Honoring Excellence 2019 Honorees (L-R): Dee Boersma, Vince Doria, Patricia Heaton, Jan Box-Steffensmeier, Gifford Weary, Sabrina Hersi Issa

Alumni and Donor News from the Arts and Sciences

April 2019

Our Arts and Sciences alumni and friends are a constant source of inspiration and pride, and I treasure the opportunities we have to welcome them back to campus, as we did earlier this month at our annual Honoring Excellence dinner. On Friday, April 12, the college came together to recognize our generous supporters and celebrate this year’s distinguished alumni and service award winners, including:

Distinguished Service Award

Gifford Weary, professor emeritus of psychology

Young Alumni Achievement Award

Sabrina Hersi Issa (BA, international studies and women's studies, 2006)

Distinguished Achievement Award

Michael Ansari (BA, political science, 1969)
P. Dee Boersma (PhD, zoology, 1974)
Vince Doria (BA, journalism, 1970)
Patricia Heaton (BA, theatre, 1980)

With 38 departments, it is always difficult to narrow in on just a few of our 205,000+ living alumni each year to honor with these awards. The accomplishments of the individuals honored this year are tangible evidence of the lasting value of an Arts and Sciences education.

See a photo gallery from the evening.

Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier
Interim Executive Dean and Vice Provost
Vernal Riffe Professor of Political Science

In this Issue

100% TBDBITL campaign raises more than $8.6 million for marching band scholarships

100% TBDBITLThrough the concentrated, 18-month 100% TBDBITL campaign, Buckeyes came together to raise more than $8.6 million for marching band student scholarships. With this transformational impact to scholarship endowments for The Best Damn Band in the Land (TBDBITL), The Ohio State University Marching Band’s endowed funds, including future commitments, now total nearly $15 million — more than double what they were at the start of the campaign.

Prior to the campaign, the marching band only had resources to provide about half of its students with partial-tuition scholarships. With new support from 100% TBDBITL, future band students will see greater support than ever before. 

“The Ohio State University Marching Band is one of our most cherished and time-honored treasures,” said Ohio State President Michael V. Drake. “The success of this campaign represents Buckeye Nation’s unique commitment to elevating the academic experience for our talented students and ensuring they have the resources they need to reach their full potential. We are grateful to our alumni, friends and fans for their generous support.”

The 100% TBDBITL campaign was launched in 2017 to recognize the exceptional hard work and determination of Ohio State band students, who commit 20 to 30 hours each week for rehearsals and performances on top of classes and homework. With little time left for jobs or paid internships during the autumn semester, many band students rely on student loans, and TBDBITL misses out on outstanding student-musicians who cannot afford the financial costs of college and marching band. As these students give 100 percent on the field and in the classroom, the 100% TBDBITL campaign was launched with the aspirational goal of providing all band members with some level of scholarship support.

“Every day, I see how tirelessly our band students work, and I know the sacrifices they make to be part of our tradition of excellence,” said Christopher Hoch, director of Marching and Athletic Bands and assistant professor in the School of Music. “Our marching band program is unbelievably blessed to have this unparalleled support from our alumni and fans. Every time we take the field to perform, we hope to do them all proud.”

100% TBDBITL ran from July 2017 through December 2018 and included participation from 2,440 donors, including Ohio State and TBDBITL alumni, friends and fans. To amplify the impact of band scholarship endowments, Ohio State, in perpetuity, will match the annual endowment distribution on gifts made during the campaign to the 100% TBDBITL Endowed Scholarship Fund and on new band scholarship endowments created as part of the campaign (including on multiyear pledges of up to five years) — effectively doubling the impact of endowed scholarship giving.

The honorary co-chairs of the 100% TBDBITL campaign were Jack and Barbara Nicklaus — lifelong Buckeyes and fans of the Ohio State Marching Band. In 2006, Jack became one of the very few non-band members given the opportunity to dot the “i” in Script Ohio in recognition of his longtime commitment to Ohio State.

“The Ohio State Marching Band has always been a big part of the university experience,” said Jack Nicklaus as part of the campaign kickoff. “It is among the many aspects of the Ohio State life that we loved when Barbara and I were students and still cherish decades later. It is a part of the excitement and passion at Ohio State and very much a part of its tradition. The students who make up the Ohio State Marching Band work extremely hard, on and off the field, and now we want to be there for them, and we hope others will join us.”

Alumni and volunteer leadership for the campaign came from the TBDBITL Alumni Club and the 100% TBDBITL volunteer committee. Both groups were dedicated champions for promoting the need to support band students and maximizing opportunities for university matching funds.

