Sharing the Oglethorpe Experience

It was a real treat to recently attend a college fair on behalf of Oglethorpe. It was hosted at a very large high school, just north of Dallas, Texas—and it was probably the first time I’ve stepped foot into a high school in close to two decades (how did that happen?!)

I knew I was long since removed from the high school scene when I realized I could better relate to the parents that evening than the students. I was a bit concerned as I wondered how I was going to connect with a teenager who probably doesn’t have any clue what direction she wants for her life—and how I was going to “sell” her on the idea of an ultra small, private liberal arts school in the heart of Atlanta, more than 800 miles away.

The answer, of course, was in the question. Although I never had students waiting in line to see me (unlike the other OU), the handful of students who did stop by to see me admitted they were intrigued by the name of our alma mater. When I started talking to these seniors, juniors—even sophomores—it became clear that while I couldn’t answer some of the questions that a professional admission counselor could, I could absolutely share my enthusiasm and appreciation for my time spent getting an education at the greatest liberal arts school in America.

Would you like to share your Oglethorpe experience with prospective Petrels?  Contact Alumni Relations Director Barbara Bessmer Henry ’85.

Pictured: Kelly hangs out with Oglethorpe mascot Petey at a recent alumni event. Kelly lives in Dallas, Tex., where she is the marketing communications manager for The Container Store. She currently chairs the Alumni Communications Committee for the Alumni Board.

Hundreds Volunteer During Oglethorpe’s Orientation Day of Service

Orientation Day at Oglethorpe is unlike orientation at any other school.  While new Petrels do rush to meet their professors and participate in the essential get-to-know-your-campus activities, they also add another stop to their list of things to do:  community service throughout the Atlanta area.  

On Monday morning,  Oglethorpe University’s incoming class volunteered at seven Atlanta-area nonprofits as part of the annual Orientation Day of Service.  In past years students have volunteered during their first week of college, but this is the first time an entering class has reached seven locations within the same day

For most, it was a way to become acclimated with the city around them, and experience hands-on learning about an an Atlanta nonprofit, its mission, and how it serves the community need.  For others, like 17-year old Parth Patel, the biggest personal impact of the project was having the opportunity to create relationships with classmates from around the world.

“[The day of service] was a great way for me to start making friends,” explained Parth, who spent his morning clearing shrubs and picking up litter at nearby Silver Lake.  “I am originally from Zambia, and it is neat to meet other international students from all over… because we’ve been working together all morning, we’ve had plenty of time to talk and learn about each other’s cultures and backgrounds.”

Parth and 19 fellow freshmen volunteered at Silver Lake in preparation for the community’s 100-year anniversary celebration.  But hundreds of other Petrels spread out around the metro area with plenty of other tasks in mind.  About 80 volunteers packed and sorted books for Africa’s youth at Books for Africa in Smyrna while 40 others worked at Medshare, sorting and preparing medical supplies for those in need the world over.  Another 50 offered their hands at Decatur’s Delano Line Park, helping to remove invasive species on its grounds, through a program called Park Pride.  At Grant Park, more than 100 volunteers worked to  prepare and beautify Atlanta’s oldest public park—just in time for next weekend’s Grant Park Summer Shade Festival.  More students visited Open Hand, packaging meals for medically-fragile patients, and more still spent time at Push Push Theatre, cleaning, organizing and painting areas of the theatre in preparation for a television show that is to be filmed there in the fall.

In recognition of their efforts, the Class of 2015 received the Phoenix Award from the office of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed for “exemplary commitment to community service” and “for its hard work and dedication toward improving our quality of life and making our city a better place to live, work and play.” The Phoenix Award is given to organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to the residents of Georgia.

“Oglethorpe University has expanded its Orientation Day of Service for incoming students to reach multiple nonprofit sites in the Atlanta area,” said Tamara Nash, director of the Oglethorpe’s Center for Civic Engagement. “Our goal is to make the service experience more impactful for both the nonprofits and for the students.”

New Carillon Magazine Now Online — and in a Mailbox Near You!

The newest issue of the award-winning Carillon is here!

This issue explores Oglethorpe’s engagement in the world, recalling the beginnings of international study and examining how the university and its partners continue to make an imprint on our world today.

The Carillon also shares how Oglethorpe alumni endeavor to “make a difference,” relating  stories of Petrels who have made their marks around the globe.  And, the pages of this issue introduce us to globetrotters like Scott Zannini ’96, a mountain climber who makes fascinating trips to the Earth’s highest summits, and Rodney Drinkard ’92, who manages international security for top Coca-Cola executives.  

In addition to fascinating profiles of alums, meet some of OU’s newest Petrels—one who has already begun paving her way through the realm of international athletics, and another who has weathered war and displacement to finally find himself at home, here at Oglethorpe.

Read the Carillon here or look out for the magazine at your home—and let us know what you think!

Oglethorpe Named Among the 2012 Princeton Review’s Best Colleges

According to The Princeton Review, Oglethorpe is one of the best colleges in the southeast and in the country.  The home of the Stormy Petrel was included in the newest edition of Princeton Review’s annual “Best Colleges” book – The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 Edition, available now in bookstores, as among the best colleges in the nation and the “Best Southeastern Colleges.” 

In addition to naming the best 376 colleges, the book includes 62 categories of “top 20″ nationwide ranking lists— the results of 122,000 students’ reports about their institution through surveys.  This year, Oglethorpe was named one of the top 20 schools on the “Class Discussions Are Encouraged” list.  Coming in at number 15, Oglethorpe’s students revealed that OU is where thinkers and communicators thrive . 

 In Oglethorpe’s profile in the book, students are quoted as saying that “the classroom experience is unsurpassed…you are expected to actively participate in class.”   And, “Oglethorpe University offers ‘an exceptional, well-rounded education in a close-knit community,’ with “dedicated professors.'”

The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges academically or in any specific order from 1 to 376.  Instead, it reports 62 ranking lists of “top 20″ colleges in various categories. Those lists are entirely based on The Princeton Review’s survey of current students attending the reviewed colleges.

 The Princeton Review explains the basis for each ranking list in the book and at

Fresh Faces: Class of 2015 Issued PASSPORT to College Life

During the "Amazing Race" event, new students participated in a scavenger hunt to become acclimated to their new campus.

At Oglethorpe’s annual PASSPORT event last week, more than 150 incoming freshmen got their first taste of college life during the day-long orientation program.  The newbies and their parents swarmed campus as they met up with their professors, coaches, and classmates for their first official welcome to Oglethorpe. A second PASSPORT will be held in July for the remaining freshmen class.

Their activities included a campus-wide scavenger hunt, a barbeque lunch, and spending some time with their new advisors.  Scroll down to check out pics from the event!

At the Parents' Panel discussion, parents of incoming freshman got advice from parents of current and former students. That's my mom on the left :)

Petey made some new friends.

“Cheeeese!” A student sits for her Petrel Pass portrait.

Refreshment for the freshmen!

The Pop Shop came to the quad with several different popsicle flavors.

Parents and Petey.

Students worked together for the scavenger hunt, and made a few friends in the process.