• U.S.

Education: Oberlin Overhaul

2 minute read

In the spring of 1833, Peter Pindar Pease of Vermont joggled west in an ox-cart with his wife and five children to become the first settler in Oberlin, Ohio, where a group of missionaries to the Choctaws had staked out 500 acres for a town and college. The town of Oberlin celebrated the centennial of Peter Pindar Pease’s arrival four years ago. Oberlin College, which in 1837 admitted U. S. women to a degree-granting institution for the first time, intends to celebrate this year the centennial of U. S. higher education for women. Last week it began to get into full academic dress for that event by announcing four important appointments at once.

As Dean of the College, Oberlin chose Professor Carl Wittke, genial head of the history department at Ohio State, whose crack History of Canada is standard even in Canadian universities. The acting dean of men, Alumnus Donald Melbourne Love, then became Secretary of the College, succeeding retiring George M. Jones. From Lawrence College (Appleton, Wis. ), which recently lost its President Henry Merritt Wriston to Brown, Oberlin took Dean of Women Marguerite Woodworth, to replace ex-Dean of Women Mildred Helen McAfee who left Oberlin last year to become President of Wellesley (TIME, May 25). One outcome of this intercollegiate shuffling is that Dean Woodworth, a blonde, bustling administrator of 41, will rule over her onetime superior’s daughter. Junior Barbara Wriston, who preferred Oberlin to Lawrence. At the same time, Oberlin appointed as consulting architect to supervise a $230,000 centennial building program an old Oberlin boy, Richard Kimball of Manhattan’s Kimball & Husted. Chief building Architect Kimball will be concerned with is a physical education unit for women.

Oberlin’s jewels are such children as Feminist Lucy Stone, Physicist Robert Millikan, Prohibitionist Wayne B. Wheeler, Ohio’s Governor Martin Luther Davey, Chinese Finance Minister H. H. Kung.

Oberlin’s most generous alumnus, however, was none of these but the late President Charles Martin Hall of Aluminum Co. of America. In 1886, when he was a poor 22-year-old Oberlin graduate, Chemist Hall completed the experiments he had started in an Oberlin laboratory more than a year before, discovered the electrolytic extraction process which made possible the commercial refinement of aluminum. As a result, Oberlin received $9,000,000, one third of Chemist Hall’s estate, besides a statue of him as a young man, in glowing solid aluminum.

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