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Spring 2024 Edition
Alumni & Friends Magazine

Lighting the Way for Those to Come

From mentorship to scholarship to recruitment, OHIO alumni inspire students to succeed.

Jessica Tremayne | April 11, 2024


University campuses preserve our origin story, holding memories of trials and triumphs, friends, new experiences and weekend fun. Somewhere in those four years, we build a foundation that shapes our character and approach to life. When remembering and honoring your alma mater, you may look to go beyond recounting old stories to coworkers and friends. You want to be closer to the place that feels like home. You want to be involved again.

“When alumni get involved with Ohio University, the experiences and expertise that they share have a profound and positive impact on students,” says Jennifer Shutt Bowie, BSJ ’94, MS ’99, associate vice president of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at OHIO and executive director of the Ohio University Alumni Association. “Alumni step into classrooms and provide knowledge that helps students academically. They offer advice and counsel through formal and informal mentorship opportunities. Most of all, Bobcat alumni offer students a community that will stick with them and by them, forever.”

Ohio University’s Bobcat community has steadily grown over the years, with alumni providing student opportunities through financial investment, mentorship, internships and by serving as ambassadors in recruitment.

“I’ve seen students launch careers at companies like Cisco or enter graduate programs at places like Stanford because of an inspirational conversation with a grad who demonstrates that Bobcats can do anything they set their minds to,” Bowie says. “That gives students the courage to try. Alumni shine a light on what’s possible. That’s magic.”

In the following pages, Ohio Today shines that light back on several alumni performing magic of their own. Read on to learn their stories, along with feedback provided by fellow alumni in response to the OUAA’s 2023 Alumni Attitude Survey. 

Randall Winston, BSC ’89

Randall Winston

“As a Black alum, I’m always interested in creating a pathway for people in the entertainment business,” says Randall Winston, a television producer, director and actor living in Los Angeles. “I help give exposure and insight for students looking to be part of the industry. I tell them my perspective and to have their eyes wide open—how to manage expectations and use personal experiences as a building block.” To that end, he has worked with OHIO-in-LA program director and University professor Roger Cooper to facilitate relationships between students and industry leaders.

Winston recalls his time on campus as enabling him to be a doer and develop skills that provided a reflection of and payoff in the real world.

“I had a lot of agency at OU,” Winston says. “I didn’t expect the closeness I experienced there. I made great friends. ... Professors made me feel like I had something to offer. That’s a big part of getting on the right foot. OU can give you the tools needed to accomplish goals. ... I tell students [who ask for advice] not to squander their experiences; they have real-world translation.”

Since graduating, Winston has stayed connected to Ohio University to honor his positive experience as a student and to help current students realize their goals.

“Being involved with the way the University is presented to prospective students makes me think about my experience,” he notes. “There was so much excitement being there. Being able to step into this world with confidence is what I hope to offer to prospective and current OU students.”

Photo courtesy Randall Winston

Dennis Minichello, AB, MA ’74

Dennis Minichello

“Ohio University is very student-centric,” Dennis Minichello says. “The culture is one that makes sure there are people available to help them. Professors are willing to help in whatever way they can.”

While acquiring his OHIO degrees, Minichello says he made many friends in economics courses before going on to law school and founding a Chicago practice. He reconnected with the University 10 years after graduation thanks to encouragement from a former professor.

Since then, he has advised students about the legal profession during OHIO Law Day forums sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences. He has served on the Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees for the last seven years and has no plan to leave. The College of Arts and Sciences honored him with a Significant Achievement Award in 1996, and he sat on the alumni board from 2004-2010, serving as chair for the last two years.

“My family are fourth-generation OHIO graduates,” Minichello says. “I come to football games and keep track though University communications. It is great to be part of something so important.”

Minichello visits campus up to 10 times a year and has established two endowments.

“In 2000, I established a scholarship for students studying economics, and in 2021, a scholarship to support veterans’ programs that fund needs not covered by benefits of military service,” Minichello says. “It’s very rewarding to get to meet students who receive the scholarships. It’s very satisfying to see bright, eager students.”

Photo by Rich-Joseph Facun, BSVC '01

Sandy Anderson, BSC ’73

Sandy (Hendrick) Anderson

During Sandy Anderson’s time at OHIO, she was heavily involved in the forensics and speech and debate teams, which contributed to her highly successful law career in nearby Columbus and inspired her to give back.

“My first donation to the University was to the forensics team,” Anderson says. “I want other people to have that kind of experience in college.”

Anderson joined the Ohio University Foundation Board in 2015 and last year was appointed as its chair; she also served on the Ohio University Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2016. Today, she mentors current and prospective students who are interested in a law career and makes regular appearances at OHIO basketball games and other campus events.

