Happy Presidents Day

Today is Presidents Day. I would have probably forgotten all about it if my children didn’t have the day off from school, the mail didn’t show up, and the sales circulars didn’t tout Presidents Day Specials. While some may use this day to reflect on our lineup of U.S. presidents, I started to think about Ohio State’s presidents, especially President Gee.

I already have one degree with President Gee’s signature upon it, and I’m looking forward to earning another one next June. While many students may have more than one degree with his signature, mine will span both of his tenures.

As an undergraduate student in the early ’90s, I had a student position in the Office of Academic Affairs in Bricker Hall. There was only one step closer to the center of the university, and that was next door in President Gee’s office. Each day as I walked up the staircase I would peek around to see if he was in the building. I’d like to say he walked into the copy room one day and started chatting me up about classes. That never happened. I’m sure he was much too busy to be lurking around for students to make copies with. I did, however, get to assist Dr. Sisson, who became the interim president after Dr. Gee left us for the Ivy league. Like most students at the time, I was sad to see Gee go, and I never expected that he would return. After a couple of less-dynamic presidents (Kerwin and Holbrook), Gee returned to his beloved Buckeyes, and we welcomed him warmly.

What is it about this president that makes him so likable? I think he straddles the line of being an academics’ academic while having enough humor and character to interact with students on a personal level. There is little doubt that he is an advocate for Ohio State. Through the years Dr. Gee has helped transform Ohio State into a Center of Excellence, able to compete with the best that American education has to offer. It’s fair to say that he is to the university what Jack Hanna is to the Columbus Zoo: the public face of an organization that is made better with his presence.

Our campus is sprinkled with buildings named after the great presidents (Enarson Hall, William Oxley Thompson Library, Orton Hall, The Fawcett Center, among others), and I have no doubt that Gee’s name will be on a building one day. For now, though, I’m glad we still have the bow-tied one among us. Happy Presidents Day, Dr. Gee!

Home Sick (w/ bonus zucchini bread recipe)

I’m sure some of you, when you first read the title of this blog thing that I miss home. However, it means that I am literally sick at home. This is going to be a short blog due to the fact that I am still sick.

Monday, I left OSU work early because I suddenly didn’t feel well at all. After making zucchini bread (which is delicious by the way), I went straight to bed, and Tuesday morning woke up feeling like a semi had just ran over me. After calling in sick, Benjamin says “well you sure don’t sound like it’s going to be difficult for them to believe you’re sick”. That, of course, made me feel so much better. Tuesday night, I decided to try to see if I felt well enough to make some salsa with the veggies out of my in-laws’ gardens. The salsa, like the zucchini bread, is also amazing – and I forgot to mention the zucchini was home grown as well. Wednesday morning arrived and feeling just as horrible as Tuesday, I crawled onto the couch and camped out all day.

Good news is, I caught up on my reading. Bad news is I missed the interviews I scheduled last week. I know I wasn’t on the interview board, but it still would have been really great experience to see the entire process. Additionally, I missed a visit to the plant by a very special guest today…none other than Dr. E. Gordon Gee himself! Dr. Gee and I – we’re almost on first name basis. Seriously! When I was in the marching band, he knew my name, but it’s been a few years and we haven’t had as frequent contact as before. See the picture below. I’m just to the right of Dr. Gee in the picture. That’s at the Fiesta Bowl practice in January 2009.

Singing Carmen Ohio with Dr. Gee

And finally, so that you all can have something to do the next time you’re home sick, I leave you with one of the two recipes which got me through my hopefully ending sickness. Happy cooking!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Weight Watcher Friendly)
2 C sugar
3/4 C Egg Substitute
1/3 C Canola Oil
2 T Water
1 T Vanilla Extract
2 1/2 C Shredded Zucchini
2 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
1/2 C Unsweetened Cocoa
1 t Baking Soda
1 t Ground Cinnamon
1/4 t Baking Powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat 2-4×8″ loaf pans with nonstick spray
In medium bowl, use an electric mixer and beat sugar, egg substitute, oil, water and vanilla at medium speed
Stir in zucchini
Add dry ingredients and stir until moistened; divide batter between pans
Bake until toothpick comes out clean
Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes
Remove loaves from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack
This recipe freezes well