Our Traditions


Art Rental

Founded in 1940 by Ellen Johnson, the Art Rental Program  允许奥伯林学生和社区成员每学期以每件5美元的价格租用最多两件原创艺术作品. Students line up in the museum courtyard—and in some cases, camp overnight—to take works by artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, and Red Grooms and mount them in their residence hall rooms and homes. The collection includes more than 400 prints, paintings, photographs, and sculptures.

Black History Month

奥伯林学院于1967年成立黑人研究系,30多年前开始纪念黑人历史月. Early efforts by the department involved a day or weeklong program with a keynote speaker, 这个月还发生了一系列事件,吸引了杰出的公民和政治领袖, scholars, writers, dancers, and musicians of African descent.

In recent years, 由非洲研究系和多元文化资源中心的教职员工领导的委员会组织了这些活动. Programming often centers on the theme established by the national Black History Month organization, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. 委员会经常得到一些学术和行政部门以及一些社区组织的财政和实物支持.

The committee’s leadership, with support from other partners, has brought to campus a rich and diverse collection of events that touch upon the cultural, social, political, spiritual, artistic, and historical issues that define Oberlin.

Big Parade

The Big Parade project began in 2002 as a collaborative arts event created by artist Zach Moser ’02. 他将该项目描述为人类表达自我需求的力量以及分散组织理论的有效性的实验. 前提是促进游行,允许个人和组织以任何他们认为合适的方式展示自己的公开论坛. Since that time, the Big Parade has become a cherished ritual in Oberlin, bringing residents of all ages together in a homespun, imaginative, community arts event that depends on widespread collaboration and team work.

Groups involved in the Big Parade work relatively independently, 而是为了一个共同的目标:在一场以音乐为特色的欢乐而壮观的活动中代表他们自己和奥柏林镇, dancing, costumes, bikes, art cars, floats, and whatever other ideas emerge. A festival with various performances and live music follows the parade in Tappan Square.

The event often includes a free barbecue lunch, games, crafts, face painting, a moon-bounce, a pie-eating contest, a free raffle, and much more. The Big Parade typically takes place on the first Saturday in May.


Commencement has been a mixture of tradition and ceremony often taking place on Tappan Square and in earlier years, inside First Church or Finney Memorial Chapel. From the big tent brought in by late 18th century revivalist Charles G. Finney to lighting the campus walkways with Japanese lanterns, Commencement at Oberlin has always been a distinctive occasion. While ceremonies have changed over time, the basic concepts of pageantry, hopefulness, purpose, and celebration have remained.

奥伯林学院(1850年更名为奥伯林学院)于1836年在神学系授予了第一个学位. On September 6, 1837, the college presented its first four AB degrees. 1878年,学院更改了校历,以反映其他学院和大学的日期, Commencement began taking place in June. Before 1895, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music did not issue degrees; however, 后来,它参加了学院的AB学位典礼,向毕业生颁发文凭和证书. By 1905, the conservatory began issuing the new Mus.B. degree, following the lead of Boston University in granting a bachelor’s degree in music. Academic regalia, graduation robes, and mortarboards have not always been a part of the Oberlin tradition.

Early graduates maintained a class uniform or hat. Mortarboards first began appearing in Oberlin in 1881. The tradition of wearing a cap and gown finally took hold in 1907, even though students in recent years have opposed wearing academic attire. With the formation of the Alumni Association in 1939, more alumni began returning to campus for the occasion, which led college leaders to create a more elaborate and extensive celebration.

Today’s Commencement is full of pomp and circumstance. Now called Commencement and Reunion Weekend, it is perhaps the largest annual campus event open to all members of the Oberlin community.


Oberlin College and community enjoy a long, proud history of discussing important and compelling issues. To deepen that dialogue, over a decade ago the Office of the President, in partnership with the Finney Chapel Lecture Committee, inaugurated what is now the annual Oberlin Convocation Series. 该系列节目邀请了许多代表一系列观点的国内领先思想家来到校园, disciplines, and professional fields. These lectures are free and take place in Finney Chapel.

This tradition took on a formal role in the early 1940s. President Ernest Hatch Wilkins started the Calendar of Assemblies program during his administration. 这一系列的集会在学年中举行了两次,其中12月的圣诞集会以BG视讯教师和学生团体的音乐会为特色. The president gave the first address each September. In addition, 学院要求学生每学期参加12至15次集会中的8次,以达到毕业要求. All assemblies took place at noon in Finney Chapel. Among the speakers during that time: Ralph Bunche, Paul Sears, Clarence Ward, Aaron Copeland, e.e. cummings, Barbara Ward, and James Reston.

