Petrels Compete in National Campus MovieFest

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The team from Oglethorpe’s Best Picture “The Crush.”

In early February, Oglethorpe hosted its second annual Campus MovieFest red carpet finale. Great fun was had by all as students came out to support their fellow petrels’ cinematic efforts.

The winners of the night were The Crush for Best Picture, Zork for Best Comedy, and No Hate: Embracing the LGBT Community for Best Drama.

Other award recipients include Santiago Agurcia for Best Actor in Mingled Yarn, and Ali Kight-Palmore for Best Actress in Untitled Break Up Story. The top movie contenders are now on their way to the main event in Hollywood, Calif. to compete against films from schools across the country.

CMF2This was OU’s second year participating in the Campus MovieFest competition, the world’s largest student film festival. Students at participating colleges and universities have one week to create their own short movies, with each school hosting red carpet finales to showcase its top movies. All the movies are five minutes or less, and use music created by the students themselves or contributed by thousands of independent artists. Since 2001, CMF has awarded more than $2 million in cash and prizes. Previous winners have gone on to be featured as in-flight segments on Virgin America, and at the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival.

Just in case you missed all the fun of finale night, there is still one more chance to get in on the action! Go online and vote for your favorite video to be selected as the wild card submission for the competition in Hollywood. Visit the Campus MovieFest website and start viewing. The video that gathers the most views will be chosen.  And don’t forget to visit CMF on Facebook and see photos from 2014 CMF competition at OU.

Oglethorpe’s Coach Owen Inducted into GCAA Hall of Fame

Owen GCAAOglethorpe head men’s golf coach Jim Owen was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Hall of Fame on December 9, joining six other honorees in the organization’s 2013 Hall of Fame class. Owen and the other honorees were inducted at the GCAA Hall of Fame Reception and Awards Banquet at the Planet Hollywood Hotel in Las Vegas.

The event was part of the week-long 2013 GCAA and WGCA (Women’s Golf Coaches Association) conventions, which are annually held in Las Vegas. The conventions featured former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who served as the keynote speaker. Over the course of the week, Golf Channel President Mike McCarley and a host of instructors, as well as representatives from the USGA and NCAA, hosted seminars.

“In my speech, I was honored to relate that it was the ‘we, not me’ over my 30 years at Oglethorpe that made this night a reality,” said Coach Owen. “I was able to thank everyone at Oglethorpe who had a part in building our program to the point where I was able to receive this great honor.”

Representing the Oglethorpe community at the event were university President Larry Schall and his wife, Betty Londergan.

“I was honored that President Schall and Betty flew cross-country to be with me on the most special night of my career,” said Owen. “In my remarks, I was able to indicate that Larry and Betty were hosting the university holiday party at their home the very next night, yet they found time to join us for the banquet. I appreciate how proud President Schall is of what we’ve been able to accomplish in our golf program over the past 20 plus years.”

Joining Dr. Schall and Betty at Owen’s table, representing his current and former players and their families, were Oglethorpe alumnus Tolliver Williams and his father, John. Williams was the first golfer in program history to earn all-conference, all-region, conference player of the year and All-America honors over the course of his career. His career culminated in 1998, when he led the squad to their first NCAA Championship appearance.

Also joining Owen for the occasion were his parents, Jim and Charlotte, and cherished friend of Owen and Oglethorpe, “Uncle Bill” Wall. In addition, Owen’s oldest and best friend, former Oglethorpe men’s basketball player Noah Gershon, flew all the way from Boca Raton, Fla., to share in the festivities.

“The evening began with a roll call and photo of all Hall of Fame members in attendance. It was like the Heisman Trophy ceremony,” Owen recalled. “Every legendary golf coach was standing here before me, and I couldn’t help but think, ‘I’m now going to be in that picture every year for all-time.’ How cool is that?”

Owen becomes one of five Division III coaches to be inducted into the GCAA Hall of Fame. He joins Dr. Tim Brown of Skidmore, the late Jack Jensen of Guilford, Steve Conley of Methodist and Bob Alpers of St. John’s (Minn.).

