Have Baton, Will Travel--to Finland

Michael Christie '96 has been appointed assistant conductor for the Helsinki Philharmonic. His appointment begins this month. Christie, who is from West Seneca, NY, gained international attention after winning the Special Prize for Outstanding Conducting Potential at the first International Sibelius Conductor's Competition held in May 1995 in Finland.

Christie's contract runs through the 1997-98 season. He will be conducting seven concerts in each of the next two seasons, including one in October 1996 when his program includes the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto featuring violin soloist and Oberlin student Jennifer Koh '98.

Christie includes among his conducting mentors Robert Spano and Louis Lane, both Oberlin Conservatory faculty members.

Environmental Studies Center Gets $100,000 Boost

Oberlin's proposed environmental studies center is $100,000 closer to breaking ground next summer as the result of a recent award from the Consolidated Natural Gas Foundation of Pittsburgh.

Oberlin was selected as the winner of the foundation's annual Award of Excellence in Education "on the basis of the creativity, innovation, and success of its environmental studies program," said Ray Ivey, vice president and executive director of the foundation. The competition is open to over 70 colleges within the company's service territories.

Project Assistant Brad Masi '93 said the grant brings the total amount raised for the new center to about $1.1 million. The overall budget for the building project is $3.4 million. The increase from the original $2.8 million estimate is due largely to increases in square footage--from 10,000 to 13,000 square feet--and in the cost of the project's "pre-design" phase.

"Some of the country's leading design experts were brought early into the project to determine the center's overall goals, functions, and design principles," Masi said. "These higher front-end costs will be offset through long-term savings that will result from a highly efficient and integrated building design."

Three Princesses in Philadelphia

When Oberlin's Gilbert & Sullivan Players mounted The Three Princesses as a winter-term project last January, they had no idea the ensemble would be the first college group ever invited to the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, held this summer in Philadelphia.

The Three Princesses includes performances of Gilbert and Sullivan's opera Princess Ida; Gilbert's play The Princess (on which Princess Ida was based); and a reading of Alfred Tennyson's poem "The Princess," which inspired Gilbert's play.

The invitation to the festival came as a "heaven-sent" surprise, according to Suzanne Fatta '96, G&S president. "We're not sure how they found us," she said, although a message put on the Internet in the project's early stages may have been the tip-off.

Many in the 30-member cast played multiple roles. "The sheer talent of the cast was remarkable to me," said Gayden Wren '83, artistic director of the production. "We had many people in our chorus who could play lead roles in the real world." A director of the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island, Wren revived the G&S Players while at Oberlin. Christopher Ertelt '86 was musical director of the production.

Gift Anchors Athletic Directorship

Shelby Oliver's fond memories of his years at Oberlin have become a spring of opportunity for the Department of Athletics and Physical Education.

Oliver, a member of the Class of 1935, has presented the College a gift of $1 million to establish a restricted, endowed directorship in the department.

"This is a wonderful gift for Oberlin," said Young Dawkins, vice president of development and alumni affairs. "Dr. Oliver believes deeply in the concept of the scholar-athlete and wishes to help maintain athletics' place in the overall educational framework of the college."

A retired physician in California, Oliver received the A.B. degree from Oberlin and lettered in track and football. He also was a member of the basketball team.

The income from the endowed directorship will be used to fund the salary and other support services of the college's director of athletics. The position is currently held by Don Hunsinger. In recognition of Oliver's years at Delta House, a college residence for student-athletes from the 1920s through the 1940s, the person holding the position shall be known as the Delta Lodge/Oliver Director of Athletics.

Professional Development for Development Professionals

Thanks to the efforts of Oberlin's Director of Stewardship Jim McMillan, professionals in not-for-profit advancement now have an electronic forum where they can discuss issues of particular concern to them. The online mailing list titled "Stewardshiplist" has been up and running on a server in the Irvin E. Houck Computing Center since late July.

Similar mailing lists have existed for some time, but none had a stewardship focus, McMillan said. When he proposed the creation of the list at a recent conference sponsored by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), he was "overwhelmed" with interest. "Over 100 people around the country (plus one from Egypt and another from Australia) expressed interest, and I expect the number to grow to several times that," he said.

Topics of discussion include gift accounting, acknowledgment, and reporting; fund management and reporting; special-event planning; the application of technologies and procedures in these areas; and professional growth.

For information, contact McMillan at the Office of Development; Bosworth Hall; Oberlin College, Oberlin OH 44074 (216-775-8569). He can be reached by e-mail at

Stern Scholarship Supports Science Students

Thanks to a recent gift of $250,000 from John Stern '39, juniors and seniors who have demonstrated excellence or the potential for excellence in the natural sciences will be selected to receive the John N. Stern Merit Scholarship.

The students will be chosen by a committee of faculty members representing the natural sciences, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the president. Awards will be made by the director of financial aid on the recommendation of the committee and may be renewed annually.

"John Stern is one of Oberlin's most generous benefactors," said Young Dawkins, vice president of development and alumni affairs. "By directing his latest gift to the sciences, Stern demonstrates his abiding concern for all aspects of the Oberlin community." Stern previously has been a strong supporter of the Allen Memorial Art Museum and intercollegiate athletics.

An attorney and vice president of Chicago's American National Bank in charge of the probate division until 1972, Stern is an emeritus trustee and the recipient of the honorary doctor of humanities degree from the college.

Sleepy Oberlin Summer? Guess Again!

There are some who may think that just because there are no classes in the summer, Oberlin College rolls up its sidewalks and everyone hibernates in the hot weather. Wrong! Oberlin College Conference Services coordinates a busy schedule that keeps the campus jumping. This past summer, nearly three dozen groups ranging from family reunions to large conferences came to Oberlin.

Guests included those attending tennis, soccer, basketball, volleyball, and cheerleading camps and the Ohio Scottish Arts School, and conventions of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association, the Socialist Workers Party, the Ohio Church of Christ Youth, the Postmark Collectors' Club, and the Hymn Society. Several groups from Brigham Young University held meetings in Oberlin, and many also came for programs sponsored by the Conservatory of Music, including the Baroque Performance Institute, the Stringed Instrument Restoration Workshop, and the Summer Piano Institute.

Smaller groups consisted of 25 or 30 people, but many of the conferences included between 500 and 600 people.

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