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On Settling into the Rhythm

Feb. 6, 2008

  Photo by John Seyfried

If you have been in an urban setting for the past month, Oberlin can seem a bit prosaic by comparison. So please remember that there are many exciting activities scheduled here this semester. Take advantage of them as your time and interest permits.

The voter registration drive that was held on campus earlier this week was very successful. Remember to exercise your right to vote in Ohio's presidential primary on March 4.

In administrative news, we have just launched a search for a new staff position: General Counsel and Secretary. Creating this post will provide the College with an onsite legal advisor, as well as a secretary. Dean of Students Linda Gates has graciously agreed to chair the search committee. She will be joined on the committee by: Ronald Kahn, Monroe Professor of Politics and Law; Andrea Kalyn, the Conservatory of Music's associate dean of academic affairs; Clovis White, associate professor of sociology; Stephanie Wiles, director of the Allen Memorial Art Museum; and Jane Mathison, assistant to the president.

Among the events I am looking forward to during the next week are the Theater and Dance Program's production of Tennessee William's Vieux Carré, opening Thursday, February 7, in Hall Auditorium, and "Inventing the Future," the entrepreneurship symposium that is launching our Creativity and Leadership Project.

The two-day symposium begins on Friday, February 8, and features a spectacular lineup of alumni including Jerry Greenfield '73, Michael Alexin '79, and Jon Merrill '84. It is the first public event at Oberlin College celebrating all those involved in the Northeast Ohio Collegiate Entrepreneurship Program. Please extend a warm welcome to the students and their faculty or staff mentors from our partner schools in this initiative. They are Baldwin-Wallace College, Hiram College, Lake Erie College and the College of Wooster.

Kudos to Associate Dean Kalyn and her team for putting together what promises to be a terrific weekend. I would also like to thank for their support Deborah Hoover, president of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Jean van Ness, the Morgan Foundation's senior program officer, and Marjorie Smeltsor, vice president of Kauffman Campuses and Higher Education Programs for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

February is Black History Month and Oberlin's 2008 celebration, "A Beautiful Struggle," begins this evening with a dinner in Lord Saunders Dining Hall at Afrikan Heritage House. The celebration will feature many terrific events including readings, lectures, films, recitals and social gatherings, including the Blind Boys of Alabama performing in Finney Chapel on Tuesday, February 12, at 8 p.m., and award-winning playwright and author Suzan-Lori Parks delivering our convocation address in Finney on Wednesday, February 13, at 8 p.m.

On a sad note, I want to mention the passing of Marian Baum and Philip F. Tear. While I did not have the honor of meeting either of them, I have heard much about their many contributions to the College and the City of Oberlin.

Marian Baum was, by all accounts, an irrepressible personality and a stalwart of Oberlin civic life for more than 50 years. She was a researcher, teacher, diagnostician, and therapist. A tireless community activist, she founded, consulted with, and supported a number of organizations. Marian was preceded in death by her husband, John Baum, a mathematics professor here from 1953 to 1982.

Phil Tear '43 was a journalist who returned to Oberlin in 1966 to become editor of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine. Under his stewardship, the OAM addressed the socio-political issues that marked that tumultuous period in history—the civil-rights movement, student protests, and the war in Vietnam among them. During Phil's tenure, the OAM was named the best college journal by Newsweek magazine for three consecutive years.

I wish you all a good week.