Issue Contents :: Inside Oberlin

Building Bridges

As I settle into my new position as director of the Alumni Association, I realize I have met more amazing individuals in the past month than some people are lucky to know in a lifetime. It is clear to me now why Midge Brittingham stayed on at Oberlin for as long as she did.

Being back in this new, yet familiar place has made one thing obvious: the Oberlin alumni community is vibrant and growing.

Our Alumni Association president, Leanne Wagner '76, along with the Association's executive board, are striving to devise and implement effective ways to reach out to our diverse community. I like to think of this as building bridges between the College of today and the students of yesterday. Leanne is currently taking part in the College's Strategic Planning project, which is aimed at setting a clear direction for Oberlin by examining its core values and mission. Leanne has been a strong advocate for alumni presence in this process, which will ensure that the framework for Oberlin's future comes from a shared vision.

Bonds between alumni and students have been created and strengthened in the past months by two hugely successful programs. The Law and Liberal Arts Conference (see article on page 28) brought dozens of alumni back to campus, while the Business Scholar Program sent 12 winter term students to Cleveland and New York to shadow alumni in the business world. Through the collaborative efforts of faculty, staff, students, and alumni, both programs exemplified the ideal form of networking, mentoring, and friendship.

We in the Alumni Office are busy working on reunions–both virtual and real. If you haven't yet done so, I encourage you to visit our new website, ObieWeb, at and register! Keep in touch, stay in-formed of alumni activities in your area, and find out what's happening on campus. If this is a reunion year for you, you may be attending some very special events in May, including a reunion for the tennis players of the Class of 1954 organized by the coach himself, Ken Roose; a symposium on Charles Ives given by Helen Boatwright, Class of 1939; and the simple presence of Oberlin's own Dorothy Smith '29, who will be the guest of honor at her 75th reunion!

I had the privilege of dining with Dorothy recently. As she imparted her wisdom to me, it became evident that the transitions in her life have been influenced by her long-time Oberlin affiliations. Likewise, my own place in Oberlin history is touched by extraordinary people whose life accomplishments are huge and wide-ranging.

As I make my way around the country in the months ahead, I look forward to meeting you, listening to what made your Oberlin experience unique, and learning how you stay connected with other alumni. I am most interested to hear how I can improve upon this communication, so that our family will grow larger and stronger in all of its beautiful diversity.

Laura M. Gobbi '91
Executive Director, Alumni Association