Editorial: Oberlin’s Favorite Super Senior

The Editorial Board

When this year’s graduating class were first-years four years ago, we entered college alongside another first-year of sorts — when Marvin Krislov began as Oberlin’s 14th president in July of 2007, one month before the class of 2011 arrived on campus for Orientation.

Being the president of Oberlin College is not an easy job. Ours is an academically accredited institution that caters to the most anti-institutional of students. In a school defined by its resistance to authority, being the authority requires one to walk a narrow line.

President Krislov has done an excellent job in his own right, and his predecessors make him look even better. After all, who among us celebrates the exploits of Nancy Dye or S. Frederick Starr?

For one, Krislov makes a clear effort to be approachable. Any student passionate about a particular cause can find an audience with the president, whether it be in his office or during Coffee with Krislov events in Azariah’s Cafe. He successfully managed to navigate controversy amid an impending-union strike and, when forces outside the College sought to disrupt student run events, as was the case with this year’s Drag Ball, Krislov came to their defense.

From the Editorial Board’s perspective, he was also positive source of support and help during the preparation of last month’s Journalism Symposium.

Moreover, President Krislov eagerly engages with the student body through our many quirky events. He has often been spotted doing high-knee aerobics with spandex-clad students on Wilder Bowl or bringing his wife to a monthly contra dance. There is something inherently heartwarming about seeing our president sweat along with students while do-si-do-ing to music pumping from Wilder Main’s boombox.

We were especially happy to hear about Krislov performing an Elizabethan sonnet for retiring Dean of Students Linda Gates, then presenting her with a rocking chair. These kind, original gifts embody the President’s visible dedication to his colleagues and the strong relationships he has built with College faculty. One only has to read the comments on his March 23 article in The Source recounting his experience in a near-plane crash (“Another Day on This Earth”) to see the outpouring of appreciation and support from professors and administrators.

As many of this year’s seniors graduate, the Editorial Board hopes that President Krislov will go the way of Van Wilder and stay at Oberlin for many years to come.