Feature Stories/ Contents

Message from the Conservatory of Music


Around Tappan Square

Professor Norman Craig says farewell

In Brief

Student Perspective


Healing Power of Shakespeare



The Last Word

New Yourker cartoonist Bob Blechman '52 on reunion reality

Staff Box

One More Thing


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The Best of Both Worlds

OVER THIS PAST YEAR, MY FIRST AT OBERLIN, I have enjoyed enormously the opportunity to visit with alumni and friends on campus and on trips to virtually every corner of the country. These gatherings have enriched my sense of both College and Conservatory and what thay have stood for over the years. An essential part of Oberlin College, the alumni reflect the abiding principles of the College and help in myriad ways to sustain and advance those principles.

In the Spring 2000 issue of OAM, Clayton Koppes, dean of the College and current acting president during Nancy Dye's sabbatical leave, wrote about another of Oberlin's essential constituencies: the faculty. A third, of course, is our students. Alumni, faculty, staff, and students, together with the Board of Trustees, represent the human capital of the College; their shared values and aspirations together determine Oberlin's unique quality and character.

This year's entering class augurs well for the future. Enrollment targets in both College and Conservatory have been exceeded, and the profile of the class is strong indeed. The Conservatory offered admission to 29 percent of 1,117 applicants, making this year the most selective the Conservatory has ever had. Forty-seven percent of admitted students have enrolled (a 3 percent increase over last year), resulting in 155 new Conservatory students.

We are excited about the new members of the Oberlin community in both the College and the Conservatory, about their range of interests and abilities, and about the vitality they bring to the College. I refer here to Oberlin College without distinguishing between Conservatory and College of Arts and Sciences in keeping with my remarks to new Conservatory students, their families, and the faculty at the Orientation Recital in September:

"Let me close with a comment about what it means to be a member of Oberlin College, a liberal arts college of the first order. Perhaps I can make my point most effectively by reminding you that music has been recognized as one of the liberal arts since they were first conceived. Indeed, the ancients placed music in the quadrivium or higher division of the seven liberal arts along with arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy; complemented by the trivium, made up of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. While the modern curriculum has taken on new terms and new definitions, I think one can discern underneath the forms of the original seven liberal arts.

"In keeping with these understandings, let me echo the words of a former colleague and say to each of you that to come to Oberlin College as a musician and to leave unchanged by the intellectual, artistic, and spiritual resources of the College of Arts and Sciences would be to fail your mission here; and to come to Oberlin College in any other field and leave unchanged by the extraordinary musical resources of this great Conservatory would be to fail your mission.

"The Conservatory's association with a great College of Arts and Sciences sets it apart from any would-be competitors; and likewise for the College, its association with the Conservatory of Music sets it apart from its peers among elite liberal arts colleges in America. Cherish that fact and make it part of your lives. Your mission here is to learn, not only pursuing mastery of the art and craft of music and seeking the well-springs of your creativity, but by learning more broadly where we have been and where we might go, a quest that will immeasurably enrich your development as musicians and as members of the human community."
Oberlin College Conservatory of Music