Oglethorpe to Award Two Honorary Degrees During Saturday’s Commencement for 2013 Grads

Oglethorpe’s 2013 Commencement Ceremony will be held this Saturday, May 18 at 9:00 a.m. on the academic quadrangle. President Larry Schall and Board of Trustees Chair Norman P. Findley will preside over the commencement ceremony for approximately 225 graduates. During the ceremony, Oglethorpe also will present honorary degrees (Doctor of Humane Letters) to two accomplished alumni:  John Frederick (“Fred”) Agel, Sr. ’52 and Donald J. Rubin ’56.

“Oglethorpe is pleased to honor two alumni who have remained committed to this university for the past five decades,” said President Schall. “Both have generously given back in their communities and invested in the ongoing success of today’s students, embodying the Oglethorpe ideal to ‘make a life, make a living and make a difference.’”

Both honorary degree recipients will address the Class of 2013. Other speakers will include Senior Class President Carl Anthony Golden II ’13, Oglethorpe University National Alumni Association President John Cleveland Hill ’01 and Debra A. Bryant ’13, the 2011-2012 David Wills Presidential Fellow. Additional commencement details are available online.

Honorary degree recipient Fred Agel '52

Fred Agel, a World War II veteran and an Oglethorpe alumnus of the class of 1952, is a retired sales agent for Bowman Distribution and a champion of leadership in public health. Mr. Agel has remained an active volunteer with the university for many years, including serving on the Oglethorpe University Board of Trustees since 2008. Mr. Agel formerly served as President of the Oglethorpe National Alumni Association Board and has volunteered in the University Archives, the Office of Admission and the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. He is a 1985 inductee into the Oglethorpe Athletic Hall of Fame and is the 1987 recipient of the Talmage Award, which recognizes alumni who contribute time, talent or financial resources to one or more programs of the university and/or is distinguished in the business or professional world. Mr. Agel has been a generous donor to the university over the years, and established The J. Frederick Agel, Sr. ’52 Endowed Scholarship, awarded annually to two rising seniors who contribute significantly to student life and who have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Mr. Agel has been an active leader in his community, supporting and volunteering with numerous organizations, including the DeKalb County Board of Health, DeKalb County United Way Council, DeKalb County Council on Literacy, DeKalb County Community Service Board, Episcopal Charities Foundation, Jerusalem House, Brookwood Atlanta Rotary Club, and with his church, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal. He is a founder of Senior Connections and founding member and organizer of the National Association of Local Boards of Health and the Georgia Association of Community Service Boards, Inc. In recognition of his ongoing and heartfelt commitment to his community, Mr. Agel has earned numerous honors, including the national Kentucky Fried Chicken Senior Citizen Award for Outstanding Community Service. Most recently, he was named the 2013 Distinguished Older Georgian by The Georgia Council on Aging. He and his wife, Cathy, reside in Atlanta.

Honorary degree recipient Donald Rubin '56 pictured with his wife, Shelley.

Donald Rubin, an Oglethorpe alumnus of the class of 1956, is the founder of MultiPlan, Inc., a major general service PPO health provider. Now retired, Mr. Rubin is a generous philanthropist and avid arts advocate. He and his wife, Shelley, founded The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, a family foundation based in New York City that began operation in 1995 and focuses on giving to arts and culture, health and human services, and civil liberty and social justice primarily in the Himalayan region and the New York City metropolitan area. The Rubins also established the Rubin Museum of Art (New York), where Mr. Rubin currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees. The Rubins started collecting Himalayan art in the early 1980s and amassed a significant collection that became the core of the museum’s holdings. Mr. Rubin also developed the Himalayan Art Resources website  to catalog Himalayan and Tibetan art online from collections around the world. He initiated the Labor Arts Project to gather, identify and display examples of the cultural and artistic history of American working people and to celebrate the trade union movement’s contributions to that history. A member of the Global Philanthropists Circle, Mr. Rubin has demonstrated a commitment to philanthropy throughout his life. Mr. and Mrs. Rubin have given generously to support the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, including a recent record donation to the endowment and numerous direct gifts to its permanent collection throughout the years. The Rubins have loaned artwork from their extensive personal collection for OUMA exhibitions, including: Goddess, Lion Peasant, Priest: Modern Indian Art from the Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin (2011); What is Cuban Art? Contemporary Cuban Art from the Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin (2009); Tibetan Contemporary Art: From the Collection of Shelley & Donald Rubin (2009); A Shower of Jewels: Wealth Deities from the Rubin Museum of Art (2008); and, Lord of Compassion: Images of Avalokiteshvara from the Rubin Museum of Art (2008). The South Gallery of the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art will be renamed as The Shelley & Donald Rubin Gallery in May 2013 in their honor.

Oglethorpe’s Debate Council Competes in Piedmont College’s Mayflower Classic

Don Warden '16 leads Oglethorpe's Debate Council

Do you know about the new Oglethorpe Debate Council? After being approved in February by SGA, the Council prepared for and competed in its first tournament at Piedmont College’s Mayflower Classic in early April. The experience was as educational as it was enjoyable, and the team members left with enhanced skills and a deeper desire to continue and improve their team.

“The purpose of the Debate Council,” explained Council President Don Warden ’16, “is to embrace the art of persuasion and the sport of debate through regular meetings and practices, in addition to state and regional competition… and to encourage a love of political and philosophical rhetoric in its members and the greater community.”

