Hundreds of Antiochians from throughout the country converged upon the College in Yellow Springs last weekend to celebrate their proud history and continue on the course toward reopening the liberal arts college to students in the fall of 2011.
Interim President Matthew Derr announced several milestones for the institution during his "State of the College" address on June 18. Two weeks before the end of the fiscal year, he announced, more than 20 percent of alumni graduates of the College had supported the annual fund.
"This growth in participation represents a sea change in our potential relationships with major donors and foundations," he said.
More than 1,100 alumni participated in chapter meetings across the country this last year and, to date, the College has raised approximately $17 million in the revival of Antioch College.
Derr also announced that the Yellow Springs Community Foundation was the recent recipient of a bequest gift of nearly $3 million from the estate of Nolan Miller and Richard Miller.
Nolan Miller, professor of literature from 1946 to 1972 and fiction editor at the Antioch Review from 1965-1972, died in 2006. Dick Miller, Nolan's younger brother, was a self-employed artist who taught ceramics for Yellow Springs Art Councils and painting to "any Yellow Springs youth who were interested." He died last year.
The gift to the Yellow Springs Community Foundation will support Antioch College students who wish to work in nonprofit organizations in the village of Yellow Springs. "This is a truly transformational gift for the College and its programs and our relationship to the Village we call home and that came to the defense of the College at a time of great need," Derr said.
The College is also the beneficiary of a generous challenge. A friend of Antioch College, who wishes to remain anonymous, presented Antioch with the opportunity to match a $1.5 million gift. "We hope in the coming months to meet this challenge and to have raised the full $3 million for the cause of restoring this great institution," Derr said.
Among the many tributes was a reception at Folkmanis House for Katy Cobb Jako '54, founder of the Antioch Independence Fund. Her work is important to the history and future of the College, as it planted seeds that ultimately came to fruition in September 2009 when the keys to Antioch College were acquired by the Antioch College Continuation Corporation.
The alumni also presented the inaugural Walter F. Anderson Award, named for the civil rights activist and music department chair. The award recognizes students, faculty and staff who promoted diversity and the breaking of racial barriers. Recipients are Edythe Scott Bagley '47; the late William David Chappelle III '80; and the late Jim Dunn.
"Andy left a huge legacy not just to Antioch but to the world," said Joan Horn '56, author of Playing on All the Keys. "It is fitting indeed that we acknowledge other Antiochians who have also left their mark in a memorable way that we may continue to be inspired by the influence of this singular man."
Other awards presented during the three-day reunion were:
- J.D. Dawson Award to Stephen A. Schwerner '60 and Alvin L. Denman, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Law and Religion, for significant service and contributions to Antioch College
- Arthur Morgan Award to Sherry R. Hahn '78 for contributions that exemplify the concept of "community"
- Horace Mann Award to Edward Milton Ifft '60 for winning some victory for humanity"
- Rebecca Rice Award to Timothy D. Barrett '73, a 2009 MacArthur Fellow, for high achievement in his profession
The weekend's theme is "Race and Social Justice," a fitting topic for Antiochians as many college faculty and alumni played key roles in the civil rights movement and beyond. Additionally, issues of race, campus diversity and social justice have historically been keystones in the development of the College from its beginning.
The Morgan Fellows opened the weekend with "The Barbershop Incident: Yellow Springs & Civil Rights," an account of the struggle for desegregation. Panelists were Rozell W. "Prexy" Nesbitt '67, Joni Rabinowitz '65, Hardy Trolander '47, and Paul Graham '52.