Today is Oglethorpe Day – when Oglethorpe University (yeah, I know it’s a mouthful but it’s the dude’s name who founded Georgia) in Atlanta is officially 175 years old. At 11:30 on the quad, the carillon bells will ring 175 times. The hilarious Petrels of Fire race will take place at the first stroke of noon, as students try to sprint all the way around the quad before the bells stop ringing. And Ted Turner, the guest of honor and father of Laura, one of our proud alums, will speak at the Conant Center on campus. It’s a big day for OU, www.oglethorpe.edu and yes, there will be cake.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should tell you that I know all this because my husband is president of Oglethorpe –and I am friends with most of the faculty, many of the students, and I take classes at the college. So this is not exactly an objective choice…. or even a charity case (although some students might beg to differ). However, that’s what’s so fabulous about giving away your own money…. you can be as subjective as you want!
The reason I choose to support OU financially is that it is one of the most diverse small liberal arts colleges in the country, it gives 92% of its undergraduates some form of financial aid, and despite its very modest endowment, it provides one of the best liberal arts educations in this country. (Don’t take my word for it: the OU faculty is rated 14th in the country by Princeton Review.) And because my husband is a genius and I’m a cheapskate, the university stretches a dollar like you can’t believe. The campus is beautiful, the classes are amazing, the bookstore is a gem, the museum is incredible (we have a gorgeous Matisse show up right now), the sports teams are proficient (number one golf team in the country last year!), and the service ethos is simply inspiring.
Every year, Oglethorpe sends out into the world some 250 well-educated, prepared, thoughtful, conscious, engaged, responsible, ethical young people. And to my mind, that is more than worthy of my $100 of support.