Petrels Compete in National Campus MovieFest

CMF1

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 Hour

Now in growth mode, the university makes a compelling case for broader, deeper alumni support

Ronald Reagan is sworn in as president; Mikhail Gorbachev is named the new Soviet premier. “We Are the World” debuts with fanfare, but it’s Madonna who dominates the pop charts.

This is what life looked like in 1985, the last time Oglethorpe University embarked on a major fundraising campaign.

Now fast-forward more than a quarter century, to another moment in time: fall 2013.

First-year enrollment at Oglethorpe is more robust than ever, a clear sign that more young people are hearing about this liberal arts and sciences jewel in an international city. A glorious new campus center is open and bustling. The number of students living on campus is at record levels. A new paradigm for experiential learning, the A-Lab, is launched to enrich the Oglethorpe education.

Something else is happening at this moment. A sense that Oglethorpe has turned the proverbial corner pervades. Plans to guide the university to the year 2020 render a picture that is equally expansive and sharp. “Oglethorpe’s direction is clear,” says President Lawrence Schall. “Our work is now centered on growing, rather than sustaining. Simply put, this is our time.”

It’s in this context that Oglethorpe announces a comprehensive effort to build broader, deeper support for its future—a fundraising campaign themed “Our Time.”

OUR TIME

Oglethorpe's Hour
The Our Time campaign’s concept is simple: Leverage Oglethorpe’s momentum to invent its future. The past few years have brought a string of milestones and accomplishments, as well as a new vision and action agenda to create the Oglethorpe of tomorrow. Crafted to preserve the university’s inherent strengths while expanding its impact, the strategic plan of 2010 laid out the steps Oglethorpe would take to better define itself and raise its profile in higher education.

It also gave shape to four areas of need—student learning, faculty initiatives, campus facilities and the annual fund—that represent the focus of the new comprehensive campaign.

“These four areas are interconnected,” emphasizes Belle Turner Lynch ’61, the Oglethorpe trustee who co-chairs the campaign. “Collectively, they will help us forge a stronger identity for Oglethorpe as a premier liberal arts and sciences university uniquely located in the heart of an international city. There’s no other university quite like it. Our aim now is to become even better at what we do—and better known for it.”

The dawn of 2011 brought the comprehensive campaign’s “silent phase,” a period in which the university quietly approached individuals and organizations that had an abiding interest in building a stronger Oglethorpe. To say that the response was positive is an understatement. “We could not have imagined a more successful start to the campaign,” says Kevin Smyrl, vice president for alumni relations and development.

He recites some of the evidence: 100 percent participation from trustees, who contributed a total of $10 million to help build the new campus center. Another $5 million award from a major foundation for the center, the largest single gift in the university’s history. A $1 million grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation to fund student scholarships. A record $2 million gift from Donald ’56 and Shelley Rubin to support the arts.

These initial gifts and others have propelled Oglethorpe more than three-quarters of the way to its campaign goal of $50 million. “Building that solid base of support at the outset was crucial,” Smyrl says. “It signals a strong vote of confidence in the university and its direction. Now, as we begin to make our case to the broader alumni base, Oglethorpe graduates can see how some very influential people believe in Oglethorpe’s brand of higher education.”

While the goal of Oglethorpe’s first campaign in nearly three decades is to raise funds, the university views the occasion as something larger. “It’s really an opportunity for Oglethorpe to re-connect and re-engage those who lived in our halls, studied in our library, and developed lifelong friendships on our campus quad,” President Schall says. “Oglethorpe is a special place because people have made it so. We know we need to involve our alumni in their alma mater beyond making for a gift, but a gift of some size each and every year is critical for our future.”

Following the campaign’s official kick-off on October 24, 2013, there will be a series of special events in cities across the country to update graduates about the university’s momentum and future. New communications and other events are also in the works to ensure that “Our Time” is itself a time to celebrate the university and the mark it has left on generations of students.

There is no question that the time I spent at Oglethorpe helped to define who I am today,” says Joselyn Baker ’91. “I arrived not really knowing anyone and left with not only the incredible knowledge and skills imparted by the faculty, but with personal relationships that I will always hold dear. That experience is something for which I will always be grateful.”

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:

 

Getting in the Spirit at Oglethorpe

Craig Bourne '15 shows off his smile after discussing OU spirit.

Craig Borne ’15

Craig Borne ’15 has a not-so-secret mission: to help students feel more spirited on campus.

Borne’s identity is not a government super agent but rather a super student at Oglethorpe. (Sorry, had to do it!) He’s a biopsychology major with a double minor in sociology and chemistry. To top this off, he’s a member of the tennis team, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and Phi Delta Epsilon, and is trying to help start a new fraternity on campus, Delta Sigma Phi.

Borne also is in the midst of writing a charter for the Spirit Squad, and hopes to get the new student club approved soon. Through the club, he wants to help keep the school mascot active through try-outs for the most spirited Petey the Petrel and hopes to increase attendance at athletic events by building school pride. Our university has much to be proud of—not only athletic championships (let’s hear for men’s soccer and golf!) but all of the efforts and accomplishments by every team, athlete and student. Borne says he wants all students to feel connected to our collective accomplishments and to be proud and to show it.

Petey’s got spirit, how about you?

Borne encourages Oglethorpe students to get involved on campus and says there’s a club for everyone. Black & Gold Club in the Admission Office is just one example of a way students can get involved on campus and interact with prospective freshmen and their families. There is also a variety of Greek Life on campus between honor societies and traditional sororities and fraternities. And the best part is, if you don’t think there’s a club for you: start one! Gather a group of friends and create the club for you.

Borne is even thinking about the future of the club after he graduates. He wants to put a five-year plan into effect that will help to care for the mascot uniform and create pep rallies to get students excited for upcoming events on campus.

Why is school spirit so important to have? “It’s really tough to make something better without support,” says Borne. “And if we want to make the school better, we need to be better at having spirit for our school.”