Oberlin Blogs

Six Degrees of Oberlin

March 4, 2011

Patrick Doherty ’11

In one of my previous posts, I speculated that six degrees of Oberlin (à la Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon) exists. I've now taken it upon myself to prove this theory. So here we go.

Kevin Bacon, I dedicate this post to you!
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Once I came up with the idea, I told Ma'ayan about it and we began asking anyone and everyone to name "a famous person who didn't go to Oberlin." Before long, I had a ridiculously long list of a random assortment of well-known figures. Of that list, I've picked a couple that I believe demonstrate how well-connected (and randomly connected) Oberlin is to pretty much everything.

This is my first stab at this. I may, in the future, come back to this and try to connect more people to Oberlin, but I'm going to stick with just this one post on the topic in the meantime.


Six Degrees of Oberlin


Walt Disney



Why: My family and I love everything Disney. I was raised watching Disney movies, the Disney channel, and my family's most consistent vacation spot is Disneyland. It only made sense for me to try to see if I could connect Walt Disney back to Oberlin.
Connections: Walt Disney produced the film Mary Poppins, which starred Julie Andrews in the title role. Julie Andrews played the voice of "Gru's Mom" in Despicable Me, which starred Steve Carell. Steve Carell is/was on The Office with Ed Helms, who went to Oberlin.





Why: Gandhi came up pretty often whenever I asked people to name someone famous who didn't go to Oberlin. My youngest sister, Sara, actually came up with the way in which I could connect him back to Oberlin. Thanks, Sara!
Connections: Gandhi's ideas of non-violent protest inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was preceded by Vernon Johns as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. Vernon Johns is an alumnus of Oberlin College.

Fun fact: Martin Luther King, Jr. actually spoke at Oberlin on two separate occasions.
This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3c26559.


Darren Criss



This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


Why: Being a self-professed Starkid and fan of all things Glee, I couldn't not connect Darren Criss. Helena also requested that I try to connect him back to Oberlin. These connections came from my friend Ellen. (Thanks, Ellen!)
Connections: Darren Criss was a student at the University of Michigan when the Vice President and General Counsel for the University of Michigan was Marvin Krislov. Marvin Krislov is the current President of Oberlin College.


Amelia Earhart



Why: Why not? Well, to be completely honest, I wanted to brag about our connection to the Wright brothers. So here I go!
Connections: Amelia Earhart disappeared during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe by plane, a feat made possible by the Wright brothers. Orville and Wilbur Wright's younger sister, Katharine, is an alumna of Oberlin College and was our second female trustee.

Fun fact: Our physics building is named after Orville and Wilbur Wright!


Dr. Seuss



This photo used as per the guidelines outlined here.


Why: 4 March was Dr. Seuss' 107th birthday! The Oberlin Public LIbrary always has a special event to commemorate the birth of one of my favorite authors of books for children.
Connections: Dr. Seuss wrote How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which was made into a film in 2000 with Molly Shannon as Betty Lou Who. Molly Shannon was on the 26th season of Saturday Night Live with Tina Fey. Tina Fey was in Date Night with Steve Carell, who is/was on The Office with Ed Helms. Ed Helms is an alumnus of Oberlin College.


Mark Zuckerberg



This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


Why: I am completely addicted to Facebook. No other explanation is necessary.
Connections: Mark Zuckerberg was named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" in 2010, an honor bestowed on Barack Obama in 2008. In May of 2009, Barack Obama appointed a new head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Dr. Tom Frieden. Dr. Frieden is an alumnus of Oberlin College.


Mel Gibson



This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


Why: My friend, Jordan, requested this one. Little did she know that this would be one of the easiest connections to make.
Connections: Mel Gibson was featured as the voice of John Smith in the film Pocahontas. Judy Kuhn was featured in Pocahontas as the singing voice of the title character. Judy Kuhn is an alumna of Oberlin College.


Angelina Jolie



This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


Why: Angelina Jolie was also requested quite often by various people. So here we go!
Connections: Angelina Jolie was featured in the film Shark Tale, which also featured Jack Black. Jack Black was a guest star on Will and Grace in an episode entitled "Nice in White Satin." Megan Mullally starred as Karen Walker in all episodes, including the pilot episode, of Will and Grace. The pilot episode of Will and Grace was directed by James Burrows, an alumnus of Oberlin College.


Justin Bieber



This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


Why: Why Justin Bieber? Because I was filled with glee when he failed to win single Grammy this year. Does that make me a bad person? Perhaps. Oh well.
Connections: Justin Bieber lost the Artist of the Year award at the 2011 Grammy Awards to Esperanza Spalding. Esperanza Spalding is not only performing at Oberlin this month, but she is also a former teacher of a member of Oberlin's current tour guiding staff.

So there you have it! Are there people that you can connect back to Oberlin? Are there people you want me to try to connect back to Oberlin? Leave a comment and let's do this!

Quote time:

"Isn't this cute! It's like a little loser family! Hogwarts has really gone to the dogs. Luckly next year, I'll be transferred to Pigfarts!" - A Very Potter Musical

Similar Blog Entries