I came to Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) in September 1972 never having traveled far beyond my urban home of Cleveland, Ohio. I met people from parts of the country and from backgrounds I knew little about. What was a prep school? What were Red Bank, New Jersey; Washington, DC; and Hartford, Connecticut, really like? I had never heard of Martha’s Vineyard until I met a friend who grew up there and calmly explained that the Kennedys hung out there.
I went to college with kids who were the sons and daughters of presidential advisors, attorneys general, and federal judges. It was an eye-opening experience for this public school student. My world view expanded at what we used to call the “Ivy League of the Midwest.”
I found my career at Ohio Wesleyan, and I am certain I would not be the top editor of a major U.S. newspaper had I not gone there.
The great thing about Ohio Wesleyan was its intimacy. I could take in everything. My professors attended events at the student union and worked out next to me at Edwards Gym. My work-study job exposed me to students outside my emerging clique. My dorm mates introduced me to better study habits and extra-curricular activities—like Frisbee throwing!
I dabbled in a number of disciplines. I sampled a rich menu of religion, sociology, psychology, economics, and astronomy courses before settling on journalism. Outside of the classroom, I engaged in the issues of our times, participating in protests on campus and learning negotiating skills across the table from top administrators of the university. Our leaders encouraged that level of engagement. And I am grateful.
I found my career at Ohio Wesleyan, and I am certain I would not be the top editor of a major U.S. newspaper had I not gone there. The school is revered for its professors, and I had one of the best in Verne Edwards (he also was my advisor). What I loved most about him was his real world experience as a journalist. He was demanding, but at the same time he encouraged us to question authority. One of my fondest memories is arguing with him about an answer on a pop quiz. Upon deeper research, he learned I was right and apologized in front of the class. That kind of accountability stays with you in life.
I have a deep love of this institution (and I am proud to have served on the board of trustees). I would tell any prospective student or parent that if you want to see a young person flower, OWU is the place to be. If you want to see a young person experience and benefit from diversity, come to OWU. If you want to see a young person embrace learning for life, this is the place for them. I know it was right for me.