Radiolab Event Highlights Best of Oberlin College

Marty Frazier, OC '07

To the Editors:

As a high school teacher, I’m constantly regaling students with the wonders of Oberlin and encouraging them to apply. Posters and pennants fly from my classroom windows, and the new viewbook sits prominently on my front table. Students grow tired of these entreaties, and when I begin a sentence with “Back at Oberlin,” many eyes roll reflexively back into sockets, as teenage eyes are sometimes wont to do.

So when a group of high school seniors accompanied me to the Radiolab event this past Friday, I panicked that perhaps I’d let nostalgia oversell my Oberlin experience to them. What if our journey to this promised world revealed my memories as completely fraudulent? Walking into an electrified, standing-room only crowd at Finney Chapel eviscerated all these worries. We met engaged, enthusiastic and inquisitive young people, and we weren’t even in classes. It was Friday night, and the subject was NPR.

Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich told heartfelt stories about the role that Oberlin had played in their lives, but it was in the showing, not the telling, that Oberlin revealed itself as such a remarkable place. We felt it in the jazz coming from windows on College Street, the random student who eagerly stopped to chat, the buzz of the Slow Train Cafe and the smile on almost every face as we entered Finney. The visit certainly left me nostalgic, but more than anything it left me optimistic for the future of Oberlin and for those lucky enough to attend. After this recent trip, I remain committed to my role as an Oberlin salesman for prospective students. I can’t imagine a better place to unroll your eyes.

–Marty Frazier

OC ’07