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10/08/22 01:55 PM #248    


Jean Poppei (Eisenberg)

Thanks, Liz. I wrote as soon as I got a message from Bonnie Wishne ('69) as I experienced a version of it at the college where I taught (and advocated for faculty rights) for 37 years. Btw, we tried to unionize but got hit by the NYS Yeshiva ruling. Jean

10/08/22 07:29 PM #249    


Robert Baker


Here is the email I sent to the Board of Trustees on October 5th:

Dear Board of Trustees,

    As an Alumnus with many friends who have a family tradition of attending Oberlin, I am greatly disturbed by any suggestion of taking away the faculty voice from the governance of the institution. Such a move is completely anti-Democratic in that this nation was founded on the basic principle of governance by the governed. The goal at Oberlin should be to teach democratic values; and this approach smacks of authoritarianism. 
    While much of our early history as a country contained mistakes, this concept was not one of them. The lofty ideals that make us so proud as a nation are embodied in the fabric of Oberlin. We must not create fertile ground for authoritarianism to take root at Oberlin. Although faculty rule can be cumbersome, its process is the process of democracy, and should be what we teach our students. Expedience or financial gain should not be motivating factors, the firm financial footing that Oberlin currently enjoys is endangered more by a departure from core values than it is by a shifting climate to corporate thinking. It’s no coincidence that corporations are the least democratic constructs in our society. Liberal arts colleges should be the most democratic. 


Robert S. Baker, Class of 1968

10/09/22 03:33 PM #250    


Paula Gordon

Pitch-perfect, Bob.  Thanks for the inspiration to follow you "grounded" and poetic lead.

10/09/22 10:07 PM #251    


Mary Johnson (Gartner)

Great letter Bob!  But it appears that the die already is cast.  We need to pay special attention to the next Board of Trustees election.  Perhaps select some candidates recommended for Cluster support?

10/10/22 01:06 PM #252    

Ted Gest

I've just returned from a meeting of the Alumni Leadership Council on campus. Superficially, all is fine, with great fall colors. And we almost won a football game v. Kenyon. On the issues raised in this forum, however, there is continued strife in some quarters. Here is a brief and inconclusive report on three of them:

* Gibson's case: College officials (including trustees) will not discuss it in more detail right now, apparently because the college stilll is working with insurers about how much of the total verdict is being paid by insurance. There also is a fear (which I don't understand) of more liability, hence a continued ban on discussing the case on the college's official alumni Facebook page. I will keep everyone posted when this is resolved, but we all know the general result. It is not clear to me what budgetary cutbacks are necessary to pay what the college itself owes.

 * Reproductive health: The college insists that it was blindsided by the sudden change in the health care provider's abortion policy. It also says that students are being provided abortion-service referrals. On the question of why Oberlin didn't summarily cut off relations with the main provider when the policy was changed, the college says it needs to maintain a relationship with the operators of the hospital, which is the only health care facility in town. We will also hear more about this.

* Faculty and Finney Compact: The trustees approved the by-law changes this past weekend, so that issue is resolved for now. We talked directly to President Ambar about this. She says it is a matter of resolving a discrepancy between the college by-laws.and written faculty practices, which were in conflict over the selection of and authority of the deans. I spoke to only one faculty member about this. He believes that insurance companies were not going to insure the college as long as this discrepancy remained. My interpretation, to use the Gibson's case as an exmple, was that insurers are insisting on knowing that deans are part of the college administration and what they do reflects official college policy

This may sound obvious, but if the faculty is selectng deans and/or setting their policies and practices, it is then unclear who is in charge. I stress that I am not personally an expert on this, but both the president and the faculty member with whom I spoke did not believe that Oberlin's academic quality would be diminished by the resolution of this dispute.

We will have to see how it plays out. 

There are many unanswered questions in all three of these issues. 

Some 883 new students enrolled this fall, which I believe is far more than when we were students. I don't know how the college cramming them all into existing housing. 

I am not privy to the college's budget, but I am guessing that one motivation for enrolling more students is to obtain more tuition money.

