Welcome to the dog days of summer

Did you know that the University’s first unofficial mascot was a dog?  His name was Chris, and he was a performing police dog.  Owned and trained by Richard Armel, then a member of the OSU cheerleading squad, he was introduced in the fall season of 1941 to jump through hoops and perform other tricks at football and basketball games and rallies.

OSU's unofficial mascot, Chris, jumps through a cheerleader's paper drum, 1941

OSU’s unofficial mascot, Chris, jumps through a cheerleader’s paper drum, 1941

Chris barks at the opponent's mascot, 1941

Chris is not impressed by the Pitt Panther mascot, 1941

Chris appeared to have made it through only the fall season at OSU, but he certainly made an impression on the other team mascots. (See above.)

Okay, that’s enough of the history portion of our blog for this week.  Now, let’s see the doggies!

A dog is checked by veterinarians at the OSU Clinic, 1984

A dog is checked by veterinarians at the OSU Clinic, 1984

Student sits on bench on the Oval with two dogs


An OSU vet performs a check-up, 1986

An OSU vet performs a check-up, 1986

OSU Vet School dog wash, 1987

OSU Vet School dog wash, 1987

1987, Dog carries a students backpack for her


Student on rollerblades being pulled along by his dog


Student sitting with a puppy

no date

Posted in Activities, Departments |

WWII hero Don Scott ‘brought great credit to his alma mater’

Don Scott, 1939

Don Scott, 1939

When World War II broke out, many OSU students immediately signed up to join in the fight, suspending their studies for a much greater cause. Probably none of them was more well-known than Don Scott, the archetypical Big Man on Campus.

And here’s why: After entering Ohio State in 1938, Scott participated in baseball, track, basketball, and most notably football. In addition to being on the Players’ All American team for football and the first Big 10 Championship for basketball, Scott was also elected to sophomore, junior and senior Honor Societies as well as being a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

Don Scott, 1941

Don Scott, 1941

After enlisting, by May 1941, Scott, along with other OSU athletes were stationed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for Air Corps Training Detachment. By October, Scott had completed training and had advanced to get his wings and commission in the Army Air Corps. He was eventually promoted to a Captain.

Unfortunately, on October 1, 1943, at the age of 23, Scott was killed in a bomber crash over England. This marked the 100th alumnus or former student to give his life in World War II. One week after his death, on October 8, his wife gave birth to their child, Don Sands Scott.

Meanwhile, in the spring of 1942, the U.S. Navy leased Port Columbus to train its pilots. At the time, OSU was using Port Columbus for its own civilian pilot training program, and the Navy’s lease would pretty much have doomed OSU’s program to failure. However, OSU Prof. Karl W. Stinson, a lieutenant in the Air Corps of World War I and a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering went to then-OSU Pres. Howard Bevis with an idea: Build an OSU airport.

President Bevis and Carl Steeb, then-University Business Manager, considered the idea, liked it, and found $100,000 for the project. Stinson himself scouted the nearby then-countryside, and found a flat portion of land near what is now Sawmill Road. Ohio State purchased 385 acres (larger than Port Columbus), and set about building a hangar, runways and fences.

Don Scott Field, 1949

Don Scott Field, 1949

Soon after Scott’s death, President Bevis presented a resolution to the Board of Trustees that read, in part:

[Scott] was one of the nation’s great athletes; he was a sportsman in the finest sense of that term; he was a thorough gentleman, beloved by all who knew him; his life brought great credit to his alma mater. … As a fitting commemoration … I desire to propose to this Board that the airfield now owned and operated by the University be designated ‘Don Scott Field.’

The board approved the resolution and the newly named Don Scott Field was used by the Navy until the end of the war, when OSU transferred its focus to a civilian aviation curriculum.

– Filed by B.T.

Posted in Football, People, Professors, Sports, Students, World War II |

Johnson devoted to rehabilitation for more than a half-century

Ernest W. Johnson, 1958

Ernest W. Johnson, 1958

Dr. Ernest Johnson has been in the business of physical rehabilitation for more than 60 years – since not long after he graduated from the College of Medicine in 1952. However, he’s been associated with the University since 1942 when he first arrived as a freshman at OSU.

Dr. Johnson, known as Ernie or ‘Dr. J’ to many, was drafted to serve in World War II shortly after he enrolled, but he returned to the university four years later, intending to study journalism. He was a voracious reader growing up, had worked for a newspaper since the age of 16 and had served as editor of his Akron high school’s newspaper. However, a conversation with his college roommate apparently changed his career drastically. Johnson said that his roommate told him, “You have four years of free education, why don’t you become a doctor?” So he did.

Johnson used his GI benefits to the utmost by taking 26 credit hours a quarter. He was also working in the cafeteria, where he met his wife, Joanne. He earned his undergraduate degree in 1948 (he and Joanne were married later that year) and his medical degree in 1952. He completed his residency, also at Ohio State, in 1957 and was named an assistant professor in the College of Medicine that year.

Dr. Johnson demonstrating a "wheelie", 1990

Dr. Johnson demonstrating a “wheelie”, 1990

His specialty was physical medicine and rehabilitation. He studied carpel tunnel syndrome, and along the way became a crusader for the rights of the disabled. He was named chairman of his department in 1963, a position he would hold for almost thirty years. In 1974 he led a group that organized a grant project to build Ohio State’s Creative Living Center, a living-learning facility for the physically disabled. It was the first of its kind in the Midwest, and inspired many other similar centers across the country. Johnson also organized the Ohio Wheelchair Athletic Association in 1970.

Both of these projects earned him much recognition, but the awards displayed in his office instead included those for “popping wheelies” (balancing a wheelchair on its back wheels and spinning in either direction). In fact, Johnson required that all of his students (including more than 160 residents) be able to pop a wheelie. He said it made them more aware of what their patients were going through. Under his guidance, the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation became the third-highest ranking program in the country.

– Filed by C.N.

Posted in Alumni, Departments, Medical Center, Professors, Students |