Don, along with council members Luise Hessing ’16, Shanice Lover ’16, Barry Rowan ’14, Tony Adamson ’16, John Kontoghiorghes ’16, Maddie McIntosh ’16 and Ty Murphy ’16, met many times before the competition to learn theory and hold practice rounds. The type of debate they studied is called Parliamentary or “parli” debate, and it involves two sides: the Opposition (con) and Government (pro), each of which have 15-30 minutes to prepare their arguments after a topic is randomly chosen.

“My favorite part about being a member is the community (that) debate creates,” said Don. “The debate community extends beyond just the Oglethorpe Team. Everyone at this tournament was nice and friendly, and once you debate against the same schools enough you learn to be vicious to a team in the round, but best friends with them out of the round. It is also a wonderful way to connect to high school students who either currently debate or want to do collegiate debate.”

Don stressed that anyone can benefit by joining debate, and the council has many things to offer in the upcoming semesters.

“We plan to meet regularly every week,” said Don, “and we plan on competing 2-3 times a semester. Moreover, we will judge local high school tournaments in an effort to improve debate quality and recruit for OU… We are also looking to work with other new collegiate debate teams, and perhaps have mock/skirmish debates on campus about pertinent issues. Oglethorpe Debate will be a member of the Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association (GPDA) whenever we compete at their annual tournament next year, and we hope to join the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) next year. Our long term goals are to sustain the program and eventually host a collegiate tournament.”

The Debate Council is well on its way to becoming an Oglethorpe staple, and you can become a part of it! If interested in joining or learning more, you can contact Don Warden via facebook or email.

The Lale Özgörkey Bell Tower Dedicated at Oglethorpe’s Lupton Hall

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, Cemal Özgörkey, Armagan Özgörkey, Coca-Cola's Chairman & CEO Muhtar Kent and President Schall

On April 8, Oglethorpe University officially dedicated the iconic bell tower of Lupton Hall as The Lale Özgörkey Bell Tower. A dedication ceremony held in front of Lupton Hall included special guest speakers Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.

The naming is in recognition of a generous gift from the Özgörkey family, many of whom were in attendance. Cemal Özgörkey, chairman of Özgörkey Holding, is a member of the Oglethorpe’s Board of Trustees. Both he and his brother, Armagan Özgörkey, vice chairman of Özgörkey Holding, are Oglethorpe alumni. The bell tower’s new name honors their mother, Lale Özgörkey. The family’s gift benefits Oglethorpe’s new campus center, opening in August 2013.

“Oglethorpe’s relationship with the Özgörkey family began more than 30 years ago and we could not be more proud of Cemal and Armagan and what they accomplished,” said Oglethorpe President Larry Schall. “It’s a tremendous privilege for our entire community to name the bell tower that overlooks our campus in honor of their mother, Lale Özgörkey.”

Lupton Hall is named after John Thomas Lupton, the owner of the Southern franchise of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Lupton Hall was completed in three phases, with groundbreaking ceremonies in 1922, 1924 and 1927. The bell tower, a part of the original section of the hall, was built as a memorial to Lupton’s mother. Lupton Hall was the second building erected on the university’s campus.

Clinton Global Initiative University Selects Four Oglethorpe Students to Attend 2013 Conference

Last year, Awet Woldegebriel ’14 was selected to be a presenter at the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), founded by President Clinton to bring together students, youth organizations, topic experts, and celebrities to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. Awet, an international studies major, was invited to attend CGIU again this year to discuss his nonprofit Knowledge Aid—this time accompanied by three more Oglethorpe students: Mon Baroi ’15, Jacob Tadych ’14, and Carolina Duque ’13, selected to attend based on their own impressive projects.

Mon, a politics major and nonprofit management minor, and Jacob, a business major, have been working on Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes Project since September 2011, with the help of other members of the Oglethorpe community. “The mission of Oglethorpe’s Tiny Homes Project is to build a $400 home that is sustainable and environmentally-conscious on the campus of Oglethorpe in 2013,” explained Mon. “After we build the prototype, our first home, our plan is to raise $5,000 so that we can build five homes that are endorsed by the city of Atlanta for homeless or low-income individuals.”

Mon Baroi '15 and Jacob Tadych '14 happily at work on their project

The team plans to share their plans and research online, so that it may be improved upon and replicated around the world.

“I’m excited (to attend CGIU),” Jacob said. “I’m hoping we can get networks, get more people involved… plus we get to hear all the ideas from other people.”

One of those ideas is Carolina’s nonprofit, Mas Luz, which provides services and aid to help women in Colombia who have been physically and mentally abused.

“I’m looking forward to show everybody what we are doing in Colombia to help,” said Carolina, who is from Colombia and is studying business at Oglethorpe. “I wasn’t expecting (CGIU) to choose me. I am stunned.”

Carolina also hopes to network and to hear about other people’s projects. As Awet experienced last year, CGIU gives students the chance to grow their ideas and to make them a reality.

“The thing about (Tiny Homes) is that a lot of people think that it’s just about a house,” said Mon, “and the thing is, it’s not just about a house, it’s about a state of mind and a lifestyle. We’re advocates of a certain type of lifestyle, a lifestyle of lifelong learning.”

Congratulations, Carolina, Mon, Jacob and Awet—may your ideas continue to flourish!  Learn more about Oglethorpe’s business majors, politics major and nonprofit management minor.