in 2016-18, according to the Council for the Advancement and Support
true that a quarter of them*
make annual contributions, so the number of alumni who support the
college financially is in fact around 10,000. Almost 3,000
people donated on a single All In for Oberlin day, April
ten thousand was traditional. I've located an
earlier reference to the number. More than half a century
earlier, in fact. I found it in an address given on the eve of
the Civil War by James Harris Fairchild, professor of theology and
moral philosophy. He would later serve as the college's third president.
the town had helped rescue an escaped slave, John Price, and
Fairchild hid Price in his home for three days. That's his
house on the left below, on the site now occupied by Fairchild dormitory.
August 22, 1860, speaking to an assembly of alumni, Fairchild
reviewed the college's history.
back to 1835, when Oberlin had become the first college in the United
States to admit students of all races. This integration,
Fairchild claimed, had virtually eliminated any racism among the
students and converted them into ambassaors for brotherhood.
the 25 years past, more than ten thousand students have been
connected with the institution, and few of these have been here so
short a time as not to have their prejudices removed, their feelings
liberalized, and their interest quickened in reference to the colored race.
this result, no special means have been necessary. They meet,
from day to day, those whom nature has tinged with a darker shade
than themselves, but engaged in the same pursuits, cherishing the
same aspirations, gifted with the same powers, and sharers in a
common destiny. A supercilious air seems out of place.
The lip that at first curled with contempt, will at length smile a
recognition of a common humanity.
men most require for the cultivation of a fellow feeling, is to look
each other fairly in the face. So have we found it here.
of the ten thousand who have gone from among us, there are probably
few that may not be relied on as the enemies of oppression and the
friends of an abused and neglected race. The widespread
influence which these must exert in the family, the school, in
the church, and in the State cannot be compassed by human vision.
Oberlin has always humanized and liberalized young people before
sending them out to change the world!