New Sophomore Tradition Celebrates the Legacy of Thornwell Jacobs

In early October, the Oglethorpe sophomore class gathered for the inaugural Thornwell Jacobs Legacy Celebration, a new annual tradition for the sophomore class. The event celebrated Thornwell Jacobs, Oglethorpe President from 1915-1943, who fulfilled a lifelong dream of restoring Oglethorpe to its present location on Peachtree Road in Atlanta.

Sophomore students gathered to learn interesting history and facts about President Jacobs and his mission from award-winning author and historian Dr. Paul Hudson ’72 . Later over dinner in the Great Hall of Hearst, students heard from Sophomore Class President Kurt Reynolds, Alumni Association Vice President Austin Gillis ’01, and Georgia State Representative Dar’Shun Kendrick ’04, an Alumni Association Board member who spoke about her OU experience and how it helped to shape her career and future.

Oglethorpe Alumni Board Offers Way to Stay Involved

Austin Gillis '01

When I was asked to join the Oglethorpe Alumni Board, I really had no idea what to expect, but I was honored to be asked. I knew that if I could devote a little of my time to making Oglethorpe a better place, I was going to do it.

In August, I attended the Alumni Board retreat. The retreat has left me genuinely excited about the role I can play in Oglethorpe’s bright future. Needless to say, I was very impressed with the folks who are serving on the Alumni Board. I found that the board is comprised of intelligent, successful, and fun people who all exude excitement for Oglethorpe.

It was interesting to meet and speak with folks who attended Oglethorpe before I did and great to see so many people still dedicated to Oglethorpe after many years. It was also great to see some familiar faces from my time on campus, and reconnect old friends who are now serving on the board with me.

During the retreat, Peter Rooney, Oglethorpe’s Vice President for Development, spoke to us about current and future building initiatives on Oglethorpe’s campus, which sparked a very lively discussion. Oglethorpe has made remarkable strides with its finances at a time when many institutions are struggling. One stat in particular I found to be very impressive. This fall, the dorms on campus are so full that there are only five empty beds. Five! Of course, with the amazing dorms Oglethorpe has built since I graduated, I shouldn’t be surprised that so many students will be receiving their mail at 3000 Woodrow Way this year.

My favorite part of the Alumni Board retreat was the breakout sessions. In one particular session, we brainstormed about campus traditions that should be revived (and in some cases, started). That session got me thinking about events that I attended at Oglethorpe, from career-oriented seminars, to community service projects, to plain old parties. But this session was more than just a trip down memory lane. We were actually hatching ideas that could shape what Oglethorpe is to current and future students. It was humbling to think that work I was doing with the Alumni Board today could affect what Oglethorpe is tomorrow.

At one point in the retreat, our fearless leader, Alumni Board Chair Randy Roberson ’97, emphasized to us that these are, in fact, the “good old days” for our alma mater. After meeting the folks involved in the Alumni Board and hearing about the current state of Oglethorpe, I couldn’t agree more. I am very honored to be serving on the Alumni Board, and after the retreat, I cannot wait to get to work.