Dr. W. Irwin Ray, director of musical activities, shines as a source of inspiration for his students. His love for the arts is evident, and he hopes to instill in his students a similar passion.
“I think everyone needs to figure out what they love daily,” he says. “If you’re passionate about doing something, you will do it well…”
His own passion propelled him to pursue a career in music and to dedicate himself to advancing students’ education and music appreciation.
“I really believe in our school,” said Dr. Ray, who teaches music classes and conducts the University Singers and Chorale. “This where I need to be and where I want to be… I feel like I’m making a difference in (students’) lives.”
Dr. Ray also leads the effort for Oglethorpe’s music programming, finding outside professional groups to perform on campus. He brings these musicians to campus in part to inspire his students and give them the opportunity to hear a variety of music, courtesy of bands, orchestras, opera companies and more.
“We try to look for programs with connections to majors, preferably Core,” said Dr. Ray. “I make sure they all meet the highest standard of quality… Many classes build their lectures around the performances.”
One such performer was alumnus John Burke ’11, whom Dr. Ray describes as “amazing.” Thanks to Dr. Ray’s efforts to find these performers, 70% of music students, such as John, continue to embrace music in their post-grad lives.
This month, Dr. Ray has invited two stellar acts to the Oglethorpe campus: the Atlanta Concert Band and the Capitol City Opera. He describes the Atlanta Concert Band as being “for band music what the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is to orchestral music,” and adds that “the Capitol City Opera is a (local and inexpensive) showcase for good people in Atlanta… it has a great reputation.”
In order to encourage these musicians to perform, Dr. Ray has adopted a process of co-sponsorship. This means that performers are given a discount to use the Conant Center for Performing Arts in exchange for allowing the Oglethorpe community to listen for free (with a Petrel Pass!). On May 4, 2013, Georgia Philharmonic will also be on campus as part of a co-sponsorship, and Dr. Ray has more plans in the works, including an international music presentation.
“These performances help (advance) education,” said Dr. Ray, “and build a really great experience and public image… I believe that a university should offer a wakening of not only learning but lifelong passions.”
Be sure to come out to the Atlanta Concert Band’s performance on March 9 in Conant at 8 pm, and attend the Capitol City Opera performances on March 15 and 16 at 8 pm, and March 17 at 3 pm, also in the Conant Performing Arts Center!
Hawaii is home to some of the rarest flora and fauna in the world, and a trip there can be as exciting as it is eye-opening.
“It has everything,” said Dona Kioseff ’14. “Waterfalls, rainforests, coral reefs… but the native species in Hawaii are going fast, and it’s a fight to keep them alive. “
Over winter break, Dona was one of eight students to venture to Hawaii as part of the class “Conservation Biology in Hawaii.” Led by Dr. Roarke Donnelly and Heather Staniszewski ’02, assistant director of the Center for Civic Engagement, the students learned about the island’s culture and rare wildlife, and questioned what could be done to protect its endangered species.
“The point is to give biology majors a chance to study biology in the field,” Dr. Donnelly explained. “I’m a conservation biologist, and a lot of my friends work there… I drum up research with them, (and) published an article with Chris Lepczyk, a professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, in order to teach junior scientists how to do peer reviews.”
Students participated in everything from hiking to snorkeling, and were given the chance to see endangered animals, including the monk seal and several species of birds. Dona, who celebrated her 21st birthday on the island, fondly recalled the day that she swam with dolphins. Heather shared a notebook that she had filled with facts about ecotours and Hawaiian wildlife.
“We went for 13 days, which originally seemed overwhelming,” said Heather. “But it felt shorter and shorter the longer we were there… the island is so different from anything I’ve ever seen before.”
Thanks to Dr. Donnelly’s efforts, along with the assistance of Dr. Jeffrey Collins, the tour managed to be informative and entertaining while maintaining its eco-friendliness.
“When I go to Hawaii, I try to be as low impact as I can,” said Dr. Donnelly. “We go to places that do not provide luxury accommodations, very old facilities that require minimal maintenance.”
“Any biology major that has the chance to go should definitely go,” said Dona. “On our way back (to Georgia), we were already talking about our reunion trip back to Hawaii… it was definitely beautiful and a trip of a lifetime for sure, but at the same time, it’s sad… (Hawaii) needs us.”
