Fall Alumni Council Meeting - September 1998
By Midge Wood Brittingham '60
Oberlin's annual Fall Alumni Council Meeting drew more than 180 alumni to campus to renew friendships, report on their activities on behalf of the College, and concentrate on the weekend's theme: Student Life. The group gathered Friday, September 11th for dinner and to hear from Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Perlik '48 and President Nancy Dye.
Richard Orloff Honored
LEFT: Rich Orloff '73 receives the Alumni Association's first Distinguished Service Award during Alumni Council Weekend.
A highlight of the evening's program was the presentation of the first Distinguished Service Award to playwright Richard Orloff '73 by Alumni Association president Peter Kirsch '79. Rich was honored for outstanding, sustained, and unique contributions to the Oberlin College Alumni Association, including his work as class president and reunion planner, class agent, and co-chair of the successful Vietnam Era Reunion. Rich wrote a play, Days of Possibilities, which was performed for that reunion and again at the 1990 Commencement/Reunion Weekend.
Last year Rich returned during Winter Term to conduct playwriting workshops for students that culminated in three evenings of one-act presentations of the students' work. During Alumni Council Weekend, he organized a staging of three of the student plays.
The dinner ended on a festive note with an Oberlin songfest, and a stalwart group remained on into the evening to sight read several choruses of Handel's Elijah, directed by Hugh Floyd, assistant professor of choral directing.
Throughout the weekend, various alumni groups met with campus staff members: Midge Wood Brittingham '60 and Margaret Sahs Erikson '62 gathered with reunion planners while Rachel Tansey joined with reunion gift committees. Claudia Jones met with class agents; Dale Preston '83 gathered the regional coordinators; and staff from the admission's office joined admissions recruiter coordinators. Oberlin's class presidents, meanwhile, learned about the upcoming capital campaign and new initiatives in student life and services.
Board Members Acknowledged
During the Sunday morning business meeting, the Council recognized two retiring members of the executive board, Past President Danette DiBiasio Wineberg '68 and at-large executive board member William Loerke '42. Diane Kenty '77, former chair of the admissions advisory committee, was named president-elect of the Association, and Clyde Owan '79 was re-elected treasurer. Leanne Cupp Wagner '76 was elected to the executive board as chair of the admissions advisory committee.
And More Alumni Awards...
Among the weekend's highlights was the presentation of nine Volunteer of the Year Awards to members of the Alumni Council. Susan Schwarz Rudzinski '85 (left) was honored for her work as a coordinator of the Chicago Recruiting Network. She also serves on the admissions advisory committee and was a writer and editor of the new coordinator's handbook.
Cecilia Brady, Mirla Agnir, and Ellen Hertzman, all '85 (L to R, right) were honored with the Class Agent of the Year Award. Each of the women supports the Oberlin Fund, and their class newsletter, with its fresh and creative graphics, helped raise the class participation rate by 9.5 points.
Another group effort was recognized with the Class President of the Year Awards, presented to Carl Brown '67, Ted Gest '68, Biz Glenn Harralson '69, and Gideon Schein '68. Each worked diligently on the class reunion and gift committee, chaired by Schein. Using their classmates as panelists, the cluster coordinated two successful Commencement symposia: "Are the Washington News Media and the Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr Out of Control?" and "Keeping the Dream Alive: Translating Activism from the '60s to the '90s." Ted and Biz will remain with the Alumni Council as co-class agents for their respective classes, while Gideon serves as the new class president.
Keeping Obies connected with their alma mater 2,355 miles away is no easy task, especially when competing with warm ocean breezes and lots of sunshine. Nevertheless, Karen Gunther '92 (left)has revived Oberlin's San Diego alumni, and organized an alumni outing to the famed San Diego Zoo. Karen was awarded the Regional Coordinator of the Year Award.
The College and the Alumni Association were generous with their praise of all volunteers who work on behalf of Oberlin.
Prior to the traditional question-and-answer period with President Nancy Dye on Sunday morning, Mike Muska, the recently-hired athletic director, moderated a panel discussion on new directions in athletics. The panel featured Heather Hogan, professor of history and chair of the General Faculty Athletics Committee; Anne Gilbert '91, head women's basketball coach; and Jason Ross, first-year football player.