Campus News

A Distinctive Blend

May 1, 2013
Marvin Krislov
Photo credit: John Seyfried

From this past Thursday through the weekend, Oberlin hosted a series of events that provided stunning reminders of our distinctive blending of top flight academic, artistic, and musical life, as well as the excellence of our teaching and the remarkable accomplishments of our faculty, students, and alumni.

This incredible long weekend began Thursday with the Allen Memorial Art Museum’s two-day symposium, “Religion, Ritual, and Performance in the Renaissance.” The event included lectures, musical performances, and a public reception. Presenters included Oberlin College faculty members from the art, English, history, and musicology departments, as well as faculty and staff from a number of other universities and institutions. Those distinguished and brilliant guests were joined by three Oberlin students who were selected through a competitive process.

When I met our visitors, their uniform reaction was how impressive our students are. Many of the academics confessed to feeling envious that we have such accomplished undergraduate students.

I heard similar kudos on Friday from those who attended our fourth annual Senior Symposium, which highlighted research projects by 50 members of the Class of 2013. Visitors, faculty, staff and our students were impressed by the high quality of the research and the presentations.

As if that weren’t enough, the country’s top labor economists, including several generations of alumni, came to Oberlin on Friday for Learning and Labor Economics, a conference celebrating three milestones—the 50th anniversary of Professor Hirschel Kasper’s inspirational teaching at Oberlin; the 100th anniversary of the economics major at Oberlin; and the 70th anniversary of the graduation of the late Albert Rees ’43, one of the great labor economists and one of Oberlin’s most engaged and generous alumni. It was wonderful. We were especially honored that Daniel Rees ’86, Albert’s son and a professor of economics at the University of Colorado, Denver, presented at the conference.

Alan B. Kreuger, chair of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and a member of the Cabinet, gave the keynote address on our nation’s economic policy on Friday to a standing-room-only crowd in the Science Center’s Craig Lecture Hall. Once again, our students asked a number of thoughtful questions.

Throughout the weekend Hirsch Kasper’s students, former students, colleagues, and fellow economists sang his praises and shared a number of stories about taking his classes and being affected by his economic writing. It is amazing that Hirsch has been here for half the life of the economics major. Through the years, Oberlin’s economics department has produced graduates who went on to become major figures in government, academia, and business, including Walter Heller ’35, Nancy Hays Teeter ’52, and Everett Hawkins ’28. Our economics faculty members have been, and continue to be, leaders in their fields.

During those 72 hours, some 30 recitals and concerts by numerous juniors and seniors, as well as Apollo’s Fire, were also performed, forcing one parent to comment that he needed to don running shoes to try to keep up with the high quality of music being played at Oberlin.

As we move into finals, all are encouraged to take advantage of the warm weather, longer sunlight, and recreational opportunities. Keep in mind that a range of supportive services are also available if needed.

I want to give a quick shout-out to the Yeomen baseball team, which just set a school record for wins with 19 in a thrilling victory over Ohio Northern University. Coach Adrian Abrahamowicz’s squad still has four games to play, and I wish them the best of luck.

Finally, my final Koffee with Krislov of the semester is Monday, May 6, at Azariah’s. Hope to see you there.

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