Seniors Headline Museum Lectures on Politics & Physics

Two Oglethorpe students had the opportunity to deliver public lectures within their fields of study, as part of the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art’s spring exhibitions “Azadi va Edalat: Stories Retold by Contemporary Iranian Women Artists” and “Time is an Illusion: Revisiting Einstein’s Theory of Relativity,” showcasing an original handwritten Einstein manuscript owned by the university.

Ruwa Romman ’15 and Antonio Màntica ’15 were selected by Elizabeth Peterson , OUMA’s director, to speak about the exhibits and share their academic and personal expertise on the subject matters.

In her lecture, “Liberated, not oppressed: A different perspective on Muslim women,” Ruwa, a politics major, spoke of women’s liberation on a global scale. “Women being oppressed is not exclusive to the Muslim faith,” she said. “In fact, Islam liberated women by giving them the right to inherit, choose who they marry, work, etc. The issue is that people misuse ideologies for what they want. It’s not the faith, it’s the people. I view my faith as a liberating thing, including my head scarf.”  Ruwa’s perspectives are grounded in her Muslim faith, multiple leadership roles on campus (including president of the Student Government Association and founding member of COEXIST), and her recent internship at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.

 

Antonio, a physics major active in theatre, presented the lecture “A Tour Through Time,” which also was a featured event in the city-wide Atlanta Science Festival. Antonio walked his audience through the history of various cultures’ perceptions of time—highlighting specific cultures and points in history that contributed to our current understanding of time. He also illustrated our modern conception of how time passes and what it means to measure it, and explored what we do not understand about it. “Einstein revolutionized how we picture time,” said Antonio, “and my lecture aimed to describe the history and the concepts of his ideas to the audience.”

“Only at Oglethorpe could a student have an experience like this,” said Antonio, who was excited to have the chance to speak about his hero Einstein. “Before the lecture, Elizabeth Peterson said to me: ‘I love working at a place where this is possible.’  At Oglethorpe, students have these amazing opportunities to present academic studies in a professional setting, and that is invaluable.”

 

Oglethorpe Filmmakers to Compete for $10,000 National Prize

A team of Oglethorpe University student filmmakers has been selected to advance to the final round of the Campus Movie Fest (CMF) Fan Choice Award, presented by Western Digital. The team will be among a group of the best student-created films nationwide, competing for a chance to win $10,000.

The team accepts their CMF award at the Oglethorpe University Red Carpet premiere event

The team accepts their CMF award at the Oglethorpe University Red Carpet premiere event

Nearly 500 movies from 11 colleges were in competition within the southeastern group, with only five movies selected to advance to the final round of national competition. Also advancing from Oglethorpe’s district are University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, and The University of Tampa.

Oglethorpe’s winning team, originally named The Ugly Sweater and The Onsies, and recently renamed Nine Cents Broke, include: Amanda Turner ’17, Sonny Pimentel ’16, Elizabeth Kirkwoork ’18, and Audrey Stradler ’18, all of whom are studying studio art, photography, and video/film, as well as Jack Bishop ’17 and Amanda Ake ’17, both English majors, and Miranda Lotufo ’18, Victoria Lindbergh ’17, and Kieran Flake ’17, all theatre majors.

Amanda Turner, editor and spokesperson for the group, was overwhelmed at the honor of being selected, saying, “it’s pretty amazing to suddenly win something as big as Campus Movie Fest. I don’t think any of us knew how we were going to do or what we were up against. I think a few us were crying with joy.”

Members of the team will be making the trip to Los Angeles, Calif. in June where their movie “[fixed.echoes]” will be shown along with 19 other top voted films from three other voting groups across the country, in competition for the $10,000 price.

Good luck, Team Nine Cents Broke!

 

 

Einstein Makes an Appearance at Oglethorpe

photo by Travis TaylorIn celebration of the 100th anniversary of our campus, Oglethorpe University has put one of its rare treasures on display: Albert Einstein’s handwritten manuscript, “The Experimental Confirmation of the General Theory of Relativity,” on view through April 30, 2015 in the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art (OUMA).

The manuscript, penned in 1920, was written by Einstein by request from his colleague Robert Lawson, an English physicist. Lawson was in the process of translating Einstein’s 1917 work, “Relativity: the Special and General Theory” and asked Einstein to give him observational proof of general relativity for the 1920 English edition. The exact documents Einstein gave to Lawson are now being exhibited for a special few months, exclusively here on campus.

