Oglethorpe Professor Named to “40 Under 40: Professors Who Inspire”

hebbarCongratulations to Dr. Reshmi Hebbar, assistant professor of English at Oglethorpe, who was named to NerdScholar’s 2015 list of “40 Under 40: Professors Who Inspire”. She is among professors from across the country recognized for the positive impact they have made on their students.

Honorees were selected based on their ability to captivate and engage students in the classroom, their outstanding involvement on campus and in the community, and their overwhelming passion for their subject matter. Nominations were collected through student, alumni, and faculty recommendations following an open call to several hundred colleges and universities nationwide.

Dr. Hebbar was nominated by Dr. Glenn Sharfman, provost and vice president for academic affairs, who recognized her as a “dynamic, engaging, and passionate teacher” with a “deserved reputation for excellence in the classroom.”

“The best professors do more than teach. They leave impressions on our lives that change the way we think, work and view the world around us. These 40 professors are doing just that, demonstrating the difference between good and great.”  – NerdScholar

NerdScholar is the higher education branch of NerdWallet, a consumer finance website that helps people make better decisions when it comes to their money. NerdScholar offers advice and resources specifically for college students. Their free website walks students through the process of choosing a best-fit college, applying for financial aid, taking out student loans, and landing a job.

Read more about Dr. Hebbar’s selection to NerdScholar’s “40 under 40″.

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.

A Short History of Oglethorpe’s Moulthrop Bowl

Moulthrop Bowl 1Large majestic trees are an important feature of Oglethorpe’s beautiful campus. I came here as a student in the ’60s, and there was a large American Beech tree that always caught my attention. It was located on the Peachtree Road side of Phoebe Hearst Hall. In past years, its huge trunk and towering limbs made one pause to acknowledge and appreciate its magnificence.

According to the history passed down, the tree was growing at that spot when the cornerstone was laid at Hearst Hall in 1915. However, in recent years it began to show signs of distress, and the efforts and attention of arborists were not successful in saving the tree. Perhaps it simply died of old age.

In thinking about how this tree, which had been a part of this campus since the first permanent building, could remain in some type of commemorative way, it occurred to me to contact Matt Moulthrop, a third-generation wood-turning artist of the internationally known and highly regarded Moulthrop family. Fortunately for all of us, Matt accepted the challenge.

When the dead tree finally had to be removed from the spot it had occupied for more than 100 years, large sections were put aside. Matt came to the campus to choose some pieces that showed potential and arranged to have them transported to his studio in Marietta, Ga. There, Matt worked his magic over the past year to give one of Mother Nature’s creations further life—in the form of a beautiful Moulthrop Bowl.

Oglethorpe University joins many fine museums, such as the Woodruff Arts Center and The Smithsonian, along with discrimination collectors throughout the world, in proudly displaying a Moulthrop Bowl, the roots of which have been intertwined with the life of this university.

Adapted from a April 25th, 2014 presentation to the Oglethorpe Board of Trustees

Robert Bowden ’66 an Oglethorpe Trustee Emeritus, lives in Marietta, Ga. and Sanibel, Fla.

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