If you looked at the list of colleges I considered going to, Oglethorpe was number eight…out of a list of eight that included St. John’s University, Gonzaga University, Wabash College, Guilford College and Earlham College. I chose to come to Oglethorpe because of its proximity to Atlanta and its small classes. And, living up to its motto, Oglethorpe has helped me figure out how to make a life, make a living, and make a difference in society.
When I came to Oglethorpe my freshman year, all I wanted to do was “fast-forward” through the next four years. I wasn’t expecting to begin the process of starting a nonprofit called Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes, and to work at Pegasus Creative, an on-campus student communications agency.
Two friends and I were sitting around a table during lunch, and after telling them that I wanted to build prototype tiny house that was sustainable, their response shocked me: “Yeah,” they said, “Let’s do it. We can help!” We went to the university administration about our idea and they asked us how they could help us. Oglethorpe shocked me with its spirit of encouragement.
Although I knew that I wanted to build a house, and had an idea of how it would look, I was lost on what purpose the house would serve. Some of my classes in my major (politics) and minor (nonprofit management) actually helped me realize the purpose of Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes.
It’s not about building houses, but rather, reinventing the philosophy and people’s perception of what a house should be. One of my politics classes, “New American City,” was focused on the political history of the city of Atlanta. Without this class, I would not have understood the dire need for affordable housing in Atlanta. Many of my politics classes have helped me understand who gets what, when and how in society. Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes is all about creating affordable homes that increase people’s self worth without jeopardizing their net worth.
One of the most important things I have learned at Oglethorpe is that if you want to make a difference you must take risks and not be afraid of failure. Working at Pegasus Creative, Oglethorpe’s student communications agency, has helped me get better at taking risks and learning from my mistakes. At Pegasus, you are given responsibilities and tasks that the whole Oglethorpe community (and everyone else) can see and be affected by it. For example, I have helped build websites for Oglethorpe that potential students and current students will use. My responsibilities and the risks I’ve taken at Pegasus have helped me not be as afraid of failure.
Coming to Oglethorpe has helped me figure out how I want to live and what I want to do. Looks like my lucky number is eight.
Editor’s note: Both Mon Baroi ’15 and Jacob Tadych ’14 were recently selected to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University conference in recognition of the Oglethorpe Tiny Homes project. Read about it here.
“Challenges of Going from the War Zone to the Classroom”, a recent story on NPR News, addressed the challenges faced by former service members as they transition from military life to college life. Oglethorpe University is proud to be named to the 2013 list of Top Military Friendly Schools and to be a Yellow Ribbon institution. Oglethorpe has designed programs and services to help make veterans’ transition seamless and to help build a foundation for a successful education and career.
Oglethorpe’s Adult Degree Program is the perfect fit for returning service members. The flexibility of the Adult Degree Program allows veterans to pursue their education at their own pace. Classes are available during the day, evenings, and on weekends, with no minimum course-load required. Students may easily transfer college credit earned at other institutions.
Attending college as an adult and veteran can include a mixture of emotions and Oglethorpe’s family atmosphere allows students to form personal connections with their professors and their fellow students. Small class sizes provide the opportunity for adult students to benefit from thought-provoking discussion and have their voice heard. Adult students bring unique life experiences and skills to class, and they will find an atmosphere conducive to sharing and learning.Veterans can expect to share their class time with other adults who take their education seriously.
Oglethorpe’s Academic Success Center provides support services for all students, and its staff members are there to answer questions and help with any academic needs Services include academic advising, disability accommodations and writing assistance. An on-campus counseling center provides a variety of individual, group, emergency, and outreach services designed to meet the specific needs of every student.
Oglethorpe’s commitment to veterans extends beyond the classroom, and our student-veterans and their supporters are active on campus. Here are just a few examples:
- During the week of Veterans’ Day, Oglethorpe is hosting a series of events called “Our Country, Our Voices: Oglethorpe Honors Our Veterans.” These events, including lectures, panel discussions and a movie screening, give veterans and the community the chance to learn more and share their personal experiences about serving.
