"21st Century Ohio State: Re-Envisioning Our Land Grant Mission"
On Friday, February 19th, we went to the City Club to attend a program titled "21st Century Ohio State: Re-Envisioning Our Land Grant Mission" wherein the speaker was Dr. Michael V. Drake, M.D., the 15th president of the Ohio State University (OSU). We shared a table with Mr. Terry Robinson, formerly an administrator at Cuyahoga Community College who explained to us that the mission of a land-grant university, as set forth in the Morrill Act of 1862, is to focus on the teaching of agriculture, engineering and industrial arts as a response to the industrial revolution and, according to Wikipedia, the "changing social class". During his address, Dr. Drake talked about how OSU is currently meeting such challenges scientifically through such vehicles as its "field to faucet" program to improve water quality, Stone Lab's program aimed at protecting fish and wildlife, and other programs concerning agriculture, community gardening, and food security. Ohio State University is also at the forefront in terms of assisting other countries with their own water issues and addressing the climate change situation. In terms of the medical field, Dr. Drake spoke with great pride about how OSU's cancer center grant, which is up for renewal every five years, was not only recently renewed but OSU was rated an unheard of "10" for conducting quality research and community engagement. Dr. Drake also talked about steps that are being taken to make tuition and college expenses more affordable for low and moderate income students and successful moves to increase student diversity. Along these lines, he mentioned that record numbers of minority students have either applied to or been accepted at OSU. Dr. Drake then described a class that he, himself, teaches for incoming freshman about the civil rights movement and how much he enjoys sharing with them how the arts and music of that era mirrored what was taking place historically. Dr. Drake indicated that he believed that the entire world was interconnected so it is our responsibility to assist others wherever and whenever possible. We asked him about OSU's outreach to international students and Dr. Drake assured us that students from all over the world have applied to OSU. He said that the "best and the brightest" come here and many choose to stay and make lives for themselves here in the United States while others return home and contribute to the economies of their own countries while remaining our friends. Dr. Drake contended (and we wholeheartedly agree) that greater diversity contributes to the learning environment because a more "robust" discussion is generated. For example, he took part in a seminar where our own civil war of the 1860's was discussed and a young person from the Middle East talked about the civil war that was occurring at that time in her own country. When we first arrived at the City Club, we visited for a moment with Ms. Barbara Harris, who serves on the Board of Governors for the OSU Alumni Club of Greater Cleveland. She said that she admired the work of Dr. Drake and was really looking forward to hearing him speak today. Afterwards, we asked her how she liked his presentation and she told us that she thought it was excellent. As we were leaving, we spoke to Mr. Ronald Ratner, member of Ohio State's Board of Trustees, who said that one of the things that he really likes about Dr. Drake is that he speaks with great passion regarding what's going on at OSU and this really helps the university. So, based on what Mr. Robinson told us about land-grant universities (and what we read on Wikipedia) we believe that Ohio States University is doing a fine job of fulfilling its mission particularly under the tenure of Dr. Michael V. Drake, M.D. Written by: Michael Patterson Community Liaison, Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.