I'm glad to try answering other questions or to get answers, if available, from the college administration.

-- Ted

10/10/22 01:30 PM #253    

Chuck Cole

In an article in today's Washington Post about the growing control of hospial beds by Catholic

hospitals, some examples are given about places where Catholic religious doctrine has reduced

patients' access to reproductive health care.  This sentence appears early in the article:


And this semester, Oberlin College had to find a new provider to prescribe contraceptives after


outsourcing student health services to a Catholic system that would not provide them.

Perhaps the plan by the BoT is to attract a different type of student--one not committed to

equality and social justics and ready to help address the problems of our modern world.

 Here is a link to the article.



12/01/22 09:10 AM #254    

Mary-Helen Binger

I was delighted to recognize classmate Gregory Stanton on PBS NewsHour interview. Sounds like he has been doing some interesting work with Genocide Watch ( I thinks that was the organization). Did anyone else see it?

12/01/22 04:25 PM #255    

Linda Wieser

I saw it, too, and was delighted to see Greg and hear his responses.


03/23/23 03:59 PM #256    


Edward McKelvey

To all,

Pam and I are participating in a hike to raise funds for organizations addressing climate change.  While I don't want to use this website directly as part of the fundraising, it occurs to me that many of you might be interested in this.  If so, please contact me at  (Note that my email address has changed; Oberlin summarily deactivated my address without any advance notice in December despite an agreement to keep it in place indefinitely.)

07/10/23 02:02 PM #257    


Ralph Shapira

Our Cluster Reunion — Friday night Musical Event — Soliciting Performers

I am in charge of organizing our cluster’s musical event on Friday evening, September 29 at around 9 PM, depending on when an earlier show at the conservatory lets out (I was the only volunteer).  Our event will feature musical performances by any of us who would like to play, sing or dance for our group.  The purpose of this email is to tell you about the event and encourage you to think about participating.

If you would like to perform, please let me know what you would like to do and about how long it will last.  Based on your responses, I’ll put together a program.  An example:  Having taken up singing for the first time at the age of 76, I personally would like to sing either one, two or three songs of about 4 minutes each, the number of songs depending on how many other performers step up and how long each will be “on stage.”

I’ll send a second solicitation in mid-September when you’ve had more time to think about it.  Please let me know now or later what you would like to do.  You can respond with a public or private post here or send me an email at

Our group will doubtless include professional musicians, and it will be a special treat to hear from them.  But rank amateurs are equally welcome and encouraged to give us a show.  The only point is to have fun.  I’m confident that each performer will be enthusiastically welcomed and applauded, whatever their skill level at our advanced age may prove to be.

08/15/23 05:42 PM #258    


Reed Cosper

For anyone who remembers Tom Ukena (bio-chem nerds perhaps?), he finished his MD PhD at H and spent a few years doing academic research. Got tired of living on grad student wages, and spent thirty years, more or less, as chief, pathology at UMass Worcester. Today he sings in a regional chorus, cultivates orchids, and recently found You Tube fame as a fly-tie master. Here’s a link to “Uke’s Brown Bug.”  Someone else named it of course. Tom’s too old school.

08/17/23 11:07 AM #259    


Liz Ryan (Cole)

This is an attempt to reply to Reed Cosper's post 

I would like to simply be able to say "what a good idea"  but let's see where this appears. LOL. liz

08/17/23 11:26 AM #260    


Donald Salisbury

I of course remember Tom Ukena well - and we remain facebook friends. He was a freshman roommate. And gosh, I had planned to come to the cluster reunion but I have a conflict. I would have much enjoyed reconnecting - but fortunately that's nowadays possible electronically!

08/24/23 03:34 PM #261    


Ralph Shapira

Reunion Music Fest

Friday 9 PM

Cat In The Cream Coffee House

180 W Lorain St (inside Hales Annex)


On Friday night, September 29th of our reunion weekend, our class will entertain one another at a Music Fest.  I’m very excited that we will begin with a group sing of the moving choral piece “The Road Home” by Stephen Paulus.  Everyone is welcome to join the chorus.  It will be led by Professor Gregory Ristow of the Conservatory, who will bring a quartet of his current students to assist us.  Youtube has the sheet music and several beautiful performances of the piece; the lyrics are shown below.


