Did You Know: Doc Oc

The Case Western Reserve University community is celebrating Legacy Week to honor the institution’s rich history. For the remainder of the week, we will highlight an aspect of the university’s story to help connect the community even though we are physically apart.

Photo of Doc Oc posing next to a bookcase

The bronze statue of Ignacio “Doc Oc” Ocasio (1952-2005) on the Case Quad, between Adelbert and Millis halls, has become a campus landmark. Thousands of students, faculty, staff and visitors have walked by the life-sized figure of Doc Oc seated on a bench looking toward the Hudson Relay Rocks. Did you know there’s a reason the statue faces the rocks?

The statue, by artist Joseph Kinkel, was dedicated at the start of the Hudson Relays in 2009 in recognition of a beloved professor and champion of students who was a fixture at the annual race during his 25 years on campus.

Ocasio, the Teagle Professor of Chemistry, taught countless sections of chemistry to first-year students and was a popular faculty member and mentor. His connection to first-year students didn’t end in the lecture hall, though. Doc Oc was a fraternity advisor, familiar figure at various campus events and, for many years, the coach and enthusiastic supporter of first-year students in the Hudson Relays. 

Doc Oc passed away unexpectedly in 2005 and the campus community responded with an outpouring of affection. The Hudson Relays are run each year in his memory—even this year, as the run has transitioned to a virtual event—and The Ignacio Ocasio Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award recognizes a first-year student each year who displays the highest achievement in freshman chemistry.

Read more about Doc Oc’s life and his connection to The Hudson Relays.