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Dusting Off One’s Neurons

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Although these are uncertain times, it seems pretty certain that the largest class of new Antiochians in several years is on the way! This feels like yet another miracle in a string of miracles over the past 12 years. It is also the fruit of intense Admissions work.

I have seen first years arrive at the Horseshoe and other campus venues for more than four decades, and for those on campus, it is always somewhat of a thrill. There is much excitement, wonder, and for some moms who may be dropping someone off, maybe some parting tears when folks aren’t looking!

I managed to get a glimpse of some of the “prospectives” for the class of 2024 as they visited the OKLIBRARY last year before a little virus caused such big upheaval. Those potential Antiochians seemed like they possessed plenty of energy to make “good trouble” and eventually possibly win a “victory for humanity.”

Can YOU remember your arrival? I first arrived on campus around July 1st, 1967 (so last century!). Back then, the College had two parts, A Div and B Div. A arrived in July and B arrived in late September, like 2,000 people that coasted through the same College and yet hardly met. Some of my neurons with more detailed memories are dustily way in the back of my mind as 53 years of Antioch College and Antiochians have filled my neurons (and heart).

I remember flying in from New York and having paid $18.90 for the flight via something that was then called “student standby.” A year at Antioch College was $2,750 total. Gasoline and hamburgers at the local market were 25 cents a gallon or pound. When I would talk with more recent student library workers about those days, one response was, “How old are you anyway?” (Haha.) The real answer, of course, is that when you work a lot with students, one can feel young no matter your age.

As the plane arrived over Vandalia way back then, and the clouds parted, I looked down and saw a quilt of green, gold, and brown squares. What to make of that view? I don’t remember much of the ride from the airport to campus other than the car’s windows were open and the air was most sultry and filled with the sweet smell of clover and honeysuckle. To a New Yorker, this was a wonder.

Then suddenly I was at the Student Union, the “checkin-in” destination at that time. I saw things that seemed quite exotic to me. Folks had longer hair than I had ever seen. There were beards. Many people seemed to have guitars and cameras. And people’s couture seemed most creative. Do you remember when your feet first touched the campus’s ground for the beginning of your own Antioch Adventure? Throughout the years hair and other fashions have varied. So long hairs become short at times, multi-colored mohawks, or even totally shaven. Others had giant afros too, and later dreads, cornrows, extensions, and more shaved heads. So much style!

Maybe the biggest thrill was feeling the electricity of optimism and potential. I remember meeting people from all over the country both then and onward. And then before you could say Horace Mann, we late Sixties arrivals, and probably later YOU too, were all over the country on first Co-ops. Antioch works! Then and now!

My adventure included many places with palm trees for those “I wanna travel” reasons. Southern and Northern California, Southern Florida, a trip to Peru, and in between a couple of New York Co-ops to be able to stay home and save money as I was a poorer student. I am sure you all travelled to many places and sampled what you might or might not like when it came to the world of work. One imagines that the newest of Antiochians will do some of the same and resiliently find ways to navigate the challenges of this problematic world.

In the midst of this Ohio country quilt of green, gold, and brown squares, there is an oasis with its own colorful tapestry, at times imperfect but mostly transformative. I wish these newest of Antiochians and their slightly older student peers the best of adventures. Don’t you?

And know that many will work on all the most critical issues both inside and outside the classroom. I may not be there at the OKLIBRARY to greet the newest but will be around in some fashion hoping to keep the Antioch masses connected. I still have a homing instinct for a college from 25 miles away. I may yet get the honor of interacting with the new first years and even if I don’t, I know their potential.

I will be working a wee bit in Alumni relations. Stay in touch. Feel free to email me ( or send me a message via Facebook (Facebook, by the way, should only exist to keep Antiochians in touch).

Please ponder the 2020 virtual Reunion and other events, and don’t forget the Annual Fund and varying scholarships as you are able. Although we are still small, we are mighty and any dollars will go a long way in making the newest Antiochians’ victories more certain in these most uncertain times.

Oh, yes and in hindsight, although I have some acquired eccentricities, I feel I came out better than if I had actually gone to the University of Chicago. Much love to all and keep this imperfectly perfect and catalytic campus in mind and heart. Be safe and stay well Antioch masses!

Picture credit: Axel Bahnsen 1967 Freshman pic. Antiochiana duplicate “gift” courtesy of Scott Sanders and Nina Myatt ‘53