Spread the Word
The breadth and significance of alumni activities described in the Spring issue was most impressive. I was reminded of Oberlin’s profound involvement with Buddhism and things Eastern by the experience of Geoff DeGraff. Barbara Seaman’s activism in challenging and improving women’s health care follows in our strong tradition of progressive involvement with important social issues. Oberlin’s conference on law and the liberal arts vividly illustrates alumni constructively engaging in the forefront of political and moral issues. As always, the books that our alumni regularly publish further demonstrate the variety of fields in which our graduates make important contributions. Most poignant was the story of Lucy Stone—abolitionist and fighter for women’s suffrage and human rights. The environmental and political struggle to preserve her childhood home—by a fellow alumnus, of course—is impressive. What struck me in reading the article, however, is the way in which Stone’s story is emblematic of Oberlin. Just as the “tales of less influential suffragists grew to overshadow [Stone’s] story,” so the prominence of colleges today whose achievements are more modest than our own far outstrips Oberlin’s. No doubt the lack of fanfare with which we do our work is consistent with the ethos of the school. But I wish Oberlin could more effectively promote itself and the contributions of its graduates so it could assume its proper prominent place among institutions of higher learning.
Florham Park, N.J.
Legacies of Lucy Stone
I enjoyed reading about Lucy Stone and was
particularly pleased to discover that she is a very distant relative. I am grateful that I come from a long line of strong, independent, intelligent, and educated women, and that the men in the family encouraged them. Praise be to Oberlin, and may it remain
in the vanguard of educational opportunity for all!
When our freshmen class met with President Stevenson for the first time in Finney Chapel in 1950, he mentioned that many of us incoming students had siblings or parents or grandparents who had attended Oberlin. One student, he said, had noted that his closest Oberlin relative was a great, great, great aunt. I was that student, and Lucy Stone the great aunt. My grandmother had known and talked about Lucy, and my mother received a Christmas card from Lucy’s daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell, shortly before Alice’s death in 1950. Incidentally, both my mother and her sister were born at the Stone’s family farm on Coy’s Hill—in the same room, and I believe in the same bed, as Lucy.
A True Pioneer
I am an Oberlin Conservatory graduate, living in Europe for over 30 years. I was wonderfully surprised to read the article about Barbara Seaman and her magnificent work through the years. I remember much of her incredible discipline, dedication, and will to get her important message across, not only to women, but also to men, doctors, and of course—the most difficult—the drug industry. She is a true pioneer, extremely important in the history of medicine, modern ideas, and the rights and values of women. Thank you so much for the article. All people should know her story and her work.
I am writing because of my complete distaste with the illustration on the cover of the Spring issue. I could not believe my eyes! What an absolutely poor impression it makes for the College. I am a fourth generation Oberlinian, my oldest alumni ancestor being Frances Munson, my grandmother. I surely will not push my grandchildren to attend a school that publishes such a magazine!
First we had alien abductions reported with a straight face (Fall 2002). Now we read of acupuncture for AIDS! (p. 48, Spring 2004.) What pseudo-science is next? Chiropractors for Clap? Homeopaths for HIV? Psychics for Sciatica? Maybe you should take a more skeptical tone in reporting these controversial ideas, most of which have not survived rigorous analysis.
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