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Reunion Logistics & FAQs

The Reunion will be May 24-27, 2019, with Commencement on Memorial Day (Monday, May 27). You should have received an Information & Highlights booklet. If not, the information is also at
oberlin.edu/reunion.  Additional details specifically for the Class of 1969 are below, including new information about physical activities.

What will the weather be like? It's hard to predict when storms will strike, but Weather Underground forecast on May 22 that temperatures will be mostly in the sixties, except on Saturday afternoon when a high of 84º is predicted — followed by a greater than 60% chance of thunderstorms between 5:00 and 7:00. Be prepared to take cover if necessary.


What browser should I use to access this website?

According to the site's designer, Class Creator, Chrome and Firefox and Microsoft Edge seem to work best.  A Mac user also reports that Safari has given him no hint of a problem.

There's a separate issue, however.  Sometimes your email provider might flag the site's messages, including emails from your classmates, as "spam."  Don't forget to check your spam filter now and then.


Now that I've joined the website, am I registered to attend the reunion?

Not necessarily.  Registration is a separate procedure, and the deadline has passed; it was Friday, May 17.  If you have questions, the Office of Alumni Relations is at alumni@oberlin.edu or phone 440-775-8692.


Will I need to call a cab?

How will you be traveling to Oberlin?  Probably you’ll be flying into Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.  If you are, or even if you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance, you may need a ride to campus.

Shuttle service to and from the airport is available by advance reservation courtesy of U.S. Event services.  Details begin on Page 2 of the booklet; visit go.oberlin.edu/crw-shuttle.

Or maybe you want to share a ride with a friend who has similar travel plans. You can use this website to send a personal message, or inquire about rides on one of our Discussion Threads.

Better yet, our class has a rideshare tool. If you're going to be driving, you can offer a ride, and if you need a ride, you can request a seat.  Go to www.groupcarpool.com/t/r60e28.


If I'm driving in (from the airport or elsewhere), where do I park?

During the weekend you can park anywhere on the campus regardless of any signs reading Faculty Only, Student Only, etc.  However, the city's No Parking signs will remain in effect.  See a campus map here.

You’ll go first to the Welcome Center at the Ward Alumni Center, #59 on the map.  You can usually park in the East College Street lot during the day, or on the street nearby, or even briefly at the Hotel.

Then you’ll proceed to your housing location.  Three dorms are highlighted in this picture.  Most of us will be in the white-roofed Kahn Hall, #32 on the map. As you can see, there are several large college lots behind Carnegie that are very close to Kahn. Some of us may be across the street in Barnard House #9 or Bailey Hall (French House) #7.


What's Kahn like?  Are there other housing options?

Kahn Hall, a sustainable LEED Silver building for first-year students which was dedicated in 2010, is on North Professor Street across from East Hall. 

Unfortunately, we learned at the beginning of May that campus housing is sold out for Commencement/Reunion Weekend!  That applies to all of Oberlin including Kahn and our backup dorms Barnard and Bailey.  Attendees who registered late were wait-listed, which means they'll be in line for any rooms that do become available.  This does happen as people change plans and cancel.

There are other options in the area (though not The Hotel at Oberlin, which is for alumni celebrating their 60th reunion).  You might have to drive ten miles to find another hotel in Elyria or Amherst, or even farther to the Cleveland area.  However, the college does list more than three dozen Bed & Breakfasts on this page.

If you will be staying at Kahn Hall, please note that the dorm rooms are very basic.  Each has two twin-sized beds and offers only a few amenities, including a small pillow and a towel.  Alumni who have attended previous reunions suggest you might want to bring your own pillow and a larger bath towel.  You might even want to bring a blanket with you, because Kahn is air-conditioned.

The dorm does have upscale features such as kitchens, lounges, exercise spaces and equipment, and a piano and music rooms.  Reunion guests will find two single-sex bathrooms on each floor, one for men and the other for women.  The building is fully accesible for those with mobility issues.

Rooms will be available for Friday night through Sunday night, but must be vacated by 1 p.m. on Monday.  (Why only those three nights?  Danielle Young explains that after the undergraduates leave their dorm rooms, there is a short turnaround time.  "Our teams need all the time they can get to remove remaining items, clean, and audit the rooms ahead of the arrival of our guests. We have a similar issue right after Commencement / Reunion Weekend as the college prepares for summer conference guests."  However, if you'd like to arrive early or leave late, "the Hotel at Oberlin usually has rooms available on Thursday and Monday nights." )


Why should I attend the Reunion?

It’s fun!  The weekend features learning, art, music, meals, memories, and camaraderie.

blush Visit and (re)connect with friends from your college years!

smiley Discover other classmates with whom you have a great deal in common, even though you may not have known each other back then!

surprise See what is new at Oberlin and what has not changed since your time here!

laugh Meet current students, hear their perspectives, and share your own (they are interested)!


Will this 50th reunion be special?

This is the one reunion you should attend, even if you've never been to another.  It's a "wow" collective experience!  You can share the amazing things we have done in the last five decades, see the amazing things that are happening in today's Oberlin, and explore what we can do to make a difference in the years to come.  People from a recent 50th reunion said:

“[We] had a ‘hoot’.”

“[It] was truly a transforming experience for me.”

“I enjoyed the reunion much more than I anticipated, never having attended any reunion [before].”

“I found the reunion ... to be moving, and the reconnection with classmates from 50 years ago to be a tremendously positive experience.”




How many of my classmates will be there?

We added  Survey: Will You Attend?  to this website to help answer that question.  There are 172 classmates who've indicated they plan to come, marked on our list of Classmate Profiles. At the close of registration, 167 had actually signed up along with 54 guests, as shown on this chart. Classes at recent 50th reunions have averaged 154 alumni and 52 guests.

