$1 Million and Counting
What a difference a year -- and a lot of enthusiasm -- can make! In
1997-98, the student phoners who contact alumni on behalf of the Oberlin
Fund raised $680,000 in pledges, and 23.5 percent of alumni donated.
By early March, with four months remaining in the fiscal year, pledges
had already topped $1 million. Alumni participation has also inched
up, to more than 31 percent to date. "The students have been really
positive this year," says Edward Derby, director of the Oberlin
Fund. "They are so optimistic that they've taken the category of
donors who have never given -- the 'nevers' -- and renamed them the
'futures.' Because we've expanded the scope of their conversations,
students get to talk to people in different careers and find out what
it's like to live in particular places." Much of the money raised
by the Oberlin Fund is expended on financial aid, Derby says, and that's
extremely important. "The Oberlin Fund helps the College honor
its commitment to serving lower-income students," he says.
Young Pianists Win Jazz Improv Competition
"Both of these cats were very good. I have played with the greatest
musicians in the world, and I was totally impressed with them,"
says Greg Bandy, Oberlin's teacher of jazz percussion, of the high school
seniors who took first and second place in the 1999 Oberlin Conservatory
Jazz Improvisation Competition for Pianists. Nial Djuliarso won first
place. Originally from Jakarta, he lives in Chattanooga. David Forrest
of Sherman Oaks, California, took second place. "I felt very fortunate
to have played with Greg Bandy and [Associate Professor of Jazz Studies
and Double Bass] Peter Dominguez," said Nial. "What great
musicians and people they are!" The competition was open to applicants
aged 16-20. Prizes included $750 and $500 cash awards, eligibility for
an Oberlin Conservatory merit scholarship, and a public performance
with the Oberlin jazz faculty rhythm section, to be broadcast on Cleveland's
NPR affiliate WCPN.
Dean of Students Teaches, too
Intellectual and social pursuits are not relegated to separate spheres
at Oberlin, so it's appropriate that the new Dean of Student Life and
Services, Peter Goldsmith, is a teacher as well as an administrator.
Goldsmith's ". . . commitment to helping students develop to their
fullest potential as engaged citizens of the world will be a great benefit
to us all," says President Nancy S. Dye. An anthropologist by training,
Goldsmith has held student-life positions at the University of Chicago,
Princeton, and, most recently, Dartmouth, where he was dean of first-year
students and adjunct associate professor of anthropology. Throughout
his career he has combined teaching such courses as Constructing
Ethnic Identities in American Cultural History and Religious
Innovation in the African American World with administrative duties.
"It is Oberlin's students, above all, that attracted me to the
position," says Goldsmith, who begins his new job July 1. "Their
history of social activism, their diversity, their commitment to intellectual
discourse and artistic excellence -- these are things to which I am
committed and which are at the heart of the finest college experiences."
Chemistry Honors Student Deemed Outstanding
Each year chemistry professor Norman Craig takes chemistry students
to the American Chemical Society's meeting-in-miniature in Cleveland.
Last March, senior honors student Catherine Oertel presented a paper
there, "Vibrational Spectroscopy of the Rotamers of 1,1,2,2-Tetraflouroethane,"
for which she won an award and a cash prize. The society deemed the
paper, which was coauthored by Craig, Oertel, junior Christiana Nwofor,
and Harvard junior Jessica Chuang, "outstanding," and awarded
Oertel the 1999 Lubrizol undergraduate research award. "Oertel
is a splendid student," says Craig, her honors advisor. "I
think she will make some fine contributions to chemistry."
Oberlin Online Showcased
"I pick a site each week that is organized, has helpful information,
looks good, etc. . . .," says Shannon Burgert of Educause. "We
just like to showcase pages that are overall good sites." The showcase
for the week of May 17, 1999, was Oberlin Online, the College's web
site. Educause is a national organization whose mission is "to
help shape and enable transformational change in higher education through
the introduction, use, and management of information re-sources and
technologies in teaching, learning, scholarship, research, and institutional
Knock, Knock, Knockin' on Success's Door
For many seniors, "What are you doing after graduation?"
is a scary question. Josh Ritter wasn't afraid of the question, because
as commencement approached, he had an answer. It's just that the answer
created a daunting task. The folk singer and guitarist's goal is a contract
with a major recording label. Until that happens, he plans to tour folk
festivals and write more songs. Josh is no stranger to the recording
booth. He has released two CDs this year. For his first, his self-titled
debut recording, he wanted to pay back his fans. "I tried to choose
songs that people liked here," he says. His friend and classmate
Darius Zelkha produced and plays on the album. He says many tracks sound
like Josh's performances at the Cat in the Cream Coffeehouse, "only
a little better." Josh also appears on 6206 Ellen Ave. with
Bridget Matros '01 and Guy Mendillo '00. Chris Baymiller '71, assistant
director of the student union, coordinated the group and produced the
recording. "It's an all-Obie production," says Chris. During
his four years at Oberlin, Josh has attracted a large following. "This
campus is really supportive for anyone trying to do music," he
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