My wife, Maryjane, and I were both surprised—but thrilled—when our son Jackson decided four years ago to attend Ohio Wesleyan. Jackson has always liked to find his own path; we didn’t expect his would be the same one we had taken decades earlier.
We are both members of the class of 1983. Although we spent the same four years at OWU, we didn’t actually meet until our last two weeks on campus, at a party at the Brown Jug to celebrate hitting our senior class gift goal (which funded the patio between Hamilton-Williams and the Mowry Alumni Center).
OWU was the perfect choice for me, allowing me to study economic management, history, and political science. It even gave me my first job: as assistant director of annual giving, which allowed me to travel and meet lots of my fellow alumni while Maryjane and I lived in a house on N. Sandusky Street.
Professors Richard W. Smith (history) and Uwe J. Woltemade (economics) had tremendous influence on me, and Donna Burtch ’76 (my first-ever boss) is still the best boss I’ve ever had.
Maryjane followed her sister Marilyn Miller ’76 to OWU. Maryjane enrolled in botany her freshman year to get it out of the way, and now works at the Missouri Botanical Garden, proofreading botanical manuscripts. She has fond memories of many, many (many!) hours at the Pi Phi house and watching Luke and Laura get married on General Hospital, along with scads of other women in the Hayes TV room.
And now, in just a few short weeks, our family will close another chapter at OWU as Jackson graduates.
The choice he made to attend OWU—without any pushing from us, we swear—was the absolute perfect one for him. We are grateful to the entire OWU community for providing such a great foundation for Jackson—incredible opportunities for him to check out, plug into, participate in, and learn from.
Jackson immediately hit the ground running in his first days at OWU, and he never stopped. He’s been able to major in two areas of great interest to him: geography and history. I know he’s been challenged and enriched, as well as made many contacts in his field for potential postgraduate employment.
In addition to his rigorous academics and full social life, Jackson has worked all four years: as a student caller for the OWU Phonathon; overnight host for prospective students; intern for a historical Web map project; and editorial assistant at The Historian, one of the largest professional history journals in the world.
Our son has volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, the Delaware County Historical Society, various projects for his fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi, and participated in two OWU spring break service trips—and was a leader of one of them.
Jackson participated in two Travel-Learning Courses—one to Argentina and one to South Africa; he went to South Korea with the Geography Department in May 2016 to study sustainability and waste management; he studied abroad in the fall of 2015 at the University of Cork in Ireland and also managed to visit the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Tunisia, Italy, and Malta that semester. During his winter break this year, he traveled to Aysén, Chile, with three other students and two OWU faculty members to study environmental conservation.
I’m exhausted just thinking of the above—and I did this by memory, so I’m sure I’ve missed a lot. It’s hard not to brag—not just about our son, but about our alma mater. The opportunities available at OWU for Jackson to reach out and grab are impressive.
We hope that he will continue to pack as much as possible into what remains of his time on campus. As my wife and I know well, a lot can happen in your last two weeks at OWU.
– Clark Hotaling ’83