The other honorees at the 2013 banquet included Bruce Heppler of Georgia Tech; Dave Jennings of Central Alabama; Bud Marsee of Broward Community College; John Means of Colorado State, Army, Minnesota and Idaho; and Thomas Trueblood of Michigan, who was posthumously inducted. In addition, Guy Spears of equipment manufacturer Eaton Golf Pride was inducted for his myriad contributions to collegiate golf.

Owen is in his 21st season coaching Oglethorpe’s men’s golf team and 32nd overall after also serving as an assistant and then head coach of the Stormy Petrel basketball program. In 2009 and 2012, Oglethorpe claimed the NCAA Division III national championships. Since 2000, a span of 14 consecutive years, the Stormy Petrel men have been ranked inside the Top 10 in the nation. A total of 20 players from Oglethorpe have earned PING All-America honors and earned a total of 10 conference player of the year honors. They have also finished in the Top 10 at the NCAA Championships 11 years during that span. Owen has coached 52 all-conference performers including six in 2013, when the entire six-man travel squad was named All-SAA. Last season, Oglethorpe won their 11th conference championship in the past 16 years, including four in a row from 2001-04. He was named conference coach of the year in 13 of the last 16 seasons. Owen was honored with the Dave Williams Award presented by Eaton Golf Pride as NCAA Division III national coach of the year in 2012. Owen currently serves on the GCAA All-America Scholar Committee and previously served on numerous other GCAA committees.

Find out more about all 2013 GCAA inductees.

Meet Freshman & Award-winning Dancer Aadithya Prem

Aadithaya

Freshman Aadi Prem is a world-class dancer.

OU freshman and communications major Aadithya Prem ’17 is devoted to the Indian classical dance form Bharathanatyam. This typical college student transforms himself into a “performer par excellence” when on stage.

Aadi, as he’s known to his friends, has won numerous awards for his dancing, including India’s National Championship before moving to U.S. at the age of 12. In the U.S., he continued his winning ways by earning the award of excellence in Dance and Choreography in Kentucky and then in Georgia more than once. Aadi has performed Indian Classical Dance, Bollywood and Fusion dances on more than 150 stages in India and the U.S., which includes the biggest Indian Festival of Diwali, World Fest of Louisville and the International Women Empowerment Conference. He also was the brand model for Triphala Brahmi, Dhatri Win Smart, and for scholarship programs back in India. In the U.S. he has been featured in advertisements for supply chain giant Manhattan Associates and in Gwinnett County Public School System’s “My E Class” ad.

Aadi04Indian culture is diverse and so are the content and style of Indian classical dances. A continual and unabated interest for the Indian Classical dances through the ages has helped to evolve new structures and thus even the dances outside the traditional milieu do not deviate from the time-honored tradition. Ancient themes are re-introduced in new formats using updated technique and innovative themes infused into the old style of performing. Fusion of an Indian classical dance form with modern day sport, martial arts, other dance forms such as ballet, flamenco, etc. makes for exciting performances.

Aadi first learned Bharathanatyam from T.B Chirta, a versatile dancer who graduated from Kalakshetra, a distinguished school of Bharathanatyam started by Smt. Rukmini Arundale. Currently he is associating with Mehak Shah of Mehak Dance Academy and Kumudh Sawla of Nritya Natya Kala Bharti in Atlanta. Aadithya also studies modern dance at En Pointe Dance Academy, Lilburn, Ga. and loves teaching Indian classical and Bollywood dancing to those who are interested.

Here, Aadi performs at the Vishu Program of Atlanta Metro Malayalee Association:

 

The Singing Life at Oglethorpe ♪♫

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The 2013-2014 University Singers pictured in the new Turner Lynch Campus Center.

The first time I visited Oglethorpe I was nervous beyond belief. I was auditioning for a choral scholarship and I had no clue what Oglethorpe would be like. I had taken the tour online and thought it was gorgeous. But, I was just not sure about what the campus atmosphere would be.

Dr. Irwin Ray

Dr. Irwin Ray

I auditioned with Dr. W. Irwin Ray, earning myself a $500 conditional scholarship and I joined the University Singers as an alto. I have come a long way from that nervous high school senior. I have sung in the alto section for three years now and I am in my fourth and final year in the University Singers.

