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 Winter 2012

Perspectives


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From the Alumni Board
Letters


FROM THE ALUMNI BOARD

Joe Foley, president, alumni association

Joe Foley 64
President, Alumni Association

“While our role as critics should and will continue, we need to recognize that the success of today’s independent Antioch College depends on alumni becoming involved. academics, but we are unafraid to do so with a purpose. ”

Many of the visions we had for the future of Antioch are becoming a reality. The campus is alive again and the ongoing saga of Antioch is being advanced by both people with long ties to Antioch and those who have joined us recently.

Not long ago, visiting professor David Thelen 62 invited me to his course, Doing History: Antioch Stories. Students are learning about the process of understanding history through research with original sources and interviews with a number of people who have been part of Antioch's history. You won't be surprised to know students in that class are well aware of the many competing visions and challenges from the past few years.

The dozen or so students I encountered are bright, inquisitive, socially involved, and generally positive people. We had an interesting discussion about the various interpretations of what has brought us to this point. While the students are well aware of the recent tensions, they also are committed to ensuring that their Antioch College succeeds. Not surprisingly, they also have found a number of places they think Antioch could be improved; they are working on strategies to bring those changes about. I found it good to be ”home” again at an Antioch that combines intellectual rigor with deep social concern and a sense of community.

I was happy to see that the North Hall renovation project is underway. Sounds from that project reminded me of some of the complexities we face. Because North Hall has been closed for a while, it must conform to current building codes before it is reopened. Some of the required changes are substantial: many doorways must be widened, stairways reconfigured, new fire exit stairs built, an elevator installed in a new shaft cut through the floors, plumbing, heating, and electric systems all must be modernized. Beyond the code requirements, Antioch is committed to addressing the challenges of being environmentally responsible. That means looking at energy-efficient systems, using renewable energy sources, adding appropriate insulation, and seeking LEED certification. All of these challenges need to be addressed in ways that make efficient use of the financial resources currently available and that provide opportunities for enhancements in the future. It is exciting to see this taking shape in North Hall.

At the same time, there was work underway in McGregor, and a group of alumni volunteers were painting and completing other projects to bring new life and functionality to Olive Kettering Library and other areas of campus.

This is an exciting time for Antioch, and I hope you will explore some ways that you can become involved. Do come to Reunion 2012, which promises to be a great weekend of exciting programs and informal gatherings. Reconnect with people you have known and meet Antiochians you haven't met. Check the College website for information on the various work projects. I have been able to participate in a few of the work projects and have found they draw a stimulating group of volunteers. Explore the website for Alumni Chapter events you could attend. If there are no events that you think are right for you, consider organizing something that interests you.

When you have opportunities, talk about Antioch with prospective students and family members. We need to become more outspoken in telling the story of Antioch and the ways it has been meaningful for us. Because Antioch taught us to constantly look for ways our world could be improved, we sometimes neglect to mention the many positive aspects of our Antioch experience. Students need to know what Antioch could mean for them, and we are the ones who can help them.

No letter would be complete without some mention of money. The reality is the next few years are critical and financial resources are limited. The growth in 2012 Annual Fund contributions is impressive and gratifying. If you haven't sent in a pledge, please think about finding a way that you can. Obviously, we will need some large contributions. However, don't overlook the tremendous impact that can be made by lots of people making smaller contributions. The percentage of alumni participation is one indication of the value alumni place on the College.

”Building momentum” is the way I describe Antioch today. While we know there are challenges ahead, Antioch is moving again. Becoming a part of that momentum can be invigorating.


LETTERS

Counterpoint

The spring-summer (2011) Antiochian with the recollection of Timothy Barrett ’73 was a refreshing counterbalance to the New York Times Magazine article about Antioch's reopening, “Back to the Ol' Hippie Hothouse” (September 16, 2011).

Barrett's trompe l'oeil caper recalled something far less significant in my Antioch years—but a sweet memory, nonetheless.

It was April 1947 when a good number of veterans had returned to campus.Some were pre-war Antiochians, others were friends they had made in service and had persuaded to come to Antioch, and some were newcomers. All were serious students, not interested in frivolity, though some did attend the weekly square/folk dances in the gym.