Campuswide assemblies continued under President Robert K. Carr during the 1960s, yet under a new name: The All-College Assembly. 它的目的是:“促进对学院思想和活动的理解和参与,并使整个学生团体关注与所有人生活相关的事件和问题。.” Margaret Mead, Tom Wicker, Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, Archibald Cox, Henry Kissinger, Kenneth Clark, and Ralph Nader, were among the many emerging political and academic leaders, social scientists, and activists brought to campus. In the 1980s and 1990s, 学生们通过选举进入学生集会委员会,并与以教师为基础的集会委员会合作,帮助组织和计划这些集会.

In 1992, 学院的教师们成立了芬尼讲座委员会,负责举办后来成为杰出系列讲座的活动, and developed a new program: Campus Convocations. In the 1999-2000 academic year, the program became the Oberlin Convocation Series , 哪个继续了由一些国家的主要知识分子提出发人深省的公共话语的使命.

Community Engagement Institute

奥伯林的学习与劳动座右铭激励了几代学生在课堂内外努力学习. 1996年,学院的邦纳社区参与学习中心(Bonner Center for Community-Engaged Learning)开始了一项更加协调的努力, Teaching, and Research. Through the Community Engagement Institute, 即将到来的奥伯林学生从他们的学术生涯开始就有机会在各个地区的站点进行社区服务. Students volunteer at partner agencies within 30 miles of Oberlin.

这一天让学生有机会离开校园,为社区组织提供有价值的服务——从辅导中学生到补充社区食品银行的库存. Students with disabilities are encouraged to participate; the Bonner Center provides all necessary accommodations. 社区参与研究所通常是持续社区参与和志愿服务的跳板.

Drag Ball

Activists within Oberlin’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, 和质疑(LGBTQ)群体开始了变装舞会,以庆祝非规范的性别表现和变装艺术. Initially, the celebration was the final event of Oberlin’s first Transgender Awareness Week in the late 1980s, but has since become its own entity.

Drag Ball transforms the Student Union into a massive gender-bending nightclub, complete with three dance floors, a main stage runway competition, and professional performers and DJs celebrating the many possibilities of their gender presentation. The college-sponsored, student-organized event requires year-round preparation. Attendees and participants actively and playfully resist gender norms, which speaks directly to the legacy of activism at Oberlin.


欧柏林的第一次照明发生在1860年11月,以庆祝亚伯拉罕·林肯当选为美国第16任总统. However, 这一悠久的传统始于1903年5月欧柏林学院校长亨利·丘吉尔·金的就职典礼. Frederick O. Grover, professor of botany, helped mark the occasion by stringing and lighting Japanese lanterns around campus. 这位前哈佛教授是在目睹了点亮哈佛庭院的习俗后提出这个建议的. 学院购买了几千盏灯笼,挂在校园和镇上几条街道的柱子上.

Except for three interruptions, 每年点亮校园的习俗一直延续到1932年,后来由于经济原因取消了. The outcry was such that the college re-instituted it in 1933 and purchased an additional 20,000 lanterns. Illumination night eventually became a tradition held during Commencement/Reunion Weekend.

Oberlin Rocks

Tappan Square, the central park in the middle of town, is home to three large rocks formed by glaciers long ago. They are monuments from the classes of 1882, 1898, and in honor of the founders of the college, John Jay Shipherd and Philo Penfield Stewart. For more than 40 years, these boulders have been subjected to regular graffiti, transforming them into colorful billboards announcing events, congratulations, birthday wishes, and more.

Organ Pump

风琴泵是周五晚上在芬尼教堂举行的音乐会,由奥伯林风琴泵委员会(OPCO)的管风琴专业人士举办。. 风琴泵最初的目的是将风琴作为一种独立于宗教服务的乐器, and, of course, to have a good time. 前Organ Pump主持人David Kazimir 1999年将这次活动描述为“非百老汇与周日早间教堂的结合”.” Organ Pumps contain a lively mix of total wackiness and legitimate musical performance.

Information courtesy of College Archives, the Alumni Association, and the Office of Communications

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