I have filled many volunteer roles at Oberlin College over the years and one of the most rewarding was serving on the Alumni Council's Trustee Search Committee. I even chaired the committee from 1996 to 1999.
In the center of this issue of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine, you will find information about the two candidates currently up for election as alumni-elected trustees: Karen Buck Burgess '72 and Jacob Gayle '79. You will also find an election ballot that you can complete and mail back to the Oberlin College Alumni Association — you don't even need to pay for postage! Any person upon whom the college has conferred a degree is eligible to vote.
You may ask why the ballot is inserted into the magazine this time and why it is important to vote?
For at least 25 years, we have sent printed ballots and/or email announcements directly to eligible voters. In the past decade, we have encouraged online voting to reduce printing and mailing costs, while still mailing printed ballots to alumni in the earlier classes and to those for whom we don't have an email address. Unfortunately, the number of alumni voting each year has decreased significantly. In the early 1990s, approximately 6,000 alumni voted each election. In 2012, fewer than 2,700 votes were cast, which equates to fewer than 8 percent of our eligible alumni voting. We are sending a simple, postage-paid postcard ballot in the magazine this winter in hopes that the new approach will help us increase voter turnout.
Oberlin is unusual among liberal arts colleges in that six of the 34 seats on its Board of Trustees are filled through direct election by alumni. Your vote in this election presents an important opportunity to participate in one of the most enduring and important roles that we as alumni can play. Even if you believe that both candidates are qualified for a position on the Board of Trustees, and will serve Oberlin College well in the coming years, please take the time to review their credentials and vote. It costs nothing but has immense value.
Your vote in these elections not only counts directly for one of the candidates on the ballot, it also shows support for our opportunity as alumni to nominate candidates, for the volunteers on the Trustee Search Committee to thoroughly review the qualifications of all nominees and select candidates to appear on a ballot, and for us as alumni to continue to have a voice in selecting trustees. The volunteers who serve on the Trustee Search Committee — your peers — put in many hours to review nominee qualifications, interview candidates, and select the candidates presented to you for election each year. The candidates themselves also deserve a lot of credit and respect for their willingness to serve their alma mater as trustees and to appear on a competitive ballot.
Vote now and consider nominating an alumna/us for future consideration by the Trustee Search Committee. Send your nomination, including background information and a description of the assets the candidate would bring, to Danielle Young, Executive Director of the Alumni Association (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Information about the candidates and their responses to numerous relevant questions and a link for online voting can be found on the Alumni Association website at http://new.oberlin.edu/office/alumni/.
Please tear out the ballot in this magazine and vote for one of our exceptional candidates and the continued opportunity for us — Oberlin College alumni — to select trustees of our alma mater.
Violinist Jennifer Koh '97 performed Lutoslawski's "Chain 2" with the Oberlin Orchestra in September in Finney Chapel. Koh's 2012–13 season highlights include a tour as the solo violin role of Einstein in the historic restaging of Philip Glass' Einstein on the Beach—the first time a female violinist has performed in that role. Koh recently released Bach & Beyond Part 1, the first of a three-CD series based on her "Bach & Beyond" recital series.
It wasn't until after the final notes of the closing concert of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Academy that clarinetist Sheila Meyers '52 learned that her ensemble instructor, Fei Xie '04, was also an Obie, and that the two of them, with 52 years between them, were the academy's oldest and youngest participants, "the bookends of the program," as Meyers says.
The academy allows amateur classical musicians of all talent levels to learn from and play side-by-side with members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO). The program includes classes on breathing techniques, lectures on the neurobiology of music, ensemble classes, and individual lessons. At the end of a frenzied week, the students play a concert with the professionals. The BSO is the only orchestra in the country with a weeklong pro-am concert program like this, making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all 103 participants.
Meyers graduated from the conservatory in 1952 with a degree in music education and a minor in clarinet, but she hadn't played the clarinet for a half-century. Instead, she got married, had children, taught in public schools, and was active in community theater. A few years ago, Jeff Schumer '68, a French horn player who happens to be Meyers' financial broker, suggested she dust off her clarinet and come with him to a Chesapeake Community Orchestra rehearsal. Today, she plays in her community orchestra, the Social Security Administration Band, and with various ensembles.
Fei Xie, a bassoonist from a musical family in China, followed his Oberlin degree with a master's degree in music at Rice University. He joined the BSO in 2008 and in September of this year became its principal bassoonist.
During the BSO Academy, Meyers participated in one of the two large orchestras and a quintet coached by Xie. "I felt like I was 14 and starting all over again," she says. For the final performance, the participants played alongside the professional orchestra members. "They are so excellent," says Meyers, who is looking forward to being part of next year's academy. "It is such a special feeling, sitting next to, and hearing, the professionals play."
The Department of Athletics kicked off its Homecoming Weekend by inducting four alumni and a team into the John W. Heisman Club Hall of Fame. The induction class of 2012 consists of two-time Academic All-American and two-time All-NCAC First-Team selection soccer standout David Craig '87; four-time All-NCAC selection lacrosse player Ryan Kelley '96; two-time NCAA Champion in the 200-yard butterfly and four-time NCAA All-American John Limouze '01, one of the greatest swimmers in school history; four-year NCAA Academic All-American Celestine Mercer '02, the first female swimmer in school history to earn All-America honors, achieving the feat in both the 100-yard backstroke and 50-yard free; and the 1921 football team, best remembered for being the last team from the state of Ohio to beat Ohio State University. For more information, please visit oberlin.edu/oam.
