When Midge Wood Brittingham graduated cum laude from Oberlin in 1960 with a degree in English and an election to Phi Beta Kappa, she undoubtedly thought she had put her years at Oberlin College behind her. She had no way to know then that she would be riding her bike to the campus each day for another two decades--and, the earnest hope of all who know her, for many more years to come.
On September 20 the Alumni Council astonished Midge during the fall meeting's welcoming dinner with an elaborately planned celebration of her 20 years of service to the Alumni Association. Danette DiBiasio Wineberg '68, association president, had surreptitiously gathered tributes from former alumni leaders, including past presidents; ordered a handsome wall plaque for presentation; selected a special corsage; and arranged for a beautifully decorated cake. After several appreciative speeches, additional tributes were read from those who were unable to attend. The wine-and-cheese social following the dinner turned into a evening-long celebration. Midge, always unassuming and self-effacing, seemed speechless at first, but later remarked, with a smile she was "really bothered that the group could pull this off," without her knowing anything about it.
Danette had also gathered contributions from past presidents and the executive board, and presented a purse to be used any way Midge wished. [As of late November, she was still trying to decide if replacing her recently stolen bicycle would be the way she would use her unanticipated gift.]
Midge, an Oberlin resident, is married to Smith R. Brittingham III '60, and mother of two Obies, Smith R. Brittingham IV '84, and William Brittingham '87.
"The impact she has had on the College, on the Alumni Association, on the tens of thousands of Oberlin alums, and on each of us, simply cannot be measured."
Danette DiBiasio Wineberg '68, Ann Arbor, Mich.
"No one is indispensable, but Midge is! Her keen sense of what's happening is astute; her reading of people is close to flawless."
Yuan Chang '56, Hong Kong
"Alumni presidents come and go at a regular rate, college presidents come and go at a slower rate, but, thankfully, Midge is always there."
Fred Cohen '56, Newton, Mass.
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