Point of Pride?

I don’t wear the garb.

I don’t have a bracket on my license plate that says it.

However, when you come to my desk at WTAE, it doesn’t take long to figure out where I went to school. My mouse pad has the retro logo of my school, Ohio University.

I’m a graduate of the Athens-based school, circa 1989. I studied in the school’s Honors Tutorial College and graduated in three years summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in communications.

Despite the excitement, growth and new programs at my alma mater, when people talk about Ohio University two things come to the forefront. First, everybody gets my school confused with Ohio State. That drives me absolutely nuts ( to begin with, our colors are green and white and out football team hasn’t won even a conference title since 1969 ).

The second thing that comes up when my school is mentioned is Princeton. Not that Ohio University, despite its remarkably successful programs, will ever be confused with the Ivy league school. No, the Princeton connection comes from a list that the Princeton released each year ranking schools based on various criteria. The most popular rankings? The party school list.

The list makes every newscast and talk show nationwide … and guess which school always makes the list? That’s right, Ohio University.

Sure we have made party lists before. Some years,we topped the charts of the Playboy magazine party school poll. One year, we were even left off the charts only to learn later that Playboy singled us out by refusing to rank the “professionals” with the “amateurs”. Still, it’s the Princeton list that has cemented my school’s rep as party central.

Should I be proud of this? Perhaps. After all, it puts Ohio’s name in national circles beyond our other prominent connection. NBC’s Matt Lauer graduated from my alma mater. They say there is no such thing as bad publicity and if this annual list puts Ohio University on the national radar, then that’s a good thing.

At the same time, while there is a great party atmosphere at Ohio, there is much more to this little gem in the middle of nowhere than drinking. It’s an international campus with more than 10% of the enrollment coming fron outside the U.S. It’s become a education leader in the world of journalism, osteopathic medicine and sports business. The Honors Tutorial College, where I graduated from, is the only program in the nation based on the tutorial form of education created at Oxford University.

So how should I take the news of being one of America’s top party schools? Probably the same way most parents take the news that thier son or daughter has become a heavy metal rock star. At least they succeeded in their field of endeavor and we still love then, even if the choice was not one they would have made.

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