The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News December 1, 2006

Off the Cuff: Al Moran
Al Moran

Whether the student body is aware of it or not, Oberlin College has a representative to the outside world other than President Dye. Vice President of College Relations Al Moran has spent more time at Oberlin than Dye — this is his 17th year here. This week, the Review spoke with Moran to find out what the VP does with all his time. Get to know your rep.

I’m curious — what exactly does a Vice President of College Relations do?

99.99 percent — not just 99 percent — of my time is spent working with The Oberlin Review. (Interviewer laughs.) I’m serious, are you getting this down? Sometimes they call and need lunch suggestions at Stevenson, sometimes they run out of toner cartridges and sometimes they’re working on serious stories — turning the campus upside down — and need quotes or information.

Seriously, the job has moved through several states in my 17 years here. It’s evolved into a butterfly. I’m the College’s external face, whether it’s with the world, media relations, admission publications. Although, some say I should wear a mask.

Actually, for those who’ve seen Pulp Fiction, I’m Mr. Wolf.

How does one become a VP of College Relations?

Seventeen years ago there weren’t that many. I guess it’s perseverance. I think 43 members of senior staff have come and gone since I first came by covered wagon.

What brought you to Oberlin?

I wanted a change of pace. I was in newspapers for years. But I never had a chance to watch primetime TV or Super Bowls. When the opportunity came for a quieter life I took it. Now I walk around with two or three telephones and a fax machine strapped to my back. And I find Oberlin to be a rich environment for me.

What’s the most challenging part of being Oberlin’s external face?

I guess the number one challenge is finding time. [There’s] too much to do and too little time.

What’s your favorite part about Oberlin?

The students. I like interacting with the students. Every day some student opens my eyes to something that otherwise would have zipped by me in life: new words, new experiences, new thoughts.

    I also like the private parking spot. I think it’s very special. When I was executive [news] editor of [The Phoenix Gazette and The Arizona Republic], I didn’t get a private spot. And I drive a truck. Actually it’s part of my contract that I get my own spot.


No, not really. Actually, I don’t have a contract. I work at the discretion of the President. I could be fired tomorrow.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever had to deal with on the job?

The weirdest thing — jeez. There have just been so many weird things it’s hard to narrow it down to one. There’s so much weird shit over the years although most of it has to do with litigation so I can’t use it. There’s got to be a story that’s really out there and funny. Let me get back to you.

Sure.  What do you think lies in Oberlin’s future?

I think for the first time [in this interview] I’ll be serious. I think Oberlin has a wonderful future. We’ve always had an exciting, vibrant community with wonderfully rich students. 

And I don’t mean rich in the dollar sense. We have faculty that challenges everyone — and I mean everyone — all the time, seriously good leadership [in the Board of Trustees] right now, an exciting marketing campaign and a capital campaign on the horizon.

A change in the presidency always brings optimism and excitement. There are challenges, but it will be an exciting road and I hope I’m there to travel down the highway.


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