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College  Oberlin and Syracuse
T. Buckingham Thomas physics Oberlin WOBC Richwood Tom Thomas Chyron Infinit Pittsburgh
I received a BA degree from Oberlin College in 1969 and an MS from Syracuse University in 1970.  Many of the articles about my experiences there are listed below.  See also the topics "WOBC" and "Romance."

The articles labeled were written by Wayne Alpern, then the president of Oberlin's Class of 1969, in the years leading up to the 2019 reunion.

To search for specific names or events that might be listed elsewhere, click the icon to bring up a Google search box.  Replace ql in the search box with the word or words you seek.



Our Namesake

The memoirs of Alsatian social reformer and educator John Frederic Oberlin are published.


Oberlin Unmasked

Two Elyria churchmen establish a colony to educate young men and women. An early student becomes disillusioned, quits, and publishes his complaints.

Who Will Teach Us?

The college is ready to open its doors but has no professors. A sophomore from another school 40 miles to the east rides to the rescue.

Aim for Perfection

Evangelist Charles Grandison Finney arrives, preaching the words of Jesus: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

The Underground Railroad

Abolitionists secretly break the law to aid escaped slaves. Local opinion in Oberlin is divided.


First Church

The cornerstone is laid for what will be the largest building west of the Alleghenies.

Breaking the Rules

To deliver a trunk, Walt and Big John enter the room of ailing Prudence — a woman!  Should they be expelled?


Why 10,000?

The Alma Mater for forty thousand Oberlin alumni bears the anachronistic title "Ten Thousand Strong." 

The Edison of Oberlin College

Elisha Gray, a natural philosophy student, marries a piano student in 1862. Fourteen years later, Elisha will invent the telephone.


The 1871 Broadcast

Imagined radio coverage of an early appearance by nine Black choristers from the South.


Oberlin and Woman

Lucy Stone, Class of 1847, callls for women's rights to be elevated above those of a notorious traitor.


Under the Talcott Tree

John Prindle Scott's serenade.


Reunion Time 1919

World War I was over, so Commencement was a big celebration.  But there was no mixed dancing.


Wolfing in 1950

Freshmen, including a future math professor, get their pictures in a directory that facilitates dating.

Behind Grey Gables

Students build a radio station in an old garage during the administration of Oberlin president William Stevenson.

Stepping Back with the Stevensons

President Stevenson's famous cousin Adlai visits the campus in 1954.



Dawning of the Light Fantastic

A year before I arrive on campus, Oberlin students make a movie.

Hold On, Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

An Oberlin  brother-sister duo performs folk and protest songs.

To Dream, But Not to Sleep

Martin Luther King warns the Class of 1965 not to sleep through the revolution.

Obie Conversations

* Fictional student dialogues from the 1965 yearbook.

The Edge of the Nest

Preparing to leave home for college, I summarize my life in a letter to my future roommate.

Sing, Sing a Song

The song might have dated back 250 years, but when we freshmen learned it, it told of kisses and sacred seals.

Did It Really Happen?

Freshman beanies, women's hours, and other outdated traditions we encountered at Oberlin.

°A l m a  M a t e r

*In letters to my mother, I tell of my studies at Oberlin College and some of the people I met there.

°The Marching Band Refused to Yield

"We can never boast of the best band, but we can have the worst one."

°Room 327

A "commercial" extols my freshman dorm room.

Passing through Kettering

Standing between my dorm and my breakfast is a science lab with aluminum in it.


Pictures and brief comments about many of my freshman classmates.

°Catalysts Aren't Cheerleaders

*A lecture from freshman chemistry.

°The Non-Threat Spiral

Wesley Fellowship meetings grow into an exploration of other denominations, and of religion in general.


I become Sports Director (and eventually Station Director) of the campus radio station, WOBC.


*Watching a German-language movie with a senior classmate.

°March, Arch, and Vigil

By torchlight, students in the spring of 1967 agitate for liberalized housing rules.

The Armenian Nightingale

Folk-pop songs performed by Jim Gertmenian and friends.

Bedrock Computing

*Student runs a program on the college computer in the Stone Age (1967).  Also, Carl Stokes runs for mayor.

The Silent Dark

A poem about my parents' nighttime journey to hear me on the radio.

My Favorite Year

*Everything I experienced as a junior and senior month-to- month in 1968, from lab to WOBC and beyond.

Intro Nov Dec

 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

°SLATE Wins!

I cover the campus election returns.

Passing Notes

*A quarky tale of two physics majors.

Impossible Mission

As predicted a year earlier by the Craven, the Oberlin men's swim team makes history with an upset win.

April 24

I report on an anti-war vigil and converse with my lab partner.

°Rocky Nominated!

The Republican Mock Convention of 1968.

Promonius and Constanes

Two Shakespearian types contemplate the impending Commencement of the Class of 1968.


Remembering the Beatles and radio marathons.

Carr Confronted at Cox

Anti-war students march on Administration Building, chant "Kill!"  Dramatic encounter ensues.

°Three Bad Dreams

*Versifying my nightmares.

Leaving Oberlin College

Leaving the student radio station was the hardest part, according to these letters from 1969.

Expunging Their Beliefs?

Anti-war activists who don't want their activism on their permanent records.

Protest and Viet Nam

Others were protesting; I observed the scene.

An Hour at Bethel

Two classmates make a quick appearance at the Woodstock music festival.

