Alumni Notes


Recalling OC—86 Years Later

The year was 1916. Oberlin President Henry Churchill King spoke sternly to students about the College’s controversial move to dismiss several students for violating the institution’s stance against “secret fraternities.” The Allen Memorial Art building was well under construction, and Muriel Marsh Lovett was wrapping up her Oberlin education.
At age 105, the former Conservatory student could very well be the oldest living alum for whom the College maintains records.

After the death of Lovett’s mother in 1903, her father, a dye salesman for the Boston-based based F. E. Atteaus Co., made arrangements for his daughter to live with her grandparents. “Muriel remembers the wonderful person her grandmother was and the strong support she provided for her early musical talents,” says family friend Mary Tucker. “She was the one who selected Oberlin because she felt it would give Muriel the wide range of experiences for a future in the world of music.”

After Oberlin, Lovett studied piano, composition, and conducting with Nadia Boulanger at the American School of Music at the Palace of Fontainebleau. A year later she began a five-year position as music supervisor of Ware schools in Massachusetts.

“For an Armistice Day celebration during World War I, Muriel organized and was director of a men's choir. She put them through vigorous training, and the program was very successful,” Tucker recalls. Later, Lovett served as organist at the Methodist Church and music director of the East Congregational Church in Ware. As a member of the Philanthropic Educational Organization, or P.E.O. Sisterhood, she helped provide grants-in-aid for women abroad to obtain graduate study in the United States and Canada.
A resident of Chestnut Hill Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center in East Longmeadow, Massachusettes, since 1998, Lovett frequently shares fond memories of Oberlin with friends. “She has some physical disabilities but is mentally very alert and makes our visits with her very entertaining,” Tucker says.

—Yvonne Gay

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