After the group sing, other classmates will be welcomed to sing, play or dance for us.  I’m soliciting any and all of you to take a turn at the mic.   As I said in my last posting:  “Our group will doubtless include professional musicians, and it will be a special treat to hear from them. But rank amateurs are equally welcome and encouraged to give us a show. The only point is to have fun. I'm confident that each performer will be enthusiastically welcomed and applauded, whatever their skill level at our advanced age may prove to be.”


So far we have but three volunteers:  Rich Zitrin, Stephen Wagner and me.  I hope there will be more.  Please send me an email at if you’d like to perform.

The Road Home

By Stephen Paulus

Tell me, where is the road
I can call my own
That I left, that I lost
So long ago?
All these years I have wandered
Oh, when will I know
There's a way, there's a road
That will lead me home

After wind, after rain
When the dark is done
As I wake from a dream
In the gold of day
Through the air there's a calling
From far away
There's a voice I can hear
That will lead me home

Rise up, follow me
Come away, is the call
With the love in your heart
As the only song
There is no such beauty
As where you belong
Rise up, follow me
I will lead you home





08/25/23 10:38 PM #262    


Richard Zitrin

Yeah, Baby!

I'm going to try to get my atrophied singing voice back in good enough shape to play two songs I wrote in the early 1970's, when I dropped out of law school and was singing and playing the piano in the Village in NYC. (Then I made a wrong turn and went back to school. Ah, well....)

I figure at our age, how bad can I screw up if I'm still standing - er, sitting at the piano and breathing - at the end of the damn thing!

- Rich

08/28/23 01:09 PM #263    


Shirley Smith (Kirsten)

I have been ravaged by a particularly virulent flea here in Berkeley Ca.. that resembles in behavior a Tonga Penetrans flea or Jigger, because it bites and burrows beneath my skin--like a tick.. leaves eggs on skin and flea dirt--bucca like impetigo lesions, blisters, plaque. It is confounding docs at Kaiser. I have head to toe invasion. Cat was successfully treated with Revolution Plus. I am looking for some heavyweights in the field to reach out to..  Has become an emergency situation. I have scanned the internet and even emailed entomologists at UC Davis with pics of fleas I have trapped in Dawn Dish Detergent. I have graphic full body pics of the bites.. etc. Of real concern to be in the right hands.  Thanks Shirley Smith Kirsten, piano. And since I am in Berkeley, one would think there are some Obies around to consult.

09/03/23 05:36 PM #264    

Elizabeth Keys (Jaffer)

With all the talk about the movie Oppenheimer, I remembered that Toni Oppenheimer, his daughter, was at Oberlin while we were. She was class of 1966. I didn't know her but I knew of her.  Here is a bit of biography about her sad life:

09/04/23 06:14 PM #265    


Dick Hobby



     Thank you for calling my attention to Toni Oppenheimer and her tragic life and suicide.  I went to the link you included and read it.

     I did not know Toni Oppenheimer.  Over the years I have thought about the fact that I was at Oberlin for four years and yet I am sure I got to know only a small percentage of the students.  So many bright interesting people there so it seems unfortunate not to know ALL of them!

      Anyway thanks for the link.

      Before going would like to recommend three films that relate to what Robert Oppenheimer unleashed with the atomic bomb:

Hiroshima Mon Amour    by Alain Resnais

Black Rain    with Michael Douglas

Kiss Me Deadly     from the novel by Mickey Spillane

Dick Hobby     '67



09/06/23 06:27 PM #266    


Ralph Shapira


Many of you who might otherwise enjoy performing at our cluster’s musical event on 9/29 may have been discouraged by assuming you would have no band or instrumental accompaniment.  I can solve that problem for you.