Sequence 22

Portraits of my grad school class as we begin our studies at Syracuse, September 10, 1969.



Letters from Jan

Correspondence with my college friend:  she eventually finds love and becomes a doctor.

Jenny & Me

Correspondence with another college friend:  she works at a radio station and becomes a professor.

°A Sojourn in Syracuse

Letters about my year in upstate New York.

Dinner at South

Cox Building

°Radio and TV at Syracuse

*Learning about broadcasting the Newhouse School way.

WAER in Syracuse

A brief stint at another campus FM.

Returning to WOBC

Some things are constant at my old college station, especially change.

Super 8: Tappan 1975

I take my movie camera to Oberlin's 1975 commencement ceremony.

Bubble World

At the Oberlin library, students snuggle into spherical “womb chairs.”


Why Am I Here?

Robert Krulwich '69, attending his first formal Reunion, speaks at the 25-year Class Dinner.



WOBC 2001 Reunion

Another visit to my old college radio station, this time to observe its 50th anniversary.

Oberlin College Science Center

*A photo tour of the new and remodeled labs and classrooms, October 2002.

Different Worlds

Musings and photos from the 2003 Oberlin commencement and reunion.

°The Problem with Biklen

A university profits from a dean's misrepresentations, so they won't get a contribution from me. 

2008 Oberlin commencement & reunion:

  Learning from the Achievers

Alumni discuss activism, architecture, and more.

  The Organ Tour

Pipe organs exemplify various historical eras.

  What's New with Obie

A new president; campus improvements.

  Gathering on Tappan Square

The graduation ceremony begins.

40th Anniversary Commencement

Returning in 2009, I find that the graduation ceremony has been relocated.

True Colors

Are Oberlin's colors really crimson and gold?


'Cuse Tales

Back in Syracuse in 2014, I report Dean Biklen's retirement, revisit where I lived, and reminisce about canine encounters.

Homecoming Weekend 2014

Oberlin welcomes back my classmate the science radio star and dedicates a new football stadium.

Remembering Jan

Eulogizing my best friend from college, with whom I kept in touch the remaining 46 years of her life.

A Summit at the Hotel

What I learned during my stay at The Hotel at Oberlin in September 2018.


I got to know many of my accomplished classmates for the first time via our 50th reunion.

Respect the Crimson Eye

Oberlin's athletic teams acquire a bushy-tailed mascot.


Zooming after Graduation

Could I have advanced from professional to professor?  Syracuse alumni who've done so comment, as does an Oberlin art historian at the U.S. Capitol.

Cluster Pix

For our upcoming "Cluster" Reunion, I reorganize nearly 2,000 yearbook pictures from 1967-68-69.

The Last Friday in September

At that reunion I talk with folks including students at the new WOBC studio, then return home early.

*These are the only articles that relate to what I studied in college and graduate school.  The other articles describe the fun part of those five years (extracurricular activities) or subsequent reunions.

On campus, we learn more about how to live than about how to earn a living.  This is especially true nowadays and at less demanding institutions than Oberlin.  In 2001, Time magazine reported that during American students’ first two years of college, 75% of their time is taken up by socializing, recreation and sleeping.  Only 7% is used for studying.


Albino squirrel and black squirrel get together on Tappan Square

Baltimore's Heather Partridge joins the Class of 1971

Barbara Ashley attends a historically-black college, later sees old folks

Black students are underrepresented at Oberlin in 2017

Bluebook gibberish and bathroom walls

Burton Hall's "Penthouse" in lights, and Third Center's response

Campus life is a utopian situation

Campus life makes us more liberal

Civil rights activism in 1966 Mississippi:  link to a classmate's book

Class of 1970 DJ assembles 50 songs for 50-year reunion

Commencement 2021 takes place in person, in the stadium

Danny DeVito, 2009

Enrollment in 2022 Oberlin incoming class: a record 894 students

Evaluating a college education's worth:  include more than alumni salaries

Falling asleep in class

Filmed on the Oberlin campus, "Run!" is a 2006 short

Finney Chapel 2014:  a crowd waits for the doors to open

Frances Hagberg Graham's observations from late in life

Grade inflation — especially when there aren't "correct answers"

Hangout in 1970 on Marshall Street evolves into Burger King

Holiday video from Oberlin College, 2011

Japanese woman throws 18th-century snowball

Kent State remembered by Oberlin at the National Cathedral

Koppel (Ted, Syracuse '60) reports on the Vietnam War

Martin Luther King on education, 1947

Mindless 1200-yard walk homeward along Euclid Avenue

Movie parody gives the college president two roles

“Mount Oberlin”

Myers (Dr. Larry), once my professor at Syracuse, turns 100

Nixon can't sleep, goes to Lincoln Memorial to consult Abe

Oberlin basketball games are on the Internet

Oberlin defeats Ohio State in football

Oboe-playing taken up by a classmate decades later

Physics for poets, astronauts, and Ken Jennings

Preliminary planning for our 50-year reunion

Reunion planners meet again; photos included

Reunion website earns me an ovation

Social distancing during COVID-19

Syracuse:  how is it pronounced?

Syracuse Orange Girl Colette Daiute

Syracuse sesquicentennial 2020

Ter Horst story: Karen, her dad, and Gerald Ford

Trustees now include a former physics major living in Pittsburgh, like me

Wok was a gift for Jenny

Yoko Ono's granddad was an Oberlin grad