June 10, 2010 – The movement to establish Antioch College as an independent liberal arts college goes back many years. And with a special reception at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, June 19 at Folkmanis House, the College will thank a central figure in the early movement toward full autonomy: Katy Cobb Jako '54, the founder of the Antioch Independence Fund.
Jako, the one-time director of alumni relations (1986-1988) and director of research and evaluation studies (1988-1992) spent many years raising funds for her alma mater and negotiating with the university for Antioch's independence.
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.
Nine months after that exchange, Antiochians will return to campus for Reunion 2010. Alumni from every generation will gather from June 18-20 for a weekend of celebrations, awards and planning for the future of their alma mater.
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.
Antioch College was, for example, the first fully integrated, co-educational, nonsectarian liberal arts college in the country. Students and faculty at Antioch College participated in the Freedom Rides of the mid-1960s, attended the March on Washington to listen to Dr. Martin Luther King's “I Have a Dream” speech, and organized local demonstrations to protest discrimination against black Yellow Springs residents.
In 1965, King delivered the Antioch College commencement address. During his remarks from the mound at Antioch Hall, he said: “I cannot stand on the campus of Antioch College without a deep sense of appreciation for all that this great institution of learning has given to the cultural, the social and political life of our nation and the world. All men of good will are indebted to this great institution for its noble heritage and its rich tradition.”
As the College works toward admitting its first class in the fall of 2011, the Morgan Fellows, alumni and members of the Board Pro Tempore are reexamining multiculturalism and what it means for an institution like Antioch to be truly diverse.
Key Reunion 2010 events:
June 18, noon: The Morgan Fellows present “The Barbershop Incident: Yellow Springs & Civil Rights,” an account of the struggle for desegregation, with Rozell W. “Prexy” Nesbitt '67, Joni Rabinowitz '65, Hardy Trolander '47, and Paul Graham '52.
June 18, 3:45 p.m.: Interim President Matthew Derr's “State of the College” address, which will be followed by a one-hour Q & A session with alumni.
June 19, noon: Opening of “Oh Freedom Over Me,” a multimedia exhibition of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University that marks the 40th anniversary of Freedom Summer 1964 and chronicles the struggle for the passage of the National Voting Rights Act.
June 19, 2:30 p.m.: Presentation of 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 first African-American student in the College's modern era; the late William David Chappelle III '80, who served as Co-Op Department faculty, dean of community services and adjunct professor of voice; and the late Jim Dunn, who directed the Co-Op program from 1971-1982.
For full schedule of Reunion events go to antiochcollege.org/alumni/reunion_2010/.