Across the College Green
A Nobel honor
The Ohio University community — and alumni around the globe — celebrated the October announcement that alumnus Venkatraman "Venki" Ramakrishnan, PHD ’76, had received a 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the function of ribosomes.
Ramakrishnan earned his doctorate degree from Ohio University’s graduate physics program with a dissertation on theoretical solid-state physics supervised by Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy Tomoyasu Tanaka.
After completing his doctorate, Ramakrishnan shifted his research to emphasize biochemistry and molecular biology. He studies the function of ribosomes at the atomic level, including how they bind with antibiotics.
"We’re very proud to have an alumnus receive a Nobel Prize," says Joseph Shields, chair and professor of Ohio University’s department of physics and astronomy. "It’s a great honor."
Currently, Ramakrishnan leads a research group at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England.
Happy 40th birthday, Alden Library!
1. Alden Library, named after President Emeritus Vernon R. Alden, celebrated 40 years of service with a rededication ceremony May 15.
2. On its inauguration day, the library held 550,000 volumes, which had been moved by staff, students and community members from Chubb Hall across College Green.
3. On Aug. 26, 1971, the library became the first in the world to catalog a book online through the Ohio College Library Center database. ALICE was adopted as an online catalog system in 1983.
4.Today, the library has collected more than 3 million volumes, 46,000 maps and more than 36,000 films, videos and DVDs.
5. The facility ranks among the top 100 research libraries in North America and has reported approximately 6,400 entrances in a day when classes are in session.
Alumni support enhances
university’s academic mission
When our nation faces challenges, when economies lag, when giving back becomes difficult, Ohio University alumni continue to make their alma mater a priority. Private support provides the margin of excellence at Ohio University, making possible the scholarships, research and innovative programs that set the university apart from its peers. It is vital to success.
In fiscal year 2009, more than 27,000 alumni and friends made gifts through The Ohio University Foundation totaling $24.2 million and surpassing a $20 million goal. More than 96 percent of this support was directed toward academic programs and scholarships.
"This broad base of support for our academic mission demonstrates the deep commitment and loyalty of our supporters to Ohio University," says Howard R. Lipman, vice president of University Advancement and president and CEO of The Ohio University Foundation.
All the right notes
The Leading Tones weren’t expecting much more than a couple of hits from an anonymous audience when they put their cover of singer-songwriter Ben Folds’ "Brick" on YouTube.
Instead of a few hits, however, the Ohio University men’s a cappella group ended up recording the song for a surprising and well-known audience — Folds himself. After discovering the cover of "Brick" on YouTube, Folds came to Athens last December to record The Leading Tones live at the recital auditorium in Robert Glidden Hall. The song — arranged by Brian Powers, BMUS ’08, a founding member of The Leading Tones — appears on Folds’ "Ben Folds Presents: University a Cappella!" Released in April, the album showcases a cappella groups from around the country.
Since the album’s release, the group has been asked to perform at a number of Folds concerts, including an October performance in Columbus. "Leading Tones has really blossomed this whole year, due partly to the Ben Folds CD," says junior bass singer Benjamin Prater.
("Brick" as performed by The Ohio University Leading Tones and arranged by Brian Powers; Ohio University School of Music’s Recital Hall)
A Bobcat welcome
On July 1, the university welcomed its new executive vice president and provost, Pam Benoit. The former vice provost and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Missouri, Benoit spent her first day touring the campus and learning about its history. Now that she’s settled into her work, Ohio Today asked her to share a newcomer’s viewpoint on what makes Ohio University unique.
What were some of your first impressions of Ohio University?
One of the first things that I did was to participate in Bobcat Student Orientation. So my first impressions were of how passionate our faculty and staff were in helping students get off to a good start and how excited incoming students were about being here.
What are your favorite places on campus and in Athens?
With six campuses there’s a lot to choose from in the way of special places and vistas. I enjoy the College Green, the covered bridges at Lancaster, Alden Library, the view across the valley at Eastern and the Wolfe Garden behind Cutler Hall — my office overlooks it. In Athens, my favorite place is the Saturday Farmers Market. Starting the weekend with a bag of local apples and an armful of beautiful flowers ... does it get much better than that?
What activities on campus have you attended and enjoyed?
I’ve been at Ohio University 123 days, and I’d estimate that I’ve attended about 370 different events and activities in Athens, on the regional campuses and around the state. I’ve enjoyed the variety and how each has taught me something new about the university.
What was your reaction to the recent Homecoming festivities?
I loved the "hominess." At some universities, the homecoming part gets lost in the hoopla and hustle. Not here.
What makes a university great?
The degree of dedication to students. If student success is your core, there are no limits to what you can accomplish as a university.
What sets Ohio University apart from other universities you know well?
How tightly it is tied to the concept of community. The belief in community is very deep at Ohio University, and it seems to be the lifeblood of our success.
First year, fresh start
Since 2006, the number of students participating in Ohio University learning communities has more than doubled, and the program’s success has had a direct effect on student achievement. Involvement directly correlates to participants’ higher GPAs, enhanced engagement and increased retention.
Treasure trove of items
The School of Art and Kennedy Museum of Art collaborated on the fall exhibition "Collections Collected," which displayed a range of objects chosen from university departmental collections and the Athens community. The items were displayed in unusual ways to inspire new views of familiar, and not so familiar, objects.
E.T. e-mails home?
Researchers and students from the Scripps College of Communication and Russ College of Engineering and Technology have partnered with NASA Jet Propulsion Lab to develop guidelines for new software called Delay Tolerant Networking. Dubbed the "interplanetary Internet," DTN will send information to spacecraft.
Ohio in the rankings
Ohio University improved its standing as a top national university in the Best College rankings for U.S. News and World Report. Ohio University continues to be one of Ohio's top public universities, placing 57th among ranked public national universities.
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