Laurie Rubin '01 performed works from her recent album and read from her memoir, both titled Do You Dream in Color? Insights From a Girl Without Sight at the Kennedy Center in D.C. on October 22. Rubin is a mezzo-soprano classical singer, jewelry designer, and author who has performed at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, the Parcol Auditorium della Musica in Rome, and Lincoln Center. Her memoir, targeted at young adult readers, reflects on her life as an international opera singer who happens to be blind.
The plastic bath toys whose fate he followed began their trek packed four-by-four—one red beaver, one blue turtle, one green frog, and one yellow duck—in packages placed in cardboard boxes and loaded onto a container ship in Hong Kong, destined for Tacoma, Washington. In January 1992, the ship that carried them encountered rough seas in a winter storm south of the Aleutians and a dozen containers, including the one carrying the toys, went overboard.
Each year, the Oberlin Alumni Association recognizes several exceptional alumni. The Alumni Medal, awarded during Commencement exercises and the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association, recognizes outstanding and sustained service to Oberlin College. It was awarded this year to Daniel Gardner '89. Daniel's passionate interest in civic engagement has led to leadership in community, economic, and environmental issues at the local, state, and national levels. As mayor and president of Oberlin City Council from 2004 to 2008, he engineered a landmark tax-sharing agreement with a neighboring township; completed the first update to the city's comprehensive plan since 1974; partnered with the Oberlin schools on a wholesale, progressive reform of the local tax system; and developed many policies and initiatives to make Oberlin a carbon-neutral community. Three alumni were honored in September 2012 during the Oberlin Illuminate campaign kickoff weekend.
The Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions and achievements that reflect Oberlin's values in a career field, was given to Nan Aron '70. A leading voice in public interest law for more than 30 years, Nan is president of Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a national association of more than 100 public interest and civil rights organizations, which she founded in 1979. AFJ's mission is to ensure that all Americans have the right and opportunity to secure justice in the courts and to have their voices heard when government makes decisions that affect their lives.
The Distinguished Service Award recognizes service and/or volunteer activities that reflect Oberlin's values by directly improving the quality of life for humanity. Laura Stachel '80 is this year's honoree. Laura is the cofounder and medical director of WE CARE Solar, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the lives of women and infants by enhancing emergency obstetric care through the use of solar powered lighting, communication, and emergency equipment. She also serves on the editorial board for the Berkeley Wellness Letter and is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award, given to Matthew Kaplan '07, is awarded to alumni who are 35 years or younger who have distinguished themselves in one or more of the following areas: professional career, service to humanity, and service to Oberlin College. Matt served as the political director for President Obama's campaign in Northeast Ohio, managing the political relationships for the campaign and working to implement the president's statewide strategy for reelection. Matt has remained connected to his alma mater as a volunteer for the Oberlin Annual Fund, serving first as an associate class agent and then as a lead class agent. As a lead agent, he initiated multiple e-mail fundraising campaigns for his classmates, which resulted in increased gifts from this group of graduates.
The Alumni Appreciation Award, recognizing exceptional volunteer service or contributions to the Alumni Association, was awarded to Gideon Y. Schein '68. Gideon has tirelessly served Oberlin in various Alumni Council capacities over the years: as an admissions representative, communications committee member, career counselor, reunion gift committee member, and class president. Currently, he serves as a member of the President's Advisory Council. He has volunteered for Oberlin since the early '80s with the career services office, where he's served as a mentor and assisted students with career choices, and with the admissions office, serving as an admissions representative.
Each year, staff members in the Office of Admissions, Office of Development, and the Alumni Association also have the chance to recognize additional volunteers. This year, five alumni were honored: Elana Gartner Golden '98, Class Representative of the Year; Rebecca Witheridge '10, Regional Coordinator of the Year; Patty Stubel '09 and Mel Maisel '93, Admissions Coordinators of the Year; and Asheley Smith '03, Class Agent of the Year. Also honored in September were retiring members of the Alumni Council's Executive Board: Bálint Gergely '00, Andrea Hargrave '97, Lee Koonce '82, and Dwan Vanderpool Robinson '83.
Jack Dunn '10 arrived at Dill Field over Homecoming Weekend thinking he would be playing in an alumni baseball game. Instead, he'd arrived at the official dedication of a new press box bearing his name.
"It was awesome, I couldn't believe it," says Dunn, who pitched for the Yeomen baseball team for four years. He thanked coaches Eric Lahetta and Adrian Abrahamowicz, the Oberlin athletics department, and his parents, Jack and Sheri Dunn, whose generosity made the press box possible.
A three-time All-NCAC selection, Dunn is the school record holder for career wins, with 16. A member of the 2010 team that set the school record for wins in a season, he also had a no-hit performance against Lake College on May 5, 2007. However, arguably the best outing of his career came on April 6, 2008, when he guided the Yeomen to a 4-2 win over the College of Wooster, which was ranked No. 2 in the nation at that time. In the complete-game victory, he recorded six strikeouts and walked just two. In his career, Dunn registered 206 strikeouts. As part of the dedication, his No. 7 jersey was retired and hung inside the press box.
The fall 2012 Convocation series kicked off September 13 in Finney Chapel with "An Evening with Obie Journalists Covering the 2012 Election," a panel discussion featuring four distinguished alumni journalists - Peter Baker '88, Felice Belman '88, Michael Duffy '80 and Beth Fouhy '83.
Classes of 2002, 2003, 2004
Class of 1988
Classes of 1982, 1983, 1984
Classes of 1967, 1968, 1969
Class of 1963
Classes of 1952, 1953, 1954