I had a part-time co-op job in the Antioch News Bureau from September 1946 to June 1947, and took half of the usual credits in classes during that year. It was a dream job: working with News Bureau Director Buzz Wieman ’40, with Irwin Inman ’41 in an adjoining office (special assistant to Jessie Treichler, W.Boyd Alexander, or both?). Irwin clipped the Barnaby cartoon strip from the Chicago Tribune every morning to pass around the offices. We turned out the quarterly Antioch News, plus news releases to students' hometown papers as well as to the Dayton and Springfield news outlets.

Antioch President Algo D. Henderson, a reserved and rather distant entity on campus, was on leave to serve on a New York State Regents commission to plan a new state university system. Somehow, the date of Henderson's birthday came across my desk…he would be fifty on April 25, 1947. It did not take much time to crack out a mimeographed notice to send to every residence hall on campus to be read at the coming weekly hall meetings. They asked each hall member to put in a few cents (there being about 20-25 people in a hall) so we could collect enough money to send a massive birthday bouquet to Henderson in Albany.

Only one hall, composed of returned veterans, declined to be involved. Since there was a national telephone strike, I had to hitch-hike to Xenia to place the Western Union wire order with the florist. When Henderson entered his hotel room late in the day, the large floral horseshoe, patterned after those given to the Kentucky Derby winners, was there with a ribbon. The attached note told him “Happy Birthday, Prez. Remember that the first fifty are the hardest.”

One of his companions, the president of Dartmouth, assured him, “This could never happen at Dartmouth.”

A few days later, Henderson's response was posted on a Main Hall bulletin board: “Think of Anty's first fifty, and look at her now.”

I still have the Xenia florist's receipt, $28.37, for that birthday arrangement.

Joy Rubin ’48
Sarasota, Florida

BEACHHEAD REVISITED

Peter Gerber ’69 and David Goodman ’69 were not the only ones to go on Mickey McCleery's “Beachhead” Program on Kauai in 1967-68 (“Gerber Seminar Room Dedication,” The Independent, November 4, 2011). The name “Beachhead” didn't last long as the Kauaiians objected to it for obvious reasons.

Lucy McArdle ’70, Dick Manshardt ’68, a couple of others whose names I'm forgetting now (sorry Pat that I don't remember your last name, but it is 43 years later), and I; four students and a faculty member from Goddard College; and one student from Nasson College in Maine were also involved in the program.

I've always called it my Antioch Education Abroad program, though we didn't leave the country.

For a while, twelve or so of us camped out at Mickey's beach house on Anahola Bay, but after a few cramped and sandy weeks we all managed to find rentals elsewhere. Dick and I jointly bought a ’58 Borgward (German—look it up) for $500 and rented a one-room house on Opaekaa Road behind the Sleeping Giant (near Kapaa). We had a great view of Mt. Waialeale (wettest place on earth) on the two days a year it wasn't covered in clouds. We had a pineapple field in our back yard. Macadamia nut trees, coconut trees, lemon and lime trees, guava and mangoes all grew in our yard. Dick, another biology major, got an orb-weaving spider to weave its web at the head of his bed—it, with our resident gecko, kept the mosquitoes, cockroaches, and other bugs in check. The spider did give some of our visitors pause, but unbeknownst to non-biologists, orb-weavers almost never leave their web, so Dick was safe. The Borgward reliably got us the eleven miles to the community college and back and to the best body surfing beaches (only David board-surfed that I remember) in Poipu (during Kona weather) and Pounders on the northeast side (during the rest of the year). It even got us up the Waimea Canyon Road 4,000-foot elevation gain to Kokee State Park, but only after stopping several times at roadside streams to refresh the radiator.

