Campus News

Around the World . . . Global Initiatives
On November 20, 2014, Global Initiatives and the WCAA co-sponsored a panel discussion featuring four distinguished Western College alumnae. Karla Schneider Guinigundo (WCP ’99), Associate Director of Global Initiatives, moderated.

The program was a highlight event of the nationally celebrated International Education Week (November 16-21) that included workshops, information sessions, and other activities. Janet Smith Dickerson-Stephens ’65, Judy Dudman Henderson ’62, Fran Hoffman ’65, and Sylvia Stanfield ’65 were asked to speak about the impact of their Western international education on their lives and careers.

All emphasized the positive and far-reaching effects of the many components of Western’s global focus beginning in 1954 such as living with the many students from other countries, studying under professors from abroad, summer travel seminars to the Far East, Africa, Middle East, and Latin America. After graduation they went on to leadership positions in their various careers: university administration, voluntarism and the ministry, the EPA, and Foreign Service.

New on campus ...

Stonebridge, Beechwoods and Hillcrest residence halls opened on the Western campus in the Fall of 2014. The residence halls were designed to complement the various architectural styles of Western College buildings. The area has been beautifully landscaped and features a new walkway, the Western Walk, and stone footbridge. A new dining facility, the Western Dining Commons, features diverse healthy eating options and a lovely view of the long footbridge between Mary Lyon and Presser halls. All new facilities are supported by a new geothermal energy plant which provides clean and efficient heating and cooling.

Learn more and view additional photos on the H.O.M.E. website.

Revisiting Freedom Summer: Reunion & Conference . . .
Held October 11-14, 2014, it was billed as the “Miami University Freedom Summer Conference and Reunion” and the theme was 50 Years After Freedom Summer: Understanding the Past, Building the Future. The four day mega-event commemorating the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964 was the culmination of the university-wide, year-long “celebration of freedom.”

Activities included lectures, panels, and workshops featuring guest speakers; museum exhibits; films and presentations; walking tours of the Western campus; musical and dramatic performances (including in Kumler Chapel and Leonard Theatre); indoor classes and outdoor classes in the Freedom Memorial amphitheater; informal conversations and sharing of artifacts and memorabilia. One unusual session involved the playtest of a location-based game created by MU theater professor Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, using iOS devices (such as iPod or iPad) with free applications to experience the orientation and training for Freedom Summer on the Western campus.

The first two days were devoted to the Reunion and began with a visit to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Museum in Cincinnati. This part of the program was planned largely for the returning Mississippi Project volunteers and took place almost exclusively on the Western campus and in Peabody Hall. The Conference half was held in the Marcum Center, with two exceptions: an excursion to the Western campus for “Walk With Me: Freedom Summer Interactive History Tour” and to Miami’s Hall Auditorium for “People Get Ready: Meditation on Freedom Summer,” a Performing Arts Series presentation of dramatic readings, interpretations, and music of the early ’60s.

A total of 526 including scholars, students, community members, and returning Freedom Summer “alumni” attended the reunion cum conference. Of that number, 350 were undergraduate students and 46 were original Freedom Summer volunteers. Fourteen Western College alumnae attended and Janet Smith Dickerson-Stephens ’65 served as moderator for two panel discussions entitled “Rising Up, Transcending Oppression: The Unstoppable Run-Up to Freedom Summer in Oxford and the Region." Western College archivist Jacky Johnson served as chair of the Planning Committee and co-chair of the Reunion Sub-Committee, and WCAA senior program assistant Debbie Baker was a member of the Planning Committee.

Visit the Western College Archives website to view photos, videos, and the conference program booklet.