Oberlin Alumni Magazine

Summer 2009 Vol. 104 No. 4 OAM Home | Oberlin Online

Alumni Notes

This image of the Apollo Theatre was taken by William Farquhar ’43, three years after he graduated from Oberlin. The theater, built in 1913, is one of the few single-screen movie houses operating in the U.S. It was purchased by the College Properties of Oberlin, a subsidiary of Oberlin College, last- spring.

(Courtesy of Oberlin Heritage Center)

Moving On Up (Again)

(photo by John Seyfried)

The alumni office has moved a number of times over the years: from Cox Administration Building to Wilder Hall in 1924 to a location on North Main Street near the Oberlin Inn in 1935 and then to Bosworth Hall (part of the old Theological Quadrangle) in 1966. With little visibility and reception space, few alumni and students currently visit us here, where we have less than 1,500 square feet for offices, workspace, and storage.

I now have the privilege of announcing that next spring, the alumni office will move from Bosworth to space acquired by Oberlin College in the East College Street Project, just east of the Apollo Theatre on South Pleasant Street. With 3,000 square feet, the larger facility will provide much-needed work and meeting space and allow for a welcoming reception area for alumni and students.

We see the space as more than a new alumni office. This will be an alumni center, a place where visitors can come to meet the staff and other alumni, find information about the Alumni Association and the college, and even check e-mail while they enjoy a cup of coffee. It is especially fitting that our new home—housed in the sustainable mixed-use complex developed by Naomi Sabel ’02, Ben Ezinga ’01, and Josh Rosen ’01—will tangibly represent environmental and social commitments. We also welcome a stronger connection with the town of Oberlin.

The alumni office space will be in close proximity to a student art gallery and studios. We encourage alumni to plan visits to the alumni center and art gallery when they are in town, and to participate in other college and community events. We’ll keep you posted as architectural plans are finalized and construction continues.

Beyond supplying more physical space, the new center also symbolizes the prominent place of alumni in the college community. We recognize your importance to the life of the college. You—our alumni—give so much back through your financial support, volunteer efforts, recruitment of students, and by enhancing the reputation of the college through your accomplishments and commitment to promoting positive change in the world. The center’s distinctive presence in Oberlin will also enhance the visibility of alumni, the Alumni Association, and our programming, which is key as we strive to foster a stronger sense of community with current and future alumni.

None of this good news would have been possible without the advocacy and support of many individuals. The Alumni Office staff and I thank the Board of Trustees, President Krislov, and the college’s senior administrators for recognizing the importance of this project and for finding us a new home. We also wish to thank the dedicated volunteers on the Alumni Association’s Executive Board who identified the need for new alumni facilities in 2005 and then worked diligently to promote the project. Past presidents Leanne Wagner ’76 and Wendell Russell, Jr. ’71 and current President Bill Hilton ’65 deserve special recognition for their leadership.

When I think ahead to 2010 and our move to the other side of Tappan Square, I look forward to welcoming you back home—and to your new alumni center!

For more information about the alumni facilities, including giving and naming opportunities, feel free to reach me at Danielle.Young@oberlin.edu.

Danielle Young
Executive Director, Alumni Association

Johnnetta Cole ’57 Named Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (NMAA)

Courtesy of Smithsonian

Johnnetta Cole ’57 was named director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (NMAA) in February. The NMAA, located in Washington, D.C., is the only museum in the U.S. dedicated to the collection, conservation, study, and exhibition of traditional and contemporary African art. Johnnetta has conducted research in Africa, the Caribbean, and the U.S. and has authored several books and scores of scholarly articles. She recently headed the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute at Bennett College in North Carolina.

Regional Roundup
What’s Happening in Your Region?

Find out at ObieWeb, www.oberlin.edu/alumni/oberlinClubs.

Atlanta and North Carolina
President’s Reception with Professor David Orr

In March, nearly 40 alumni in Atlanta and more than 60 in North Carolina gathered to hear an update from President Marvin Krislov followed by a stimulating and thought-provoking presentation on the environment by Paul Sears Professor David Orr. After the presentation, alumni participated in a lively question and answer period while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.

Pau Hana

On April 30, the Oberlin Club of Hawaii hosted a very successful pau hana (meaning "end of work," akin to happy hour) at the Moana Surfrider with former Alumni Association President Clyde Owan ’79. The handful of Obies who gathered together had a great time meeting each other and telling tales of Oberlin with representation dating back to the class of 1964 (pictured below). Thank you to all who responded to the Hawaii survey. It will help shape future events. Should you have any additional ideas, please contact Shawn Steiman ’00 at coffeaconsultin@gmail.com.

Alumni Happy Hour

About 20 Obies joined the new regional coordinator for the Oberlin Club of Houston, Larissa Potiomkin ’00, for an alumni happy hour in downtown Houston. Over drinks and appetizers, Larissa spoke about building up the Houston Club and ways to connect alumni, parents, and students in the Houston area, and she recruited a few fellow Obies to volunteer for the club’s outreach efforts. Look for more engagement opportunities this summer.

Alumni Happy Hour

On May 28, Atlanta area alumni enjoyed happy hour drinks, appetizers, and live music with new Regional Coordinator Cristina Briboneria ’05. With a very diverse group of 25 Obies in attendance, Cristina was able to gather ideas for future alumni events and engagement opportunities—keep an eye out for some whitewater rafting fun this summer.

2009 Oberlin Summer Picnics!

From Philadelphia to San Francisco, from Houston to Chicago, students and their parents can join local alumni for an annual summer picnic celebration. Summer picnics are an Oberlin tradition in which alumni and parents of current and incoming Oberlin students host picnics in several cities around the country. They are a great way to meet new and current students and alumni from your community. Look for an Oberlin summer picnic in your area by visiting www.oberlin.edu/alumni/oberlinClubs/picnics.html.

–John Keller
Director of Regional Activities and Engagement

A Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste!

Calling all Environmental Studies Alumni

Join kindred spirits for the first reunion of EnviroAlums and environmental studies alumni. The economic downturn and climate change present opportunities for substantive change to create better, more durable ways of living. Oberlin is emerging as a model, with myriad changes afoot.

Two days of seminars, workshops, tours, demonstrations, visiting, and networking with students and alumni will culminate with David Orr’s symposium "From Here to There: Visions of a Prosperous, Post-Carbon Oberlin Region."

Mark your calendar to be in Oberlin October 9-11, 2009! Bring your ideas. Renew and make new friendships. Take home enthusiasm and ideas for bringing about change.

Contact the Alumni Office and see EnviroAlums web site for more information: www.oberlin.edu/envs/oeeaa/.