Chances are that you’ve met Fred Agel ’52, a devoted alumnus, loving family member, and incredibly generous person: he is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and the Board of Trustees, and you can often find him volunteering his free time in the library archives. November 19th was a special day for Fred, who celebrated his 85th birthday with friends, family… and a big surprise. To honor Fred and show how much they love and appreciate him, his entire family planned a Day of Service volunteer event with the OU community at Books for Africa.
“I hoped that we could find a way to work through OU since it has been, and continues to be, such an important part of my father’s life,” said Laurie Agel Amerson, Fred’s daughter. “I believe that my entire family has watched my father’s community service, and each and every one of us finds a way to be involved in our communities. He taught by example the importance of giving back, and three generations later, he is still teaching.”
The volunteer event on February 16th brought together more than 40 students, alumni, Center for Civic Engagement staff, and friends of Mr. Agel. Members of the newly established Thornwell Jacobs Society were especially excited to join in, as the project not only highlighted their goals of integrity, initiative, and perseverance, but took place during Thornwell Jacobs’ birthday weekend.
“Celebrating Fred Agel is celebrating Oglethorpe,” said Ruwa Romman ’15, historian of the Jacobs Society. President Antonio Mantica ’15 said with a smile that, if Fred were a sophomore, he would be a prime candidate for membership in the Society.
In addition to the Day of Service, several departments have sent Fred thank you cards, and the baseball team (of which Fred is a former member) has given Fred a baseball, signed with all of the players’ names.
“This is a great way to celebrate his legacy,” said Heather Staniszewski ’02, assistant director of the Center for Civic Engagement, who helped plan the event. “It’s exciting to see family, alumni, and students working together in his honor.”
“The day was a huge success,” added Laurie. “My dad spent a lot of time just looking at everybody working and sorting books with a big smile on his face. The most wonderful thing for me was seeing all four generations of my family working side-by-side with OU students.”
If you would like to participate in future service projects, contact Heather Staniszewski.
As a woman who has been “blessed” with two left feet, butter fingers, and a penchant for laziness, I can honestly say that sports intimidate me. I have always associated sports with winning and being “the best,” two things that are not easily accomplished without the aid of hand-eye coordination. But last week, thanks to the women athletes of OU, I learned something extraordinary about sports and what they have to offer: the real winners in sports are not rewarded with trophies (… though yes, winning trophies can be really great, too!), but with confidence, good health, and friendships that will last a lifetime.
Tennis, lacrosse, basketball and soccer were only a few of the women’s sports teams that came out last week to celebrate the 27th National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This annual event is meant to commend women athletes for their perseverance and excellence in athletics, as well as to encourage other women (and men) to participate in sports.
Tori Van Wyen ’14, a member of the women’s golf team, explained that “it’s a great opportunity for all kinds of kids to be introduced to sports… it’s a great thing for OU and the community.” Coach Cindy Vaios, who organized the event, expressed hope that it would introduce sports to elementary and middle school students, while attracting the interest of OU students.
Area children showed up to the event, all eagerly awaiting their chance to try out the track and field obstacle course, or to throw around a basketball. Oglethorpe athletes were in attendance to help these children learn the ins and outs of playing, and to encourage them to participate on future teams.
“It’s not just about the players,” said Tori. “It’s about involving the community… These kids might see those female athletes and think, ‘hey, this might be me one day.’”
Athletic Director Becky Hall agrees, admitting that there are some sports that she is just “not good at,” but that it doesn’t stop her from loving sports. This idea, that there is something for everyone in sports, seemed to be the consensus of all in attendance.
“All of my best friends are on my team,” added Caitlin Hollis ’16, a freshman on the women’s soccer team. “Sports gives you a way to be with other competitive, driven people… (my team) is like a family to me.”
A similar sentiment was expressed many times throughout the day by others. Lacrosse player Sydney Sparks ’16 added that the lacrosse team was “like a sisterhood,” and that “playing at the collegiate level is really exciting… I’m excited to be part of a brand new tradition at OU.”