Class President Wayne Alpern wrote in January, “Attending this Quinquagenary for sure requires overcoming inertia, age, and the path of least resistance.  It's not easy to get up and greet folks you haven't seen for half a century:  you've changed, we've changed, and so has Oberlin.  …Forget all your ifs, ands, or buts.  It's your one and only chance to relive, recreate, and rejuvenate, not for the sake of our school, or the sake of our classmates, but for the sake of yourself.”


What events will be held that weekend?

There will be many!  Most colleges don't schedule their commencements and alumni get-togethers to take place concurrently, but Oberlin does.  Alumni of all ages will join the graduating Class of 2019 for Commencement/Reunion Weekend (C/RW), which will include an estimated 225 events.  Some highlights are listed beginning on Page 9 of the booklet.  In addition, there will be some events specifically by and for the 50-year class; a 30-person committee has been planning these activities, and a schedule has been posted.

However, don’t try to attend something every hour.  You can "vote with your feet," skip any planned event, and do whatever you want.  Allow enough free time for catching up and looking around.  The most common complaint is, “I didn’t have enough time to just visit.”


Will I be able to work out?

Philips Physical Education Center (seen here) will be open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as well as the new Shanks Health and Wellness Center and the newly renovated Carr Pool.  Racquets and balls may be borrowed from the equipment room, and lockers and towels are available for a small daily fee.  Please note that in Philips, non-marking shoes are required.

Other opportunities for exercise include bowling at College Lanes in Hales Annex, the 5K Fun Run and Walk on Sunday morning, and the Westwood Cemetery Walking Tour on Sunday afternoon.


Now that I'm a septuagenarian, I don't get around as well as I did as a sophomore.  Will this be a problem?

As a new member of the Half Century Club, you'll have shuttles available to transport you around campus.  Unfortunately, some campus buildings are not comfortably accessible to everyone, including those who use wheelchairs or walkers or other mobility devices.  If you have special needs, let the college know.  If you require personal assistance, plan to bring a care provider with you as a guest. 


My college education was paid for long ago.  Why does the Class of 1969 want me to donate more to Oberlin now?

Here are some of the most common reasons our alumni and friends give for their decision to support Oberlin:

►To affirm a progressive tradition dating back to its founding, which has seen its students and faculty active in seeking social change for almost 200 years.

►To support its top-ranked Conservatory, which helps make music a central element of campus life.

►To recognize and help maintain its nationally-regarded art museum.

►To stand by its commitment to the environment, not only in its teaching but in its own practices.

►To give back to the institution that helped make them who they are today.

►To give forward to the next generation.  Most annual giving — nearly 90 cents of every unrestricted dollar donated — supports scholarships and financial aid, making an Oberlin education possible for those who otherwise could not afford it.  And our Class Gift is the Class of 1969 Scholarship Fund.

Giving makes you feel good.  Really, it does.  Research shows that the act of giving reduces stress-related activity in one area of the brain while increasing reward-related activity in another.  Our brains are wired to feel rewarded for magnanimity and selflessness.

You know you're making a difference, and your generosity may inspire others.

And you can make a gift in honor of someone, either living or deceased — a thoughtful, endearing gesture that speaks to the profound influence that person has had on our lives.


What’s the difference between “planned giving” and writing an occasional check?

Throughout Oberlin’s history, planned gifts have been the primary source of funding for our endowment, which provides critically needed support for scholarships and the academic program.  Today, 80% of its value is attributable to the foresight and generosity of planned gift donors.

Planned giving includes life income gifts such as Charitable Gift Annuities and Charitable Remainder Trusts; the donor gets an immediate tax deduction plus an income for life, after which Oberlin receives whatever's left.  Planned giving can also include real estate, appreciated stock, designating the college as a beneficiary of your retirement plan, and of course including the college in your will.  (If you’ve already made one of these arrangements but haven’t yet told Oberlin about it, please do so!  We’d like your gift to be counted toward the Class of 1969’s reunion fundraising goal.)

Unlike capital giving or an endowment gift, which are oriented toward the future, the impact of an annual gift is immediate.  A gift to the Oberlin Annual Fund has a direct impact on Oberlin students and faculty as soon as it is received.

You can give at www.oberlin.edu/donate.  Alternatively, contact the Office of Gift Planning, gift.planning@oberlin.edu (440-775-8599), or the Annual Fund, annual.fund@oberlin.edu (800-693-3167).

  • Continue your support. If a charitable cause is worth supporting now, wouldn’t it be nice to know you could help after your lifetime, too? A gift in your estate plan helps us continue to fulfill our mission.
  • Honor someone. Paying tribute to a loved one, either living or deceased, is a thoughtful, endearing gesture that speaks to the profound influence that person has had on our lives.
  • Make a difference. Most people want to know at the end of their lifetime that they’ve made a difference. Planned giving is a way to ensure the people and causes most important to you benefit from your generosity. You can indeed make a difference.
  • Set an example. Your generosity may inspire others. When someone else witnesses your generosity, that person is more likely to be charitable or make a donation. Children in particular can benefit from seeing an adult they respect donate or volunteer.
  • Just feel good. Giving makes you feel good. Really, it does. Research shows that the act of giving reduced stress-related activity in one area of the brain while increasing reward-related activity in another. Our brains are wired to feel rewarded for magnanimity and selflessness.


Why should I support Oberlin?

It’s a trend-setter among other liberal arts colleges around the country.

It remains one of the top feeder colleges to Ph.D. programs.

It fosters academic and musical excellence in an equitable and inclusive educational environment.

The world needs more Oberlin graduates!