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Oberlin in the News - Summer 2007

August 2007
Newsweek’s ’08 Kaplan College Guide
Details Oberlin’s Focus on Sustainability
August 20 - Noting Oberlin’s Lewis Center as “one of the first” energy-efficient college buildings in the country, Newsweek’s 2008 Kaplan College Guide quotes Oberlin’s David Orr at length. Orr points out that constructing such buildings reverses the perception that energy is cheap and plentiful, and he credits the center “with having helped to inspire hundreds of Oberlin students to choose professions in ecodesign, architecture, and related fields.” The article also cites Orr’s support of the importance of sustainability in solving the energy crisis.

Oberlin Junior Is Member of Award-winning Jump Rope Team
August 17, 2007— A “world-class contender” is how the Elyria Chronicle Telegram describes Oberlin junior Mike Fry in an article featuring Fry and other members of Heartbeats, America’s premier amateur jump rope team. The 2005 and 2006 national champions are training to qualify for the 2008 national tourney in January and then hope to go on to the world contest in South Africa. A psychology major from Richfield, Ohio, Fry says his goal is to make jumping rope an Olympic sport. 

Oberlin 20th in 2008 U.S. News Rankings
August 17 - In the 2008 edition of U.S. News & World Report America’s Best Colleges, Oberlin ranks 20th overall among national liberal arts colleges and is tied for ninth in the peer assessment category. Oberlin improved in 15 of 19 categories from 2007. The biggest improvements were in faculty resources, 38th to 20th, and alumni giving, 66th to 54th.

Christian Science Monitor Queries Barbara Sawhill on Language and The Web
August 16, 2007
—“On average in any [traditional] class of 20-plus students, a student will get two minutes of contact with that language," says Barbara Sawhill in a Christian Science Monitor article on using the Web to connect language students around the world.” Sawhill is director of Oberlin’s Cooper International Learning Center and lecturer in the Hispanic Studies department. “Her students have spoken in Arabic to their counterparts in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and in Spanish with students in Mexico,” says the article, which also appeared on CBS News.com.

Grist Ranks Oberlin Fifth Among Green Colleges
August 10 - In an article titled “15 Green Colleges and Universities,” the online environmental magazine Grist ranks Oberlin fifth among colleges and universities that are taking sustainability seriously. The magazine cited Oberlin’s web-based energy and water monitoring system, car-sharing program, and pioneering Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies among the reasons for its selection. College of the Atlantic, Middlebury College, Costa Rica’s EARTH University, and The Evergreen State College were the first four on the list, while Harvard ranked sixth and Yale twelfth.

President Krislov Discusses His Move to Oberlin with the Chronicle of Higher Education
August 10 - Marvin Krislov’s decision to make the move from vice president and general counsel of the University of Michigan to president of Oberlin is detailed in the August 10 Chronicle of Higher Education. “It is extremely rare…for a general counsel to make the leap directly to college president,” says the publication, but Krislov states that being president at Oberlin offers the opportunity to make a difference as well as the opportunity to grow and help strengthen an institution that holds a distinguished place among American colleges and universities.

New York Times Reviews New Play by Michael Hollinger ‘84
August 8, 2007— “Sex, drugs and chamber music! Slapped on a bumper or emblazoned across a T-shirt, that phrase wouldn’t have the incendiary ring of the celebrated original, would it? Nevertheless, those are three key elements in Opus, an absorbing new play by Michael Hollinger that opened last night…,” says the New York Times. Also reviewed in Newsday and the New Yorker. Hollinger ‘84, a “former violist who moved on to theater after studying music at Oberlin, describes how his training as a musician inspired him to write Opus” in a sidebar on the Times website.

Burlington Free Press Interviews World Music Producer Jacob Edgar ’92
August 6 - The Burlington Free Press cited Oberlin’s influence on Vermont native Jacob Edgar, who has traveled to 30 countries in “an effort to bring world music to more of the world.” From his rural retreat in Chittenden County, Edgar seeks out new acts for the Putumayo World Music label and for his own music label, Cumbancha. “World music seeped into Edgar’s studies at Oberlin, where his studies included tracing the history of Trinidad through calypso lyrics,” says the Free Press.  “He also played trumpet in a salsa band.”