- The student-run OU Veterans’ Club is an active group that provides support and advocacy for former service members and sponsors numerous events to honor veterans. Recently the club constructed and installed huge yellow ribbons to display at Oglethorpe’s front gate during the period around Veteran’s Day.
- The fall 2012 exhibition at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is “Burden of Proof: National Identity and the Legacy of War” which explores the juxtaposition of the American and Vietnamese experience of the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Jef Palframan ’13, the founder and president of the OU Veterans’ Club and a veteran himself, discussed “Violence, War and Culture: One Soldier’s View” as part of the lecture series in conjunction with the exhibition.
- “War, Peace and Security” a special topics course, was recently taught by politics professor Dr. John Orme.
- Oglethorpe welcomed the family of fallen soldier U.S. Army Sargeant Lakeshia Bailey for the unveiling of her “hero portrait”, one of over 2500 oil paintings by Utah native Kaziah Hancock. In 2003, Hancock founded Project Compassion, a nonprofit devoted to helping families heal by offering them hand painted oil-on-canvas likenesses of their loved ones.
- Oglethorpe is proud of alumna Carlissa Carson ’05 who earned a spot on Diplomatic Courier’s “Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders” list for her “creativity, determination, and passion in tackling the world’s critical global challenges.”
If you or a loved one has served our country, or are still serving, and would like to further your education, Oglethorpe has joined forces as a Yellow Ribbon institution. Get the support you need to succeed at one of the 2013 Top Military Friendly Schools. For information on admission, visit our website for adult students or call 404-364-8383.
Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has named Oglethorpe University to the coveted Military Friendly Schools ® list. The 2013 Military Friendly Schools ® list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and to ensure their success on campus.
“Oglethorpe University’s continued support to our veteran community is a model to all private institutions in the State of Georgia,” said Jef Palframan, president of Oglethorpe University’s Veterans Club and a veteran himself. “After the recent Post 9/11 GI Bill changes, many in the Oglethorpe military community thought that they would have to look elsewhere for a quality private education. By expanding its contributions to the Yellow Ribbon Program, Oglethorpe has reaffirmed its commitment to the Veteran population of Georgia and the United States, and has allowed many student veterans and military family members to remain on campus.”
Now in its fourth year, the 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools ® is compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 12,000 VA-approved schools nationwide. The Military Friendly Schools ® media and website feature the full list, interactive tools, and search functionality to help military students find the best school to suit their unique needs and preferences. The 1,739 colleges, universities and trade schools on this year’s list exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience.
“Inclusion on the 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools ® shows Oglethorpe’s commitment to providing a supportive environment for military students,” said Sean Collins, director for G.I. Jobs and vice president at Victory Media. “As interest in education grows, we’re thrilled to provide the military community with transparent, world-class resources to assist in their search for schools.”
After 27 years of ranking colleges, the U.S. News list continues to be one of the most respected, with their many categories that help prospective students find the perfect fit for further education.
In addition to being ranked overall, Oglethorpe was also named by U.S. News as:
One of the top 40 National Liberal Arts Colleges for “ethnic diversity”
Among the best National Liberal Arts College in the nation, according to high school guidance counselors, experts in helping students to find where they will excel
Among the top National Liberal Arts Colleges in the category of best “A-Plus Schools for B Students”, where “spirit and hard work could make all the difference in admissions offices.” Oglethorpe’s commitment to providing the most “relevant, rigorous education” possible ensures that even non-A students thrive.
In 2010, Oglethorpe was spotlighted by U.S. News in “Roadtrip: Oglethorpe University,” an article that profiled the university’s “stories of community spirit.”
The university’s annual OU Passport summer orientation event held recently on campus gave incoming freshmen a taste of what their new and exciting college lives will be like this fall! The new Petrels met with their academic advisors to register for their first college classes and received a warm welcome and academic advice from Provost Denise von Herrmann.