“On behalf of the 100% TBDBITL committee, we thank Buckeye Nation for their support of the students who are ‘The Pride of the Buckeyes,’ on the field and in the classroom,” said Alex Nicolozakes '85, '89 MD, a former alto horn member of the band and chair of the volunteer committee.

The 142nd edition of The Ohio State University Marching Band will take the field in Ohio Stadium on Aug. 31 as the Buckeyes take on the Florida Atlantic Owls in the 2019 season opener.

Triplehorn Insect Collection asks public to help label Arctic butterflies

Butterflies are among the many species vulnerable to climate change, with even slight shifts in environment affecting the distribution and flight patterns of certain populations.  

What better butterfly to study these adjustments in than Arctic (Oeneis) butterflies, which live in the harsh and changing Arctic regions they’re named after?

The Triplehorn Insect Collection at Ohio State is asking for the public's help in creating a digital archive of thousands of Arctic butterflies, which were donated in 2015 as part of a larger collection from alumnus David K. Parshall '66. The goal is to image and catalogue detailed data for each specimen.

Arctic (Oeneis) butterflies at the Museum of Biological Diversity

“These species live in this area where changes are going to be happening and are already happening. Are they changing? Are they dying off? Are they moving to different areas?” said Luciana Musetti, curator of the Triplehorn Insect Collection, which is housed at the Museum of Biological Diversity.

Documenting when and where the Oeneis specimens were seen and collected over the years (the oldest is from 1935) will allow for comparison to modern observations.

Anyone can contribute to the project by making an account on Notes from Nature, a citizen science platform partially funded by the National Science Foundation, and navigating to the Arctic butterfly expedition. The museum has created a tutorial on reading, interpreting and entering the specimen data.

The second wave of data entry is complete and there will be two or three additional expeditions, said Musetti, adding that some of the participants are fellow scientists or retirees, while others have little to no knowledge of the field.

“It’s an exciting thing,” she said. “We are extending the knowledge about insect collections and getting new ambassadors for the work that we do by putting this material out there, so the investment of time and money is reverting in that way. It’s a different kind of outreach.”

While investigating the effects of global climate change is one long-term aim of the project, another is creating a database of high-resolution images for entomologists to reference.

“Not only are Oeneis butterflies on the bleeding edge of climate change, but there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of taxonomy and defining the different species and subspecies,” Musetti said.

In 2016, the Oeneis specimens at Ohio State helped confirm scientist Andrew Warren’s theory about the existence of an unclassified butterfly species. The Arctic tanana (Oeneis tanana) had “been hiding in plain sight in museums since at least 1955, masquerading as its relative,” according to a National Geographic article on the discovery, which marked the first new butterfly species identified in Alaska in nearly 30 years.

Discoveries like the Arctic tanana make it important for the museum to be precise and detail-oriented when imaging the butterflies, said Jordan Reynolds, technician and photographer for the Triplehorn Insect Collection and a 2017 alumnus of the Department of Art.

A butterfly specimen ready to be imaged at the Museum of Biological Diversity
A butterfly specimen ready to be imaged at the Museum of Biological Diversity.

“Each final image is composed of 14-16 images, which are stacked together through an algorithm,” said Reynolds, adding that with the help of student staff and volunteers, they can typically image around 16 specimens per hour.

So far, about 5,500 Arctic butterflies have been photographed, with hundreds more to come, Musetti said. The larger Parshall collection contains roughly 100,000 moth and butterfly specimens. Arctic species mainly come from the U.S. and Canada and were collected between 1935-1987.

Sander Flaum: Turning a lifelong passion into a clinical professorship

Sander FlaumRose Flaum taught her son a lesson that stuck with him his entire life — in order to get ahead, he had to work harder and be smarter than the competition.

When he was a child, Sander Flaum ‘58 developed what is commonly referred to as a stutter — a speech fluency disorder that affects more than 70 million people worldwide. In the first half of the twentieth century, little research or clinical assistance was available for early intervention to treat fluency disorders — so Flaum persisted, living by his mother’s advice, repeating her words like a mantra.

He graduated from high school at the age of sixteen and left Brooklyn with the hope of playing baseball at The Ohio State University. Though he gave up baseball shortly after he enrolled, Flaum did not give up his interest in his studies.

In spite of his stutter, his intellect and drive led Flaum to becoming the business manager of the Sundial Humor Magazine. He also helped publish the annual Makio, and pledged into Phi Epsilon Pi (now Zeta Beta Tau) fraternity. He graduated in 1958 with his bachelor’s degree in psychology.

The time he spent managing publications at Ohio State and learning about the psychological forces that influence consumers prepared him for a lifelong career in marketing. He was appointed director of product management at Lederle Laboratories (later acquired by Pfizer) and then became chairman and CEO of Euro RSCG Life Becker (now Havas Life). He now runs his own company, Flaum Navigators. He has authored four books on leadership — one of which he wrote with his son — and is currently the host of Leader’s Edge, a weekly show on public access radio.

