Regional association news

From Gambier to San Francisco, community members pitch in on National Service Day

G ambier community members participated in a broad range of volunteer activities--from assisting the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to cleaning up the campus--as part of the College's National Service Day (NSD) on Saturday, April 19.

Students and members of the administration, faculty, and staff shared the volunteer spirit on NSD with alumni from at least fourteen regional associations across the country. The event, now in its second year, attracted more than two hundred fifty volunteers in 1996.

"We're looking forward to building on the momentum created by the inaugural National Service Day last year," said Ellen Turner '80, president of the Alumni Council and chair of NSD, in advance of the event. "We're anticipating a great day for Kenyon across the country as our alumni, parents, students, and members of the College community pitch in to help many worthy causes."

On the national level, NSD events sponsored by Kenyon's regional associations included gardening work at the AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco, California; clean-up chores at Withrow High School in Cincinnati, Ohio; packaging food at the Food Bank of the Rockies in Denver, Colorado; and working in four cities with Christmas in April, an organization that repairs the homes of disabled, elderly, or low-income residents.

Locally, the Student-Alumni Association Campus Events Committee, chaired by Karin Boerger '97, coordinated the NSD activities. They included landscaping and construction work on a house being built by Habitat for Humanity; planting trees and helping build and stain a shelter house along the Kokosing Gap Trail; assisting with chores for people served by Hospice of Knox County; planting flowers at the Kenyon Center for Environmental Study; and cleaning up litter along Middle Path.


"This is my field! Six of the eight books I have written are about Alexander the Great," said President Robert Oden Jr. in his opening words to the Kenyon alumni and parents gathered at the Florida International Museum to welcome him on Tuesday, January 21, 1997. Taking advantage of his early arrival at the reception, Oden hurried through the museum's Alexander the Great exhibition.

Guests met in the museum's Cafe International for the combined annual gathering of the Tampa and Sarasota regional associations. Small groups clustered in conversation around a bountiful buffet table, enjoying the international cuisine. Greetings to all were offered by Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds Jo Usher P'94, who thanked Ann Worthington '72, Tampa regional association president, for organizing the reception. After recognizing three members of the Class of 1993--Sarasota regional president Koren Kuna, visiting St. Louis regional president Edward Curtis IV, and AssistantDirector of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds Brian Dowdall--Usher called on Trustee Emeritus Bruce Thomas P'80, who introduced Oden.

Oden said he was eager to bring news about the College first and to conclude with "six sentences" about Alexander the Great. Offering his impressions after a year and a half in Gambier, Oden described the College's students as "decent, friendly, and eager to learn." Stating that the best single first-year paper he has ever read was at Kenyon this fall, Oden, in his next breath, shared the excitement of the men's soccer team's performance in the final game of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III championship. He also reported on the women's basketball team's remarkably successful season. Oden then commented on such current College issues as the comprehensive review of the curriculum and the goals of the upcoming capital campaign.

Following Oden's responses to a few questions, the buffet table was again encircled. While some guests toured the exhibit, others continued their conversations, lingering in the museum lobby long after the reception.


President Robert Oden Jr. may be partial to the Toledo Museum of Art and the Toledo Zoo, but the Toledo Regional Association is partial to him as evidenced by a record turnout of more than forty alumni, parents, and friends for the reception in honor of him and his wife, Teresa Oden, on Wednesday, February 26, 1997.

Prudy and Spencer Stone P'95, '99 sponsored the event at the Toledo Club in downtown Toledo. Guests were greeted by Lisa Dowd Schott '80 and Nancy Anderson, director and assistant director, respectively, of the College's Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds. Alumni Trustee James G. Carr '62, president of the association, introduced Oden, stating, "If you have visited Kenyon in the last year and a half, you know what immense good fortune it is for the College to have Rob Oden as president."

Speaking about the strength of the student body, Oden commented that the single best paper he has ever read at any institution and at any time was from a first-year Kenyon student from Texas. He also a quoted a friend of his who said, "Kenyon College is a college college." Oden went on to explain that his friend meant that Kenyon has never abandoned the notion of being an institution that is unabashedly small in size, focused on the liberal arts, and devoted to teaching.

During his talk, Oden asked the audience if anyone knew for whom Cromwell Cottage was named. Without missing a beat, Charles Leech '52 gave the correct answer: long-time trustee William Nelson Cromwell.

Having enjoyed one another's company, met the Odens, and learned a bit more about the past and present of the College, guests bid each other goodbye until the next Kenyon event.

Fielding the Dream" conference slated for June 20-22

K enyon's third Leadership Conference, "Fielding the Dream," will be held on campus Friday through Sunday, June 20 through 22.

The idea of a volunteer conference was proposed in 1988 by the Kenyon Fund Executive Committee and endorsed by the Alumni Council for the purpose of training, motivating and supporting the many alumni and parents who spend so many hours volunteering their time for the College. Volunteers who have been invited to participate are admissions chairs, class agents, fundraising volunteers, Kenyon Career Network chairs, regional association presidents, regional major-gift chairs, regional parent chairs, and trustees, as well as members of the Alumni Council, Kenyon Fund Executive Committee, Kenyon Fund Student Executive Committee, Marketing Advisory Board, Parents Advisory Council, Planned Giving Advisory Board, regional association steering committees, and Student Alumni Association.