A 21st century version of a scavenger hunt (for QR codes!) provided a fun activity for the new students to learn their way around campus. Tours of the residence halls offered a peek into their new “homes away from home” and a chance to start planning how to decorate. Smiles came across their faces as the newly issued and still warm Petrel Passes were placed into their hands for the first time.
Parents and students alike picked up Oglethorpe t-shirts at the bookstore where students also could get a copy of the common reading book, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, that will be discussed by the entire class at various times during their freshman year. Toward the end of the day, Petey the Stormy Petrel mascot joined the crowd on the quad to enjoy some Rita’s Ice and help wrap up a very busy and exciting day. We’re looking forward to welcoming more incoming freshman for the second OU Passport on July 13!
Visit the Flickr album to see more photos from throughout the day.
Welcome, Oglethorpe University Class of 2016!
Attention all OU alumni, parents, students and friends—the latest issue of Oglethorpe’s award-winning Carillon magazine is here!
This issue delves into the role of liberal arts and sciences in the 21st century and features articles written by senior Foss Baker and Dr. Brian Patterson, assistant professor of computer science & mathematics, President Schall, and our new provost, Dr. Denise von Herrmann.
Read stories about Oglethorpe alumni using their liberal arts education—sometimes in unusual ways! Did you know an OU alum wrote the 2010 CMA Song of the Year? Or, that an OU alum’s thriving business was featured on HGTV, and that another alum is the editor of a top magazine?!
Get a sneak peek into the plans for a new student center. Learn about the freshman class’s new What the Dog Saw common reading program, and hear from the newest additions to the Office of Campus Life—Danny Glassmann, Kendra Hunter and Bre Berris—about the plans they have for student life at Oglethorpe.
Alumna Chloey Mayo’s “Oglethorpe in Lights” offers a glamorous twist on some campus events of Hollywood proportion with a review the TV shows, movies and commercials that have used OU as their backdrop.
It was a real treat to recently attend a college fair on behalf of Oglethorpe. It was hosted at a very large high school, just north of Dallas, Texas—and it was probably the first time I’ve stepped foot into a high school in close to two decades (how did that happen?!)
I knew I was long since removed from the high school scene when I realized I could better relate to the parents that evening than the students. I was a bit concerned as I wondered how I was going to connect with a teenager who probably doesn’t have any clue what direction she wants for her life—and how I was going to “sell” her on the idea of an ultra small, private liberal arts school in the heart of Atlanta, more than 800 miles away.
The answer, of course, was in the question. Although I never had students waiting in line to see me (unlike the other OU), the handful of students who did stop by to see me admitted they were intrigued by the name of our alma mater. When I started talking to these seniors, juniors—even sophomores—it became clear that while I couldn’t answer some of the questions that a professional admission counselor could, I could absolutely share my enthusiasm and appreciation for my time spent getting an education at the greatest liberal arts school in America.
Would you like to share your Oglethorpe experience with prospective Petrels? Contact Alumni Relations Director Barbara Bessmer Henry ’85.
Pictured: Kelly hangs out with Oglethorpe mascot Petey at a recent alumni event. Kelly lives in Dallas, Tex., where she is the marketing communications manager for The Container Store. She currently chairs the Alumni Communications Committee for the Alumni Board.
Orientation Day at Oglethorpe is unlike orientation at any other school. While new Petrels do rush to meet their professors and participate in the essential get-to-know-your-campus activities, they also add another stop to their list of things to do: community service throughout the Atlanta area.
On Monday morning, Oglethorpe University’s incoming class volunteered at seven Atlanta-area nonprofits as part of the annual Orientation Day of Service. In past years students have volunteered during their first week of college, but this is the first time an entering class has reached seven locations within the same day!