I have many wonderful memories of the singers but my favorite part is our concerts. We work hard to bring songs together and present them to the public. We have sung some hilarious pieces such as the folk song “I Bought Me a Cat” and pieces that are more recognizable like the “Les Miserables” medley we sang in the spring. Every year, the Boar’s Head Concert is a fun way to combine celebrating the winter season and our student organizations on campus. This concert is, in many ways, one of the more interesting events on campus throughout the school year and my favorite concert of the year. (After singing a variety of seasonal pieces, a feast is held in honor of our friend, the boar, who choked down more than he could chew when a student saved himself with his Aristotle book…or so the legend goes.)

Did I mention we have a lot of fun together?

Did I mention we have a lot of fun together?

The Singers is filled with hard-working, multifaceted students. I’ve watched Kyle Brumley ’12 go from being an actor in Oglethorpe theater productions to becoming a leading man in Atlanta theater. I’ve heard beautiful music composed and produced by John Burke ’11 on Pandora Internet radio. And I’ve watched Samantha Flynn ’14 revive the student newspaper. All of these students also served as section leaders.

Dr. Ray helps students who work hard to learn and improve. As I mentioned, I started out with a conditional scholarship at $500. I have currently doubled my scholarship and taken away the conditional status of it as well. Hard work pays off in the University Singers and it helps students experience a different side of the Oglethorpe University education.

So, I hope you will come see (and hear) us in action. Join us for the Singers’ Fall concert, this Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8 p.m. in the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe. The concert is free and open to all.  You can also follow us on Twitter!: @oglesingers or on Facebook: Oglethorpe University Singers.

Watch the Oglethorpe University Singers perform the national anthem at the Feb. 2013 homecoming basketball game:

 

International Mentoring Program Unites EF and OU Students

That's me in the front with my protege, Max from Germany.

That’s me in the front with my protege, Max from Germany.

In July 2012, Oglethorpe partnered with Education First (EF), an international language provider that allows students to study language and culture in diverse environments around the world, including 14 North American cities. Atlanta is their most recent location.

As the cultural hub of the south, Atlanta is attractive to many international students and the educational and social opportunities in the city have created a surge of interest for EF’s Atlanta campus. Over the past year Oglethorpe’s campus has welcomed dozens of students from China, Germany, Venezuela, Korea, Honduras, and other countries all over the world.

EF protégés and OU mentors meet for the first time at orientation.

EF protégés and OU mentors meet for the first time at orientation.

In response, Oglethorpe has launched an international mentoring program to help provide a welcoming environment and encourage interaction between Oglethorpe and EF students. Led by Campus Life, the program pairs OU and EF students together with the goal of encouraging more opportunities to interact socially and a greater chance to learn from one another. Emmanuel Brantley ’15, an OU student organizer for the program, says “this program is very important because it provides the EF-Atlanta students with what they came to this specific location for—an interactive collegiate learning experience.”

This initial program pilot includes 11 pairs of OU student mentors and EF student protégés. I was paired with Max, a German native in the EF’s University Transition Program, and from our perspective, the pairs were well selected. We are already learning from each other about culture (especially sports) and language—I am studying German and Max is trying to master English. The program is successful in its goal to create more of an opportunity for friendship rather than feeling like a formal partnership.

EFLogo(2)(1)Each pair of students meets once a week to talk about classes and what’s happening in each others’ lives, and have been asked to journal about our experiences to present at the monthly all-member meeting.

EF Mentorship OrlandoDiego Cassy (2)Though these will be the only formal meetings, we’re already started to build networks of friends that are bringing together the EF and OU students. Max, my friends and I have planned trips to basketball games, whitewater rafting, and casual evenings to watch sports, and other partners are beginning to do the same.

The main goal of the program is to lead by example—that students in the program will be role models for mutual understanding about each others’ perspectives, cultures, and experiences. “The international mentoring program is an effort to unify the EF community and the traditional Oglethorpe community,” concluded program leader Robin Brandt, director of experiential learning “and we already have seen successes.”

For me, the program is an opportunity to become a more globally aware individual while simultaneously making my home and school a welcoming place for international students.