“Q&A with…” is a series dedicated to introducing staff members to the Oberlin community. We are highlighting one staff member each week. Have someone you'd like to nominate for a Q&A? Please get in touch.
Jeff Hagan ’86, editor of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine, joined the Office of Communications in 2008. Hagan writes and edits stories on a range of topics, but each piece highlights the impact of Oberlin and its graduates. He’s also the only person in Communications who has a beach cruiser bicycle in his office.
Get to know more about Hagan in this Q&A.
Describe your role in six words.
Clevelander, OAM editor; all sentences commuted.
Favorite song or musician?
Elvis Costello. Even after literally decades of listening to him, I will hear a lyric and suddenly get a new meaning from it.
What did you want to be when you were 8 years old?
Not eight. I didn't really know how to be a child. I'm the youngest of 14 kids and I think maybe I felt I needed to keep up.
Favorite place on earth?
Wherever my family is, preferably near Lake Erie.
Last book you read?
The Sellout. It’s really a great book. The author, Paul Beatty, came to Oberlin last year for a talk, and I got to meet him.
A seven-way tie: St. Vincent at the Nelsonville Music Festival about three years ago—just one of three times I saw her on that tour; Sufjan Stevens at Masonic Temple in Cleveland and Heinz Theater in Pittsburgh, about two years ago; English Beat, with REM opening, in Finney Chapel during spring 1983; Talking Heads, John Carroll University Gymnasium, 1980; I saw a very unusual Beach House show at a very small venue in Brooklyn, with no breaks or applause between songs—just 200 audience members sitting quietly on the floor with the band behind a thin screen. I’m not sure it was a favorite, but it really stuck with me; my first Elvis Costello concert—I organized a bus load of approximately 30 Oberlin students to go to Ann Arbor in the spring of 1984 for a solo show (T-Bone Burnett opened); a Protomartyr show at a dive called Now That's Class—I knew nothing about the band and ended up liking the music. It's one of my favorites because I was there with my son (Oberlin class of 2021) during a blizzard on a school night, and we stayed out really late.
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