For most, it was a way to become acclimated with the city around them, and experience hands-on learning about an an Atlanta nonprofit, its mission, and how it serves the community need. For others, like 17-year old Parth Patel, the biggest personal impact of the project was having the opportunity to create relationships with classmates from around the world.
“[The day of service] was a great way for me to start making friends,” explained Parth, who spent his morning clearing shrubs and picking up litter at nearby Silver Lake. “I am originally from Zambia, and it is neat to meet other international students from all over… because we’ve been working together all morning, we’ve had plenty of time to talk and learn about each other’s cultures and backgrounds.”
Parth and 19 fellow freshmen volunteered at Silver Lake in preparation for the community’s 100-year anniversary celebration. But hundreds of other Petrels spread out around the metro area with plenty of other tasks in mind. About 80 volunteers packed and sorted books for Africa’s youth at Books for Africa in Smyrna while 40 others worked at Medshare, sorting and preparing medical supplies for those in need the world over. Another 50 offered their hands at Decatur’s Delano Line Park, helping to remove invasive species on its grounds, through a program called Park Pride. At Grant Park, more than 100 volunteers worked to prepare and beautify Atlanta’s oldest public park—just in time for next weekend’s Grant Park Summer Shade Festival. More students visited Open Hand, packaging meals for medically-fragile patients, and more still spent time at Push Push Theatre, cleaning, organizing and painting areas of the theatre in preparation for a television show that is to be filmed there in the fall.
In recognition of their efforts, the Class of 2015 received the Phoenix Award from the office of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed for “exemplary commitment to community service” and “for its hard work and dedication toward improving our quality of life and making our city a better place to live, work and play.” The Phoenix Award is given to organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to the residents of Georgia.
“Oglethorpe University has expanded its Orientation Day of Service for incoming students to reach multiple nonprofit sites in the Atlanta area,” said Tamara Nash, director of the Oglethorpe’s Center for Civic Engagement. “Our goal is to make the service experience more impactful for both the nonprofits and for the students.”
This issue explores Oglethorpe’s engagement in the world, recalling the beginnings of international study and examining how the university and its partners continue to make an imprint on our world today.
The Carillon also shares how Oglethorpe alumni endeavor to “make a difference,” relating stories of Petrels who have made their marks around the globe. And, the pages of this issue introduce us to globetrotters like Scott Zannini ’96, a mountain climber who makes fascinating trips to the Earth’s highest summits, and Rodney Drinkard ’92, who manages international security for top Coca-Cola executives.
In addition to fascinating profiles of alums, meet some of OU’s newest Petrels—one who has already begun paving her way through the realm of international athletics, and another who has weathered war and displacement to finally find himself at home, here at Oglethorpe.
Read the Carillon here or look out for the magazine at your home—and let us know what you think!
According to The Princeton Review, Oglethorpe is one of the best colleges in the southeast and in the country. The home of the Stormy Petrel was included in the newest edition of Princeton Review’s annual “Best Colleges” book – The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 Edition, available now in bookstores, as among the best colleges in the nation and the “Best Southeastern Colleges.”
In addition to naming the best 376 colleges, the book includes 62 categories of “top 20″ nationwide ranking lists— the results of 122,000 students’ reports about their institution through surveys. This year, Oglethorpe was named one of the top 20 schools on the “Class Discussions Are Encouraged” list. Coming in at number 15, Oglethorpe’s students revealed that OU is where thinkers and communicators thrive .
In Oglethorpe’s profile in the book, students are quoted as saying that “the classroom experience is unsurpassed…you are expected to actively participate in class.” And, “Oglethorpe University offers ‘an exceptional, well-rounded education in a close-knit community,’ with “dedicated professors.’”
The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges academically or in any specific order from 1 to 376. Instead, it reports 62 ranking lists of “top 20″ colleges in various categories. Those lists are entirely based on The Princeton Review’s survey of current students attending the reviewed colleges.
The Princeton Review explains the basis for each ranking list in the book and at www.princetonreview.com/college/college-rankings.aspx