Issue Contents :: Inside Oberlin

Vote for Alumni-Elected Trustee

I always vote. Since becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1985, I’ve taken every available opportunity to vote—in governmental elections, in votes within my professional associations, in elections at Oberlin and my graduate schools. And I wouldn’t dream of passing up the general election in November!

Without equating the 2004 presidential election with the annual vote for alumni-elected trustee, I do invite you to consider why it’s important for us to participate in the Oberlin election. For one thing, it’s a way of taking part in the governance of our alma mater, a privilege not offered by all colleges.

Voting also says: “We care.” In late August I visited campus in a new role—that of an Oberlin parent. Repeatedly throughout the orientation session, reference was made to Oberlin alumni and the great resource we are to the College and Conservatory. Psychology Professor Patty deWinstanley spoke about her lasting friendships with past students, some of whom later returned to campus to teach. Alumni Association Director Laura Gobbi welcomed legacy students by recognizing the special thread they weave into the fabric of the institution. I felt very proud to be an alumna on that occasion. I believe voting for alumni-elected trustee is one way of expressing that pride and our special connection to Oberlin.

Some of our most committed alumni say they have reasons for not voting. Some say they don’t know the candidates and have no way of making an informed choice. For that reason, our two current candidates are profiled in this magazine (see page 8); additional information is included in your ballot. Other alumni believe that the Alumni Council’s Trustee Search Committee does such a good job of selecting candidates that they’d be happy to see either candidate serve. If this is your belief, then I urge you to vote with confidence, knowing that you can’t go wrong.

Still others say they worry about having someone “win” and someone “lose”—the potential for hard feelings. Well, I can tell you that in 1994 I was a candidate for alumni-elected trustee, and I felt extraordinarily honored to have been selected by the search committee. Although I didn’t win, I was spurred to become even more involved in the Alumni Association. A decade later, I serve as your president, with no hard feelings. Learning from my experience, and recognizing that we don’t want to lose the talents of any of our candidates, the search committee works to identify important and satisfying ways for both candidates to be involved with Oberlin after the election.

Ongoing support of Oberlin by her alumni is a critical factor in the continuing success of the College. There are many ways to show that support, but one very simple way is by voting for alumni-elected trustee. So please join me in expressing personal support for the tradition of excellence that is Oberlin. Please vote.

President, Alumni Association