Lion King - Meet the ‘Lion’ Queen
August 2 - “Oberlin grad is creator of the spectacle that is unusual stage version of Disney's Lion King” says an Ohio.com article on Julie Taymor ’74, who studied mythology and folklore as an independent major. Citing the opening of the award-winning blockbuster at the State Theatre in Cleveland's Playhouse Square, the profile notes that after studying at one of France's leading schools of mime, Taymor opted for an Oberlin program that allowed her to earn credit while apprenticing with New York theater companies. 

NSO Trombonist Milton Stevens Passes Away
August 3 - Milton Stevens '64, principal trombonist of the National Symphony Orchestra and "regarded as one of the finest orchestral trombonists in the world," according to his obituary in the August 3, 2007, edition of the Washington Post, died of a heart ailment on July 30, 2007. He was interviewed for "They're With the Band," an article that appeared in the 2005 issue of Oberlin Conservatory.

July 2007
Shansi Awards Sarah Newman ’07 Indonesian Fellowship
July 28 - Sarah J. Newman ’07 will teach English in the Language Center of Syian Kuala University in Banda Aceh on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, according to the Wilmington News Journal. She is one of 10 recent graduates selected for Oberlin Shansi fellowships to spend the next two years living and working in Asia as part of Shansi’s effort to Join Worlds through language learning, cultural immersion and meaningful engagement with partner institutions. A French and religion major at Oberlin, Newman is currently in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, studying Bahasa Indonesian in preparation for her fellowship.

Spencer Myer ’00 Places Third in International Piano Competition
July 26 - Playbill Arts reports that New Yorker Spencer Myer ’00 placed third in the last round of the 2007 William Kapell International Piano Competition held at the University of Maryland. He performed Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in the July 21 finals.Myer also studied at Juilliard and finished a doctoral degree at SUNY Stony Brook in 2005. He was among 25 competitors chosen from pool of 200 applicants between the ages of 18 and 33.

James Rokakis ’77 Named “County Leader of the Year”
July 26 -  “For Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis’ extraordinary effort in 2006 to battle the blight of neighborhood decline,” American City & County has chosen him “County Leader of the Year.” The publication’s cover story lauds Rokakis for programs that have helped preserve “quality housing in the face of indifferent landlords and struggling homeowners, and his leadership and innovation, which has extended from Cuyahoga County across the state of Ohio.” The article points out that his interest in housing actually began at Oberlin, and while still a senior he made his entry into politics as a member of the Cleveland City Council. He also “wrote his senior thesis on the nation's housing courts, where judges could fine negligent absentee landlords and force them to fix their properties. He proposed such a court for Cleveland, and after becoming a city councilman, he pushed successfully to make the court a reality.”

Detroit Pistons Name Jeff Weltman ’87 to Basketball Operations Staff
July 9, 2007
NBA.com profiled Jeff Weltman ’87, the Detroit Pistons’ new director of basketball administration.  Following in the footsteps of his father, Harry Weltman, who was general manager of both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New Jersey Nets, he landed a job in 1988 as video coordinator for the L.A. Clippers and ascended through the organization’s front office ranks eventually becoming the director of player personnel in 1994. In 2001 he was named assistant general manager for the Denver Nuggets where he spent five seasons before moving to ESPN where he worked the past year as an analyst.

Nova Spivack ’91 Behind New Software that Could Transform the Net
July 9, 2007
Business Week profiled Nova Spivack ’91, co-founder of  San Francisco startup Radar Networks, which is preparing to launch a new product that will use “Semantic Web” technology to let computers understand the nuances and relationships in information they encounter.  Semantic Web technology helps computer programs recognize the meaning behind words, for instance, the distinction between synonyms like cake batter and a baseball batter.  The service is scheduled to be available to the public for testing in fall, 2007.

Professor Leonard Smith Presents Lecture at Truman Presidential Library
July 6, 2007 –The Independence, Missouri, Examiner noted Oberlin history professor Leonard Smith’s participation in a lecture series on WWI titled, “The Legacy of the Great War: 90 Yeas On.”  On Monday, July 9, at the Truman Presidential Library & Museum, Smith presented “The Soldier’s War: Consent or Coercion?” with Trinity College (Dublin) professor of modern European history John Horn, at a forum designed to present opposing viewpoints and foster dialogue and audience participation.

