Christian Feuerstein ‘94
Antioch College held its first Reunion as an independent college this past weekend, and 450 alumni from all over the country returned to Yellow Springs, Ohio, to celebrate.
The weekend was, to put it mildly, jam-packed. First up was the largest Work Project in recent memory, with over 50 alums coming to campus early to help get the campus ready for Reunion. These dedicated alumni planted flowers, trimmed hedges, and worked on sprucing up Olive Kettering Library. "I saw one alum working on the [library] entrance at 2:30 in the morning," said Nancy Crow '70, President of the Alumni Board, during her talk during the Alumni Association meeting.
With the campus buffed and shining, Reunion 2009 kicked off with a presentation from the Arthur Morgan Fellows, a gallery opening of historic photos curated by Antioch College Archivist Scott Sanders and a reading from Bob Fogarty, editor of the Antioch Review. These events were followed by presentations from alumni awards winners James Bolle '57 and Nina Myatt '53. Alumni then moved into the large tent on the front lawn for the State of the College Address. "There's a lot of people to thank and a lot of sacrifices to honor," said Crow. Matthew Derr '89, Interim President, delivered the State of the College Address highlighting current and future projects and plans for the newly independent Antioch College. Lee Morgan '66 Chair of the Board of Trustees Pro Tempore, introduced the other members of the Board Pro Tem, and talked about the search for a President for Antioch College.
Alumni then broke out into small groups for brainstorming and Q&A about admissions, facilities, the presidential search, educational programs, and fundraising. Afterward, alumni placed their bids on a plethora of items for a silent auction, including over twenty Folkmanis puppets, artwork from Wendy Ewald '74, books from Paula Treichler '65 and John Fleischmann '71, a set of "Twilight Zone" DVDs as well as "Twilight Zone" graphic novels, and Antiochiana such as "The Seven Muses of Antioch," an Antioch Radicals jacket, and an authentic Antioch Shriners fez. Attendees were then treated to a lovely dinner at which GLCA President Richard Detweiler was presented with the first Victory for Humnity Award and a live auction that included such items as an educational trip to South Africa with Prexy Nesbitt '67, a trip to Washington DC and lunch with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton '60, and ringing the bells of Main Building. Bidding was fast and furious. The silent and live auction combined raised over $37,000.
After the auction, alumni rushed out onto the main lawn, under a full moon and a clear cold sky, to watch as the towers of Main Building were lighted and the bells were rung. Capping off the celebration this first night was a Div Dance under the tent.
The next day began with a naming ceremony at the Horseshoe, re-christening the address for Antioch College "One Morgan Place" in honor of the Morgan Family for their tireless efforts and support for Antioch College. Festivities continued with alumni awards for Isaac H. Sobol '66 and Gregory Orr '69. A plaque on Main Building was unveiled honoring "Nonstop Antioch" for keeping the spirit of the College alive during transition. Alumni then moved back under the tent for the Antioch Alumni Association Meeting, where Morgan Fellow Scott Warren spoke about what he and his colleagues—Morgan Fellows Anne Bohlen, Jean Gregorek, Beverly Rodgers, and Director of Work Susan Eklund-Leen--are working on and how they plan to incorporate alumni through Chapter meetings. Afterwards, there was the dedication of the Barbara Slaner Winslow '68 Reading Room, and the dedication of president’s house, now named Folkmanis House in honor of Atis ‘62 and Judy ‘63 Folkmanis.
The highlight of Reunion is, traditionally, the Celebration Dinner, and this year was no exception. College Revival Fund Executive Director Risa Grimes emceed the evening introducing the postmaster of Yellow Springs, Dave Kennedy, who made a special guest appearance to unveil the “Twilight Zone” anniversary stamp featuring Rod Serling '50. Matthew Derr then honored the Anniversary Classes, and Work Project Volunteers. Then Micah Canal '08, the Director of the Annual Fund, and Julian Sharp '08, the new Manager of Volunteer Work, talked to alumni about the many ways they could give, from money to time to effort. Canal said the Annual Fund goal is $2.8 million and, more importantly, to raise our alumni giving participation rate from just under 10% to at least 30% by the end of this year. Sharp talked about a year-round volunteer effort--alumni were invited to contact him, come down for a few days or a few weeks, and put their various expertise to work, whether it is construction, piano repair, wiring, plumbing, gardening, or other needed skills.
Taking fundraising to a whole new level was Catherine Jordan '72, who stood up after Sharp was done, and grabbed a hat. In a repeat of the alumni launch of the College Revival Fund in a tent at Reunion '07, she called for pledges and donations to be brought up to her as they called it out. By the end of the night, the tent total was well over $212,000, which meant the total money raised over Reunion was over a quarter of a million dollars!
Later, there was a live bluegrass band, and a bonfire on the Golf Course, all under that same amazing moon as the night before. One alum was overheard to say, "I have never felt so connected to the College before."
Now, of course, the hard work begins. To find out about how you can volunteer at Antioch College, contact Julian Sharp at firstname.lastname@example.org . To pledge or give to Antioch College, please visit the website www.antiochcollege.org and click on "Giving."