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Gi Smith of Marietta College

As the Communication and Brand Management Office, our team is always looking for ways to enhance and improve the methods in which we share Marietta College’s story to our various audiences: prospective students and their families, current students and employees, and, of course, our alumni. It’s a lot of market research, responding to feedback that our readers graciously provide, and group brainstorming sessions — and at the start of every new project is the dreaded “bring your best ideas” next-day All-Staff Meeting Invite sent by TP at 10:57 p.m. Sunday. I strongly suspect that he creates the draft email at 5:28 p.m. Friday.

The last full-on Big Idea meeting happened at the start of 2020 — just as the last printed issue of Marietta Magazine was being mailed. The thought of an hours-long group session never sounds appealing, but I must admit that some really good stuff comes out of them. And though many of the ideas are not quite as feasible as others — e.g. TP’s Disneyesque Hall of Presidents animatronic Admission Tour idea or adding a full-size triceratops to The Christy Mall — some of the initial ideas evolve during the meeting into truly creative and worthwhile projects. (OK, the triceratops idea was mine, but only if we could Jurassic Park a real one, which we can’t because of “legal concerns” and science. It’s fine.)

The pandemic caused us to shift gears from that meeting, but the ideas that came out of that session also began filtering their way into messaging from the College, including quick videos, podcasts and additional newsletters for targeted groups.

As you will read in this issue, the big “Big Idea” from that meeting is the I, Pioneer series. And while we are pleased to share these stories in multimedia formats, it’s even more rewarding to know that this project is designed to evolve and to incorporate more creative approaches to telling the stories of what it means to be a Pioneer. 


Review: Comments From our Readers

Dear Editor:

The review by Sheila Fogarty Johnson ’65 of the book The Pioneers by David McCullough that appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of the Marietta Magazine, reminded me of my thoughts after reading the book. I, too, thoroughly enjoyed it and want to share a few comments and a suggestion to Marietta College.

After seeing reference to The Pioneers in the Spring 2019 issue, I made a note by sending an email to myself and filing it under “Books to Read.” Luckily I found the e-book version online at my local public library in Mississauga, Ontario, and borrowed it to read on my Nook, a kind gift of appreciation after spending 18 years on Boards of Directors of the ATCC (American Type Culture Collection), an institution that assumes increasing relevance in the current COVID-19 crisis.

As a science student for four years at MC, I had little idea of the historical significance of the town of Marietta, Ohio — my own fault for not expanding my vision beyond the campus. Of course, I was reminded each time entering city limits that Marietta is the first permanent settlement of the Northwest Territories, but I didn’t put much importance in this, more than its fortuitous location on the Ohio River. Even though I took a first-year course on American history (Professor Deets, as I recall) and I was a resident in Douglas Putnam Hall, I’m embarrassed to say that I had little to no appreciation for local history, as represented by the prehistoric Marietta Earthworks, the Great Mound, the Castle, the Campus Martius Museum and the list goes on.

David McCullough has described, in vivid and accurate detail, the challenges and hardships faced by the pioneers as they ventured west, and Marietta figures prominently in this historical account. I believe that the book should be suggested reading for all students admitted to MC, preferably before they arrive on campus. Further, I suggest that part of freshman orientation, if not done already, is a tour of notable sites and landmarks in the area. The Admissions Office might produce a virtual tour for prospective students who plan to visit the campus. MC provides unparalleled academic and extracurricular experiences, but expanding students’ horizons into the historical significance of Marietta would offer additional exciting and eye-opening cultural insights.

Earle Nestmann ’68
William Bay Irvine Medal 1968

Letters to the editor

Because Marietta Magazine seeks to present a wide diversity of subject matter and content, some views presented in the publication may not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the official policies maintained by Marietta College.

Letters commenting on the material or topics presented in the magazine are encouraged and are available for publication unless the author specifically asks that they do not appear in public print. Published letters may be edited for style, length and clarity.

Mail: Editor, Marietta Magazine, Office of Communication & Brand Management, 215 Fifth St., Marietta, OH 45750-4004