{ Name dropping. }

Two weeks ago, Oberlin College's Creativity and Leadership held a Design Symposium titled "Designing the Future: From Idea to Impact." At a dinner held for both speakers and students participating in the symposium, I had the pleasure of meeting Marcia Hoskins Fardella, the chief graphic designer at the Guggenheim. Not only was it cool to meet someone successful in a field that I am particularly interested in, it was even more assuring knowing that all of these speakers and artists were Oberlin alums. Which got me thinking...

What other super awesome human beings have gone to Oberlin?

Michael Alexin - Vice President of Product Design and Development at Target. He was also the guiding light for the Oberlin Apparel Design Challenge who gave us insight on the marketing side of clothing.

James Burrows - Emmy-winning television director. Some shows he has directed for include "Cheers," "3rd Rock from the Sun," "Will & Grace," "Two and a Half Men," "The Big Bang Theory," and others. He is also the co-creator of "Cheers."

Josh Ritter - Folk singer-songwriter.

Donald J. Sobol - Author of the Encyclopedia Brown series. Here's a neat-o little fact from one case: A client of Brown's says he wants to major in juggling when he goes to college. "At what college can you major in juggling?" Encyclopedia asks. Oh, Donald.

Ralph F. Hirschmann - Biochemist who led the synthesis of the first enzyme.

Michelle Malkin - Conservative journalist, blogger, and political correspondent.

Drummers - Greg Saunier of Deerhoof, Jon Theodore of The Mars Volta, and Brian Chase of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. We're so indie.

Roger Wolcott Sperry - Nobel-winning neuropsychologist.

Lorenzo Snow - A Mormon prophet, and the fifth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I found this quite interesting...

Liz Phair - Singer-songwriter and guitarist. Apparently she majored in Art History. This gives my future band hope!

Dr. D.A. Henderson - Led the WHO campaign to eradicate smallpox. That's important, I guess.

Daniel Kinsey - Olympic champion and record-setter (110 m hurdles). See! Athletic Obies do exist!

Mark Boal - Won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Hurt Locker. No big.

Karen Orzolek - Okay, technically she didn't graduate from Oberlin. Miss Karen O. transferred to NYU Tisch sometime after her first year. But she is the lead vocalist for The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and she also lived in my dorm during her freshman year!

James McBride - Author of The Color of Water.

Charles Martin Hall - Chemist who invented the process for producing aluminum. That's coooool.

Adrian Fenty - Mayor of D.C.

James Zemaits - Head of Sotheby's 20th-century-design department, which is also the 4th oldest auction house in existence.

Moses Fleetwood Walker - Transferred out of Oberlin to go to University of Michigan. Apparently, he's the first African-American baseball player in the major leagues. Does Jackie Robinson have a rebuttal?

Julie Taymor - Tony and Emmy Award-winning theatrical and cinematic director of Frida, Titus, and The Lion King. Again, no big.

Ishmael Beah - Author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.

Ed Helms - Correspondent on "The Daily Show" and Andrew Bernard from "The Office." Guess he didn't go to Cornell after all. He can sing, he can play banjo, he's got style, he's got grace. And he's funny too.

Jerry Greenfield - Co-creator of Ben & Jerry's, but more importantly, the genius behind Chunky Monkey, Half Baked, Cinnamon Buns, Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road, Coffee Coffee Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!, and Mission to Marzipan. Another interesting fact: He apparently majored in Pre-med.

Karl Orozco - No explanation needed.

Now brag to all your friends about how awesome Oberlin is and show your parents this so they can stop worrying about your liberal arts education.


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{ Responses To This Entry }

Oh man, and William Goldman, who wrote the Princess Bride novel and screenplay.

And like dear Karen O. whom we love anyway, playwright Thornton Wilder attended Oberlin before transferring to earn his B.A. elsewhere. (But don't be deceived! Wilder Hall was named after another Wilder.)

And, of course, Lucy Wainwright Roche—half-sister of Rufus Wainwright and wonderful musician in her own right—who comes back to visit frequently, including this coming weekend!

Posted by: Harris on May 2, 2010 4:29 PM


And Robert Millikan, nobel winner in physics, also answers to the question what to do with a classics degree. Why win the nobel in physics of course!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Andrews_Millikan

Posted by: krisanto pranata '89 on May 2, 2010 8:09 PM


No way! I didn't know about Lorenzo Snow. That's super-cool.

Posted by: Zoë on May 2, 2010 8:14 PM


And how many of those people were here this year alone (or will be in the next month)? A BUNCH.

Also, Avery Brooks (actor), Richard Haass (politician dude), Tracy Chevalier (author of The Girl with a Pearl Earring), and Charles Martin Hall (figured out the efficient process by which one can extract aluminum). So many famous people!

Marcia's table was the best. Just saying...

Posted by: Ma'ayan on May 3, 2010 11:07 PM


I'm going to chalk up your many ommissions to the fact that its late in the semester and your mind is elsewhere. Some obvious ones: Eric Bogosian (writer, actor), Stephen Colbert (How can you mention Ed Helms but not Colbert?), Robert Krulwich (widely recognizable journalist, currently @ NPR; cf Michale Duffy, who is Asst Managing Editor @ Time, but not so recongizable); Tom Frieden, Obama's appointee to head the Centers for Disease Control and former crusading NYC Health Commissioner; Richard Haas, current president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Judy Kuhn (too many roles in musical theatre to mention, certainly a few tony nominations), Robert Spano (currently music director for the Atlanta Symphony, formerly for the Bklyn Phil), and my personal favorite, actor Edward Everett Horton ("Holiday" is one my most favorite films and you should see it this summer if you aren't yet familiar with it).

Posted by: bk on May 5, 2010 2:49 PM


Sorry, bk, but Stephen Colbert didn't go to Oberlin.

Posted by: David on May 5, 2010 5:52 PM


the guitarist from beach house (alex scally) went to oberlin!

actually:
http://www.last.fm/group/Oberlin+College/connections

Posted by: fiz on May 11, 2010 2:09 PM


There's also Joe Hickerson, a key figure in the folk music revival of the 1950s and '60s, as well as John Kander, who is best known for having written the music for the Broadway shows "Cabaret" and "Chicago," and the film "New York, New York."

Posted by: Rafi on May 11, 2010 6:40 PM


Adam Moss, editor in chief of New York magazine; Robert Kuttner, co-founder of the American Prospect; Jennifer Siebens, vice president and London bureau chief of CBS; David Schlesinger, editor in chief of Reuters!

Oberlin is secretly a great journalism school!

Posted by: Sam on May 27, 2010 4:26 AM


PLEEEASE remove Michelle Malkin from that list! She is far from a "super awesome human being"

Posted by: Jordan on May 12, 2011 5:22 PM



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