We asked Kelly Cassidy, an Administrative Assistant in the Office of the Registrar why she gave back to Oberlin College. She shared with us how Oberlin has inspired her.
How did you get to Oberlin?
One day, a friend called me and said, "I think this job would be perfect for you and you need to come to Oberlin because it is the perfect school for Melanie," — my daughter. I lived in Lorain county my whole life and never really knew any of the history of Oberlin College. I knew that many gifted musicians studied here and I knew that it was known for the Allen Memorial Art Museum and the Frank Lloyd Wright house. I did not know about Oberlin’s progressive history, that it was involved with the Underground Railroad and the first college to admit women and African-Americans.
Once I got here, I was smitten with the place and could never imagine leaving. I have been here for thirteen and a half years.
Why do you give back to Oberlin? What makes Oberlin a philanthropic priority for you?
I knew that Oberlin was great, but wondered if it would be a good fit for Melanie. She was here for about two weeks, and was excited to be here. Oberlin was so wonderful for her and such a perfect fit. She met students from many different countries, religions, and upbringings so vastly different from hers. I am so proud that she had the opportunity to meet, learn, and attend school with people from varied backgrounds. She befriended people from all over the world. I am very grateful to Oberlin for giving that to her, an expanded view of the world, politics, religion, and art. That is why I give, because Oberlin gave her something that you could not buy with money.
When I worked in Stewardship, we wrote the president’s thank you letters. It was an incredibly inspirational job. While doing research, I discovered two alumni from the 1950s who had a child with birth defects and cognitive delays. Their child could not attend Oberlin. Consequently, they decided to give a full scholarship so that another student could come to Oberlin with their support. This inspired me. I am not in the same financial position, but I can give a little.
I love to support all kinds of programs here at Oberlin. But the one thing that has always been close to my heart is the theater. The Oberlin Summer Theater Festival (OSTF) is wonderful. Paul Moser’s idea of a free summer theater program that serves the Oberlin, Lorain, and the Northeast Ohio community is fantastic. I enjoying going to the shows and seeing students that I know perform professionally. I have been to a million wonderful programs at Oberlin. In my few short years here, I have seen Gloria Steinem and Yoko Ono and Stevie Wonder. I have heard Toni Morrison, Ismael Beah, and Salman Rushdie speak.
I could not have seen all these wonderful people or heard their stories without Oberlin. This is what you get to do when you’re here. It has been an incredible blessing in my life. I feel that I should give the little bit that I can to help.