FROM THE ALUMNI BOARD
Nancy Crow ’70
President, Alumni Association
“Four years, three acquisition plans, hard work, long nights, countless e-mails later, we are reopening the independent Antioch College. It has been a long, hard, and exhausting fight... you have truly won a vital victory for humanity.”
What a remarkable journey it’s been. Joining in community with so many amazing Antiochians has been exhilarating and exhausting. Here’s a quick reflection on my ten-plus years on the Antioch College Alumni Board.
I graduated from Antioch in 1970, amid the tumultuous protests following the deaths of four Kent State students at the hands of the National Guard. I did not return to campus until attending my 25th reunion in 1995. My Antioch experience contributed immensely to my own personal and professional development, but like most Antiochians, I was only remotely aware of the developments on campus since my departure.
I began my service on the Alumni Board in November of 2000. Then, as now, the Alumni Board included varied, stimulating, dedicated, capable, sometimes quirky, engaging, and engaged alums. Then, as now, the Board served as a sounding board for College faculty, staff, and students, planned the annual Reunion, connected with the broader alumni base, bestowed Alumni Awards, and participated in fundraising and student recruitment. Then, unlike now, nearly all the Board’s work took place during our thrice-annual meetings. Off-campus events took place sporadically; there were no active alumni chapters. The administration was distant and dismissive. Both the Alumni Board and the College itself seemed disconnected from College governance.
Antioch College morphed into Antioch University in the 1970s, when it embarked on a mission to bring the spirit of Antioch to about forty educational outposts. By the beginning of the 21st century, the far-flung campuses had collapsed into six, plus a University-wide Ph.D. program. The College was no longer the University flagship. Rather, the University viewed it as a financial drain. The cash-crazed University administration focused on adult education. The messy and expensive task of educating undergraduates had been reduced to an inconvenient sideline, soon to be annihilated.
A campus crisis, generally financial, frequently greeted the Alumni Board’s arrival. The University ordered successive College presidents to cut expenses, lay off staff, and defer needed maintenance. Faculty members sought less onerous workloads, more meaningful participation in governance, and better salaries. Community government struggled to serve student activities and independent groups from offices that were frigid in winter, sweltering in summer. WYSO, the cradle of countless students’ journalism, film, and television careers, abandoned local shows and student co-op jobs in favor of homogenized national programming. Students left before graduation in unsustainable numbers. The University implemented a number of cost-cutting measures, such as eliminating the College’s chief financial officer position and changing accounting practices, to the detriment and near-death of the College.
Announcement of that death occurred three weeks before I assumed my present office. Reunion 2007 exploded with 700 alumni attending. The alumni were engaged and enraged. We formed task forces, made plans, scheduled meetings around the world, hired lawyers, consulted philanthropists, and raised money in small and large amounts.
Four years, three acquisition plans, hard work, long nights, countless e-mails, and no small amount of sweat and tears later, we, the alumni, bought and are soon reopening the independent Antioch College. It has been a long, hard, and exhausting fight. I hope you all are as proud of these – your – accomplishments as I am. You have truly won a vital victory for humanity.
I remain relentlessly optimistic today. Antiochians are smart, articulate, and passionate. The spirit and determination of Antioch alumni, past and future, will long continue to win victories for humanity.
I look forward to continuing our work for a sustainable, independent Antioch
HAVE YOUR SAY
Send your letters to The Antiochian, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to One Morgan Place, Yellow Springs, OH 45387.ANTIOCHIANS ISSUE FORTH
I liked the issue of The Antiochian – specifically President Roosevelt’s remarks about entrepreneurship at Antioch. Co-op makes it a natural fit.
John Heinrich II ’66
Kudos on our new publication. Just got the winter ’11 issue – but I never received the previous one that engendered raves. Please send ASAP. Yes, I’m giving monthly!
Lita K. Hofberg ’55
It keeps getting better and better. I loved the pictures and stories from years gone by, the reminder about the wonderful Shakespeare Under the Stars and the operas directed by Benno Frank with Shirley Carter Verrett. I loved the pictures from right now of speakers and children, especially the ones of David Goodman and Mark Roosevelt and family. I loved the “Fourth C” and Green Space for the Mind (thanks, Jean Gregorek!). Look what we started up again. I can’t wait to see what comes next…
Zelda “Zee” Gamson ’59
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Antioch definitely changed the course of my life. I might have gone to an Ivy League school and perhaps become wealthier, more disillusioned, and ultimately unhappy. But I didn’t. I went to Antioch and learned that I could be happy taking paths not taken and more satisfied traveling roads un-traveled. I learned that I could change my world one idea and one step at a time, and if I did succeed then perhaps even “The World” might, in micro-portions, become a better place too. So many of us Antiochians who have navigated the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and “naughties” have gone out to change the world around us for the better. And we keep trying. Antioch instilled the desire to make every moment and action count. Without that perspective, life would not be as profound and living would not have as much zeal. Viva Antioch into the 21st century.
Hal Josephson ’75
San Francisco, California
The grandson of Teddy Roosevelt assumes the presidency of Antioch College (Re: “Introducing Mr. Roosevelt” by Gariot P. Louima, winter 2011, p. 20) ...I have no doubt the revival of my undergraduate alma mater will be vigorous and certain. The plans for a revised curriculum are ambitious and uninhibited. The focus on the future is indispensable, though the respect for the historical traditions of the institution is indeed essential.
