2021: A Year in Photos

After working and studying remotely for 18 months, students and the Oberlin community returned to campus at the start of the academic year and adapted to new COVID-19 guidelines.

Most offices and classrooms are outfitted with clear partitions and indoor masks are mandatory.

January 15: In-person and virtual classes were introduced. To accommodate students taking virtual courses, cameras were mounted in classrooms and experiments were recorded. This spring chemistry experiment was designed to highlight how chemical equilibrium can be impacted by a variety of factors.

JANUARY 25, MOVE-IN WEEK: The college moved to a three-semester year (instead of two) and reduced the number of students on campus to prevent the spread of COVID. Classes rotated their time on campus throughout the year. This week, seniors, juniors, and first-year students returned for spring semester.

JANUARY: Hales Gym was transformed into a COVID-19 test center.

FEBRUARY 2: Student take in-person and virtual classes.

Downtown eateries installed social distancing partitions.

Grab-and-go dinning was implemented.

FEBRUARY 5: Wilder Bowl was transformed into Winter Oberland. Throughout February and March, students were invited to gather around fire pits, ice skate near Mudd Center, take pictures with ice sculptures, and enjoy music, donuts, and hot chocolate each Friday.

FEBRUARY 23: Students in an Archaeological Lab Methods course used clay to construct small pots in order to better understand materials and methods used by ancient societies. Pieces of clay were rolled, stacked, and shaped into circular containers.

FEBRUARY 24: Virtual lab partners.

A class held in the language lab.

FEBRUARY 27: Quarantine Couture was the theme at the Black History Month Fashion Show. In addition to showcasing fashionable and creative clothing and accessories, the event provided participants with an opportunity to express and celebrate themselves and their beauty.

MARCH: Spring in Tappan Square.

MARCH 9: President Carmen Twillie Ambar joined Oberlin's football team in 6:15 a.m. works.

MARCH 19: After waiting more than a year for a COVID-19 vaccine, people around the world received their first "jab." Here, Assistant to the President Jennifer Bradfield and President Carmen Twillie Ambar are administered the vaccine. (Photo Courtesy of Bradfield)

MARCH 21: Black artistry was celebrated with student performances in Wilder Bowl. Outside concerts and events are encouraged during the pandemic.

APRIL 3: After a length break due to COVID-19, Oberlin College's sports teams are back in person competition.

APRIL 5: The Percussion Ensemble rehearsed in Warner Concert Hall.

April 6: The college received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine.

A nurse administers the first COVID-19 vaccine dose on campus.


April 24: A concert of small jazz ensembles by students from the Oberlin Jazz Studies Department is performed from the Clark Bandstand at Tappan Square. 

TIMARA presented a virtual concert: Computers (2015).

APRIL 29: The Oberlin Collegium presented a program of music by Palestrina, John Sheppard, and Thomas Tallis on Mudd Center's patio.

APRIL 30: The Oberlin College Choir performed on the patio of the Mudd Center.

The Oberlin Trombone Choir performed in Tappan Square.

MAY 1: Folk Fest in Wilder Bowl included student performances and a livestream concert by William Tyler and Haley Heynderickx.

MAY 2: The Oberlin Gospel Ensemble gave a concert in Tappan Square.

The abbreviated 10-game season for the baseball team ended at Dill Field.

The Chamber Singers.

MAY 9: The work of senior art students was celebrated with exhibitions in the Richard D. Baron '64 Art Gallery and Fisher Gallery.

MAY 11: Workers prepared Dick Bailey Field for graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021.

May 13: A scaled version of Oberlin's traditional Illumination took place in Tappan Square.

May 14: In an effort to reduce the number of students and attendees in one space, exercises were held on the football field instead of in Tappan Square. The day's program included two graduation ceremonies—one in the morning and the other half in the afternoon.

MAY 20: Oberlin's first summer semester welcomed back sophomores and other students who had studied remotely.

MAY 24: The college became one of only a handful of liberal arts colleges throughout the country to offer students a certified kosher kitchen experience when the doors of Heritage Kosher Kitchen opened in Talcott Hall on May 26.

JUNE 4: After a lengthy closure due to the pandemic, Oberlin’s Apollo Theater reopened.

JUNE 5: Summer semester Art Rental.

JUNE 14: Author and columnist Deesha Philyaw gave a reading of her work in Nancy Dye Lecture Hall.

