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Allen County's First Baby of 2009 is a Polar Bear

Eunice Ayele Assiongbon-Foly, born Jan. 1 at 1:43 a.m., is the daughter of ONU engineering student Raymond Assiongbon-Foly and his wife, Catherine.

Raymond, a junior in electrical engineering from Lima, Ohio, said he is happy with the honor, but glad that he doesn't "have to wear any sashes for it," since he describes himself as a "reserved person."

Eunice, born at St. Rita's Medical Center and weighing in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces, came a week earlier than expected to be born on New Year's Day. Both mom and dad were just happy to have a healthy baby, and didn't even think about the birth date.

But, in a story written for the Lima News on Jan. 2, Raymond said, "I think every New Year's will be more than what it used to be now. It will have special meaning."

The baby's name also has a special meaning to Raymond and Catherine. Raymond said the couple had a collection of Biblical names picked out even before they got married.

"Toward the end of the pregnancy, we settled on Eunice," Raymond said. The name comes from the Greek "Eunike," with "eu" meaning "good, fair" and "nike" meaning "victory." There is also a Eunice that appears in the Bible.

The baby's middle name, Ayele, came from the couple's African heritage. Both Raymond and wife Catherine are originally from Togo in west Africa, and have been in the U.S. for six years and three years, respectively.

Raymond spent some time studying at Rhodes State University in Lima before deciding to come to Ohio Northern. He said he chose ONU because of its good ranking among U.S. universities, and also because it meant that he and his wife "wouldn't have to bear the burden of a move."