Eighteen Ohio State graduates have been selected to be taken on exclusive tours of the university during this year’s commencement week, April 30 through May 5.
Glenna Zofcin, a third-year in strategic communications and Commencement Week chair, said three students will have the opportunity to visit OSU President E. Gordon Gee’s office, five will tour the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and 10 will take a helicopter tour of campus.
Those visiting Gee’s office are able to bring up to seven guests each. Those touring the Woody Hayes Athletic Center can bring one guest and those taking the helicopter tour may bring two.
All graduating undergraduate, graduate or professional students were eligible to enter the annual contest. Students submitted their name to enter, and had a chance to increase their likelihood of being selected by submitting up to four photos highlighting their time at OSU. Winners were chosen by a random generator, Zofcin said.
Ted Shumaker, a fourth-year in business, said he was surprised to hear he had been selected as a winner.
“I was pretty excited,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I’m one of those people where I feel like I never win stuff.”
Shumaker won a helicopter tour of the campus and said he has mixed emotions about what to expect during the experience.
“I’ve never been in a helicopter,” Shumaker said. “I’ve only flown once in an airplane, but I feel like a helicopter’s going to be completely different. I’m excited. I’m mostly just nervous that I don’t get air sick or anything.”
Shumaker said he submitted a number of photos to increase his chances of winning, including one of himself wearing OSU clothing and another with his fiancée on the football field after a win against University of Michigan.
The photo entries submitted by students generally featured students spelling out Ohio, posing at football games and spending time with student organizations, Zofcin said.
“I think it was just pictures that really stood out to people or like really pinpointed a certain memory in their time,” she said. “You know, looking through them, it’s so cool to see what stood out to people in their Ohio State experience.”
While the content of the photos did not play a role in choosing winners, selected photos will still be featured at a candlelight ceremony on Saturday, according to Zofcin.
She estimated that about 700 entries overall were submitted for the tours this year, which was an increase from 2012. She said the change could likely be attributed to effective promotion.
“I think we have been doing a pretty good job at getting the word out about things,” Zofcin said.
Ryan Coleman, a fourth-year in public affairs, said he was intrigued by all of the tours and thought it would be a good way to end his time at OSU.
“I applied to the all of them because I thought it’d be a fun, end-of-the-year, graduation present (or) celebration thing if I won,” he said.
Coleman said he was happy to hear the news that he was selected to tour Gee’s office.
“I was excited,” he said. “I thought it was a cool experience. I mean, not many people can say they were in the president’s office of a Big Ten college.”