Thursday, April 4, 2013

University of Oklahoma Athletics Department Gives Back to Academics to Acquire Rare Grassi Manuscript

Over the past 10 years, OU’s Athletics Department has allocated over $14 million to the University’s academic budget

In today's world of high power college athletics where you hear rumors of cheating, changing grades, money changing hands between coaches and players, and a coach being fired for his racist attacks on his players  not to mention Penn State cover-up for a pedofile, you very seldom hear the positive side of college athletics.

How many universities today use academics to help fund the their athletic programs versus the universities where you find athletics giving back to academics?  In 2012, only six university athletic programs were self-sustaining and giving back to academics - OU was one of those six.  Our season tickets for OU Football have a fee added that goes to student services for all students.

OU Libraries has a rare manuscript today thanks to a $500,000 gift from the OU Athletics Department to establish an endowment to support exhibits and acquire rare works for the History of Science Collections:
OU Libraries Acquires Rare Grassi Manuscript 
By Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701, April 2013 
OU has acquired rare manuscript written by a leading astronomer in Rome at the height of Galileo’s astronomical discoveries.

Bizzell Memorial Library at OU

A rare manuscript written by a leading astronomer in Rome at the height of Galileo’s astronomical discoveries recently was acquired by the University of Oklahoma’s History of Science Collections.
The newly acquired manuscript, Tractatus de sphaera, by Oratio Grassi records Grassi’s lectures in mathematics and astronomy. The Grassi manuscript is one of three works by Grassi to enhance OU’s Galileo collection this year. In two just-acquired printed books, Grassi discussed three comets that appeared in the sky in 1618. 
“The Grassi manuscript is an important addition to the OU History of Science Collection, which is already recognized as among the small number of great collections in science in the world,” said OU President David L. Boren. 
The Grassi manuscript is one of only a few astronomical manuscripts from the leading Jesuit university preceding the publication and subsequent condemnation of Galileo’s Dialogo (1632). OU holds Galileo’s own copy of the Dialogo, containing his handwritten comments in the margins. 
“By any measure, this Grassi manuscript is a significant acquisition for the University of Oklahoma and an important addition to the prestigious Galileo works held by our History of Science Collections,” said Rick Luce, dean of University Libraries. “The penmanship is beautiful,” said Luce, noting that some of the pages have detailed illustrations, all hand-drawn.
The Grassi manuscript discusses Gaileo’s discoveries, including imperfections on the surface of the Sun and Moon and the satellites of Jupiter. These discoveries were first published by Galileo in Sidereus nuncius, printed in Venice in 1610. The OU copy of Sidereus nuncius displays Galileo’s signature on the title page. 
“The OU Galileo collection is remarkable,” Luce said. “While many major libraries hold one or two first editions of Galileo, OU holds the entire set of 12 first editions. Neither the Library of Congress nor the British Library can say the same. Moreover, four of OU’s first editions, including the Sidereus nuncius and the Dialogo, contain Galileo’s handwriting. The Grassi manuscript and the two other Grassi books are unique additions to an already world-class Galileo collection.” 
The acquisition was made possible with a $500,000 gift from the OU Athletics Department to establish an endowment to support exhibits and acquire rare works for the History of Science Collections. 
“We are grateful to the Athletics Department for funding the endowment that made it possible for this manuscript to find its way to OU for its permanent home,” Luce said. 
Key works from the OU Galileo collection, including the newly acquired Grassi manuscript, are now on display in the History of Science Collections on the fifth floor of Bizzell Memorial Library. 
Last fall the OU Athletic Department donation set up a fund to allow free admission to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.  The first time I visited the Museum I was very impressed but after the renovation and addition of the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism including the furniture from their home to showcase the Art, I was blown away.  The Art Museum has so many collections that have been gathered over the years that you see something new every time you visit.
Strengths of the nearly 16,000-object permanent collection (including the approx. 3,300-object Adkins Collection and the more than 4,000-object James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection) are the Weitzenhoffer Collection of French Impressionism, 20th century American painting and sculpture, traditional and contemporary Native American art, art of the Southwest, ceramics, photography, contemporary art, Asian art and graphics from the 16th century to the present.  Due to the size of our permanent collection, we are unable to display every work at all times
The FJJMA Association is making a trip to Santa Fe, NM, in May.
Join the FJJMA Association for an exclusive trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, with Dr. Mark A. White, the Eugene B. Adkins and Chief Curator. White will lead the group through the artistic history of New Mexico and provide a better understanding of the FJJMA’s permanent collections.
Santa Fe, NM, is one of my favorite cities to visit.  We went to Santa Fe to visit on Labor Day weekend after the first OU Football Game of the season at UTEP, El Paso, Texas.  I am looking at a small piece of art I bought there during the trip that is hanging on my wall of a Tuscan countryside.
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
 OU Athletics Donation Allows Free Museum Admission
By Michael Nash,, Nov 28, 2012 
Free admission is now available to anyone visiting the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art on the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus.
Free admission is now available to the general public when visiting the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art on the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus. A $60,000 gift from the OU Athletics Department budget will make this possible. The museum will be contacting members of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Association to help implement this change.
“In a time when funding for higher education is sharply dropping, this kind of cooperation has a truly extraordinary impact on the resources and opportunities available to our students and the public,” said OU President David L. Boren. “The success of our athletics programs not only has a positive impact on intercollegiate competition, but it also helps support the academic mission of our University.” 
Over the past 10 years, OU’s Athletics Department has allocated over $14 million to the University’s academic budget. As one of only six self-sustaining athletics departments in the nation, the allocation of these funds has been vital to the continued success of the University. These funds are not appropriated from the state, but rather are generated by the operations of the OU Athletics Department. 
“We are excited to have the opportunity and ability to supplement the University budget to provide free admission to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art,” said OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione. “We are fortunate to have this type of cooperation at such an outstanding university.” 
The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is one of the top five university art museums in the country in terms of its appraised value. The entire FJJMA collection is valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. 
“The museum and the Oklahoma art community are thrilled that the OU Athletics Department is creating this amazing and historic opportunity for current and future generations of museum visitors,” said Ghislain d’Humieres, the Wylodean and Bill Saxon Director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. “We are grateful for this outstanding collaboration between sports and culture.” 
More than 50,000 people visit the museum each year. During certain days or events that offer free admission, the museum experiences a 50 percent increase in the number of total visitors.
“We are excited to offer to the entire community this opportunity to view one of the world’s most distinguished collections of art without having to go outside the state of Oklahoma,” added Boren. 
The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is located in the OU Arts District on the corner of Elm Avenue and Boyd Street, at 555 Elm Ave., on the OU Norman Campus. Admission to the museum is free to all visitors, thanks to this generous gift from the OU Athletics Department. The museum is closed on Mondays. Information and accommodations on the basis of disability are available by calling (405) 325-4938 or visiting
Would be remiss if I didn't include the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History which adds new items every time we visit.  Our family including grandchildren has spent countless hours touring the Museum and always spots something new.  This video describing the Sam Noble Museum is probably why I have such trouble with evangelicals and their earth is less then 10,000 year old theories that some in the GOP now accept.  Maybe that was the beginning of the end of a longtime Republican relationship when the Party starting buying into their hard right views of the world.  Having these two world class museums with a world class library makes you realize how fortunate we are to live in Norman and have this only a few miles away.

