Oberlin Alumni Magazine

Winter 2011-2012 Vol. 107 No. 1 OAM Home | Oberlin Online

Alumni Notes

Conventional Thinking

(1) Torchlight parade 1960
(2) Office students 1960
(Photos courtesy of the Oberlin College Archives)
(3) Convention floor 1960
(4) Preconvention rally 1940
(Photos courtesy of the Oberlin College Archives)
(5) New Jersey drummer 1960
(6) Demonstration for Kennedy 1960
(Photos courtesy of Arthur E. Princehorn)
I hate everybody button 1960
(Photo courtesy of Bob Williams)
(9) Choir duo entertaining
(10) Choir members Ralph Ficker and Bob Cornet pass the time of day with Soviet friends in Zaporazhe.
(11) Members of the Oberlin College Choir observe Benjamin Britten conducting a rehearsal of his cello concerto in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with Soviet cellist Mstislav Rostropovich as soloist.
(12) Members of the Oberlin College Choir exchange addresses and gifts with new-found Soviet friends in Beldsi, in the Moldavian Republic.
(13) Oberlin Choir members meet with Russian friends after a rehearsal in Leningrad.
(14) After a rehearsal in Leningrad, Oberlin students meet with their Soviet counterparts to exchange greetings and answer questions.
OC Choir JFK airport PanAm

Democratic convention 1960 (Photo courtesy of Steve Vanek '62)

Before the voting age was lowered to 18, and before the civil rights and anti-war movements brought them into the real world of politics, Oberlin students enjoyed mock conventions, which brought nationally known speakers to campus and debated the issues of the day. For many Oberlin students, this every-four-year event was among the highlights of their college years. The 1960 mock convention, which made John F. Kennedy the Democratic nominee, fell right in the middle of those years for the Class of 1962.

The Class of 1962 celebrates its 50th reunion this May, and the Oberlin Alumni Association encourages all members to return to Oberlin. (The entire delegation from the great state of Ohio welcomes you!)

For reunion information, visit new.oberlin.edu/events-activities/reunion/.

(7) Floor sign LBJ May 7, 1960 (Photo courtesy of Arthur E. Princehorn)
(8) Elephant float students 1960 (Photo courtesy of Ed Freeman)

A Soviet Reunion?

Robert Fountain rehearses women of the Oberlin College Choir on the stage of the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.

In 1964, at the height of the Cold War, the Oberlin College Choir sang 39 concerts during a two-month, 12-city tour of the Soviet Union and Romania. Seventy-five students (including a chamber orchestra) took part in the tour, which was organized through a U.S. State Department cultural exchange program. The choir was chosen by a committee of Russian artists from among a selection of groups provided by the state department. Here, Robert Fountain, the choir’s director, rehearses women of the Oberlin College Choir on the stage of the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.

The 2012 Oberlin Conservatory Alumni Reunion and Celebration, which takes place June 14-17, is for conservatory alumni, double-degree graduates, students who enrolled in music courses, and all Oberlin alumni who love music. For more information, visit oberlin.edu/conservatoryreunion.

(15) Mstislav Rostropovich, Soviet cellist, talks to Robert Fountain and members of the Oberlin College Choir in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.
(16) Members of the Oberlin College Choir and their director Robert Fountain meet Soviet Artists Mstislav Rostropovich and David Oistrakh after a rehearsal in the Moscow Conservatory. Left to right: Robert Fountain, choir members Phyllis Brill and Frank Clemmons, and Mr. Oistrakh and Mr. Rostropovich.

(17) McNeil Fountain Kneisley listening
(18) Oberlin College Choir members educate Soviet on-lookers in the fine art of Frisbee-throwing in Simferopol.

(19) Oberlin College Choir member Nancy Schneider (fur hat) talks with Soviet students in a 'sidewalk seminar' in Chernovtsi.
(20) PanAm tarmac

(21) Choir member Peter Richards (brother of Bruce Richards, retired former assoc. dean), left center, talks with Romanian friends after a visit to the Bucharest Conservatory.
(22) Oberlin students hear a talk on Soviet space achievements in the Palace of Pioneers, in Leningrad.