The conference's opening session will feature a keynote address by sports executive and former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent. Additional sessions will include a "town meeting" hosted by President Robert A. Oden Jr. and senior Kenyon administrators, as well as an open discussion with members of the College's board of trustees. Three sessions will be devoted to providing volunteers with opportunities to learn in more detail and greater depth about the areas in which they volunteer. They will also receive specific guidelines and information to help them become the most effective volunteers they can be.

In addition, there will also be ample time for folks to take advantage of the full range of activities Gambier provides for in the summertime--from cycling, rollerblading, and running on the Kokosing Gap Trail, to tennis on the Kenyon courts, to golf at various local courses--or to enjoy the facilities, including the swimming pool, in the College's Ernst Center.

"We hope our volunteers will leave here on Sunday feeling they have learned more about the mission of Kenyon and what they can do to further it," says Nancy B. Anderson, assistant director in the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds. "We also hope they will have a sense of how truly appreciated they are!"

If you would like more information about the Kenyon Leadership Conference, please contact Anderson at 1-800-KENYONC (536-9662) or 614-427-5537. Noteworthy

I go out walking . . .

by Lisa Dowd Schott '80
Director, Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds

F ebruary in Gambier. Ask any alumnus or alumna what memories February in Gambier evokes and you are sure to get a pained look in return. Several years ago, a student group produced its own Kenyon calendar, which I still remember for one reason: February. I turned to that month and had a good belly laugh. The photograph accompanying the calendar was no photo at all. It was a solid black page. That pretty much said it all.

Memories of the Februaries during my student days have indeed faded to black. Those few that remain are probably shared by many: sledding down the south-end hill on trays "borrowed" from the food service; walking frozen-faced to Bexley Hall for a drawing class; begging desperately for rides into Mount Vernon for a meal out to break the routine. Spring break seemed too far away, the workload seemed too heavy, parties were too few and far between, and there was just too much snow.

My first winter at the College, in 1976-77, was a very serious one--particularly for me, because I was struggling. Homesick and feeling over my head academically, I found the ceaseless snows and bitter cold overwhelming at times. One memory stands out from that winter. I remember a card that I bought at the Hallmark store in downtown Mount Vernon and hung on the bulletin board above my desk in Norton Hall. It featured a quote from Albert Camus: "In the midst of winter, I learned there was in me an invincible summer." It must have struck a chord then. It still does today.

In the February 13 issue of the Collegian, English professor Ron Sharp was quoted about the upcoming lecture by writer-humorist Roy Blount: "Faculty Lectureships decided to bring him here in February purposely, because they thought this would be a good time to have a humorous speaker." It is decidedly not a good time to bring prospective students to campus or to expect a cheery reply to "How's it going?" Is it possible that Camus made his invincible summer statement in a month other than February? Is it possible he spent time in Gambier?

Kenyon put me through some of my toughest winters, but, as a result, I learned to find my own sources of summer. The best lesson the College has taught me in recent years is the reward of not surrendering to the elements. One of the most important reasons that my family and I came to Kenyon is the beauty of this area. It is a simple effort to enjoy that beauty when the winds blow warm and the trees are full of leaves. It is quite another to step outside when the snow is drifting and the temperatures are plummeting. It has been through the discovery of walking that I have learned to break winter's stranglehold.

The joy of walking has been life-changing. A confluence of events drew me to it, at first just as a form of exercise. One of the highlights of the Celebration of Twenty Years of Women at Kenyon was a Women's Health Symposium. It was my first exposureto the benefits of walking. The second event was a visit to a used-book store in New Mexico, where Ron Sharp and I were traveling for Kenyon. I picked up a book on exercise and walking. The combination of the symposium and the book were enough to inspire me to give walking a genuine effort.

The exercise aspect of walking is important to me, but equal if not more important to me is the peace of mind it brings, even in February. By challenging the cold, my perspective widens because I can see the Milky Way on a clear night or pink-laced clouds on an early morning. I usually walk alone, but I took two especially memorable walks on a recent weekend. On a Saturday morning, my friend Cheryl Steele, associate director of student affairs, her dogs, Alex and Billy, and I went for an hour and a half walk around Gambier and on the Kokosing Gap Trail. It was mild weather, by February standards, meaning no long underwear required. Feeling completely comfortable, we enjoyed being outside together and talked about a wide and interesting range of things. The fresh air, the company of her dogs, the conversation, and the opportunity to be out and about did wonders for my spirits.

The next day my husband, Stu, and I walked several trails at the Kenyon Center for Environmental Study (KCES). Our favorite hike takes us up to the highest point on the KCES property, a hill planted on top with several hundred pine trees in a "pinery" or "pine plantation." It was long underwear weather that day, but climbing the hill rewarded us with heat and a panoramic winter vista of Gambier Hill. Snow fell the entire time and created memorable scenes on the hilltop. It was a quiet winter world up there, and we had it all to ourselves. On our way down, we scared up eight deer who bounded away and across a cornfield. Several weeks earlier, a flock of wild turkeys had scared us up.

Simple memories, but moments of light in a dark month. February is a tough month without question when one lives in a winter world. But there are ways to survive, even to thrive. And I plan to walk myself right into summer.

Remember to check Kenyon's homepage at An alumni e-mail directory now exists in the College Relations section.

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