I have enjoyed both editions of The Antiochian immensely. I do not recall ever reading such publications cover to cover before. Well Done! I tear up when I think of the recklessness that was an integral ingredient of my Antiochian experience. It was impossible to evolve through the process of being an Antiochian in the 1970s with much respect for any institution. I am such a totally different person than what I would have been had I attended any other undergraduate college. My life has been so much more full, so much more rich and meaningful, because of that period of development. There is a heritage for which I now feel profound respect.
I am so glad [Antioch’s revival] is being handled with the the deliberate thoughtfulness that is required in the era that we are now charged with surviving.
Dr. Axel H. Heimer Jr. ’76
I just finished reading the piece on contemplative education in The Antiochian (“Contemplation: A Fourth C?” winter 2011, p. 11) and feel compelled to write. I am an alumna from 1992 and have since become a Zen practitioner, living at a monastery for years at a time, though now I live outside of the monastery with my husband, whom I met through Zen, and our daughter.
We are both senior students in the Mountains and Rivers Order of Buddhism, housed at Zen Mountain Monastery in New York. I am also a writer and am very, very excited about the idea of contemplative practice being introduced into Antioch’s curriculum, as I spent many years tussling over what seemed to be a real conflict between hard-core activism and what I perceived as softness in spiritual life.
I have spent a good part of my life considering this and writing about it in various ways. I have also spent much of my professional life as a professor of writing and literature and make every effort to encourage students in this direction. I would like very much to contribute to this conversation at Antioch if appropriate, even though I am far away in New York.
I am absolutely thrilled to see that Antioch is getting back on its feet.
Bethany Saltman ’92
Mount Temper, New York
I was very impressed with Antioch and your community; I also read the alumni magazine almost cover to cover; it’s really good, especially the article on our “Green Space” conference. I never read such things any more than class notes.
Harold D. Roth
Professor, Religious Studies
& East Asian Studies
Providence, Rhode Island
As a proud Antioch alumna, I wanted to add my voice to Antioch’s cultivation of the unique combination of creative and applicable thought – particularly in the international realm. Thanks to Antioch’s belief in letting students try the not-quite-practical and not-quite-typical, I too am a Fulbright scholar (Re: “A Lasing Legacy” by Natalia M. Sylvester, winter 2011, p. 16). My Fulbright application was read, reread, and edited by then Antioch professor Ivan Dihoff. After spending a year in Macedonia (2003-2004), where I focused on Romani media and civil society, I taught human rights at Columbia College Chicago through 2009. In every class I taught, I felt the spirit of Antioch – from written evaluations to final projects to enouraging my students to use art and demanding they identify their own topics of research.
In 2009, I left Chicago to pursue my doctorate at the University of British Columbia. Now, as a Ph.D. student, I am heading off to do fieldwork in Sápmi.
Although Sápmi, Chicago, and the Balkans are far away from each other, there is a pattern here, and it is a pattern that was nurtured at Antioch: that of learning how people who are traditionally marginalized and silenced are representing themselves and thus changing their realities.
I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that this does not fit into a typical academic or conceptual “discipline,” but it does fit into a clear understanding of the purpose of education, of research, of doing. At times, it has been an uphill battle; however, this ability to see connections where others see walls has been both rewarding and rewarded – with real change. This is a unique Antiochian vision where borders become bridges.
Shayna Plaut ’00
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
At Antioch, I taught Russian and Far Eastern History and assisted Irwin Abrams (Re: “In Memoriam,” winter 2011, p. 39) in a course on The Historian and Western Civilization. In that course, students heard lectures on European history and then divided into discussion sections to learn how historians did their research. Then they’d have to conduct their own research and write a paper. When I taught Far Eastern History, I used a book called Farmers for Forty Centuries. In one session, Irwin had us take a penny and, by looking at it, decide what we could about the society that produced it. In another session, he had the students learn the value (or not) of primary sources. I wore a coat and tie for the whole hour and, just at the end of the hour, I covered my tie and asked the students what color the tie was. Only half of them knew.
Micah Canal, the director of the annual fund, sent out a simple request to readers of this magazine: Tell us your Antiochian love stories.
Alumni from the most recent decades all the way to the 1940s answered this call. Put together, the letters numbered roughly sixty pages of single-spaced text. The stories ranged from longer narratives to shorter remembrances.
In editing, I’ve tried to boil each story down to its essence – a moment or series of moments that led to lasting companionship. At the heart of every story is an enduring Antiochian ethos. Each person demonstrates a uniquely Antiochian spirit that is fierce, passionate, and independent (see “Coupled,” on p. 11).
I have three alma maters and can tell you I’ve yet to trace an enduring something among my fellow alumni. It’s the thing I admire most about Antiochians; they know exactly who they are, and this College played its part in developing their identities. Timothy Barrett ’73 says it best in “An Unwritten Creed” (p. 29): “Maybe it’s the enduring spirit of Horace Mann and the students and faculty who came before us.” As Antioch College begins to welcome the first class of new Antiochians, I imagine we’ll see these same traits in the class of 2015.
– Gariot P. Louima