The Oberlin Review

Oberlin Draws Inspiration from Ancient Liberal Arts Ideals

Donn Ginoza, OC ’74

February 14, 2020

 When I was a member of the Alumni Leadership Council, I once described Oberlin as having a marvelous ethos. I was referring to its unique character as a liberal arts college that arises from its traditions of open inquiry, rigorous study, and inclusiveness, imbued with the influences of music and the arts. In ancient Greece, the core liberal arts were grammar, logic, and rhetoric. These endeavors still constitute much of the intellectual activity at Oberlin today.  Of these studies, rhetoric in particular sought to understand the capacities of writers and speakers needed to inform, persuade, and motivate particular audiences in specific situations. It was viewed as complementary to grammar and logic. Aristotle c...

Liberal Arts Education Still Has Plenty To Offer Students

Donn Ginoza, OC ’74, Member, Alumni Leadership Council

March 1, 2019

If you are an administrator at a liberal arts college, the news is mostly ominous and foreboding. Colleges that are highly dependent on tuition revenue and possess small endowments are reducing their faculty to cut costs, and in some cases even closing. In the 1960s and 1970s, my parents had but a fraction of my current income and were able to put both my sister and me through Oberlin with no loans to repay after graduation. My parents were also the offspring of immigrants from Asia. I experienced the subtle pressure to seek out a “safe” career path guaranteed through higher education; in those days, this translated to doctor or lawyer. Today, the emphasis is more on seeking schools that prioritize engineering...

Oberlin Will Survive Financial Challenges

Donn Ginoza, Alumni Membership Council Member

November 30, 2018

The recent protest in response to Tom Reid’s termination from his former position of associate director of the Student Union seems to be only the beginning of more conflicts as the administration addresses what it sees as difficult financial decisions ahead. What made Oberlin special for me as a student was the courage students showed in speaking up on issues of importance. This tradition continues. When Oberlin describes itself as a place where students who want to change the world go, it speaks to a culture that is unafraid to identify problems but also committed to solving them. As the Review article describing the protest pointed out, Oberlin’s challenges exist at a high level. Oberlin has an existential problem,...

Oberlin Students Must Re-Envision College Slogan

Donn Ginoza

May 4, 2018

To the Editors: Oberlin students are familiar with the poster featuring the slogan: “Think One Person Can Change the World? So do we.” Changing the world is on the minds of the current generation of students. A recent Pacific Standard survey found that two-thirds of college students intend to change the world, and more than one-third think they will have an impact within five years. The slogan speaks to the idealism and energy that incoming students now bring to Oberlin. The survey researchers also note that liberal arts colleges produce a disproportionate number of leaders because they produce inquiring, less self-certain, and more concerned citizens. Admittedly, one person changing the world seems presumptuous. A vide...

Oberlin Prepares Students for Real World

Donn Ginoza, OC ’74; At-Large Member, Alumni Leadership Council

December 1, 2017

To the Editors: Are you a newly arrived freshman or a senior about to graduate without a clear plan for Year One after college? If you are, or you are simply wondering if Oberlin was the best school for you, take it from someone who is nearing the end of his working career that nothing is more valuable for an engaged and satisfying life than an Oberlin education. When I graduated from high school, I chose Oberlin over two large public universities. I was a strong student in all subjects, but I did not have a “passion.” Luckily, it wasn’t really important to have one back then. It was a few years after Woodstock and the Vietnam War protests, and I remember a lot of students were critical of higher education not...

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