Oberlin Illuminate Latest News

Oberlin: A Magical Combination


We asked Nancy Boutilier, visiting associate professor of rhetoric and composition why she gives back to Oberlin. Learn why she gives, and why it is so important to her.

I like to give back because I recognize how much I get from being a part of this community.

One of the reasons Oberlin is special is that it is more than just an institution – it is a community. I am grateful to live in the town and be a citizen of Oberlin. When I worked at Oberlin High School, I enjoyed being able to help students take advantage of the programming the college offers. The city of Oberlin is a wonderful community by itself, but for me the town and the college are really well integrated. The blending here is a magical combination. I’d love to see more of it; we can do even better.

Oberlin is also an exceptional place to work, I am lucky to work with people I truly respect and love. The same goes for the student body. This is a remarkable student body to be teaching. The genuine relationships that come out of classroom exchanges and working with my colleagues show me every day what a great community Oberlin is.

Education is very expensive, but it is incredibly important. Coming from a family that believes in education, I am grateful for all my schooling. So, donating forward is one way for me to pay it back.

A gift to Oberlin benefits students, faculty, and staff, as well as the larger community. It allows for additional resources and opportunities for anyone in the area to benefit from everything Oberlin offers. I myself have appreciated going to many free concerts, speakers, and events around campus. So, in giving back, I help pay for the next great event.  

I’ve given to the tennis program partly because I use the courts and partly because I know how much athletics can contribute to a student’s overall experience. Tennis can be an economically limiting sport, especially if you have to pay for court time. Constantine Ananiadis, the women’s tennis coach, has been very welcoming. I appreciate how hard he works to develop a tennis community beyond his own team. He has made the sport available and fun for me and many others. Supporting Oberlin Tennis is one way for me to say thank you to him.

It would be impossible to pay back everything I’ve benefited from directly, but I pay it forward by giving to Oberlin, by helping those same opportunities become available for others. The money you give, your support, helps make so many amazing things possible that might not happen otherwise. I know my gift helps move a student’s education forward, in the classroom and in the community.


Photograph by Yue Yu