Erin McGraw ’03 Named Fulbright Scholar
July 2, 2007 – The Vermont Rutland Herald profiled Erin McGraw ’03, a Fulbright scholar who will exchangr her high school English-teaching duties with a teacher from an Indian government school.  McGraw, a Vermont native, will teach in Hyderabad, a city with 5.5 million residents and a six day school week. 

July 2007
Players From Around the World in Oberlin for Youth Soccer Program

June 30, 2007 – Oberlin College was recognized in a Cleveland Plain Dealer article for a variety of camps occurring on campus this summer including the Premier Soccer Academy, a high-level soccer program that brought athletes from as far away as South Africa, Trinidad, and Tobago.  A half-dozen former professionals serve as coaches at the camp including Bay Village native Brad Friedel. In August, Friedel will open the first full-scholarship residential youth soccer academy in the United States just north of Oberlin in Lorain, Ohio.

Floating Pool Designed by Jonathan Kirschenfeld ’76
June 30, 2007 - Thanks to Jonathan Kirschenfeld ’76, former NYC Parks Department official Ann Buttenwieser was able to realize a long held dream this week, when she saw her brainchild, a free floating pool built on a barge, open to the public at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The New York Times says that Kirschenfeld designed and led the conversion of the Floating Pool Lady, as it is known. The pool is 25 meters long and 50 feet wide and will serve neighborhoods which would otherwise lack direct access to public pool facilities.

June 26 — Biologist Richard Lenski ’77 Conducts One of the Longest-running Experiments in Evolution, says New York Times
In 1989, biologist Richard E. Lenski ’77 bred 12 lines of bacteria from a single Escherichia coli, the common gut microbe, and they have been reproducing ever since.  “I originally thought it might go a couple thousand generations,” he says, “but it's kept going and stayed interesting.”  He is up to 40,000 generations now, and counting."When he began his experiment 18 years ago, only a few scientists believed they could observe evolution so closely,” reported the Times. “One striking lesson of the experiment is that evolution often follows the same path.”  Named a MacArthur Fellow in 1996, Lenski is the Hannah Professor of Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University.

$10,000 Edison Fellowship Awarded to Sarah Day-O’Connell ’95
June 7, 2007 – Sarah Day-O’Connell ’95 received a $10,000 Edison Fellowship to conduct research this fall at the Sound Archive of the British Library in London. Day-O'Connell will study recordings of songs, known as "canzonettas," that Joseph Haydn wrote in London in the 1790s. “Canzonettas—vocal works with piano accompaniment—were written to be performed in the home,” said Day-O’Connell, “but this genre of song has been all but lost to history.” An assistant professor of music at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, Day-O’Connell, is also working on a book about Hayden’s canzonettas.

Oberlin Alumnus Wins $50,000 Arts Fellowship
June 4, 2007 - Minneapolis composer Matthew Sawyer Smith ’76, is one of 15 artists selected to receive a $50,000 fellowship from the Archibald Bush Foundation. The grants provide Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota artists who are at least 25 years old and have "exemplary talent" with a one to two-year financial safety net as they delve further into their work.  A native of Cleveland, Smith, ’53, graduated from Oberlin with a degree in art history and studio art. A former painter who shifted his focus to composing music in 1999, he has recorded himself playing a wide range of instruments onto a digital recorder and layered the sounds into numerous works, including 12 symphonies, and dance/sound collaborations with Peter Witrak, Cathy Wright, Collen Calahan, and Deborah Jinza Thayer.

Conservatory Harpist Wins Texas Competition
June 23, 2007 - Rising Conservatory senior Meredith Clark is the winner of the Texas Music Festival’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition. Woodlands Online says Clark was a soloist with the festival orchestra during a free performance on June 22. She played Ginastera’s Concerto for Harp and Orchestra under the direction of Stefan Sanderling. Clark is completing a harp performance degree under Yolanda Kondonassis. She is principal harpist of the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, as well as the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras at Oberlin. She played principal harp for the Oberlin Orchestra’s tour of China in January of 2006, and principal harp under Robert Spano, director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, at Carnegie Hall in January 2007.