Thornwell Jacobs

Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, President of Oglethorpe University, 1915-1943

Oglethorpe came into possession of the documents in a unique way that spans back to its founding in 1835. Oglethorpe originally had its roots in Midway, a town near Milledgeville, Ga. Because of the Civil War, the school closed for a while. However, Thornwell Jacobs, a generous and well-educated Presbyterian minister, was determined to restore the school. He had grown up hearing stories about Oglethorpe from his grandfather, Ferdinand Jacobs, who had been a faculty member there, and it became his dream to someday reopen the school. A skilled fundraiser, Thornwell Jacobs raised enough money and interest to organize a Board of Trustees for the college by 1912. With land donated by the Silver Lake Park Company and the help of Atlanta architectural firm of Morgan Dillon and Downing, Oglethorpe University at last reopened in 1915 and welcomed 45 students in 1916. Serving as president of the university through 1943, Jacobs accomplished many things, including launching the Crypt of Civilization and establishing a medical school. Jacobs was a true Renaissance man with a talent for writing that led him to found and publish The Westminster Magazine. He will always be remembered for his detailed letters and amazing ability to positively influence others.

As for the Einstein manuscript, it was given to Oglethorpe University by alumna Nellie Jane Gaertner ’34 in 1982. She was the daughter of Herman Julius Gaertner, one of the first faculty members appointed when Jacobs re-opened Oglethorpe at its current Atlanta location in 1915. The manuscript had been retained by Lawson for some years before it was acquired by Herman Julius Gaertner, a professor of German and Mathematics. Oglethorpe is lucky to posses the manuscript as most of Einstein’s work now resides at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jordan Michaels_Holly Bostick_John Tilford

Students Jordan K. Michels and Holly Bostick examine the manuscript with OUMA Collections Manager John Tilford.

OUMA Collections Manager John Tilford helped to illustrate the historical context of the manuscript’s creation, as well as the history of Einstein’s expansive archive. He relied on a number of rarely-seen images of Einstein and his colleagues, including personal secretary Helen Dukas and Professor Otto Nathan, both co-trustees of Einstein’s literary estate. According to John, Helen Dukas preserved Einstein’s papers for decades before they were given to Hebrew University after her death, and for this, scholars and historians owe her an enormous debt.

“Staff and faculty of Division III (Natural Sciences), OUMA, and the Philip Weltner Library, with the enthusiastic input and support of OU students, came together seamlessly to present the manuscript and a rich program of lectures, films, and other events,” says Elizabeth Peterson, director of OUMA. “We are grateful for a Georgia Humanities Council grant which supports these activities and thrilled to again be part of the Atlanta Science Festival.”

The Einstein exhibition has generated robust student involvement with interest from scholars of all disciplines and departments. Students from a variety of majors including physics, theatre, English, and philosophy came together to participate in a group reading of Einstein’s Dreams. Additionally, Oglethorpe University senior and physics major Antonio Mántica leads “A Tour through Time”, during the week of the Atlanta Science Festival. His presentation will explain the historical and current understandings of how time functions and how we can use that knowledge to inform our experience of it. Other events include three film screenings and discussions about Einstein-related movies, and an evening of astronomy with Fernbank Science Center astronomer April Whitt.

“The manuscript should be viewed in person to truly appreciate its uniqueness as each word, diagram and calculation, including a few corrections, were all penned by Einstein’s own hand,” says Tilford. “Anyone can read the transcribed text in print and digital formats but the power of the handwritten documents must be witnessed first hand.”

Ariana Feiner is a writer and a student at Oglethorpe University. She enjoys art history and recently published her first children’s book, Ariana Rose: A Story of Courage.
This online story was adapted from an assignment for her journalism class.

Oglethorpe Partners with Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Capitol City Opera

conant1Oglethorpe University has partnered with three leading Atlanta arts organizations—the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre, the Horizon Theatre Company, and Capitol City Opera Company—to present performances and provide educational opportunities for students of all ages at the Conant Performing Arts Center.

