College Changes, College Stays The Same

IMG_4785Yesterday I attended an excellent “On The Road” presentation by the Ohioana Library Association.  It focused on the history of the Ohio State University and included a trip to the recently renovated William Oxley Thompson Library at the apex of the Oval in the heart of the OSU campus.

Our visit coincided with move-in day for students.  When I looked into the beautiful reading room at the library, pictured above, I was surprised to see a number of students reading and working, even though classes have not begun.  Wow, I thought — college really has changed a lot since I got my degree so long ago.

Then we got back onto our bus and drove back to Ohioana, and on the way we passed some off-campus housing where three shirtless guys — one of whom nevertheless wore a tie — were drinking beer in front of a hand-painted bedsheet sign that read “Daughter Drop-Off.”  A block or so later we passed a big keg party featured people dancing on the roof of a porch.  So . . . maybe college hasn’t changed that much after all.

A plug for the Ohioana On The Road programs:  they’re great.  You can get more information about them here.

Learning About The House That Chic (And Howard) Built

Ohio Stadium, also known as the Horseshoe, is one of the most famous football stadiums in the land.  But who built that cavernous concrete edifice on the banks of the Olentangy River — literally and figuratively?

IMG_1827If you are a Buckeyes fan, you probably know the name of the figurative architect.  It’s Charles William “Chic” Harley, the great player who put Ohio State on the national gridiron map and started the quasi-religion that is Ohio State football.  Harley could run, pass, punt, and kick field goals and extra points, and he led Ohio State to its first undefeated season in 1916.  With Harley leading the way, Ohio State football became so popular that the Buckeyes outgrew their existing field and needed to look at a new — and much larger — home.

Which brings us to the literal architect, whose name was Howard Dwight Smith.  He not only designed Ohio Stadium, and won a gold medal for public building design from the American Institute of Architects in the process, he also oversaw the construction of St. John Arena and French Field House, which are other, well-known campus landmarks.

Want to learn more about these two legends of the Ohio State campus?  You can get ready for the Ohio State football season by signing up for a timely On the Road with Ohioana presentation on August 17.  The program will feature a tour of these and other campus landmarks, including the newly restored William Oxley Thompson Library, as well as remarks from OSU professor emeritus Raimond Goerler and Columbus Dispatch sportswriter Bob Hunter, the author of Chic and other books about Ohio State.  I’m pumped about the chance to learn a little bit more about my alma mater and my team and to support the Ohioana Library Association in the process.  If you’re interested in joining me, you can sign up here.  At only $35 for a four-hour tour and program, it’s a real Buckeye Bargain!