Nancy Dye shared a story recently about her first day as Oberlin’s president. A student had scheduled an early morning appointment with her. He wanted to be the first person to explain everything that was wrong with Oberlin and how to fix it all. His list of grievances included the condition of the residence halls, the outdated curriculum, and even the entire administration. When he came to the end of his presentation, President Dye responded, “I’m sorry that you don’t like Oberlin.” The student was stunned! “How could you think I don’t like Oberlin?” he replied. “I love Oberlin!”
Many of us love Oberlin, but perhaps no one more so than President Dye. In working with her over the years, I have seen first-hand her tireless dedication; her resolve; her talent for rallying the Oberlin community in common cause; and her insight into Oberlin’s history, future needs, and place in higher education. She has been steadfast in her belief that Oberlin’s mission is to achieve academic, artistic, and musical excellence, and that achieving this mission is animated by Oberlin’s commitment to diversity.
As you will read in Portrait of a President, President Dye’s accomplishments at Oberlin are vast and meaningful, be they in admissions, athletics, facilities, or town-gown relations. She will retire June 30 from an Oberlin College that is academically and financially stronger, and that has, by any measure, made enormous progress during her 13-year tenure.
President Dye speaks often of the Oberlin education she herself received. It is no secret that she and her husband, Griff, became ardent globalists while at Oberlin, particularly strengthening Oberlin’s ties in the Middle East and Asia. Perhaps more so than any other U.S. college president, President Dye is working personally to reestablish ties between American and Iranian institutions of higher education. Looking forward, she plans to continue her work in the international higher education arena, and she remains committed to Oberlin’s efforts in this regard.
As her tenure comes to a close, I know I speak for the entire community in expressing our abiding affection and our deepest appreciation for her outstanding leadership.
Editor’s note: As this issue of OAM was preparing for press, the process of searching for Oberlin’s next president was nearing its conclusion. As events develop, we will continue our communication with you, both in correspondence and on the Presidential Search website.