2. July 2015

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Antioch College attracts generations

Bo Waite has fond memories of visiting his grandparents’ house on West North College Street when he was a small child in the 1950s. There was a pasture with cows grazing behind the property, a garden tended by his grandfather, also the Antioch College maintenance supervisor, and the 1830s home cared for by his grandmother, a first-grade teacher at Mills Lawn.

A few years ago, some 50 years after his grandparents sold the house, Waite purchased it, and moved in last summer.

Waite, also an Antioch College graduate and the fifth person in his family to attend Antioch, is thrilled to be back in the village that informed his early life, he said in a recent interview.

“I’m still rediscovering it,” Waite of Yellow Springs, citing some draws: “The peacefulness, the quiet, the natural beauty of the Glen, the opportunity to be part of a community.”

As for the appeal of coming back to live near his alma mater, from which he graduated in 1972, it’s universal among his classmates.

“We’re all such radical romantics for Antioch,” he said.

Completing the Antioch circle, Waite moved to the house with his partner, Angie Bogner, a longtime health and fitness expert who is now a pilates instructor and personal trainer at the Antioch Wellness Center.

Bogner, originally from Cincinnati, moved to town after nearly 30 years in San Francisco, and finds the change refreshing.

“My nerves were just frazzled after 29 years of living in an urban environment,” Bogner said. Yellow Springs, meanwhile, is beautiful and serene with people who are “tolerant but polite” with “a total lack of aggressive rudeness.”

“It’s refreshing to say ‘hi’ on the street and see people who are not looking at their phones,” Bogner added.

Together, Waite, a psychiatrist still practicing in Cincinnati, and Bogner are reviving Waite’s grandfather’s garden.

“My grandfather was a horticulturist — he grew asparagus, concord grapes, roses,” Waite said. The same garden area, was also cultivated for decades by the late Anna Gregor when she lived there, and was equally “amazing,” Waite said.

Waite’s grandfather, Henry Chester Waite II, and his wife Genevieve, moved to Yellow Springs from St. Cloud, Minn. in the 1920s to follow the “town hero” Arthur Morgan, an engineer who flood-proofed Dayton before jumpstarting Antioch as its president, Waite explained. They originally lived in the house that is now the Yellow Springs Dharma Center.

“[Morgan] was the town boy done good,” Waite said. “So my grandfather came to go to the college the town hero had saved.”

The Morgan connection goes back even further; Morgan was a paperboy who delivered to Waite’s great-great-grandfather in the late 1800s. While Waite was at Antioch, he visited the aging Morgan, who remembered Waite’s great-great grandfather, recalling that he was “the only lawyer I knew who actually read books,” according to Waite.

Despite being the fifth member of his family to attend Antioch, Waite was the first who actually graduated. His grandfather dropped out during an economic recession to work to support his family with a job at a Xenia broom factory. His father, who was born in St. Cloud, but grew up in Yellow Springs and who died this spring, left Antioch to join the Navy before going on to medical school. Waite’s aunt attended in the 1950s but transferred to Ohio State. And his sister dropped out of Antioch after marrying an upperclassman.

Waite’s Antioch experience was during the tumultuous late 60s and early 70s, with frequent protests and student strikes. Half of his graduating class dressed up in the bizarre style of the Merry Pranksters, he said. But Antioch was seminal for him, especially his year abroad in Kenya that led to an interest in medicine. After Antioch he went to medical school at Louisiana State University and has spent his career practicing and teaching psychiatry. The 65-year-old still runs a private practice and teaches out of the University of Cincinnati Medical College, where his approach is influenced by a mindfulness practice and talking to people about their experience, not just prescribing medication.

“I was interested in people’s minds and psychiatry seemed like applied medical philosophy,” Waite recalled of his career decision.

Bogner, 51, was a trainer for nearly three decades at various gyms and health clubs in San Francisco, spending 10 of those years working as a trainer at an assisted living center. With a focus on core strength and balance training and a specialty in senior fitness, Bogner is quickly developing a clientele at the Antioch Wellness Center, where she hopes to add new classes in pilates.

Bogner is also working to become certified in TRE, or Tension, Stress and Trauma Release Exercises. Founded by Dr. David Berceli, the practice “activates a natural reflex mechanism of shaking or vibrating that releases muscular tension, calming down the nervous system,” and returning the body to a state of balance, according to the TRE website.

Bogner will soon be the only certified TRE practitioner in the state of Ohio, she said. The exercises are popular with returning veterans, but can also be used for anyone that suffers from regular stress and are based upon the idea that trauma is held in the body, Bogner added.

“[Berceli] realized early on working in war-torn countries that in the case of trauma it’s a physiological event,” Bogner said. “Everyday stress can also become an unconscious muscular pattern that will feel a lot like trauma.”

Contact: mbachman@ysnews.com

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2. July 2015

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Antioch College commencement inspires

Inspiring, rousing, uplifting — each component of the Antioch College commencement fit these descriptions on Saturday, as the college celebrated its first post-revival graduating class while reaffirming its social justice legacy in the light of the recent massacre of nine African Americans.

“We will not abide people coming into a sanctuary and killing us,” shouted Dr. Clarence B. Jones, the commencement speaker, to spirited applause from the packed house at the college’s South Gym. Jones, an attorney and speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the last-minute replacement for civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, brought to the event both civil rights bona fides and a passionate plea for a response to last week’s tragic event that’s “commensurate with the magnitude of the injury.”

