Campus News

Very Close to Home

April 17, 2013

Marvin Krislov

Photo credit: John Seyfried

Our hearts go out to the families affected by the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Coming on the heels of the Newtown shootings, the violence seems almost too much to bear.

The horror is amplified by the fact that Oberlin has so many ties to Boston. A number of our students are from the Boston area. I know Eric Estes, vice president and dean of students, and other faculty and staff have been reaching out to them since this shocking event occurred. If you know anyone on campus who needs support, please don’t hesitate to use, or refer those in need, to such resources as the class deans, the Counseling Center, deans in the Office of the Dean of Students, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and the 24-hour, on-call staff in the case of immediate concerns. On-call staff can be reached through the Office of Safety and Security.

Oberlin also has a strong connection to the area because so many of our graduates go on to earn PhDs (more than those of any other four-year college), and Boston, home to a number of fine colleges and universities, is America’s biggest college town. I don’t know how many Oberlin alumni have gone to graduate school in Boston since 1833, but I cannot imagine another city that would have drawn more. Some, including Norman Craig, emeritus professor of chemistry, and legendary history professors Geoff Blodgett and Robert Neil, returned to teach at Oberlin after earning their PhDs at Harvard. And a fair number of our current faculty members also studied in and around Boston. Beyond that, some of our former students and faculty now teach at schools there.

I know a number of Oberlin residents and graduates have run in the marathon in the past. This year, one of our Oberlin neighbors ran in the race. We’re very thankful that she was not injured.

So the horrific scenes and heart-wrenching stories feel very close to home. I take solace in the fact that the extended Oberlin family—here, in Boston, and around the world—has a powerful sense of empathy. At moments like this, Oberlinians, whether here on campus or far away, reach out to help one another, to alleviate suffering in our society, and to work for peace.

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