Over the years, Flaum learned new skills, earned multiple degrees and took on new roles. Through all of this, however, Flaum remained disfluent. It wasn’t until his thirties that he sought speech therapy at the Hollins Communications Research Institute, a rigorous three week camp that promotes fluency and seeks to end stuttering. During his stay, he worked day and night to become a confident speaker. The experience was so life-changing that it gave him a new purpose — helping others overcome speech fluency disorders.

To accomplish this, in 2009, Flaum and his late wife, Mechele, created the Rose Flaum Foundation, through which they support organizations that spread awareness and treatment for stuttering. When he learned that Ohio State’s Department of Speech and Hearing Science has a clinic that provides cost-effective services to all individuals with communication difficulties — students and community members alike — Flaum knew he wanted to assist their efforts, so he and Mechele created the Flaum Stuttering Enrichment Fund, which supports clinical services for Ohio State students who stutter.

In 2016, the Flaums, through their foundation, committed to fund a full-time position in the Department of Speech and Hearing dedicated to addressing fluency through teaching, research, and service. This past February, the Board of Trustees recognized the Flaums for their generosity by formally establishing the Sander and Mechele Flaum Designated Professorship in Fluency — the second designated professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Bridget Chapman, clinical assistant professor in the department, was appointed to the position in 2017 and has, in her short tenure, managed to increase the program’s clientele and expand outreach into the greater Columbus community and beyond.

To see a small glimpse of the impact of the Flaums’ support, one only needs to look at enrollment numbers. In 2017, 13 clients benefited from the fluency program in a total of 112 therapy sessions. In 2018, the number of clients increased to 41, across 280 therapy sessions. Additionally, the program has helped 13 graduate students specializing in fluency to garner hands-on clinical experience.

Although a majority of clientele are students referred through the Office of Student Life, treatment at the clinic is open to the public. Many of the younger clients are referred from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and local school districts. Chapman also spends much of her time doing community presentations throughout central Ohio.

The extent to which the department can now engage with the community and offer clinical experience to graduate students would not be as broad without the generosity of the Flaums and their foundation.

“Sander and Mechele’s gift has enabled people of all ages who stutter to access the help they need when they might not be able to otherwise,” says Chapman. “Sander is not only enhancing the treatment of fluency disorders locally, but he has extended the reach of Ohio State’s Speech-Language Pathology Program across the country and around the world.”

Dr. Rob Fox, chair of the department echoes Bridget’s sentiments. “Sander’s gift has made a significant difference in terms of our service to the community and the clinical training of our MA-SLP students in the area of fluency disorders,” he says. “His sincere involvement in our program has been extremely valuable to both students and faculty and is very much recognized and appreciated by everyone.”

As a member of several university boards and committees across the university, including the college’s Dean’s Advisory Committee, Flaum travels to campus often. While here, he always sets aside time in his busy schedule to meet with clients, faculty and staff at the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic.

Sander Flaum with speech and hearing faculty and students

Sander Flaum with students and faculty from the Department of Speech and Hearing Science 

Sander Flaum’s lifelong passion for disfluency disorder treatment will remain just as his mother’s words have stuck with him all these years. “When I can help people overcome adversity, I am happy,” he says. “I am happy to be able to give back to Ohio State after all the university did for me as a student.”

Written by Kristin Gonterman, gonterman.3@osu.edu

Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron on Voices of Excellence podcast

Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron recently sat down with the Voices of Excellence from the Arts and Sciences podcast to discuss his work and how Ohio State should be "in the room where it happens" for higher education topics ranging from the student experience to teaching and learning. Listen to the Voices of Excellence podcast to hear McPheron discuss his work with David Staley — available on Soundcloud and iTunes. You can also read select portions of McPheron's conversation, where he discusses the power of an Arts and Sciences education.

Benefit more from your giving

With a charitable gift annuity, you donate cash, appreciated stock or other assets, and The Ohio State University Foundation agrees to pay you (or a designated annuitant) a fixed amount for life. It is a great way to supplement your income and feel secure during retirement. Learn more.


Department of Art Senior Projects Exhibition 
April 16-May 4 
Urban Arts Space, 50 W. Town Street

Ohio State Day at Cedar Point 
May 10, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Cedar Point, One Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, OH

Buckeye Smart: Seeing Bugs Through Another Lens 
May 21, noon to 1 p.m.
Longaberger Alumni House, 2200 Olentangy River Road

Resume Night and Intro to LinkedIn 
May 22, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Longaberger Alumni House, 2200 Olentangy River Road