Oberlin Fever

In the cold Oberlin winter of 1967, two freshman roommates made a pact: Before graduating, they would win the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) basketball championship. And in their senior year, that’s exactly what they did.

As cocaptains of the basketball team, Randy Miller ’70 and Al Wellington ’70 led the Yeoman squad to victory over national powerhouse Wittenberg for the title, along the way bringing together a campus and community that desperately needed to unite.

This is the story told in Oberlin Fever, a book by Miller and Wellington that details the team’s 1970 trek to the OAC trophy. The pair came up with the idea in 2010, the 40th anniversary of the historic championship win, and the year that Miller and Wellington were inducted into Oberlin’s Athletics Hall of Fame. Naturally, the reunion inspired a trip down memory lane.

“We got to thinking, recalling, and reliving those exciting days,” says Miller. “That team and what happened during the season and in the tournament is a really good story. We thought Oberlinians who were there would want to recall it, or that those of later generations could learn about it for the first time.”

The story of the championship run is all the more compelling because of its timing, in the midst of one of the most culturally tumultuous periods in U.S. history. The Yeoman drive to victory inspired a color-blind coming together of the Oberlin community, with more than 1,600 Oberlin fans packing the stands for that final game.

“Our book tells the story of a team, a time, and a campus that was swept up in basketball fever,” says Miller, “and that deserves a lasting place in Oberlin lore.”

Hall of Famers

(Photo by Brady Eggleston ’14)

Oberlin's Department of Athletics, in conjunction with the John. W Heisman Club, inducted five new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame during Homecoming Weekend last fall. They are (l to r ) Norm Thoms '55 (soccer and tennis), Mary Alysia Oakley '98 (lacrosse and soccer), Margaret Cheney '76 (diving and tennis), Tom Palmer '51 (football, track and field, and diving), and, not pictured, Ryan Kelley '96 (lacrosse). For more information, please visit www.goyeo.com.

Musical Edventurers

Music education alums Danielle Solan '05, Danielle Koplink-Loehr '09, and Meghan Meloy '11 are shown with Oberlin Professor of Music Education Peggy Bennett at the Music EdVentures International Conference in Portland, Ore., in February 2011. "The Oberlin alumnae wowed attendees with their first conference presentations," Peggy writes. Each alumna was awarded a Fleurette Sweeney Fellowship for Emerging Pioneers in Education by the MEI organization. Danielle S. teaches elementary music in Austin, Texas; Danielle K. teaches elementary music in Winooski, Vt.; and Meghan is pursuing teaching opportunities in the Philadelphia area.

Winter-term Connections

Jackie Bradley Hughes ’76
President, Oberlin Alumni Association

Winter term, which runs the month of January, allows Oberlin students to complete self-directed educational projects of their choosing, either individually or as part of a group.

My own most memorable winter term took place my sophomore year. Psuekay, a student-run theater group, put on a play called The Vietnamese Cowboy. It was written by Charles Blair ’70, with Avery Brooks ’70 starring in and directing it. Before rehearsals began, and even before we saw the script, we went through a weeklong mini boot camp. Everyone was subjected to the same grueling, physically demanding regimen. No one was spared. Initially, I didn’t understand why we had to do push-ups to take part in a play, but in the end, I discovered it wasn’t about the physical rigor, but the trust created from all of us taking part in the endeavor together. Knowing that this group had my back gave me the confidence I sorely needed to perform in Finney Chapel before large audiences.

Winter term is a fabulous Oberlin tradition that many of you participated in as students. I now ask you to participate again, this time as alumni, by hosting winter-term students in your home or by providing an internship to a student.

One of the objectives of the winter-term internship program is to provide students with guided experiential learning opportunities. Students benefit the most when given substantive projects (such as research, writing assignments, and event planning) as well as opportunities to observe and shadow individuals and a supervision structure that encourages questions and regular feedback. An employer guide explains Oberlin’s expectations of internship sites, a timeline, and guidelines for preparing, structuring, supervising, and evaluating an internship.

As an added benefit, the program fosters connections between students and alumni, engaging alumni in the life of the college and helping students to begin forging career networks. Alumni may continue to serve as resources for the students they supervise long after the internships are over, and students are able to start developing networks in their fields of interest.

