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.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, Atlanta arts leader Richard Garner to speak at Oglethorpe Commencement

The 2015 Oglethorpe University commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 16 at 9:00 a.m. on the academic quadrangle of campus. Oglethorpe President Lawrence M. Schall and Board of Trustees Chair Ceree Eberly, Chief People Officer at The Coca-Cola Company, will preside over the commencement ceremony for approximately 170 graduates.

Thomas Frieden

Dr. Thomas Frieden

During the ceremony, Oglethorpe University will bestow honorary degrees on two outstanding leaders in their respective fields:  Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will be presented with a Doctor of Science, and Atlanta arts leader Richard Garner will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts.

Richard Garner

Richard Garner

“This year we have chosen to honor two individuals who represent the value, depth, and impact of an education in the liberal arts and sciences,” said President Schall. “As head of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden leads our nation’s efforts to positively impact the current and future health of the U.S. and the world. Richard Garner, a longtime friend of our university, has enriched the lives of generations of Atlantans through his commitment to presenting and preserving the arts.”

Both honorary degree recipients will address the graduating class. Additional speakers will include student leaders in the graduating class and Austin Gillis ’01, President of the Oglethorpe University National Alumni Association. Further details may be found at oglethorpe.edu/commencement.

Dr. Thomas Frieden became Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in June 2009 and oversees efforts to control health threats from infectious diseases, respond to emergencies, and battle the leading causes of suffering and death in our nation and around the world. As the director of the nation’s health protection agency, Dr. Frieden is leading the CDC in addressing these challenging health priorities: improving health security at home and around the world; reducing the leading causes of death and illness; and strengthening public health and health care collaboration. A physician with training in internal medicine, infectious diseases, public health, and epidemiology, Dr. Frieden is especially known for his expertise in tuberculosis control. Dr. Frieden worked for CDC from 1990 until 2002. He began his career at CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the New York City Health Department. Dr. Frieden speaks Spanish and graduated from Oberlin College. He received both his medical degree and a master’s of public health degree from Columbia University and completed infectious disease training at Yale University. He has received numerous awards and honors and has published more than 200 scientific articles.

Richard Garner served for 29 years as co-founder and producing artistic director of Georgia Shakespeare from 1986-2014. As a mainstage director for Georgia Shakespeare, he directed numerous productions, including Hamlet, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, The Glass Menagerie, an original adaptation of The Odyssey: A Journey Home, an original musical adaptation of Antigone, Henry V, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Winter’s Tale, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, The Comedy of Errors, Metamorphoses, Pericles, Richard II, Julius Caesar, and Titus Andronicus. He also edited and directed Shakespeare for Students tours and the inaugural production for Shake at the Lake, free Shakespeare in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. He has served as adjunct faculty at Emory University, Oglethorpe University and Kennesaw State University, and has been a guest lecturer at Georgia Tech, Mercer University, the University of North Georgia/Brenau University, and West Virginia University in Shakespearean performance and audition technique. Richard is the past president of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America, and is the recipient of the 2015 Community Artist Award from the Emory University Center for Creativity and Arts, the 2008 Flourish Award in Arts Leadership from Kennesaw State University, the 2004 Distinguished Career Award from the Georgia Theater Conference, the 2000 ABBY Award for Outstanding Arts Professional, and the LEXUS Leader of the Arts Award. Richard studied in the Professional Actor Training Program at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco where he received a two-year Conservatory Certificate, and at Berry College, where he earned a B.A. in English and Theater.

“Gables Oglethorpe” Residential Community to Open in 2015

hermance rendering updated

Oglethorpe University and Gables Residential, Inc., a real estate development company headquartered in Atlanta, have partnered to construct Gables Oglethorpe, a mixed-use luxury apartment community at the corner of Peachtree Road and Hermance Drive. Gables Residential will lease approximately seven acres of land from the university via a long-term land lease agreement, and will construct, operate, and maintain the new mixed-use community. Gables Oglethorpe will offer a new, convenient luxury apartment option for students and those desiring to live near Buckhead, Midtown and the Perimeter center area.

Projected to be Earthcraft certified, Gables Oglethorpe is designed by Atlanta-based architects Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio and will reflect and complement the signature Gothic architecture of Oglethorpe’s historic campus, set to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2015. Groundbreaking is estimated for summer 2014, with anticipated occupancy to begin August 2015. The community will combine apartment living for all with the unique niche of a community park and green space, state-of-the-art classrooms, secure parking, and desirable recreational amenities.