Kauai was still pretty rural in those days, with sugar cane and pineapples still bigger than tourism, though that was changing rapidly. Hawaii had been a state for less than ten years at that time and was reorganizing its outer-island post-secondary education system. David and Peter make it sound grand, but it was the conversion of Kauai Technical School into Kauai Community College that we were helping with. Of course, it being Antioch (and Goddard), we had lots of intense meetings to try to figure out what it was we were supposed to be doing. I wound up being a teaching assistant for the biology professor and worked with the educational media program (in those pre-PowerPoint days, this meant trying to get them to buy more than a 16mm projector and slide projector, i.e., an overhead projector). I don't remember what Peter and David did at the College except that they designed, engineered, and supervised construction of the largest “grass” (palm-frond) hut on the island.We had good relations with the KCC students; some of us were on a bowling team with them, and they threw us the best, authentic luau ever as a farewell. One of the students, a beautiful young woman named Alexis, was a hula dancer at one of the hotels. We went to her show one night. It just confirmed that white boys (at least this one) can't dance.

Did we have an impact? I truly don't know. In the end, it was a wonderful cross-cultural experience, though probably more for us than them.

Steve Gartrell ’69
Natick, Massachusetts

On Exciting Rebirth

I graduated from Antioch College while on leave from the U.S. Navy (DDR 882) and later transferred to the Office of Naval Research in Boston through 1960. That year I returned to my hometown, Yellow Springs, and took over a struggling Yellow Springs Ford car dealership. Eighteen years later I sold it. I married Carrie Theis Cermele ’57 in 1982 and enjoyed twenty years with every day an adventure. She lost her battle with cancer in 2002. All of my three children and six grandchildren live within 3.1 miles of Yellow Springs, and I’ve lived here, just three blocks from campus, for 31 years. It was a painful thing to watch the College lose its historical focus and decline to less than 280 students when it closed in 2008. Antioch College required an exceptional visionary and pragmatic leader. Mark Roosevelt seems poised to advance Antioch College to an exciting rebirth. A new generation of Antioch College students will experience an Antioch that can give direction to their lives.

Bob Baldwin ’57
Yellow Springs, Ohio

Wonderful LIfe

Recently, I summed up my life in 40 minutes for a “Telling Our Story” project in our Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Princeton. My presentation dealt with four major decisions in my life stated as questions. Two of these involved Antioch College.

1. How did I decide to apply to only one college while abroad? In my last year of high school, I decided to join the army, not only for “Travel, Excitement, Adventure” but also for the GI Bill to pay for college. I started looking for a college while stationed in Tokyo. My method of operating was straightforward and stupid: I started reading college catalogs starting with the letter A. It was fortunate that I found Antioch College quickly, and wanting only to attend Antioch, applied and was accepted. It was everything I hoped for and more.

2. How did I end up in the one state I never wanted to live in? I ended up in New Jersey because of a yearlong impractical joke that backfired. That tale is quirky and too long to tell, but this is the real back-story: My first co-op job at Antioch was on a whim—working at the Illinois Institute of Technology Test Bureau in Chicago. It was a testing office run by noted psychometrists to help veterans and civilians find their vocations.That led to continued involvement in testing at the University of Michigan and in my doctoral dissertation, co-chaired by Algo Henderson, former president of Antioch College. When I left teaching at the U. of M., it was to become the director of the Advanced Placement Program at Educational Testing Service for a quarter of a century.

Good whim, wonderful life!

Carl H. Haag ’52
Princeton, New Jersey

Once Again a College

I'm pleased to see that we are once again a college and rising from the ashes. Antioch is a strong brand. I see that there is a clear vision that will update our thinking and actions into the twenty-first century. I recall the words of Eleanor Holmes Norton when she spoke at my graduation: “You must work and study...and then work and study again. Education is never finished!”

William “Bill” Roberts ’74
Honolulu, Hawaii

Norris Remembered

It was with great sadness that I read of the death of Franklin Barrett Norris ’79. Barry and I were incoming students in the summer of 1975 and together went on our first co-op at Elbanobscott Environmental Education Center in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in the fall of 1975. Barry was tremendously funny and often had us rolling on the floor laughing. I remember when he ate the birthday cake we frosted with Crisco. His portrayal of southern humor and culture encouraged me to spend time living and working below the Mason Dixon Line. Although I had no contact with Barry for more than thirty-four years, I am smiling as I write this note, recalling his energy, sense of humor, curly/crazy hair, and love for life.

Peter A. Kumble ’80
Amherst, Massachusetts

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