Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ohio University Pride

I have always been proud of my roots with my alma mater Ohio University. I am not talking about Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. I am talking about Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Two different colleges. Ohio State has about 70,000+ students. Ohio University has 18,000+ students.

Ohio State is like a city. Ohio University is referred to as the Harvard on the Hocking. It is nestled in the foothills and beauty of southeast Ohio along the Hocking River. The college makes the town for the most part. The campus is big but overall the school feels small.

I fell in love with the place the instant we crested the hill on highway 33 and there before me lie the campus along the river. The beautiful buildings, hills, river and greenery! It was a sight.

I often brag to my husband of my incredible professors and their history before becoming a professor at OU. My very first college class ever was Visual Communications Overview. It was to be taught by 5 different professors. Each teaching their speciality for 2 weeks of the 10 week quarter. The first professor I encountered in my college career was a former National Geograpic photographer who told us a story of a photography lighting invention back in the day and ended with "Does anyone know who invented that technique? [no answer] Well, he is standing right here in front of you about to teach this class for the next two weeks." I was proud!

My college advisor assigned to me for the next four years spent 20 years as a Media Buyer for Kraft Foods - and she was black. Which means a lot since her career with Kraft started in the early 70s. She was forerunner as a black woman and in her industry. She bestowed upon me four years of advice and wisdom I still treasure today. Even treated me like her own daughter. She would tell me to stop curling my hair when I talked to her. She would tell me to sit up straight! She was a great friend. She had me over for dinner like many of her other students and advisees. Both times she made a feast and we shared life stories. She even invited my dad one time when he was picking me up before holiday break. Those two ate and drank wine and laughed a lot. It was nice to watch. And for graduation she gave me a brand new mattress set. I had been telling her about my search for an inexpensive mattress set since I had landed a job and was getting my own apartment. She told me to swing by her house with the UHaul on my way out of town. I did. And out from her house came a queen mattress set still in the plastic that she said she bought on a whim one day. To this day I wonder how true that story is?

I can't remember all their names and what all they accomplished. But I know many a professor I was taught by had a great history and life experience to share with us. To a naive midwestern girl from Toledo Ohio that meant the world to me. I absorbed it all!

And sometimes it is not until now when I read the OU Alumni magazine that I learn about a professor I had and what they did prior to teaching me. Amazing.

This morning over coffee I was reading my summer 2009 issue of Ohio Today, a magazine for Alumni. I always amazed at what I learn about my alma mater and it's students or alumni when I read this magazine.

Today I learned two new things that made me stop and note to my husband sitting nearby and smile with pride!

First, I was reading about a professor of graphic design I had for one of my early graphic design classes. There was a photo of her from back in the day standing with 3 little girls - one of whom was Sarah Jessica Parker who was born and raised in the area. If you attended OU you were usually aware of any tie to fame the school or area had. I was not aware of this one.

Second, I recently found a blog that I just love and think is funny and clever. I have even posted links to blog posts for this blog on Facebook because I felt they were worth sharing. Lo and behold I flip the page of my OU mag and there is an article about Jessica Hagy, highly-acclaimed blog owner of ThisIsIndexed.com. [More pride!]

Other ties with fame that I am aware of:
1. Piper Parebo (who actually attended OU during my 4 years there - Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Cheaper by the Dozen, Coyote Ugly)
2. Matt Lauer (Today Show)
3. Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)

Ohio University didn't cost me a fortune to attend. But it gave me a fortune of experience and knowledge to take with me for the rest of my life. It was the best choice I ever made and there isn't any part of those 4 years that I would take back!