Today OU is turning out athletes who are well rounded in all parts of their education thanks to the many opportunities they have while at OU.  All five seniors on the OU Men's Basketball program are graduating in May.  Many of the athletes tutor in our Norman schools and several have instituted Foundations to help those less fortunate.  A group of football/women's basketball players made trips to Haiti during their spring break for several years to help out Haiti after the earthquake.  Our main coaches over the years when they get a pay raise give part of that raise back to academics and why our libraries have been able to purchase so many rare books over the years.  

It is a travesty that Republicans want to cut back on student loans and deprive students of the necessary resources to attend a university like The University of Oklahoma.  For years our State Legislature since Republicans took over has been cutting the budgets of not only public schools but higher education.  Why do Republicans hate education so much is one question that Republican office holders refuse to answer?  Looking back maybe it was our move to Norman and our children attending the University of Oklahoma that started the long time breakup with the Republican Party because I believe in education and learning something new all the time.

Living in a college town is a great experience from visiting campus to see the Museums to taking part in some campus activities to attending those Saturday football games to watch Sooner Football along with tailgating, attending basketball games during winter months, gymnastics, wrestling, tennis, soccer, rugby to the opening of spring sports like women's softball or men's baseball along with track and field.  We have plays and concerts we can attend as a community.  Always something to if only walking around campus to view the awesome landscaping and statues.  Seed Sower statue is one of my favorites along with the landscaping of mums that bring in people from around the world to view each fall:

OU is fortunate to have so many donors who believe in academics and are proud of its status as the Flagship University of the State of Oklahoma!

Boomer Sooner!

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