175th Anniversary of Oberlin College and the City of Oberlin: 1833 - 2008

Oberlin City, School District, and College Partnership

The mutual legacy of high academic standards has played out in Oberlin’s history many times over. An open admission policy adopted by the founders and first trustee board some 170 years ago manifests itself today through several joint programs designed to encourage more young men and women to pursue the academic excellence and educational opportunities that Oberlin College provides. The Oberlin Public Schools-Oberlin College Partnership is one such example.

City, school district, and College leaders negotiated this partnership in 2000 as a systematic way to encourage the three institutional bodies to work on issues of common benefit: education, recreation, economic development, and housing. With $35,000 seed money provided by the Board of Trustees, former President Nancy Dye appointed Daniel Gardner ’89, founding director of the Center for Service and Learning (now the Bonner Center for Service and Learning), to represent the College’s interests while working with city and school district leaders to develop ways to address these issues.

Launched later that year, the Oberlin College-Oberlin Public Schools Scholarship was set up to grant any four-year Oberlin High School graduate admitted to the College or the Conservatory of Music a tuition-free education. The program is a tangible way for the College to support and give back to the community while helping to raise the expectations and aspirations of Oberlin children. Families and children already have access to the College’s Mudd Learning Center, Allen Memorial Art Museum, recreation facilities, and the Science Center. Why not education, too, was the thought of city, College, and school leaders.

Since its inception, several Oberlin students, such as Chris Schubert ’08, have participated in the scholarship program. Schubert came to the College in 2004 to play football and because of its “diversity and its academic reputation. I've made friends from many different walks of life, people I might not have been friends with in high school. And an Oberlin education is second to none.” Schubert is a sociology major and is interested in sports medicine, sports management,  or athletic training.

The scholarship covers tuition only and is renewed annually provided the student remains in good academic standing and continues his or her residency in the school district. The Oberlin College-Oberlin Public Schools Scholarship represents a City+College shared legacy of dedication to academic and artistic excellence.

Photo credit: Dominik Gwarek