While Jones made clear that he was not calling for violence, he emphasized that this country’s current level of racism and violence demands far more massive and effective protest than has been recently seen.

“We have to creatively think of different forms of protest. We’re not going to stand by idly and carry signs. We have to end this mess,” he said, adding that “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.”

The audience of students, parents, college leaders and staff  and Yellow Springs community members responded in kind to Dr. Jones, having been invigorated by the World House Choir both before and during the event. The local choir warmed up the audience with powerful renditions of “Glory,” with local rapper Issa Walker, “We Are Here,” “Tshotsholoza,” a South African freedom song,” and “We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For,” by Bernice Johnson Reagon.

Though audience members responded enthusiastically to Jones and the choir, the 21 Antioch College graduates, who received thunderous applause and a standing ovation as they entered the gym, were clearly the stars of the show.

“Very few will know what this class did for this college,” President Mark Roosevelt stated in his welcome. Even more important than creating new college practices and traditions and recreating old ones, the young people “allowed this college a chance. By being here, they showed this can be done …”

In his invocation, Professor Emeritus Al Denman called on the graduates to heal the ailing environment, and also to “Listen to each others’ songs, devise your own songs and sing, sing, sing!”

In their talks, the six graduates selected to speak were, in very different ways, articulate, passionate, creative and occasionally pointedly critical of their alma mater — just what you’d expect from graduates of Antioch College.

In his remarks, Guy Jack Mathews lauded his peers for their desire to do good but especially for their perseverence.

“We have proven time and time again that we can be devastatingly effective,” Mathews said, concluding that, “Together, we can change the world.”

While the official education Elijah Blanton received focused on political economy and the Spanish language, his most significant learning at Antioch involved “how to be here with each other and make things work,” he said in his speech.

And though Blanton acknowledged failures in the college community that led to the loss of a significant number of the original entering class, he also said, “I’m convinced I received the best education anyone has ever gotten.”

Speaker Nargees Jumahan, a graduate who was raised in Afghanistan, spoke of her high hopes coming to a college reputed to be a beacon of social justice. However, she said, “I’ve still been subjected to racism and classism in this institution.”

Jumahan said she felt “ostracized” for her religious practices when she took a month off to honor the Muslim holy days of Ramadan, and that “I have to constantly defend my country’s culture, religion and identity — it’s exhausting.”

Graduate Brendan Deal of Yellow Springs spoke of his search for the definition of an “Antiochian,” including “people who don’t have bags under their eyes — they have luggage,” those who “engage in passionate discussions on the future of the college at 3 a.m. every night,” and those who “can be dropped off in any city or country and within two days have a job and a place to stay.”

Deal concluded that he ended his four years at Antioch with “no idea of what an Antiochian is but I’m glad to be one,” and that he leaves the college more wise and empathetic and “more prepared to face the world.”

And graduate Seth Kaplan-Bomberg entertained the audience with an original song about his experience at the college.

In introducing Dr. Jones, the commencement speaker, Antioch College trustee David Goodman spoke of first meeting Jones during the difficult time following the disappearance of his older brother, Andrew, who was one of three civil rights workers killed in Mississippi in 1964. Goodman’s family was advised to call in Jones, who was an attorney for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Jones later became close to the family.

“I lost a brother who was my elder, but I found another one,” Goodman said.

There were several reasons why he agreed to deliver the college’s commencement address on two days’ notice, after Congressman Lewis pulled out last week following the death of a family member, Jones said.

One of those reasons was his connection to the Goodman family, according to Jones. And the second reason was “Antioch’s innovative and historical place in social justice history.”

While the civil rights movement is more than 50 years old, recent events, including the Charleston massacre, make clear that the need for social justice progress remains huge, he said.

“This nation is still infected and crippled by the twin legacies of slavery and the doctrine of white supremacy,” he said.

While most have ascribed the killing of nine African Americans to the mental illness of the shooter, the massacre was an unmistakable message of intimidation to African Americans, he believes.

“Something has to be done differently,” Jones said, to increase the effectiveness of current protests against racial violence. “We’ve got to get beyond this nonsense of racism.”

Graduates of Antioch College have a special role to play in the struggle for racial and social justice, Jones said.

“Antiochians have a sense of justice and righteousness that is different than most people,” he said.

Jones called on the graduates and the audience to join together and continue efforts to “make America what it was intended to be. Yes, we will make a difference.”

Following Jones’s speech, Roosevelt thanked everyone for their support of the revived Antioch College.

“The road ahead will not be easy, but our obligation to make it happen is deep,” he said.

To conclude the event, the World House Choir sang “I’ll Make the Difference”, including the refrain:

I had the courage to
keep goin’ on. 
I had the faith when
all hope was gone.
I had the strength to keep holding on.
I can make the difference, yes I can!

 

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18. June 2015

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Clarence Jones to give commencement address

Dr. Clarence Jones will deliver the commencement address at Antioch College’s graduation this Saturday, June 20.

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18. June 2015

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First class faced, rose to challenges

Pioneers. Risk takers. Antioch’s poster children. “The chosen ones.”

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10. June 2015

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ADA compliance project: Sorry, no exit, nor entrance

Antioch College Student Cleo van der Veen’s “The Go! Accessibility Project” was conceived to give those who take their ambulation for granted a peek at how some get around campus without front-door access.

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28. May 2015

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Antioch College is a real food leader

According to Antioch Food Service Coordinator Isaac Delamatre, 56 percent of Antioch’s food is considered “real”, meaning sourced from locally owned, ecologically sound, humane farms with fair employment practices.

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