Inside Oberlin :: A Century of Service

Oberlin faces the retirement this year of two of its most long-serving and dedicated supporters. Together, they represent 97 years of campus milestones, technological advancements, political turmoil, and an ever-exceptional body of students, faculty, and alumni.

The article that starts on page 12, “Mother Midge,” captures the colorful career of Alumni Asso-ciation Executive Director Midge Wood Brittingham ’60, whose spunk, diplomacy, and loyalty to Oberlin over the past 27 years has proven contagious for graduates of all generations.

Here, too, I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of another invaluable alumnus, George R. Bent ’52, who steps down this year after 30 years on Oberlin’s Board of Trustees. Elected in 1973, George was known by his fellow trustees for turning ideas into actions, particularly while helping to restore the physical beauty of our campus. He was involved in the search process for several College presidents and worked tirelessly in areas pertaining to Oberlin’s budget, personnel, buildings, and grounds.

Upon his appointment as chair of the Board in 1987, George shared his vision of the Board’s mission with fellow trustees. “Ours is not the role of proclaiming answers or of taking positions,” he said. “Ours is the task of creating the environment for a dynamic educational experience. In doing so, we prepare Oberlin students to speak to the critical issues in our society.”

Some among you may remember George from his enterprising student days in the late 1940s and early ’50s. The son of two Oberlin alumni, he was president of his freshmen class and of Pyle Co-op, co-captain of the basketball team, treasurer of the Displaced Persons Student Committee, and a member of the Musical Union. At his fifth-year reunion, just 20 minutes after departing the bus that brought him to campus, he met his future bride, Ruth Schoeni, who was a graduate student in the Conservatory.

A respected retired business leader from the nonprofit and corporate sectors, George once said that his Oberlin education often set him apart from most other business people, in part because of his sense of social consciousness. He is quick to encourage new graduates to consider the business world, which, he says, “can benefit from the talents of Oberlin alumni.”

As noted by current Board of Trustees Chair Tom Klutznick ’61, George leaves the Board at a time when Oberlin is again ranked among the finest liberal arts institutions in the nation, with a strong and dedicated faculty and a competitive student selection process.

“Despite difficult financial times, the future of Oberlin has never been brighter,” Klutznick says. “But as George Bent would be the first to remind us, we cannot rest on past achievements. We must keep dreaming and striving and attaining.”

Nancy S. Dye
President, Oberlin College