Using a free app called Moises, I (you) can download any song from ITunes (or its non-apple equivalent) and break it into its constituent tracks, including vocal, guitar, piano, drums, etc.  Then I (you) can suppress (for example) the vocal track, which enables me (you) to sing the song with its full musical accompaniment.  You’re in effect creating your own karaoke version of the song.  That’s the way I’m going to sing my songs at our event, playing the “karaoke” version from my Iphone through the venue’s audio system using Bluetooth.

You needn’t worry about doing this for yourself — I’m willing to do it for you.  Just let me know what song you want to perform, and I will handle downloading it into Moises and playing it for you when you take the stage at the event.  Unlike a real karaoke system, the lyrics won’t be displayed, so you’ll either have to print them out and bring them with you, or memorize them.  But I recommend downloading the Moises app and the song yourself so you can practice.  ITunes charges about a buck for a song, I assume likewise with its non-apple equivalent.

Hopefully this will entice more of you to perform — right now there are only three individual performers to follow the group sing, which will kick off the evening at around 9 pm.


09/07/23 08:59 AM #267    


Richard Zitrin

Thanks, Ralph. What a great service! I hope more people will join in.

09/08/23 11:23 AM #268    


Ted Morgan

Re. Economic Diversity at Oberlin -

The New York Times published a table titled "The Top US Colleges with the Greatest Economic Diversity (  Interestingly, Oberlin ranked an embarassing 283rd with only 8% of first-year students receiving Pell Grants (the measure of economic need).


09/08/23 01:44 PM #269    

Stephen Wagner

Friday, September 8, 2023


     Unfortrunately, I have decided that I really should not attend the Oberlin reunion this Fall.  My wife continues to have some serious medical isses, though there has been some improvement.  I have a lot of work to do here at home and in a storage area, getting rid of a lot of excess "stuff", cleaning and organizing, partly to maintain "domestic tranquility".  Also, I have unpaid volunteer writing I need to get done by noon on September 22.

     The Amtrak schedules between Massachusetts and northeastern Ohio remain brutal; and, although I've managed to drive betrween my home in Mayanrd and nortwestern Vermont successfully and do plan to drive   roundtrip to and from Oneonta, NY, for a meeting in mid-October, driving to and from Oberlin or Cleveland would take considerably longer.  And the classmates I'd most like to see do not plana to attend.

     I had hoped to revise teh "Revolutionary Operetta" I had written (with original words set to very old tunes) for the Wayland (Mass.)  public schools sthat was performed in 1975.  I still think it's not as frivolous than the succesful musical 1776 and much more accurate historically than the deservedly popular Hamilton.  However, I really ought to add songs focusing on women and on "nonwhite" Americans in the Revolutionary period; and I most likely would not be able to do that before the reunion.

     If anyone would like to see what I've been able to recover from what I wrote decades ago, I could mail or email copies.  At some point I might. be able to record myself singing some or all of them.  But I suspect the performances at the concert at the reunion will have to be done live.

     I have already sent an apology to Ralph Shapira for my not coming to the reunion as well as thanks to him for the great work he has done in arranging for the concert.

Stephen T. (Steve) Wagner,










09/08/23 03:02 PM #270    

Richard Apling

Here's screen shot of what Ted Morgan reported from the NYT. I think this should be a topic of conversation with the powers-that-be during the cluster reunion.


Inline Image Not Displayed

09/08/23 03:03 PM #271    

Richard Apling

My screen shot didn't come through. Here is a link to the NYT article:

09/09/23 11:40 AM #272    


Frank Duhl

I had planned to be at the reunion, but I have to cancel. Just after the reunion, I am going to DC to visit a friend who has COPD and is very vulnerable to Covid. Since numbers of infections are rising, I can't take a chance on getting infected at Oberlin and bringing it to her. I will miss seeing people at the reunion and hope that those of you who are there stay healthy and enjoy seeing each other. 
I encourage the organizers of this reunion and the College to consider precautions against this gathering becoming a spreading event for this virus. 


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