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Actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. came to Otterbein College to educate the community about environmental issues as the 2008 Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecturer. Begley presented his lecture, Live Simply So Others May Simply Live, on Feb. 13. While on campus, Begley also met with the student environmental group Plan-It Earth and the Integrative Studies classes Dilemma of Existence and Growing Up in America. The Vernon L. Pack Scholar-in-Residence and Distinguished Lecture Series was established through a $1 million gift from alumnus Vernon L. Pack, a 1950 graduate of the College and resident of Westerville, Ohio.
The Otterbein College Concert Choir performed at the Central Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Feb. 22, 2008. The Concert Choir, conducted by Dr. Gayle Walker, was one of seven college and university mixed choruses selected to represent a four-state region that includes Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.
Otterbein College was accepted as a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in February 2008. AASHE is a member organization of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada working to create a sustainable future. The association’s mission is to promote sustainability in all sectors of higher education - from governance and operations to curriculum and outreach - through education, communication, research and professional development. It works in partnership with businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies that support its mission. AASHE can be found online at http://www.aashe.org/.
In the 2009 edition of U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges," Otterbein earned the ninth highest peer assessment (academic reputation) score in the Universities-Master's (Midwest) category and earned the 15th highest overall score among its 140 peers. This was Otterbein's second year in the Universities-Master's (Midwest) category. Otterbein consistently ranked in the top 10 of its previous category, Comprehensive Colleges (Midwest). Otterbein competed with 140 colleges from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri for this honor. Some peers in the category include Butler, Drake and Xavier Universities.
Sir Anthony Leggett, widely recognized world leader in the theory of low-temperature physics, discussed foundational questions of quantum mechanics in his lecture at Otterbein on Oct. 23. The Science Lecture Series was created in 1987. Through annual seminars, national leaders in science and technology share their insights about the future of scientific endeavor. Past lectures have included nanotechnology (2004), green chemistry (2003) and the origins of life (1990).The series is sponsored by the White Science Seminar Fund and coordinated by a committee, chaired by the Office of Academic Affairs, comprised of the Science Outreach Coordinator and representatives from the Science Division.
Otterbein College senior Chelsea Merriman was awarded the 2008 Spirit of LASSIE Award, given by Learn and Serve America in Washington, D.C, in October 2008 Merriman, who received the award for her service program with the United Methodist Children's Home, was the first youth participant to receive this national honor. The Spirit of LASSIE award is presented each year at Learn and Serve's national meeting to honor a participant's long term commitment to the field of service-learning and special contributions to national service that go above and beyond Learn and Serve's expectations. When presenting the award, Learn and Serve America Director Amy Cohen said, "Merriman is a force at Otterbein for service and service-learning. She is also a voice for students in this arena."
Otterbein College sophomore nursing major Danielle Fabian was awarded a Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Foundation Academic Service Entrepreneur Grant through Ohio Campus Compact in November 2008. The grant was used to implement her innovative community service program, Granola Girls, a health and wellness program that is designed to educate members of the Girl Scouts' Bonds Beyond Bars participating in Otterbein's Troop 1847 program on health issues facing teenage girls, and to unite them as a group of healthy girls who will educate their communities. The Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Partnership Foundation grant program recognizes the best academic service work of students, faculty and staff at universities and colleges as they partner with community groups and community agencies. The Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur grant is generously sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and invests in young "service entrepreneurs" based on their proposed contribution to the work of a community organization. For more information, visit www.jrcpf.org.
Otterbein announced in December 2008 that Dr. Kathy A. Krendl, formerly the executive vice president and provost of Ohio University, would become the College's 20th president. Dr. Krendl is the first woman to lead Otterbein, a school with a rich history of inclusiveness. Otterbein was one of the first schools to admit women on an equal basis with men, and has admitted women to its full-time academic programs since its founding in 1847.
The Otterbein College Signature Series welcomed the return of alumnus and Broadway choreographer Dan Knechtges to campus in February and March 2009. Dan visited classes, taught a masters class for students of local dance studios, gave a public convocation and oversaw rehearsals for his choreographed portion of Otterbein College Theatre's Dance Concert 2009: To Each His Own. He discussed his time at Otterbein and his most recent professional endeavors including choreographing Tony Award Winning 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee and Xanadu, now on national tour at a public convocation on Feb. 26.
James Gurney, author and illustrator of the Dinotopia series will be visiting Otterbein for a talk titled "Dinotopia: Behind the Scenes" on April 5, 2009. Gurney is the best-selling author and illustrator of the Dinotopia book series and creator of more than seventy illustrated book covers. He has worked on assignment as a National Geographic artist and has illustrated 17 United States postage stamps. An accomplished, award-winning artist, Gurney is the recipient of many prestigious honors, including seven Chesley Awards from the Association of Fantasy Artists, two Hugo Awards from the World Science Fiction Convention, and Best of Show from the Art Director's Club. Gurney's art currently appears in museum exhibitions around the world.
Otterbein College junior Justin Young, a double major in physics and mathematics, was awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in April 2009. Goldwater Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. At Otterbein, Young conducted research with Dr. Brian Sell on the emergent properties of different sodium cobalt oxides.
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