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Inside the Midwest’s Largest Lawn Ornament

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As we head to Commencement and Reunion 2019, everyone is busy trying to take care of business. Some are tweaking those last minute-projects, presentations, and papers. Others are painstakingly preparing for various celebrations both for Commencement and Reunion. Much of the rhythms have been like those I have experienced for decades here. There is some comfort in these constants. This crunch time for some grads brings fears, tears, and soon, we hope, just cheers for being able to make it through each one’s Antioch Adventure. This is not an easy place. It wasn’t easy for YOU and may be remarkably the same for those who are coming behind you or even behind the 2019 grads as they head to the big-Co-op-in-the-sky. Co-op and classroom sometime shake you and maybe even make you! Something we have as a commonality. Mixed feelings and mixed blessings.

I am grateful that there IS an Antioch College (and one campus with one Board of Trustees) from which Antioch College students can graduate. I know that it sometimes feels imperfect or incomplete, but there is always more good happening than not. I originally arrived the last week of June 1967, so you know I have seen many people come and go and have been through what seems like endless cycles of ups and downs. I have seen it when there were 2,300 students and when it totally had zero students. This past year some very important Antioch giants have transitioned. Al Denman (the ultimate mentor, philosopher, and even the official College Pastor who nurtured us during rough moments like student passings), Katy Jako ’54 (the Godmother of Antioch Independence and Ultimate Data Hound), Jimmy Williams (Dean of Admissions, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Dean of Students) and Karen Shirley ’61 (Inspirational Art Professor who opened peoples’ minds and brought the best out of many, and especially women and non-artists).

Many people get so involved in their everyday rigors that people hardly realize that we almost not might even be here. This week in 2007, about a fortnight ahead of the 2007 Reunion, people heard that the Antioch College would close or suspend. What followed is really history making in higher education. We are here! We are not yet perfect, and really never have been, but so many are working on helping us evolve. Maybe we will get to some sort of perfection. It is a relay race with thousands passing the baton.

Quietly, as we head into a season of festivities, there are tradespeople working on tidying up Main Building. We have received a first small grant toward re-imagining Main Building, which during a previous Commencement a student quipped, “was Ohio’s largest lawn ornament.” During one of those days when the door was open, I quickly toured the first floor and Kelly Hall. So many memories! What a cast of characters we have had in all those offices. Mom Dick, Lois Edwards, Hannah Goldberg, Connie Pelekoudas, Steve Schwerner, Bob Devine, Jimmy Williams, Henrietta Jenkins, and so many more.

As we head to the end of the fiscal year, June 30th, if in your busy life you have also been busy taking care of business, perhaps you haven’t had the time to send the Annual Fund a donation or Admissions a referral. Please think about what you can do. After July 1st, perhaps you can do it again as the College rolls into a new cycle. Happy Commencement and hope to see many faces at Reunion. Of course if you cannot find time for reunion stay connected with Antiochian friends whatever way you can including any Alumni Chapter meetings that happen out there. Much love to all.