Formerly known as Oberlin Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alumni (OLGBA), the steering committee voted last spring to change the organization's name to Oberlin Lambda Alumni (OLA), a shorter and more inclusive name and acronym.
Established in 1989, OLA is one of the oldest and largest such groups in the country, now numbering nearly 1,125 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered members, and is a chartered affiliate group of the Oberlin Alumni Association.
OLA defines its mission as facilitating the relationship between the College and its LGBT alumni, and awards an annual LGBT-studies research grant and an annual prize. The grant, in memory of Andy Cemelli '85, provides funding for proposed research into some aspect of LGBT concerns within existing academic programs. The prize, in memory of Norm Robertson '81, is awarded for a completed student project of scholarly research or an artistic contribution that advances awareness of issues related to the accomplishments of LGTB people. Both Cemelli and Robertson were founding members of OLA.
The next biennial weekend conference for OLA members and friends is scheduled in Oberlin for the weekend of November 13-15, 1998. OLA hopes for greater representation from "mature" alumni, specifically from the classes before 1970. One such member, Doug Cooper '50, says, "Joining OLA was an exhilarating and self-affirming experience, and has renewed and strengthened my ties to Oberlin. Through OLA I have met many new friends and have been privileged to help a broad spectrum of LGBT individuals, both students and alumni." Alumni considering joining OLA may contact Midge Brittingham '60, Oberlin Alumni Association, 105 Bosworth Hall, Oberlin OH 44074. Membership lists are confidential and tightly controlled. E-mail: ZOLA@ Oberlin.edu