OC ceremony lands a week early


Bump moves commencement away from Memorial Day

By Evan Goodenow - egoodenow@civitasmedia.com



Janet Haar, Oberlin Business Partnership director

Janet Haar, Oberlin Business Partnership director


COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER

This year’s Oberlin College commencement speaker is opera singer Jessye Norman.

In 1996, she became the fourth classical singer to win a lifetime achievement Grammy award. In 1997, the now 69-year-old Norman became the youngest recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor. Belgium, France, Germany, and Spain are among the other nations that have honored her work.

In addition to singing, Norman, who grew up under segregation in Augusta, Ga., is an advocate for civil rights and social justice. In a profile last year in The Guardian, she described segregation as “American apartheid” and said racism has fueled much of the Republican criticism of President Barack Obama.

Norman’s commitment to the arts includes founding the Jessye Norman School of the Arts in Augusta in 2003. It provides a tuition-free program for middle school students. Norman also works with the New York Public Library and Dance Theater of Harlem.

Caps will be thrown a week early this year on Tappan Square.

Oberlin College commencement will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 23. Commencement reunion weekends, which draw a couple thousand alumni and parents of graduates to town, were previously held on Memorial Day weekends.

College spokesman Scott Wargo said the move is due to academic calendar changes made in 2012.

They include a lengthened reading period, a shorter period between student orientation and classes beginning, reduced time between the end of the winter term and the start of the second semester, and ending the second semester early.

Those changes land the graduation ceremony on the fourth Monday in May — and this is the first year it won’t be on Memorial Day.

Janet Haar, director of the Oberlin Business Partnership, said her group has known about the change since the college published its academic calendar in August and businesses are prepared as much as possible.

However, she anticipates restaurants may have more customers than they can handle.

A college luncheon, which used to host about 1,600, will only host roughly 300 parents of graduates this year. “It’s going to be interesting to see how we feed 1,300 people,” Haar said.

People with disabilities may park in the Bosworth Hall or Finney Chapel parking lots, according to the college’s website. Shuttles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport will drop off visitors at the Ward Alumni Center, 65 East College St., and behind the Hotel at Oberlin.

Some residents, who Haar said often leave town on Memorial Day weekend, will be in Oberlin. That means fewer parking spaces.

“Parking is always a challenge,” she said. “Our town was not built for an extra 2,000 people.”

Nonetheless, Haar said parking and traffic problems shouldn’t be as bad as last year when first lady Michelle Obama delivered the commencement address. Parking and traffic were banned from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on East College and North Main streets as well in some surrounding parking lots due to Secret Service security protocols.

“Last year was a zoo,” Harr said. “This year will seem more like a regular year.”

Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.

Janet Haar, Oberlin Business Partnership director
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/05/web1_web1_JanetHaar.jpgJanet Haar, Oberlin Business Partnership director

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/05/web1_norman.jpg
Bump moves commencement away from Memorial Day

By Evan Goodenow

egoodenow@civitasmedia.com

COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER

This year’s Oberlin College commencement speaker is opera singer Jessye Norman.

In 1996, she became the fourth classical singer to win a lifetime achievement Grammy award. In 1997, the now 69-year-old Norman became the youngest recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor. Belgium, France, Germany, and Spain are among the other nations that have honored her work.

In addition to singing, Norman, who grew up under segregation in Augusta, Ga., is an advocate for civil rights and social justice. In a profile last year in The Guardian, she described segregation as “American apartheid” and said racism has fueled much of the Republican criticism of President Barack Obama.

Norman’s commitment to the arts includes founding the Jessye Norman School of the Arts in Augusta in 2003. It provides a tuition-free program for middle school students. Norman also works with the New York Public Library and Dance Theater of Harlem.