Paolette Matute ’16, a member of the tennis team, referred to tennis as “an empowering princess sport,” before enthusing that “the most important thing, even if you’re not an athlete, is (to) go out and exercise… Get those endorphins running!”
The message of the day was clear, and based on the excited looks on children’s faces, that message was well received: sports are something that everyone should consider trying, as they can offer something worthwhile for everyone. Being active is not solely for athletes, nor are sports enthusiasts solely concerned with winning. Sports are about camaraderie, growing, and thriving, and the women athletes of OU are not simply looking for teammates; they are looking for friends to join their family through the bond that only sports can offer.
The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is now hosting “Beta Israel: Ethiopian Jews and the Promised Land,” an exhibition that explores the mass migration of Ethiopian Jews into modern Israeli society and the integration difficulties they faced. The exhibition features 100 photographs by South African photojournalist Ilan Ossendryver, who lived in Israel for 20 years. The exhibit runs through Sunday, April 21, 2013.
Over the past 30 years, nearly 100,000 Jews have migrated from Ethiopia to settle in Israel. In the 1970s, there were approximately 100 Ethiopian Jews living in Israel and today there are more than 130,000. As many as 5,000 from this community perished during the early years of this exodus when they were forced to escape on foot and wait for months in disease-prone refugee camps. Others made the journey with assistance during several covert airlift operations, including the 1991 airlift Operation Solomon during which 14,000 Ethiopian Jews made the journey or “aliyah,” a purposeful ascent or going up to the promised land of Israel, during a 36-hour period.
This exhibition explores the mass migration and the incredible challenge of integration in modern Israeli society faced by the Ethiopian Jews, once known as Falasha but more properly called “Beta Israel,” or “House of Israel.” Most were practicing a pre-rabbinic, ancient form of Judaism in which they had no awareness of the Talmud’s existence and so knew nothing of post-biblical holidays such as Hanukkah and Purim. They lived for centuries in isolation in a Third World country and were suddenly thrust into modern life in Israel.
The following lecture and event series will be hosted at the museum in conjunction with the exhibition:
Wednesday, February 13, 7:00 p.m. “The Last of the Ethiopian Jews – Reaching Their Dream of Living in the Holy Land,” a lecture by featured exhibition artist Ilan Ossendryver, photojournalist based in South Africa, Israel and Ethiopia, and photographer for the book The Ethiopian Jews of Israel: Personal Stories of Life in the Promised Land.
Wednesday, February 20, 7:00 p.m. “Refugee Resettlement in Georgia: Part of a Durable Solution to the Crisis in the Horn of Africa,” a lecture by Paedia Mixon, executive director, and Safia Jama, resettlement manager, Refugee Resettlement & Immigration Services of Atlanta. Mixon will lead the discussion which will address refugee camps in the Horn of Africa and the challenges facing refugees upon their arrival in Georgia.
Wednesday, February 27, 7:00 p.m. “Act II: With a Rose Between Our Teeth,” presented by The Thoroughly Modern Senior Ensemble of the Academy Theatre. Refreshing, upbeat, musical and moving, The Thoroughly Modern Senior Ensemble offers honest and entertaining views of living, loving and aging. A one-hour collection of short scenes and songs, Act II: With a Rose Between Our Teeth is thoroughly real, poignant, heartbreaking… and thoroughly hilarious.
Wednesday, March 6, 7:00 p.m. “The Arts and Peacebuilding,” a lecture by Frank Dominguez, vice president for Arts for Peace, Ltd. Mr. Dominguez has managed major economic and trade development programs in Russia and Western Europe, held a series of senior international management positions, and worked with leading and newly starting nonprofits and groups in developing high profile events, initiatives and organizations in support of social justice and peace. Arts For Peace is a nonprofit that develops new and innovative programs and events in the areas of music, visual arts, performance, dance and communications, and is committed to establishing bridges between the arts community and the work of the UN, the aims of the UN Charter and the realization of a Culture of Peace.
