Fall 1968 was a vibrant and turbulent period in American history—and on America’s college campuses. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated earlier that year. The Tet Offensive was changing the Vietnam War narrative, and anti-war sentiment was mounting across the U.S. It was against this backdrop that Joseph Alan Butts (BS ’72) arrived at OHIO to study mathematics and play basketball for the Bobcats.
The two-volume 1968-1970 edition of the Athena yearbook (titled Athena Seventy) was dedicated “to the potential of humans to change the inadequacies of their society—accomplished through education, both formal and informal. It is only through awareness of the problems that we can hope for change.”
Just a few months after graduating from OHIO in 1972—and while a medical student at The Ohio State University—Butts made his first gift to The Ohio University Foundation. He would continue to support OHIO and its students throughout his lifetime—inspired to create change and make a difference in the world.
When Butts passed away in 2001, he had made plans to leave a legacy at OHIO through this estate. His $50,000 gift created the Joseph Alan Butts, M.D., Student Research Support Fund in the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness. For 16 years, this fund has provided resources to undergraduate and graduate students in fields like athletic training, exercise physiology, and nutrition—supporting their research with purchases of equipment and other materials, as well as with travel to present their research.
Daily growth in “knowledge, wisdom, and love” is a life lesson imparted to every individual who passes through the Alumni Gateway at the corner of Court and Union Streets. It is a lesson that donors like Butts pass on to future generations.