“With the unfortunate dissolution of Georgia Shakespeare in the fall, we were committed to exploring new partners in the arts that were not only rooted in excellence and quality, but also would offer significant hands-on learning opportunities for our students and complement our theatre and music programs,” said Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall.

The Alliance Theatre will host three satellite camps at Oglethorpe during summer 2015, two geared towards primary school children and the third for high schoolers focusing on musical theatre. Oglethorpe theatre majors will be hired as teaching assistants for each of these camps, which will run for two weeks. Each camp experience will culminate in a showcase performance. In January, leaders from The Alliance served as judges and mentors for prospective theatre students during the Oglethorpe Theatre Scholarship Competition.

The Horizon Theatre Company will bring a multi-week run of their summer production, Avenue Q, to the Conant Performing Arts Center, starting in June 2015. Specific dates and further details will be announced soon. Two Oglethorpe theatre students will have the opportunity to be on stage for this production. Lisa and Jeff Adler, co-artistic directors at Horizon Theatre, also participated in this year’s Oglethorpe Theatre Scholarship Competition.

Oglethorpe’s relationship with Capitol City Opera has grown over years. Capitol City Opera now presents multiple performances annually in Oglethorpe’s Conant Performing Arts Center, in both the spring and the fall. The Opera also offers internship opportunities for Oglethorpe students and ticketing benefits for the campus community. Capitol City Opera’s next performances at the Conant Performing Arts Center will be The Abduction from the Seraglio, from March 27th through 29th, and Hansel & Gretel on March 28th.

“Oglethorpe has a long history of offering distinctive arts experiences for both the campus and the larger community,” said President Schall. “These partnerships will help to ensure that continues.”

The Art of Living and Learning

Holly Bostick ’15 sat on the porch of her small cabin drinking a cup of coffee, watching toucans fly before the most breathtaking sunrise she’d ever seen. There was no electricity, air conditioning, or hot water—just a small wooden cot where she slept. And somehow, that was more than enough.

An art history major and Spanish minor, Holly was among a small group of volunteers who traveled to Belize this past summer to assist in archeological excavations at the Maya ruins. She pursued this “life-changing” experience after another—an Oglethorpe-sponsored short-term trip to Greece in 20Belize archeological dig 213. As part of her studies on ancient art and architecture, Holly had visited an active archaeological dig in Corinth and was captivated. She wanted to find a way to relive that experience.

Holly researched similar programs and discovered the Maya Research Program, a nonprofit that sponsors archaeological and ethnographic research in Central America. Holly and approximately 35 other volunteers, including fellow OU student and art history major Emily Prichard ’15, trekked to Blue Creek, Belize, where they joined archaeological digs. Each morning, they jumped into the back of pickups and navigated to the excavation sites—usually Xno’ha, an “elite residential complex” discovered in 2013. There, they were “hands on,” organizing remains and piecing together skeletons. Having no experience in anatomy or anthropology, Holly admits she had a bit of a learning curve, but that it was “absolutely incredible and a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Back in the U.S., Holly was determined to continue her journey. Oglethorpe art professors Alan Loehle and Dr. Jeffrey Collins recommended that she apply for an internship at The Carter Center, which holds an extensive art collection. Given the competitiveness of any opportunity at Center, Holly felt honored to be selected for the art internship, and credits her academic and global experiences for setting her apart from other applicants. Holly has gained insight into museum operations and experience with fine art, a compliment to her work with artifacts.

“The Carter Center’s art collection is very eclectic, with no specific genre,” Holly said. “Many of the items are donations from countries around the world in thanks for the Carter Center’s worldwide efforts in peace. So, a general knowledge in many different art mediums and cultures was crucial for the internship.”

Holly graduates in 2015, and while she’s yet undecided about her career path, she knows her options are endless, crediting her ventures while at Oglethorpe.

“When I would tell people where I was going and what I was doing, they would always give me a look and ask ‘why?’. My response, of course, being ‘why not?’” she said, laughing. “[My experiences] broadened my sense of the world, and my personal world, specifically. It showed me that there aren’t limitations and I don’t have to settle for any one career. I have options and places to explore and that is what I intend to do.”

Heather Johnston ’17 is a communication & rhetoric studies major, with a minor in business administration. She is currently an intern for Pegasus Creative, the student communications agency in the University Communications department, and writes for the Stormy Petrel student newspaper.