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85 years of OSU Short Course


Celebrating its 85th Anniversary: The OSU Nursery Short Course, Sliced Bread, Penicillin and "Stealing Home"!

By: Dr. Hannah Mathers
November 1, 2012
It seems great inventions run in threes.  The first effective bread-slicing machine was put into service in 1928 by the Chillicothe (Missouri) Baking Company.  In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin and the Ohio State University (OSU) Nursery Short Course (NSC) began in Columbus, OH.  Over the years that followed 1928, pre-sliced bread became known as the "greatest forward step" in the baking industry since bread was wrapped. Penicillin became known as the twentieth century's "greatest wonder drug" and the OSU Nursery Short Course now celebrating 85 years is the "longest running premier" education event in the US nursery/ landscape industry.   

Unlike the invention of penicillin which was an accident caused by  Alexander Fleming's poor cleaning skills, the OSUNSC was no accident nor was its state of origin.  In the 1850's the nursery industry in Lake County, Ohio was the "seat" of the industry and the rose capital of the world.  By 1928, Ohio was internationally and nationally recognized for its innovation, scope and quality stock.  The OSUNSC began to meet the needs of the expanding industry and workforce requirements for the most recent technical methodologies and systems. 

Just like pre-sliced bread, echoed an era of standardization allowing other inventions dependent the uniform slices, such as toasters, to be created. The Ohio State University Nursery Short Course started in an era of increased technical training in agriculture.  It had only been 14 years before, in 1914 that he Smith Lever Act established the system of Cooperative Extension to bring people the benefits of current developments in the field of agriculture, home economics, and other related subjects. The OSUNSC began with this same great mission, specific to the nursery industry. 

Another great success story of 1928 was the
Republican nomination of Herbert Hoover.  Hoover would later become in 1929, the 31st US President.  Amelia Earhart successfully piloted an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, becoming the first woman to do so.  In 1928, Ty Cobb, 41, played his last game of baseball and "stole home" for the 54th & final time.  Ty Cobb still holds the record for "stealing home."  Just like Ty Cobb, the OSUNSC still holds many records, such as the largest educational event in the industry, the only nursery/ landscape event co-organized by a land-grant university and an industry association (the Ohio Nursery Landscape Association/ ONLA) and as mentioned above the longest running event of its kind. 

In 1928, people were still idealistic about peace. The Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed to outlaw war. It started as a bilateral French-American accord, but 14 nations signed up immediately, including Germany, and 62 nations eventually signed later in 1929. In 1928, people were concerned about the environment for future generations and Bryce Canyon National Park was formed and Ernest F. Coe wrote Stephen T. Mather, first Director of the National Park Service, outlining a proposal for a national park to be created known today as the Everglades National Park.  Many things have changed since 1928, but some things are still the same.  After 85 years, we are still delivering the same high quality programming which has secured our longevity.  To help us celebrate and hold to this mandate, we are honored and delighted to have the highly accomplished and renowned speaker Dr. Michael Dirr as our "super session" Monday, January 14, 2013 and Tuesday, January 15, 2013 kick-off morning speaker.  Dr. Dirr is also our key-note for Tuesday evening, January 14, 2013.

Dr. Dirr is a widely published author, photographer, lecturer, instructor and traveler.  His work with international plant exploration and introductions has taken him to countless countries around the globe. He is the author of many books, including Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, his best known classroom and reference text, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, which is a standard reference for gardeners, professionals and students, and has published more than 300 scientific and popular papers and articles. 85 will be a great year - just like the past 84!! I hope to see you all at the Short Course!
Hannah Mathers, Ph.D.
Seminar Chair
Associate Professor
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210-1096
614-247-6195; fax (614) 292-3505