“There are so many goosebump moments and moments when I have tears in my eyes, being at OU events,” Anderson says. “We have a program on campus for foster kids who have aged out of the system. OU started a service to make sure they have a place to go during holiday times. There are programs hosted by the University for veterans, who tell us about their experience. There is an equine therapy program for little kids. It all makes me very proud to be a Bobcat. It’s the reason why, any time I see someone wearing Bobcat gear, we have a natural connection.”

Ultimately, Anderson attributes OHIO for helping bring her to where she is today and inspiring her to lift up others through her involvement.

“It has been a transformative experience, being able to serve my alma mater,” she says.

Photo by Rick Fatica, MFA '08

Howard Manuel, BA ’08

Howard Manuel

Alumni recruitment efforts could be the strongest and most legitimate endorsement a university could ask for. Howard Manuel says he’s more than happy to support OHIO in any way possible—and he has. One example: A group of journalism students visited his Washington, D.C., law office last year, and he appreciated their excitement to learn policy and change the world.

“I love seeing student enthusiasm and swaying prospective students’ decision to attend OU,” Manuel says. “I recruit a lot. I have a fair amount of OU-related mementos on my desk that spark conversations, and I always share what a great place OU is to go to school.”

Manuel says seeing OHIO’s logo on a shirt is all it takes to remind him how his campus experiences made him who he is today; he sees the Bobcat community as family.

“OU is where I developed as a person,” Manuel says. “I have a 4-year-old son and would love to get him to campus. Talking about the University is a way to get back to my roots.”

Manuel says he likes to volunteer for OHIO, but he thinks involvement with current students is one of the most rewarding parts of being an alumnus.

“Seeing how the University affects the region and impacts lives changes my vision on giving back and has made me feel like having Bobcat blood is all it takes to enjoy each other and connect,” Manuel says. “I received so much from my OU experience; I want to help others have the same memories.”

Photo courtesy Howard Manuel

Jackie (Howerth) Forquer, BSED ’92

Jackie (Howerth) Forquer

Jackie Forquer first experienced ice hockey at OHIO when a friend invited her to a game freshman year. She loved the excitement and has been hooked since, joining OHIO’s Blue Line Booster Club as a volunteer in 2016—an experience she calls the highlight of her adult life. Fittingly, she now serves as its president.

“Students from all over the country participate in club hockey from September to March,” she says. “They don’t see their parents, so we try to stand in and help like a parent would. We hope to … help them feel confident and cared for while being away from home.”

An elementary school teacher in Fairfield County, Ohio, Forquer is a fierce advocate for the team. She speaks with pride about its 30-year run appearing at the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s National Championships, players who have won national awards, the ACHA naming Lionel Mauron the 2023 Coach of the Year, and other team accomplishments.

“I may have never known what I was missing if I hadn’t gone to that game in college,” Forquer says. “Athens is a magical place.”

But hockey isn’t Forquer’s only OHIO touchpoint. A former member of the Marching 110, she still plays the alto sax and never misses an opportunity to march with fellow alumni at Homecoming each fall.

“The 110 was always such a close family,” Forquer says. “I had the chance to get together with them in October, and I’m going on vacation with a group of 20 alums next summer. I have kept a strong connection with OU friends, which have been the best friendships of my life.”

Photo by Morgan Simonski

OUAA banner

About the Survey

The Alumni Attitude Study has been completed by more than 1 million alumni at more than 300 institutions in the last 20 years. This is the second time Ohio University has participated, after the first survey in 2008. The data presented here represents survey respondents and has been rounded to the nearest whole number.

Alumni Share Their OHIO Opinions

the most common responses about what’s important about being a graduate

the most-mentioned responses to a question about a program or activity that had a special impact on student experience

the most-mentioned responses to a question about a person who had a special impact on student experience

the top four characteristics that impact overall opinion of OHIO

number of respondents

described their current opinion of OHIO as “excellent;” another 28% rated it as “good,” while less than 6% rated it as “fair” or “poor”

said they promote the University “all the time” or “regularly”

said their experience as a student was “excellent;” another 28% rated it as “good”

described their alumni experience as “good” or “excellent”

OHIO’s affinity index, an average of four questions ranging from alumni experience to frequency of promoting OHIO to others

said their decision to attend OHIO was a great one; another 19% classified it as a good decision

rated their connection to OHIO, on a scale of 1 to 10, at 7 or higher

rated their likelihood of recommending OHIO to a prospective student, on a scale of
1 to 10, at 7 or higher

said Ohio Today does a “good” or “excellent” job of communicating with alumni
(aw, shucks!)

How do you connect with OHIO and fellow Bobcats everywhere? Let us know with a post to the Bobcat Network or by emailing alumni@ohio.edu.