The Refounding of Oglethorpe University

Thornwell Jacobs, the future president of Oglethorpe, pictured in an undated photo given to the university archives by his granddaughter, Ms. Carrie Lee Jacobs Henderson.

Thornwell Jacobs, the future president of Oglethorpe, pictured in an undated photo given to the university archives by his granddaughter, Ms. Carrie Lee Jacobs Henderson.

By Thornwell Jacobs, President of Oglethorpe University (1915-1943)
March 1927

In all the history of American educational institutions there has never been written a more charming chapter, interwoven with real romance and moral beauty, than the story of the birth and death of Old Oglethorpe University.

And rarely has there been in America a finer illustration of the immortality of high ideals than is exhibited in her resurrection from the gray ashes of fratricidal strife to her present position of honor and power among her sisters. She is perhaps unique among standard institutions of learning in that she alone, having died for her ideals, has also been raised from the dead. For today, on Peachtree Road, she is rapidly arising as one of the most beautiful universities in the whole world.  …

My personal interest in this tragic romance originated in the stories told me when I was a little boy by my grandfather who used to visit his son in a little village of South Carolina and tell us, among his grandfather’s tales of the days when he was a professor at this old school in Milledgeville. I remember I used to say to myself, “When I am grown up and ready for college, I am going to Oglethorpe.” But his reply was, “No, my boy, you will never stand on the Oglethorpe campus.”

 As a matter of personal history, I finished my University work at Princeton. …During those wonderful three years at Princeton I heard the mention from the far West talking about Leland Stanford; the men from Illinois praising the new University of Chicago; the men of New England telling of Harvard and Yale, and before my own eyes were rising the exquisitely beautiful buildings of the new Princeton. During all that time, I knew in my heart that there was not in the Southern states a single university whose architecture and construction could be compared with the best of Eastern and Western institutions. All this seemed to me strange because the South, more than any other section of America, is the home of beauty and ideals, of romance and courage. So I made up my mind that if the time ever came I would be true to the great University with its dreams and its deeds. …

So it came to pass that without invitation save from within, and without authorization save from above on September 13, 1909, we came to Atlanta to refound Oglethorpe University. For there was practically no choice in the matter of location. Oglethorpe had been founded originally in the capitol of Georgia, and when later the capitol was moved from Milledgeville to Atlanta there had been an attempt to reopen the University on the site of the old Girl’s High School on Washington Street, where it had lasted for a couple of years until the disorders of reconstruction days rendered further efforts futile. Since that day the little city had grown into a great metropolis and had become the intellectual, artistic, and commercial capitol of the Southeast. Thus did she who was founded by invisible, intangible, and inaudible powers draw another spiritual adventurer to her borders.  …

[The story of Oglethorpe] is the story of the immortality of the ideal which is an illustration of the way in which the beautiful thing persists to influence the lives of men, for here, in the city whose name Oglethorpe never heard and of whom Lanier knew little is being gathered the most precious heritage of all Georgia—the legacies left by her two best citizens, James Oglethorpe, her founder, and Sidney Lanier, her poet. For they are centering on their campus three great traditions. One is that inimitable excellence of statecraft and philanthropy exhibited by James Edward Oglethorpe, cleanser of the prisons of England and founder of the commonwealth of Georgia. The second is the tradition that clusters around the incomparable Lanier, first of that sweet chorus of Southern singers whose word-music breathes the same principle of magnanimity and generosity and love. From Oglethorpe they draw the inspiration of humanitarianism and wisdom in politics and government. From Lanier they win their ideals of literature and art. For this Oglethorpe boy, one among the Southern-born, has won his right to sit down with the nine immortals of American Literature: Bryant, Longfellow, Emerson, Lowell, Whittier, Holmes, Whitman, Poe, and Lanier. His diploma hangs over the desk of the President and his spirit hovers over the campus of his Alma Mater. The third is the spirit of the university itself into which is gathered all the love of the invisible., intangible, and inaudible greatness of the past and the splendid generosity of spirit, the elegance of soul, and the purity of sentiment of her Lanier and Oglethorpe and to this is added the utter abandon of love of new worlds of science and discovery which is the perpetual gift of God to each generation, and all the solid conviction of the essential sinfulness of veneer and sham or anything short of the absolute truth which is so well expressed in her architecture and construction and management.

Two men were standing in the Great Hall of the Administration Building of Oglethorpe University. They had been looking at the beautifully carved oak room, the heavy, quartered oak furniture, the leaded glass-work, the sturdy tiling, the attractive lighting system, and the beautiful lime-stone fireplace with the inscription carved on it,

 “Square round and let us closer be,
 We’ll warm our wintry spirit;
 The good we each in other see
 The more that we sit near it.” 

The visitor turned to the president of the institution and remarked: “Doctor you have spent enough extra money on this great hall alone to educate one hundred men! Why have you done it?”

“Because we plan to educate one hundred thousand men with it,” replied the President.

This is the keynote of Oglethorpe University. The purpose of the founders of the institution is to build a school which will express all the fine qualities of a great human soul in its architecture, equipment and appointments.

Adapted by J. Todd Bennett

“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!

Dr. Danny Glassmann: A Day in the Life

Danny loves his pugs.  He likes to start each day by spending some quality time with them.

Danny loves his pugs. He likes to start each day by spending some quality time with them.

Dr. Danny Glassmann, assistant dean of students and director of residence life, begins his day at 6:30 a.m., waking up to the sounds of his two pugs, Ebony and Cooper. After letting them out and feeding them, he usually hits the gym and then arrives to campus by 9:00 a.m.

On your average day, Dr. Glassmann might be teaching a First Year Seminar class and is likely to have a number of meetings, sometimes with students, staff, vendors, or Student Government Association, among many others.

Danny Glassmann meets with the Oglethorpe Vice President to discuss Greek housing rennovations.

Danny Glassmann meets with Oglethorpe Vice President and CFO Mike Horan to discuss Greek housing renovations.

Danny Glassman meets with Eric Tack and Leanne Miller.

Danny Glassmann meets with Eric Tack, assistant provost and director of the Academic Learning Center, and Leanne Miller, director of counseling services.

Dr. Glassman meets with a student.  Glassman says working with students is what fulfills him most.

Dr. Glassman meets with a student. He says working with students is what fulfills him most.

But his life isn’t all about meetings, and the hard work doesn’t stop there. After grabbing a bite to eat with coworkers in the dining hall, he then moves on to Greek housing walk-throughs, Student Judicial Board hearings, and Orientation Leader interviews.

Dr. Glassman prepares for a Sigma Alpha Epsilon house walk through to note any needed updates.

Dr. Glassman prepares for a Sigma Alpha Epsilon house walk through to note any needed updates.

He usually ends his day by attending on-campus events—this particular day it was the Oglebee, which he helped to judge.

Danny Glassman judges the Oglebee.  The Oglebee is a spelling bee for Oglethorpe students.

Danny Glassmann judges the Oglebee, a spelling bee for Oglethorpe students.