It is Tuesday, September 4, and a day of new beginnings for the 796 students that make up the Class of 2011. Chosen from more than 7,150 applicants—an all-time high at Oberlin—our newest students have traveled from 42 states and 26 countries. Forty-one incoming students are high school valedictorians; 34 are legacies; and 37 are double-degree students enrolled in both the College and the Conservatory. Reflected well this year is Oberlin’s ongoing work in attracting a more diverse applicant pool; the class includes 162 students of color and 93 international students.
Oberlin’s newest students are also demonstrated leaders. Thirty-four of them served as class officers or as student senate leaders; 117 captained athletic teams; and 95 were editors of a literary magazine, newspaper, or yearbook. Many of our new Conservatory students were members of prestigious youth orchestras and have toured with professional symphonies.
As I begin my own journey at Oberlin, I find myself continually delighted by everything this institution has to offer. Leading a college with such a distinguished legacy of scholarship, social change, and the arts is a rare privilege, requiring both vision and broad-mindedness. As you may know, my background lies in university administration, teaching, and law, and I am an enthusiastic patron and supporter of the arts. I share the core values that define Oberlin College, and I understand the importance of transformative change. And while I feel well prepared to take on the Oberlin presidency, I recognize the great value in seeking out the perspectives of others—Oberlin alumni most especially. You are the backbone of this institution, the proof of its ability to change lives and communities, and the keepers of its legacies. I look forward to meeting you in the coming months and hope that you will drop by my office and introduce yourself when you visit Oberlin.
I’d like to take a moment to thank the many members of the College community who served on the Presidential Search Committee and supported its efforts, particularly Board of Trustees Chair Robert S. Lemle ’75, who led the effort, and outgoing Alumni Association President Wendell P. Russell Jr. ’71. I also would like to acknowledge the dedicated leadership provided by Nancy S. Dye over the past 13 years.
I look forward to building relationships with you and the entire Oberlin family as we work together to enhance our position as one of the nation’s top academic institutions.