But For Ohio State, The Class of 1962 Couldn’t Have Celebrated Its 50th Reunion So Well

1962 marked the debut of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Dubliners. That same year, Andy Warhol painted Campbell’s Soup Can. Marvel Comics introduced Spider-Man. Rachel Carson released Silent Spring. The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred. Marilyn Monroe died. Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece were married. Lawrence of Arabia premiered. And my mother graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in education and a primary teaching certificate. 

On June 5, 1962, she received her diploma at Ohio Stadium. 

Last Sunday afternoon, she joined hundreds of her classmates — including several of her fun Bexley friends — at the Ohio Union for their 50th reunion. 

Beginning this year, Homecoming and Reunion Weekend combined into one campus-wide celebration for alumni. While each college had its own events, there were plenty of activities that all returning alumni could attend. On Friday, they could participate in a book discussion about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, take campus tours and join in the Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally. On Saturday, they could tailgate and attend the Ohio State vs. Nebraska game. And on Sunday, the celebration concluded with a special alumni event for the Class of 1962 that was hosted by President Gordon Gee. 

From “Buckeye casual” clothes to table settings, scarlet and gray were everywhere. Watching a slideshow of photographs from the 1962 Makio that played on two large overhead screens, my mother and those sitting at her table wondered whether their fellow classmates — basketball legends John Havlicek, Jerry Lucas and Bobby Knight and accomplished golfer Jack Nicklaus — would be there. 

Baskets of Ohio-grown apples, bottles of apple cider from Grobe Fruit Farm in Elyria, and caramels not only decorated the tables, but also became take-home treats when the party was over. 

Chocolate-covered Ohio State Oreos from Emlolly Candy in Worthington, a special 50th reunion pin, and bookmarks with the words to “Carmen Ohio” and the “Buckeye Battle Cry” were party favors. The Class of 1962 also received a class button as another souvenir of their reunion.

Archie Griffin, president and CEO of the Ohio State Alumni Association, visited each table, posing for photos and welcoming alumni to the 17,389-square-foot Grand Ballroom named in his honor. 

For lunch, the Class of 1962 and their guests feasted on mixed greens with assorted vegetables, cheeses and candied pecans; a wheatberry salad with apples and cranberries; a grilled sweet potato salad; a variety of rolls; tomato bisque soup; pasta; mashed potatoes; roasted vegetables; chicken; salmon and prime rib. Apple crisp, crème brulee cheesecake, cookies and pumpkin mousse topped with gingersnap crumbles were for dessert. 

After lunch, the class enjoyed its own mini-pep rally led by Brutus Buckeye, the Ohio State Marching Band and Ohio State cheerleaders. Buck That!, Ohio State’s all-male a cappella group, sang “Hang On Sloopy,” “My Girl” and “Stand By Me.”

To conclude, President Gordon Gee told the class about the But For Ohio State campaign, in which the university hopes to raise $2.5 billion. 

“What does Ohio State mean to you?,” President Gee asked. For my mother, Ohio State meant the opportunity to achieve a 40-year career as a teacher. But for Ohio State, she couldn’t have taught over 2,300 children how to read, count, write, appreciate music, create art and enjoy physical education.


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