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October 2, 2013

Marvin Krislov

Photo credit: John Seyfried

Kendal at Oberlin, one of the great treasures of our community, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its founding this week. On Saturday, they will host a daylong symposium, The Future of Affordable Health Care in an Aging Population, that is free and open to the public. On behalf of everyone at the college and the conservatory, I wish our partners, friends, and the many fellow Oberlinians residing at Kendal a wonderful celebration.

It seems as if every year or so, some group or organization publishes a survey ranking Oberlin as one of the most—pick your adjectives—vibrant, charming, diverse, historic, beautiful, musically rich, environmentally minded, intellectually stimulating, culturally exciting communities in the state of Ohio and the nation.

But in 2012, the city of Oberlin received a new award. It was named one of five inaugural America’s Best Intergenerational Communities by MetLife Foundation/Generations United. The award was created to heighten awareness of the importance that intergenerational connections play in building strong, supportive communities.

The award was well-deserved and serves as a reminder of the values we share—such as devotion to teaching, learning, the life of the mind, and the importance of being an engaged, active citizen. But the award also highlighted the vital role Kendal at Oberlin plays in making our town such a great place to live, work, visit, or study.

Kendal’s residents and administration were intergenerational from the beginning. They have done and still do an incredible amount of good for our community. Kendal residents are deeply involved in almost all aspects of Oberlin life, whether that means volunteering at civic, church, and community organizations; serving on local boards; or tutoring young people in the public schools.

There is also a remarkable partnership between Oberlin College, the city of Oberlin, Kendal at Oberlin, and the Oberlin Project that is working to make this community a global model for sustainable economic development driven by education and the arts. That partnership is reinvigorating Oberlin’s public schools, revitalizing our historic downtown business district, and creating a brighter future for all 8,200 Oberlin residents.

That the college, town, and Kendal at Oberlin have come to have such fruitful ties over the years is not surprising. Kendal was established by a group of local residents—some from the college, others from the town—who put their shared values into action by partnering with the Kendal Corporation to create the tremendous continuing care retirement community that is such a positive force in Oberlin life.


Oberlin’s Homecoming celebration will be held this weekend, and I’m looking forward to watching our student-athletes in action and seeing the alumni, families, and friends who will be in town.

The Department of Athletics and Physical Education has organized a great slate of special events, alumni games, and varsity contests for us to enjoy. The fun starts Friday afternoon when the field hockey team takes on Denison in a North Coast Athletics Conference contest at 4 p.m. Later that evening, some of the finest athletes in Oberlin history will be honored at the annual John W. Heisman Club Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Oberlin Inn beginning at 6 p.m. The five new inductees are: Robert D. Ebel ’51, Jonathan M. Greer ’79, Harsha Thirumurthy ’98, Nzinga Broussard ’02, and Pamela Walker ’02.

Our visitors will be arriving at a time when good things are happening in Oberlin athletics. Our fall sports teams are off to a good start. The women’s and men’s cross country squads have been outstanding. The Yeowomen harriers are currently ranked ninth nationally in NCAA Division III. Oberlin men’s soccer is riding a five-game unbeaten streak, and women’s soccer already has more wins and goals than in the previous season. Our volleyball and field hockey teams are young but showing great promise. Men’s and women’s tennis have posted some impressive results in their short fall season. Football opened the season with their first win over Case Western in 28 years.

Throughout the weekend we will be honoring the 1963 Oberlin Yeomen football team, one of the most successful teams in school history. After losing their first two games, the squad posted a 6-2 record, including a victory over nationally ranked Denison. That remains the winningest season in the past 62 years of the Yeomen football program.

There were seven seniors who led the team. Fullback and linebacker John McCaslin, who played both ways in every game, served as co-captain along with offensive and defensive tackle Greg Shepard. Joe Fink was another two-way lineman, playing nose guard and center. At the skill positions, the Yeomen were led by wide receivers Charles Marshall and Robert Steinberg, running back Mike Koslow, and quarterback James Wright.

The 1963 team set a school record for single-game rushing by racking up 441 yards on the ground in a road win against Johns Hopkins University. That record still stands. Although they played only eight games, the team's 1,714 rushing yards in 1963 also remains our single-season school record. The seven seniors graduated and all went on to earn advanced degrees from various institutions.

The 350 young men and women who participate in varsity sports at Oberlin truly are scholar-athletes. Every year, many of our teams—not just individuals but entire squads—are recognized as Academic All-Americans based on team grade-point averages. Of course, a number of individual students receive that honor as well.

Molly Martorella, for example, is a double major in biochemistry and neuroscience, as well as one of the greatest runners in Oberlin history, excelling in cross country and track. This past June, she was named an Academic All-American. After a summer research internship in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, Molly began her senior year this fall with a 3.82 GPA. Like so many of our students and student-athletes, she plans to pursue an advanced degree.

Government Shutdown

As I write this, parts of the Federal government are shutting down because of the stalemate in Congress. If any of our students have concerns relating to the shutdown, I encourage them to make use of our support system by reaching out to their class deans, advisors, or the Dean of Students.

The Role of Government in the Economy

The government shutdown reflects, at least in part, different views of the role of government in the economy. Please join me for an important conversation with leading experts who hold differing views when Art Laffer, “the father of supply-side economics,” and Jared Bernstein, former chief economist and economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, will be on campus Tuesday, October 8. Their conversation will take place in the Science Center’s West Lecture Hall at 7:30 p.m. Laffer and Bernstein will discuss the role of the federal government in offsetting weak economies and cover tax policy. Professor Barbara Craig will moderate the conversation. A question and answer session with the audience will follow.

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