Oberlin Alumni Magazine

Summer 2012 Vol. 107 No. 3 OAM Home | Oberlin Online

State of the College

Excerpts from President Krislov's annual Commencement/Reunion Speech

Oberlin has had another outstanding year. Our admissions are robust. Our finances are sound. Our students, faculty, and alumni have again produced extraordinary and even historic achievements. We received national recognition for the quality of our teaching when history professor Steven S. Volk was named U.S. Professor of the Year. He is the first Oberlin professor to receive this honor. To increase rigor, the faculties of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music have revised our course/credit system. These changes to our requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree will be effective as of fall 2013. The depth and breadth of institutional support we provide our students is the greatest in school history. Our curricular, cocurricular, and extracurricular offerings are richer than ever before. The conservatory's inaugural Rubin Institute for Music Criticism was a landmark event in Oberlin's musical and academic history.

(Photo by Jennifer Manna)

Oberlin has been able to fulfill its mission by enabling its students and faculty to work to achieve academic, artistic, and musical excellence. Like generations of Oberlin people before us, our values, our hopes, and our lives are interwoven in the fabric of this college. Like our forebears once did, we bear the responsibility for making Oberlin even stronger for future generations. We provide students with a high-quality, high-impact education. The College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory nurture our students' creativity. Our interdisciplinary tradition enables each man or woman to pursue their own interests and to create their own program of study working closely with our faculty and staff. Double-degrees, double-majors, and individual majors are the norm at Oberlin. Our students learn to observe acutely, to think critically, to take intellectual risks, and to learn from their failures and move ahead. Oberlin's culture helps them turn their scholarly, socio-political, or entrepreneurial ideas into action. We teach them how to bring people, ideas, power, and resources together to affect positive change.

Oberlin today is at a crossroads. In this era of rising costs, rising need, rising demands for services, and economic uncertainty, we are facing difficult choices. The direction we choose will determine Oberlin's future. Will we build on our excellence and distinctive strengths in the 21st century and beyond? Or will we settle for being a pretty good, Midwestern school with an interesting early history? The most basic question we face is this: How do we maintain our commitment to access and our commitment to top-quality education without compromising either?

What is at stake here? Simply stated, it is our ability to attract the kind of students we want and to produce the kind of graduates that you here today represent. Individuals who are intelligent, analytical, creative, and able to integrate a variety of perspectives or fields into their thinking. Men and women who are active, engaged, and caring citizens. Oberlin men and women.

Together we can make this one of the most dynamic, innovative and exciting liberal arts colleges and communities in the world. That isn't a dream. It is already happening. The renovation of the Allen Memorial Art Museum was part of our plan to create a Green Arts District on the east side of Tappan Square. So is the renovation of the Apollo Theatre. Plans are also under way to build a new Oberlin Inn and to revamp Hall Auditorium. To do that we will leverage philanthropy and government investments and tax credits.

This campaign is a defining moment for Oberlin. Our goals exemplify Oberlin's values and further our educational mission. Long after we have departed this earthly life, Oberlin's people will still benefit from the actions we take.

READ IT ALL: The State of the College Address


Jeff Hagan '86
Editor, Oberlin Alumni Magazine

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