on Tappan Square
Today was a big day for Oberlin College. The school was featured on the front page of the New York Times. Oberlin's president is very proud of the article about the "sustainability house," the Student Experiment in Ecological Design. And, more importantly, it was Commencement Day, celebrating the college's 175th anniversary!
I had traveled to the campus in north-central Ohio for a weekend reunion of my class of 1969. We've been grouped into a "cluster" to hold our reunions in conjunction with the classes of 1968 and 1967. Therefore, this was officially the 40th anniversary year for our cluster, even though it's been only 39 years for my particular class.
So when today's commencement commenced, I was there to take a few pictures. Here are half a dozen.
Early-morning thundershowers had led me to think that the 2008 ceremony might be moved indoors, as mine had been. But the weather cleared, and friends and relatives of the graduating class began to gather near the middle of Oberlin's Tappan Square.
Cell phones were more in evidence than the last time I was on hand for this event five years ago. Mostly the conversations seemed to be of the "where are you" variety. "I'm to the left of the stage, about halfway back, near a big tree. Do you see me waving?"
Across the street, about 660 members of the class of 2008 lined up on the sidewalk, despite the fact that their chalked starting positions had been partly washed away by the weather. (For a panoramic view, click here.) The academic procession began at 9:30.
The first music was Ralph Vaughan Williams' hymn tune "Sine Nomine" (For All the Saints) well suited for a march with its insistent bass line. I think churches should start playing it that way, with brass and drums.
The procession crossed Professor Street and passed through the Memorial Arch, as photographers moved in and the sun peeked out.
It could be quite a chore to spot one's favorite graduate. Some folks found themselves standing on chairs.