Alumni Volunteers Honored for Their Dedication

By Midge Wood Brittingham '60

The Oberlin College Alumni Association strives always to convey its gratitude to all volunteers, but Commencement-Reunion Weekend and Alumni Council Weekend are the times we set aside to formally extend our appreciation, and to honor individuals whose extraordinary efforts have enriched the association's programs.

During Alumni Council Weekend, held on campus September 20-22, five Alumni Council members received the association's 1996 Volunteer of the Year Awards. Peter Kirsch '79, who has played an active and significant role in the alumni recruiting network for many years, received the 1996 Alumni Recruiting Network Volunteer of the Year. Peter has served as a member and chair of the Admissions Advisory Committee and as a recruiter and admissions coordinator in Washington, D.C. He hosted the Washington, D.C., Alumni Club's January Interview Day for three years, as well as the first College Planning Program for Alumni Children. This fall Peter assumed new duties with the association as president-elect; he will serve as president in 1997-1999.

In her role as Conservatory Agent for the reunion-cluster classes of 1990, 1991, and 1992, Darcy Robinson '92 persuaded an anonymous clustermate to extend a reunion-giving challenge to the cluster's conservatory alumni. Fifth-reunion cluster participation increased significantly, thanks to the challenge and to Darcy's perseverance, for which she earned the Class Agent of the Year Award.

Diligent letter writer and organizer Philip Swartz '41 received the Class President of the Year award. Philip coordinated the highly successful Commencement-Reunion symposium, "Silent Running: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine," presented by classmate James F. Calvert '41. The Class of 1941 had one of the highest turnouts of any 55th reunion class.

For her thorough and successful efforts in turning a once inactive region into an active one, Kiki Heitkamp Eglinton '51 was presented the Regional Coordinator of the Year Award. The Westchester County, NY/Southern Connecticut region had been without a coordinator for several years when Kiki volunteered for the post. Since then, alumni in the region have been able to attend a variety of musical, theatrical, and cultural events, all organized by Kiki, who willingly helps out whenever called upon.

The association presented a special award to Bill Warren '48 for all his work making the War Memorial Garden a reality. Bill chaired a 10-member committee that raised funds and coordinated all the details of the project, which is a significant accomplishment recognizing the unique contributions of the "war-years" alumni. [See "'Tis Not the Dying'" in this issue --Ed.]

During Commencement-Reunion Weekend, May 24-27, 1996, the association gave long overdue recognition to one of its visionary leaders, Duira Baldinger Ward '34, by awarding her the Alumni Medal. The medal is given annually in recognition of outstanding service to Oberlin College. Dewy, who began her service to the association as an early leader of the Westchester, NY/Southern Connecticut Club and later joined the Alumni Board, became the first woman president of the Alumni Association in 1970-71. The present-day philosophy and direction of the association was molded under her leadership, when the level of alumni involvement with and service to Oberlin College grew dramatically. The Alumni Recruiting Network and the Alumni in Service to Oberlin College (ASOC) program began during her presidency, bringing alumni into the admissions process as interviewers and recruiters and into the academic life of the College as alumni scholars.

The association also presented its Certificates of Appreciation to two alumnae during Commencement-Reunion Weekend. Julianne Mueller '78 received one in recognition of the splendid job she's done over the years on behalf of the Washington, D.C. Alumni Club, especially in support of the admissions program and the D.C. Scholarship Fund, which now provides significant financial aid for four Oberlin students from the D.C. area. The association appreciates Julie's attention to detail and hard work, most of it behind the scenes and without much glory.

As chair of the Conservatory Committee, Carolyn Slingland Truitt '46, or "Kelly" as everyone knows her, always made sure that the interests of conservatory alumni were brought before the Alumni Council. Kelly has served as president of her class, as a member of her class's reunion gift committee, as cochair, with her husband, Jim '47 of the successful 1995 "Reflections on the Forties" reunion, and as faithful member of the Executive Board. The Association was pleased to recognize Kelly's deep loyalty to Oberlin.

Yuan Chang '56 was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation during Commencement-Reunion Weekend 1995, which he was unable to attend. Consequently, his certificate was presented in 1996, when his cluster celebrated its 40th reunion. Yuan has been active in the Alumni Association for 20 years, serving as class agent, class president, member and chair of the awards committee, executive board member, and finally as president of the Alumni Association from 1991 to 1993. A true supporter of Oberlin, Yuan will now be spreading the word about Oberlin in Hong Kong, where he moved this fall.

Midge Wood Brittingham is executive director of the Oberlin College Alumni Association.

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