“Oglethorpe’s residence halls are near capacity and we are need of additional space to accommodate our continued growth,” said Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall. “Our partnership with Gables Residential will allow us to fulfill that need as the new community will offer an alternative living choice for our students while shifting the financial risk away from the university.”

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President Schall in the Turner Lynch Campus Center

Oglethorpe has experienced significant growth during recent years, both in enrollment and through campus development. The university opened the $16M Turner Lynch Campus Center in 2013, and plans to further increase its current student population of 1100 to 1500 by 2020.

Joe Wilber, Senior Vice President – Investments East, for Gables Residential stated, “We are very excited to deliver a first class, vibrant community to the neighborhood that will complement Oglethorpe University.  The opportunity to design, develop and manage a high-end community in Brookhaven is exciting for us as it follows on the heels of our newest mixed-use community, Gables Emory Point.”

Gables Oglethorpe will be comprised of two 4-story residential buildings offering 374 apartment homes, consisting of studios (7%), 1 and 2-bedrooms (88%), and 3-bedrooms (5%).  Gables Oglethorpe will include 6,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classroom space, to be used by Oglethorpe University. New pedestrian pathways will offer secured, gated access for students between the Gables development and Oglethorpe’s main campus.

As Oglethorpe’s enrollment continues to grow, the goal is to ensure that the university is able to still offer a rich residential experience to all students. “Residential facilities have a profound, positive relationship to the recruitment and retention of students,” said Oglethorpe’s Dean of Students and Vice President for Campus Life Michelle Hall. “Students rank residential facilities as the most important destination to see on a campus visit and have the second highest impact, behind facilities in their academic major, on decisions to enroll.”

“This is an historic time for both Oglethorpe University and the Brookhaven area we’ve called home for almost 100 years,” said President Schall. “It’s not an overstatement to say that Oglethorpe has entered into an era of reinvigoration, innovation, and growth—and Gables Oglethorpe is the next step in that progress.”

For more information and updates, visit progress.oglethorpe.edu.

Student Staff Recognized at Residence Life Awards Luncheon

Danny Glassmann with award winners Ali Keeter, Clara St. Urbain, Heather Burgess, and Christie Pearce.

Danny Glassmann with award winners Ali Keeter, Clara St. Urbain, Heather Burgess, and Christie Pearce.

The Residence Life Appreciation Luncheon and Awards was held May 15, 2014 to celebrate the achievements and honor the accomplishments of student staff members who work in the Office of Residence Life at Oglethorpe, as well as recognize community members who have help support the work of Residence Life this year.

The Resident Assistant (RA) of the Year for 2013-2014 went to Alison “Ali” Keeter, RA of Jobe Hansen Residence Halls, in recognition of her dedication, passion, and leadership in building a strong sense of community for residential students at Oglethorpe University.

Raphael Coleman, assistant director of residence life and housing operations, presented the award and spoke about the important contributions Ali has made to Residence Life in terms of programming, team building, and availability.

In appreciation of their ongoing support of Residence Life and safety of the campus, the Office of Campus Safety was recognized with the Friend of Residence Life Award. The award was presented by Danny Glassmann, assistant dean of students and director of residence life, who shared how overwhelmingly the staff felt Campus Safety was one of Residence Life’s biggest partners on-campus and how appreciative the office is of their hard work in keeping our campus safe and secure.

Additional awards were presented in other areas to student staff members who exemplified excellence in individual areas. The winners of these awards were:

Traer RA of the Year: Christie Pearce
Bowden Magbee/Upper Quad RA of the Year: Clara St. Urbain
Jobe Hansen RA of the Year: Alison Keeter
Dempsey RA of the Year: Heather Burgess
Best Programmer of All Staff: Tirzah Brown and Christie Pearce
Social Program of the Year: Vagina Monologues, presented to Alison Keeter
(Honorable Mention: Bond Week, presented to Christopher Strickland and Samuel Lyon)
Academic Program of the Year: OgleBee, presented to Clara St. Urbain, Christopher Strickland, Elisabeth Carter, and Ben Caoili)

Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners, as well as the rest of the Residence Life staff who have done an outstanding job this year!