community she needed

    I was a young woman from a small town when I began my college years at Ohio State in fall 1974. The campus seemed huge and full of anonymous faces. I had never spent time in a big city, and my dorm room was in Taylor Tower, where many students resided. It would have been easy for me to become lost on such a large campus, unable to feel a part of it. It was The Ohio State University Marching Band that provided the connection I needed.

    A piano major and trombone minor in the School of Music, I was fortunate to win a spot as a trombonist in the highly competitive marching band, which had added women just one year before I tried out. It was hard work, with many hours spent in marching practice, memorizing music, studying charts to learn the drills and formations, and traveling to away games and the four bowl games we attended during those years. The comradery and friendship were huge for me.

    Through all the years since that time, I’ve held onto my marching band jacket. It reminds me of all those hours with fellow band members and our deep bonds. While walking on campus past many other students who were nameless faces to me, I was instantly connected with bandmates wearing bright scarlet and gray jackets with colorful patches. The band had 226 members then, and I didn’t know everyone. But even if I didn’t know the name of a student sporting a jacket like mine, we always spoke and smiled, knowing we were members of a group with history and significance. It made me feel part of something larger than myself.

    I’ll always be grateful to Ohio State for providing the opportunity to participate in the marching band, which helped this small-town girl adjust to college and achieve success.

    Jill Steenrod Peters ’78
    Troy, Ohio

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We welcome your letters. Those selected for publication typically address topics raised in Ohio State Alumni Magazine in print or online, although the editor reserves the right to make exceptions.

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