Scott Bennett remembers his Bobcat orientation well. It was a hot summer day full of stress from scheduling what would be his first semester. He was with his mother, Cathy Bennett, a 1974 Ohio University alumna, who was all too familiar with the town. As they walked through the stiff heat, Cathy looked to Scott and asked, “Want to go down to Court Street and get a beer?”
Scott Bennett, a 2001 OU alumnus, studied biological sciences and pre-physical therapy and his mother studied special education on the Athens campus. For this mother-son duo, being a Bobcat means more than just being an OU student; it means being part of a priceless community.
“I think you bond if you go to OU. I don’t know why, but you do,” Cathy Bennett said. “The people I met became my family. We were close. We didn’t go home all the time.”
Bobcat pride is no new concept. In fact, it’s something that nearly every Bobcat can attest to. Regardless of location or circumstance, there seems to be an unspoken solidarity between all OU alumni. Cathy Bennett and her fellow OU graduates stay in touch often. From shared family vacations to Thursday night Zoom meetings, her college friendships have found endless ways to thrive.
Both of Scott Bennett’s parents graduated from OU, so he was no stranger to the campus. He remembers making pit stops in Athens on longer road trips and staying at the Ohio University Inn. Although he was familiar with Athens, it wasn’t until he was reaching the end of high school that he decided it was the right choice for him. His mother, on the other hand, was Miami University bound when she made a drive through Athens. It was then that she realized OU was the place for her.
Thousands of students have called OU home over the years, but as time goes on, the terrain of that home changes. Cathy Bennett remembers late nights eating bagels from the Bagel Buggy and meeting her husband at Phase 1, both of which are not around anymore. She loved visiting her son on Mom’s Weekends and always found it fascinating to see how much the town changes over time.
With the fast turnover of various bars and eateries in Athens, Scott Bennett didn’t get a chance to grab a beer at Phase 1 or watch bagels toast over open coals at The Bagel Buggy, but he was able to make plenty of other memories. He laughs about putting a quarter into a jukebox machine in The Junction, which is now known as The J Bar. For current students, it’s hard to imagine life without Broney’s or The Shack, but for Cathy and Scott Bennett, these hot spots didn’t exist.
OU is full of legacy students. For Madison King, a senior studying marketing and business analytics, and her mom, Janice Floyd King, a 1992 OU alumna, their legacy runs through their shared sorority.
Janice King is one of the founders of Omicron Gamma, OU’s chapter of Delta Zeta and the sorority that Madison King is currently in. Following her mother’s footsteps not only in choosing OU, but by becoming a member of the sisterhood her mother created, has strengthened their bond and given them a shared love of Athens.
“She came to my initiation and pinned my Delta Zeta pin on, and that is something I will remember forever,” Madison King said. “It makes me feel closer to my mom.”
Madison King remembers the stories her mother told her about campus, like the food trucks that would line the Baker Center in the ’90s, which is what students now know as the Schoonover Center. Like Cathy Bennett, one of Janice King’s favorites was The Bagel Buggy.
Mom’s Weekend is a festive time for Janice and Madison King, and they never miss the opportunity to make memories together on campus. To this mother-daughter duo, OU is a special place that offered them both the beautiful opportunity of growing up. For Janice King, being able to share these memories with her daughter and make some of their own at her Alma Mater is priceless.
“Seeing all the changes is so amazing and walking those bricks again is incredible,” Janice King said. “And now being able to do that with my daughter is something I will cherish forever.”