Curtis Howard, 1878

Born not far from Columbus, Curtis Clark Howard was among the first group of students to apply for admission to the then-Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. In fact, he was No. 10 on the list of names entered in the official Registrar’s Book.

While he was a senior, Howard and fellow students, Alice Townshend and Harwood R. Pool, formed the committee responsible for selecting the college’s colors. Howard in particular was motivated by the upcoming commencement, and wished to have college colors to display at graduation.  The committee originally settled on orange and black before discovering that those were the Princeton colors.  Subsequently, scarlet and gray were chosen, a decision that still affects Buckeyes today.

Howard graduated with the first class in 1878 and received a master’s degree in 1881 from Johns Hopkins University.  He then returned to Columbus and became the professor of chemistry and toxicology at Starling-Loving Medical College, which would become the OSU College of Medicine in 1914.  He also was involved in founding the University alumni association and was elected its first president.  In 1896, Howard traveled to the University of Berlin and studied there until 1899, when he returned to the College of Medicine, where he remained until 1916.  He died on October 23, 1932, in Columbus.

At the time of his death, he was the president of the Century Chemical Company of Columbus, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and according to the OSU alumni magazine, he was an expert on “minerals and mineral waters”, “sanitary analyses of waters”, “natural and artificial gases”, “organic compounds, pharmaceutical compounds and poisons.”  He was also the author of several books in both English and German.

The original, framed, scarlet and gray ribbons


Reunion of Ohio State’s first graduating class, 1923. (Howard is on the far right in the second row.)

Filed by C.I.