Reaching for the Stars
“The happiest years of Francis’ life were spent at Oberlin,” says Renie Rideout Federighi ’54, glancing at her daughter, Carol. “But I don’t think he would have enjoyed being at the center of all of this attention.”
Renie Rideout Federighi '54 and daughter Carol Federighi
Photo by Yvonne Gay Fowler
Francis Federighi ’53 was the quiet type. He and Renie met as students, where, following bridge games in the dining hall, Renie would hold Francis’ coat; in return, he’d pay her a penny. “He had an offbeat sense of humor,” she laughs.
The two were married, and after a successful career as a theoretical physicist with the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, Francis began teaching computer science at the State University of New York at Albany and at Union College, where he served as the first full professor of the discipline.
Francis spent hours advising his students
and often welcomed them them into his home. Francis died in 1997,
but his bond with college students remains strong. While raising
money for her 50th reunion class last year, Renie asked about ways
of memorializing her husband while at the same time making a gift
A strategy soon took shape: by setting up a life insurance
policy that named Oberlin as the owner and beneficiary and a gift
annuity that generates income to pay insurance premiums and support
the current-use needs of the College, Renie created the Francis D.
Federighi, PhD ’53 Professorship in Natural Science. It was
one of the College’s more complicated gifts. “I’m
glad we were able to pull it off,” she says.
Dan Stinebring's team at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico
Photo by Dan Stinebring
Named to the professorship last April was Dan Stinebring, professor of physics and astronomy, whose students will benefit from the Federighi gift. The professorship’s accompanying stipend, along with an ongoing grant from National Science Foundation, will allow Stinebring to continue studying pulsar signals in places such as Puerto Rico and Australia. “
Support like Mrs. Federighi’s provides new opportunities for students; it’s
encouragement to keep doing good work,” Stinebring
says. He and three students spent two weeks at the National Astronomy
and Ionosphere Center in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, last winter term,
operating the observatory’s large telescope and analyzing how radio waves were deflected by gas and dust between the solar system and certain pulsars.
People who do this kind of research are just like me,” says senior Margaret Putney, full of enthusiasm for her studies in astrophysics. “I got lots of encouragement from the people working at the observatory and those who were visiting.”
Senior Max Rudolph, following a winterterm
trip to San Diego to present a poster at an American Astronomical
Society meeting with Stinebring, dropped his second degree in music
to concentrate more heavily on physics. “Mr. Stinebring is brilliant,” he says. “His passion for research is contagious.
The Alumni Association welcomed Danielle Young in September as the new assistant director of alumni events and electronic communications. With a degree in English from Colorado State University, she went on to hold positions in alumni relations and professional development at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Education and School of Forest Resources.
Photo by John Seyfried
“Having bridged campus and alumni constituencies with great success throughout her years at Penn State, Danielle will be a fine asset to our team as we seek to support more educational programming and bolster our alumni website,” says Alumni Association Executive Director Laura Gobbi ’91.
Photo by Rebecca Lammons '06
“I am extremely honored to be at Oberlin,” Young says. “I look forward to working for the Alumni Association and with the many dedicated alumni who serve their alma mater.”
Danielle can be reached at Danielle.Young@oberlin.edu.
Delta Lodge Director of Athletics Vin Lananna accepted a position in July as associate athletics director/director of track and field and cross country at the University of Oregon. Serving as interim director is Joe Karlgaard, formerly the assistant director of athletics for external affairs and media relations. Lananna, who was assistant head coach for Team USA’s
middle-distance and distance runners in the 2004 Olympics, will remain
involved with Oberlin as a special assistant to the president for
Strategic Planning Process Makes Strides
Oberlin’s newly adopted Strategic Plan moved into a new phase this semester with the creation of six working groups charged with suggesting strategies for implementing the plan’s
Two of the committees, Curricular Pathways and Curricular
Support, are focused on adapting and revitalizing Oberlin’s
curriculum. Four other committees will concentrate on the remaining
goals: support and build the faculty, build campus community, internationalize
Oberlin, and move toward environmental sustainability. Composed of
faculty, staff, and in many cases, students, the groups hope to present
final recommendations to the College over
the next few semesters.
“The Strategic Plan itself provides an outline and a direction for the future, but not the details,” says Provost Al McKay. “These committees are charged with developing proposals that will be presented to the regular governance structures on campus to be implemented.”
Alumni were mailed a copy of the Strategic Plan last spring, and members of the Alumni Council’s Executive Board are now meeting with McKay to discuss ways of communicating with alumni as the implementation phase moves forward.
For the full text of the plan, visit http://www.oberlin.edu/presidnt/strategicplan.html.
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