Stephan Crowley Supports Cancer Research Bill
June 27, 2007 - The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Oberlin political science professor Stephen Crowley joined a large group on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to support passage of a bill that would supply $150 million for children's cancer research over the next five years. “A lot of attention is paid to adult cancers, for good reason, but adults can be advocates for the diseases they get, while children need others to advocate for them,” said Crowley.  His daughter, Olivia, died of a rare bone cancer called Ewing's sarcoma in 2005 after nearly three years of treatments.

The legislation was introduced by Upper Arlington GOP Rep. Deborah Pryce, whose 9-year-old daughter, Caroline, died of a rare form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma.  Republican and Democratic backers of Pryce’s bill stressed that government research dollars are key for research into pediatric cancers, because the pharmaceutical industry prefers to research treatments it can sell to wider markets. They said they're optimistic it will become law this year.

James Rokakis ’77 Honored for Social Activism
June 27, 2007—Cleveland Plain Dealer noted that Cuyahoga County Treasurer James Rokakis ’77 received the Eleanor R. Gerson Leadership in Social Justice Award from Community Shares, a Cleveland fund-raising federation of 36 social-justice organi-zations, for demonstrating “ongoing leadership in the advancement of social justice” and making “significant contributions to social justice causes,” says spokeswoman Katie Brickner, citing Policy Matters Ohio. Of Rokakis it says, “In a time period where hundreds of Cuyahoga County residents are losing their homes each year to housing foreclosures, Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis is…helping victims of predatory lending and working to ensure a fair and equitable tax base through the treasurer’s office. Without a doubt, Rokakis is the most active treasurer in Ohio fighting for social justice.”

June 8, 2007 - Plain Dealer Art Critic Applauds John Pearson’s Solo Show
Continuum, an exhibition by Hunter-Young Professor of Art John Pearson, received a major review in the June 8 edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Friday magazine, in which art critic Steven Litt applauded “the smaller rectangular paintings in silkscreen ink on paper” that comprise most of the show. In them, he wrote, “Pearson has discovered a visual territory capable of infinite exploration…. his art thrives in the same intimate range in which a viewer would experience a book or a small print or drawing.” Litt concluded: “in an age dominated by large-scale paintings, installations, photographs and sculptures, Pearson’s art is a refreshing reminder that working on a smaller scale is not only possible, but worthwhile.” The exhibition is on view at 1point618 Gallery in Cleveland's Gordon Square Arts District through July 28.

June 8, 2007 - Area Media Lauds Director Caroline Jackson Smith
Caroline Jackson Smith received raves from northeast Ohio media for her direction of the Ohio premiere of King Hedley II. The eighth play in August Wilson’s 10-play cycle is on stage at Cleveland's Karamu Theater now through June 17. Jackson Smith is chair of Oberlin’s African American studies program and associate professor of theater and dance.

“Sensational performances and superb direction make King Hedley II at Karamu must-see theater,” says the Cleveland Scene. “Director Caroline Jackson Smith brilliantly matches each actor’s performance abilities with their roles forging such riveting characters that even Wilson’s extended diatribes and occasionally wandering dialogue scenes feel tight and even compacted. Moreover, each scene is precisely paced to the emotional flow of the story, making every moment feel real, urgent, and compelling.”

Though Plain Dealer theater critic Tony Brown pronounces Wilson’s play “a bunch of stirring monologues strung together with the flimsiest of structure,” he finds it rescued by the direction. “Fortunately, director Caroline Jackson Smith has a fine ear and eye for detail and wrings from this script as much as Karamu’s small budget will allow. She gets three strong performances from her cast,” he points out, and “at the center, elicits an explosive, mesmerizingly unpredictable turn” from the actor in the title role.

June 4 - Nicole Mans ’03 Receives Fulbright to Conduct Research in Peru
Nicole Mans ’03, has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to do research in Peru on dengue, a mosquito-borne disease found in tropical and subtropical regions. Mans is a doctoral student at UC Davis, where she is studying dengue in Thomas Scott's Mosquito Research Laboratory. According to the Daily Democrat in Woodland, California, she will leave this fall to study the ecology and epidemiology of dengue in the city of Iquitos for eight to 10 months. "I'm particularly interested in the intersection of ecology, epidemiology and public health," Mans said. "I'm going to investigate who is at great risk, with the goal that we may eventually be able to direct control efforts more efficiently."

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