Wednesday, March 13, 7:00 p.m. “Knowledge, Cognition and Cultural Capital Among Non- and Semi-literate Populations,” a lecture by Dr. Yarden Fanta-Vagenshtein, post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, Department of Human Development and Psychology. In 1985, when she emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel, Dr. Fanta-Vagenshtein did not know how to read or write. In 2005, she completed her Ph.D. in education, becoming the first Ethiopian woman to earn a doctorate in Israel. Dr. Fanta-Vagenshtein was a teaching fellow at Tel Aviv’s School of Education, Science and Technology (2002-2007); presented key Israeli educational and political issues to world leaders as Emissary for the State of Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel (1997-2005); and served on the board of directors overseeing Israel’s Community Centers for the Ministry of Education (1994- 2000). Her field of research examines how illiterate immigrants’ adapt to modern societies, specifically Ethiopian assimilation in Israel. Dr. Fanta-Vagenshtein’s lecture is sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeastern United States.
Wednesday, March 27, 7:00 p.m. “The Nightmare Inside the Dream,” a lecture by Morghan Brandon, Oglethorpe University student. To mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Brandon will explore the hopes and dreams of the Civil Rights movement and the sometimes harsh realities of where we are today. Her talk accompanies her independent film/performance project. Brandon is also a founding member of OU’s first black sorority, Epsilon Iota Psi.
Wednesday, April 3, 7:00 p.m. “The Remarkable Unfinished Exodus of the Ethiopian Jews,” a lecture by Len Lyons, author of The Ethiopian Jews of Israel: Personal Stories of Life in the Promised Land. Dr. Lyons, Ph.D. in Philosophy (Brown University), is the author of six books on a variety of subjects, including jazz (three titles published by William Morrow & Co.) and computers (two titles published by Addison-Wesley). Through hosting Ethiopian Israeli students visiting Boston in 2004, he became fascinated with the story of the Ethiopian Jews and their struggle for acceptance in the country that rescued them. He serves on the Ethiopian Jewry Committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston.
Wednesday, April 17, 7:00 p.m. “Found in Translation,” a lecture by Rahwa Amha, Oglethorpe University student. Amha discusses her experiences in the U.S. and abroad as an Ethiopian American. Amha, who was born in Atlanta, has also lived for an extended period of time in Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia and explores the cultural shift and adjustment which has become second nature to her.
Admission: $5; free for OUMA members or with a Petrel Pass. More information: museum.oglethorpe.edu. OUMA will host an open house for Oglethorpe students, faculty and staff on Thursday, February 7, 5 – 7 p.m.
As the holiday season approaches, your thoughts may turn to buying gifts, decorating your homes, or celebrating break with family and friends. But for me, one thing comes to mind before any thoughts of winter vacation: there is a pig raring to be kissed, and some of you may see me kiss him.
Boar’s Head is an annual OU event centered around the annual induction ceremony of Omicron Delta Kappa, an esteemed leadership society that serves to recognize students, faculty, staff, and alumni for their service in at least one of five key areas. On November 30th, 17 new members will be inducted into OΔK, including Oglethorpe Trustee Arnold Sidman.
“Arnie Sidman deserves this honor and we are very happy to recognize him,” says Jef Palframan ’13, current President of Oglethorpe’s OΔK Circle. “(We) are trying to move beyond just students to more faculty, alumni, staff, and trustee members… This shows that leadership doesn’t just start in your junior or senior year. It’s for a lifetime.”
Also being inducted are Dr. Mario Chandler and Dr. Nicholas Maher, alumni Eli Arnold ’06 and staff member Katie Paden. There are also 12 student inductees: Brittney Blalock ’14, Tirzah Brown ’14, Kirsten Glaeser ’14, Krista Gray ’14, Justin Munson ’14, Corey Ray ’14, Kate Siess ’14, Kendall Burke ’13, Jeet Budha Magar ’13, Marisa Manuel ’13, Caitlyn Mitchell ’13, and Lindsey Mitchell ’13.
In addition, through the end of November, you can assist the OΔK Circle by donating to their fundraising campaign. The campaign’s purpose is to help Oglethorpe’s OΔK Circle become self sufficient for at least the next five years. More than half of the $5000 goal has already been achieved, and OΔK hopes to double this goal. OΔK aspires to become self-sufficient and not require SGA funding, because membership is exclusive and extended beyond the student body.
If you would like to come to the Boar’s Head Concert & Celebration on November 30th, don’t forget to reserve your ticket by calling 404-504-1074 or visiting the Conant Performing Arts Center box office.