More than 90 percent of students who took part in a winter-term internship in 2011 said they gained knowledge and skills that will be useful to them in the future. More than 96 percent of students were rated satisfactory or above by their supervisors in all areas, including communication, skills and competencies needed for the job, and dependability. As these results and the considerable growth of employer and student participation suggest, the winter-term internship program simultaneously addresses the needs of Oberlin students, alumni and employers, and Oberlin College. The benefits have lasting value as students seek and begin jobs, and as organizations take advantage of the energy and talent of the students, whether for a single month, or longer term in the future.

Alumni interested in offering an internship should contact Oberlin’s Office of Career Services at (440) 775-8140 or internships@oberlin.edu. They will accept winter-term internship postings year round, but postings for winter term 2013 should be submitted by September 30, 2012. Also, we need more volunteers to house winter-term students, especially in major cities such as San Francisco and Washington, D.C. If you can house an Oberlin student, please update your OBIEWeb profile and indicate “willingness to house students for winter term.”

Regional Club Hits High Note

Soprano Lillie Chilen ’08 and pianist Chien-Lin Lu ’11 perform at the Oberlin Club of San Francisco Bay Area’s 10th Annual Alumni Concert in November, featuring guest speaker David Stull ’89, dean of the conservatory. The concert, held at the Community Music Center and organized by Poppy Dorsam ’86, Sandy Miller ’63, and Joanna Saks ’85, showcased an eclectic group of alumni classical, jazz, rock, and folk performers. For more, visit http://new.oberlin.edu/office/alumni/clubs/.

Alumni-Elected Trustee Elections

2011 Election Results:
Danette Wineberg ’68 was elected to serve a second six-year term (2011-2017) as an alumni-elected trustee during the 2011 election. Wineberg is an attorney who served most recently as vice president, general counsel, and secretary for the Timberland Company (now Timberland LLC) from 1997 until the sale of the company in 2011. Wineberg earned her law degree at the University of Michigan Law School in 1980. At Oberlin, she majored in English and minored in education. Her alumni activities have included admissions, regional coordinator work, committee and executive board membership, and president of the Alumni Association. In 2000, she received the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award. Wineberg and her husband, Steve Wineberg ’67, have a son, Bryan, who graduated from the conservatory in 1992. His wife, Sarah, is also an Oberlin grad.

New Alumni-elected Trustee:
The Oberlin community was saddened by the death of alumni-elected trustee Dr. Robert Frascino ’74 in 2011. The Executive Board ratified the trustee search committee’s recommendation of Jacob Gayle ’79 to fill the remaining year of Frascino’s term. Gayle joined the Medtronic family in 2011 as vice president of community affairs and executive director of the Medtronic Foundation. In these capacities, Gayle leads the strategic development and implementation of global corporate citizenship programs, including philanthropy and employee engagement. With a broad professional career in public health and global health diplomacy, Gayle served as deputy vice president of the Ford Foundation, leading its five-year Special Global Initiative on HIV/AIDS, from 2005 through 2010. Gayle earned a doctorate in international/community health (health education), an MA in community health education, and an MS in preventive medicine from Ohio State University. He majored in psychobiology at Oberlin. Prior to joining the Board of Trustees, Gayle served on the President’s Advisory Council at Oberlin College.

VOTE for Alumni-elected Trustee!
Voting Deadline: May 4, 2012

All Oberlin graduates are eligible to cast votes for alumni-elected trustees, a tradition that dates back to 1878. Six of the 34 seats on the college’s Board of Trustees are filled through direct election by alumni.

The candidates for the 2012 election are David Hoard ’81, vice president for institutional advancement at Jackson State University, and Diane Yu ’73, chief of staff and deputy to the president of New York University. The alumni trustee elected this spring will serve a six-year term (July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2018).

If you would like to nominate someone to be considered as a potential alumni-elected trustee candidate, or if you have questions, contact Danielle Young, Executive Director of the Alumni Association, at alumni@oberlin.edu. or 440-775-8692.

Watch for information about the candidates and how to cast your vote in the coming months. Your vote counts!