Alumni in Service to Oberlin College

Alums Give Endowed Lectures, Dance Concerts, and More

School had hardly started before the first alumni visitor came through the ASOC program (Alumni in Service to Oberlin College.)

Christopher Baswell '75 gave the September 22 Frederick B. Artz Memorial Lecture, "Founding Mothers in Medieval Narratives of Empire". A Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude Oberlin graduate with majors in both classics and English, Baswell received a Ph.D. in English from Yale in 1983. He has a been a member of the English faculty at Barnard College since 1984. Baswell's visit was jointly sponsored by the English and history departments.

On September 23 Tim Gerber '69, assistant professor of music at the Ohio State University School of Music, led a music-education workshop-"The General Music Imperative in our Secondary Schools"-for Oberlin music- education majors. The workshop covered hands-on teaching and learning techniques for use in middle- and senior-high-school music classes. Gerber's recent research focuses on musical development in adolescents, and an article based on the research-"Music at the Middle Level: Building Strong Programs"-was published in 1994 by the Music Educators National Conference. He received the OSU School of Music's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1994 and has recently become a member of the Conservatory Alumni Committee.

The Alumni Dance Concert presented by the Theater and Dance Program September 23 featured solo performances by three recent grads-Jordan Fuchs '90, Joyce Suan Li Lim '93, and Crispin Spaeth '89. Lim, a chemistry major at Oberlin now pursuing a M.F.A. in dance at Smith College, presented "My Body T'Witches," described by Cleveland Plain Dealer dance critic Wilma Salisbury as "an excruciating journey through the torture of fire and water . . . . In contrast, Fuch's work-in-progress, "Sometimes a Teddy Bear Picnic," was a fast-paced comedy set to a music collage by composer Erik Pearson '89. A religion major and dance minor at Oberlin, Fuchs is an M.F.A. candidate in dance at Ohio State University. "Cease," by Seattle choreographer Spaeth was an aggressive piece with "strong physicality," wrote Salisbury. Spaeth, who is founder of Seattle's Crispin Spaeth Dance Group, graduated from Oberlin with a major in studio art and minor in dance. All three performers took part in a round-table discussion with students about their dance experiences since leaving Oberlin.

Julie Schumacher '81 read from her first novel, The Body Is Water, on October 23. The novel, published by Soho Press, received early praise from noted writers, among them Alison Lurie, who calls Schumacher's first book "wonderful and original . . . one of the best I have read in years." Schumacher teaches at St. Olaf College and has had work published in, among other publications, the Atlantic Monthly and the Quarterly, as well as in the Best American Short Stories and O Henry Awards series. Her visit was sponsored by the Creative Writing Program.

"Pollution, Health and Culture" was the title of an October 27 public lecture given by Larry Schell '70, professor of anthropology and epidemiology at the State University of New York at Albany. An anthropology major at Oberlin, Schell received a Ph.D. in 1980 from the University of Pennsylvania. His current research, which focuses on the relation of human growth and development to features of urban environments, is based on field research done in New York's Akwesasne Reserve and Albany and Saratoga counties and in Pennsylvania's Delaware County. Schell edited Urban Ecology and Health in the Third World, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 1993, and he contributes journal articles and chapters in the fields of health, human biology, and biocultural interaction. Besides giving the lecture, Schell met with students enrolled in an introductory course in biological anthropology and with other interested students over lunch. His visit was sponsored by the Department of Anthropology.

Jon Levine '76, associate professor of neurobiology and physiology at Northwestern University, gave the Montie-Block Lecture in Biology on October 27. His talk was entitled "Neuroendocrine Regulation of Ovulatory Cyclicity." Levine majored in biology and psychology at Oberlin and, in 1982, earned a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, where he studied in the department of physiology and biophysics. He has taught at Northwestern since 1984. His visit was sponsored by the Department of Biology.

At the invitation of the Department of Art History Andrew Butterfield '82 gave a talk - "The Funerary Monument of Cosimo de' Medici Pater Patriae" - in Fisher Hall October 29. Andrew, a specialist on the sculpture of Andrea del Verrocchio, majored in art history at Oberlin and earned the Ph.D at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. A fellow at the School of Historical Studies at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, he is a past fellow of the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at the Villa I Tatti in Florence, Italy.


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