November 11th is Veterans Day. It is an occasion to honor the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served our country, to recognize the families who have stood by them in service, and to reflect upon all of the freedoms that these men and women have fought to preserve.
This year, Oglethorpe University, together with various campus organizations and departments, will host a series of events throughout the week to honor our veterans called “Our Country, Our Voices: Oglethorpe Honors Our Veterans.” The events are in conjunction with the OU Museum of Art’s current exhibition “Burden of Proof: National Identity and the Legacy of War,” which runs through December 9, 2012.
On November 4th, the OU Veterans’ Club launched a yellow ribbon campaign to increase awareness of the day’s significance. Club members constructed and installed 10-foot high sheet metal yellow ribbons at the front entrance of campus. They also plan to hand out 1000 personal ribbons on campus and will host a remembrance event, “Lest We Forget,” on Friday, November 9, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in Lupton Auditorium. (Find out more about their efforts on their Facebook page.)
Usually closed on Mondays, the OU Museum of Art will open its doors to host a Veterans’ Open House, with free admission to all veterans on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, 12 noon-7:00 p.m.. Various veterans’ assistance groups will be onsite throughout the day. Plus, the OU Veterans’ Club will be accepting donations for their clothing and coat drive for homeless veterans, and a giveaway of gift items from area businesses will benefit veterans’ services.
Later that evening, veterans of WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan will discuss their experiences and struggles in a panel discussion, “Transitioning to Civilian Life,” at 6:00 p.m. Many skills learned in combat are not applicable to the workforce, and veterans are generally required to go through an arduous process of re-qualification in order to get work. Plus, many veterans feel isolated or out of place, unaccustomed to their new lives at home. In addition, policymakers in Washington recently failed to approve a bill that would have eased veterans’ reintegration into the civilian workforce, and recent reports estimate that 88% of veterans will drop out of college.
“It would be wrong of me not to make people aware of this,” said Jef Palframan ’13, president of the OU Veterans’ Club and a veteran himself. “Our military size is going to decrease… Now starts the work to take care of the guys coming home.” Admission: $5; free for veterans, OUMA members or with a Petrel Pass. Co-sponsored by OUMA, the Office of Admission and the OU Veterans’ Club.
Other events to commemorate Veterans Day include:
Open Forum/Open Mic: “Empower to Inspire Progress,” Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
What does being American mean to you? What are you doing to make your voice heard? Do you feel you have patriotic obligations? Which American alive or dead inspire you, and why? All are welcome to join this open forum and share your opinions, ideas or a story, song or poem. Admission: $5; free for OUMA members and with a Petrel Pass. Co-sponsored by OUMA and Epsilon Iota Psi.
Lecture: “On the Downstream Biological Effects of Agent Orange,” Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
Dr. Karen Schmeichel, associate professor of biology at Oglethorpe, will present about the hotly debated and complex subject of the widespread use by American troops during the Vietnam conflict of the defoliant called “Agent Orange” and its far reaching effects. Admission: $5; free for OUMA members and with a Petrel Pass.
Movie Screening & Discussion: Agent Orange: 30 Years Later, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
OUMA and ECOS (Environmentally Concerned Oglethorpe Students) will co-host a screening of the award-winning 2009 film by John Trinh with open discussion to follow. Reel Earth – Environmental Film Festival of New Zealand said, “Despite the horror, the film is at times intensely moving and beautiful, showing also the better side of human nature—qualities like kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.” This event is free and open to all.
Hundreds of students, parents and community members came out to celebrate Oglethorpe’s First Annual Fall Festival on a beautiful autumn weekend, making the event a rousing success!
The Fall Festival festivities included Night of the Arts, a historical tour of campus by alumnus Paul Hudson ’72, “A Taste of Oglethorpe” featuring local restaurants, artisans, and children’s activities, and then hot air balloon rides in the evening, sponsored by the Oglethorpe Student Government Association.
“The idea was to transform Parents’ Weekend into a festival atmosphere so that parents and their families could spend some quality time together,” said Robin Brandt, Oglethorpe’s Director of Experiential Learning.
The new tradition will continue next fall!