2012 Symposium Spotlights Oglethorpe Students’ Academic Accomplishments

On Tuesday, the OU community gathered  for the 2012 Liberal Arts and Sciences Symposium to celebrate the academic achievements of our students. The annual event provides OU students with a platform to present their own work—and fellow students, faculty, parents, and staff take the opportunity to learn more about the various topics, support the presenters, and engage in passionate discussions. Nearly 200 students presented during more than 30 sessions about topics drawn from a wide variety of disciplines.

We asked students Joscelyn Stein, Dayana Diaz, and Weston Manders to give us their thoughts about the Symposium:

This year’s topics ranged from “The Homeric Hero: What Winston Churchill and Odysseus have in common…or not” to “Mosquito in the Room: America’s Cuban Obsession and the Need for a New Era of Cuban-American Relations,” to “The Evolution of Fairies in Literature: From Oral Folk Tales to Peter Pan” and “The Benefits of Cooperative Interspecies Evolution: Why Would you have a Dog?”

A new addition to the day-long event was StoryCore, where students from the OU radio station video recorded students and faculty sharing “OUr Core moments,” reflections on the Core Curriculum. Oglethorpe’s Core Program helps shape our academic community and is regularly the focus of shared stories. Many of us have our “Core moments”—when something we encounter reminds us of something we learned in a Core course, when ideas are suddenly are connected. The collection of 90-second videos will be posted on the StoryCore page over the next few weeks. Here’s the first StoryCore video in the series, by Chelsea Reed ’13, a Communications and Rhetoric major.

Also new to the Symposium this year was an “Homage To OUr CORE in Poetry and Creative Verse.” The poetry slam/creative word jam took place in the Lupton Auditorium and gave a stage to students and faculty to share their poetry, spoken word and freestyle compositions, penned in honor of our Core Curriculum. The friendly competition chose winners in a few categories:

Judges’ Choice: Kaci Palmore
Most Creative: Chou Thao
Connection to Core: Will Carter

The day-long celebration of student achievements ended in the Conant Performing Arts Center with the annual Honors and Awards Convocation, which recognized individuals who had excelled during the academic year. Congratulations to all of the honorees!

View photos from the 2012 Liberal Arts & Sciences Symposium!

OU Student Comes Face-to-Face with WWII History

Paige Williams and Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk

OU student Paige Williams recently had the chance to meet 91-year-old WWII veteran Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima that helped to turn the course of the war. Paige, who is the vice president of the Oglethorpe Veterans’ Club (OVC), met the American hero at a gathering of the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association, where he was a guest speaker.

Paige was able to meet Mr. Van Kirk as a result of an invitation from an OU faculty member Dr. Chris Benton, who is the director of accounting studies at OU,  the faculty advisor for the OVC, and a Vietnam veteran. Dr. Benton is a proud member of Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association, an organization that brings together metro Atlanta professionals who share the bond of serving their country in Vietnam.  The association meets monthly and celebrates a special guest speaker during each meeting.

According to Dr. Benton, some speakers are Medal of Honor winners—and they all represent the face of American history. Each provides their own personal account of events and sometimes even unveil a humorous side of history.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to meet the people who lived and wrote the history that we all study in classrooms.”

The Oglethorpe Veterans’ Club is always looking for ways to honor and remember American veterans. In just a few weeks, on Saturday, April 7, they’re planning a day trip to the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Ga., billed as “the greatest museum in the U.S. designed first and foremost with the Army Infantryman in mind.” The trip is open to everyone.  To sign up for trip or to learn more about OVC, send an e-mail to ovc@oglethorpe.edu.

Oglethorpe Feels the Mardi Gras Spirit from Atlanta to New Orleans

This year the Oglethorpe community celebrated “Fat Tuesday” both on the road and at home.

The OU French Club planned a road trip to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday)—the first trip of its kind for the Francophone group. They immersed themselves in the culture, practicing their French language skills and visiting the French-speaking children at L’ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle Orleans.

“We learned about the history of the Cajuns and how they were sent to Louisiana from Canada,” said Alexus Whilby, president of the OU French Club. “We learned a lot about the history of voodoo and the contrast between Creoles and Cajuns. We also enjoyed the New Orleans Museum of Art and the French exhibit gallery.” The club plans to make this an annual trip.

While the French Club celebrated in New Orleans, the others back on campus shared a prayer and a delicious spread in Hearst Hall, hosted by the Orthodox Student Union. The feast united students of many different backgrounds, beliefs and religions.

“Hearst Hall has never been as cozy as it was on Fat Tuesday this Lent season!” said student Lidia Awad. “Everyone gathered…to enjoy great company, wonderful food, and celebrate the spiritual journey they were about to embark on.”  

Sophomore Awet Woldegebriel, president of the Orthodox Student Union, described what Lent meant to him, saying “the Lent season keeps me grounded. Fasting or giving something up—going above and beyond what you usually do—is a humbling sacrifice and this Lent, I am excited to be able to share my faith with my Oglethorpe family”.

“The lamb, pastries, and warm fire were exceptional,” said Awad. “But nothing filled the Great Hall more than the love and the joy of everyone holding hands around the table, saying grace and reflecting upon the blessings we had been given.”

Operation HOPE to Help Oglethorpe Students Teach Financial Skills to Kids

The global nonprofit Operation HOPE will offer an orientation workshop on the Oglethorpe campus for one of its core programs, Banking on Our Future (BOOF). The program will teach Oglethorpe students valuable financial skills that they, in turn, can take to area schools to educate children about the basic practices related to credit and money management. This is an ideal opportunity for OU students to make a difference, add an impressive experience to your resume and network with business professionals—all while supporting a deserving cause.

The BOOF curriculum is designed to prepare volunteers to educate children ages 9-18 in five areas: Course in Dignity, Basics of Banking, Checking and Savings, Power of Credit and Basic Investments. Thus far, 80 volunteers have been trained and 3,653 children were reached in 2012.

Volunteers in the program include students from other colleges and universities, as well as professionals from businesses around metro Atlanta. With the support of more than 400 private sector companies, 5000 nonprofit organizations and schools and government partners, HOPE has reached over 2 million low-wealth individuals in 70 U.S. cities and South Africa. HOPE’s national corporate partners include business giants like Bank of America, E-Trade Financial, Microsoft, State Farm Insurance, Sun Trust Bank, Toyota and Wells Fargo.

The training will be held on Thursday, March 8,  6-7 pm in Hearst 114. For more information and to reserve a spot in the seminar email Caroline Weimar, in Oglethorpe’s Career Services office, at cweimar@oglethorpe.edu.