Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Warm, Spring Day in New Concord

Yesterday, Government Relations Director Dustin Holfinger and I visited Muskingum University for a meeting with president Anne Steele and the president of Marietta College, Jean Scott. We made the most of a delayed meeting and had a chance to see what the construction crews have completed over the winter.

When I meet with legislators, the initial connection for most is that John Glenn graduated from there. He did, of course, in the class 1962 after delaying his final classes to serve the country in two wars and the nation's military-air and space programs. His wife Annie ('42) is also a well known alumnae.

In other conversations with state officials, I note that the last two Directors of Natural Resources both graduated. The current Democratic director, Sean Logan ('88), was preceded by Republican Sam Speck ('59), who also happened to precede Dr. Steele as Muskingum president from 1988-99. But even I was surprised at the number and range of notable graduates from what is still a small, rural liberal arts institution. (You can see a less authoritative, but longer, list here.)

Dr. Steele is a genial host and greeted us with pastries from the village's relatively new coffee shop/cafe, Uppity's. Later, she took us to lunch there, and we can't recommend it highly enough.

The highlights of the trip for me were large and small. On the big side, the university's new Otto and Fran Walter Hall Music Building is nearing completion. Situated on the "east campus," it makes a somewhat more modern architectural statement than neighboring Montgomery Hall and Brown Chapel.

More modestly stood a small statuette—an Emmy award. One doesn't typically expect to see that kind of award in a president's office, but Agnes Moorehead ('23) received one in 1964, and it resides with the script for the episode she performed. (And no, it wasn't for Bewitched. It was for an episode of The Wild Wild West.)

A tip of my hat to Dr. Steele for her hospitality on a fine spring day.

—C. Todd Jones