At the launch for Asylum on the Hill Friday night we were honored by the presence of Charles and Claire Ping. While walking to the parking lot with them, I learned that Dr. Ping, President of Ohio University 1975-1994, had made the decision to accept the asylum complex of buildings and 700 acres from the state of Ohio.
His was not a decision made lightly as it came with maintenance and other costs to the university. He spent hours with his wife Claire walking the old asylum grounds to think about it. When I asked Dr. Ping how he came to decide to go ahead, he nodded to his wife. Without the support of Claire Ping, then, our asylum at Athens and its beautiful and extensive grounds would most likely have gone the way of nearly all the historic American Kirkbride asylum buildings and grounds – destroyed by fire, lost to the wrecking ball, and the beautiful landscape destroyed.
Instead we in Athens and Ohio University have a jewel in our midst.