Sidelines


$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 management."

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 says.


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