JUNE 16: Oberlin Conservatory Global offered a series of courses designed for music students, teachers, and lifelong learners of all backgrounds. The five initial courses included topics in music education, music theory, string playing, 1970s rock and roll, and online musical collaboration technology.

JUNE 19: Members of the Oberlin community celebrated Juneteenth with a parade, block party, performances, and a memorial service honoring Black Civil War soldiers and slaves buried in Westwood Cemetery.

JUNE: 26: Pride Month was recognized with several events, including a 5k run that started in Tappan Square and ended on Baily Field.

Pride Prom

JULY 4: Students watched 4th of July fireworks on the lawn of a nearby water park.

JULY 10: 2nd Saturdays during the summer months in Oberlin provided opportunities for visitors and members of the community to have fun, enjoy music and exhibits, and purchase baked goods, veggies, and crafts from vendors.

JULY 7: The college's Sustainable Infrastructure Program (SIP) was well underway in July. The goal of SIP is to upgrade the century-old heating infrastructure serving the campus to a hot water system. This work will enable a large-scale geothermal system, add cooling to buildings, and implement other structural improvements.

JULY 12: A Word and the Beat class gave a virtual performance in the Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater.

JULY 14: Alzheimer's research was conducted in the Neuroscience Department.

JULY 20: Students in an Introduction to Painting class took advantage of the summer weather and worked outside.

JULY 23: Green Legacy gave a tree tour of Tappan Square. This nonprofit seeks to promote international peace and friendship by spreading worldwide seeds and saplings that originate from trees that survived the atomic bombs.

JULY 31: Oberlin's first Drag Ball and Solarity event collaboration featured performances from drag queens and musical guests.

AUGUST 7: Natsu Matsuri, or summer festival, was held in the Root Room. This annual festival held by Japanese and Japanese-American communities during late summer includes games, food booths, and performances. 

AUGUST 8: Oberlin College students sold handmade wares at a summer semester Maker's Market in the Science Center bowl.

AUGUST 12: Ballet Oberlin, a student dance club, performed in Wilder Main Space.

AUGUST 14: More than 100 people came out to a community paint day to complete the new mural that was added to the downtown Oberlin area. 

AUGUST 18: An end-of-the semester showcase in Tappan Square featured students who took classes in the Department of Dance.

AUGUST 26: Students studied for final summer semester exams.

SEPTEMBER 28 and 29: Move-in days brought all members of the student body back to campus in September, including those in the Class of 2025 who are 892 strong.

SEPTEMBER: 30: Member of the Class of 2025 were welcomed to Oberlin by President Carmen Twillie Ambar.

President Carmen Twillie Ambar talked with new students at a reception.

Newly appointed Vice President and Dean of Students Karen C. Goff greeted new students.

OCTOBER 1: First-year students embark on prepared to head to Cleveland for Connect Cleveland. The annual all-day experience is a presidential initiative that allows new Obies an opportunity to learn about Cleveland and greater Northeast Ohio; meet Oberlin alumni; and identify possibilities for future service, internships, and careers. This year students visited 50 sites.

OCTOBER 2: The Bonner Center, the Multicultural Resource Center, and Department of Comparative American Studies brought a group of Oberlin students to El Centro in Lorain for a special program to meet with community partners, learn about community organizing in Lorain, and view an the exhibit that celebrated 100 years of Latinas/os in Lorain.

OCTOBER 4: The Imani Winds, a wind quintet based in New York City, held an on-campus special event that included a short musical performance, talk, and an open Q&A forum for those in attendance. 

OCTOBER 6: Members of the Oberlin community sampled cuisine from local restaurants and participated in games at Taste of Oberlin in Wilder Bowl.

OCTOBER 9: Oberlin’s own poetry slam student group—OSlam— gave a back-to-school performance at the college's Cat and the Cream Coffeehouse. 

OCTOBER 10: Presentations by college and conservatory faculty touched on Greek poetry, influences related to the implementation of Oberlin's new music theory curriculum, and foul play in ancient sports in Greece and Rome, focusing on how magic could be used to ensure a win and defeat one’s enemies.

Faculty, staff, and students kicked off the academic year with food, fun, and raffles at the Asian and Pacific Islander Fall Welcome event.

OCTOBER 12: Representatives from student and community organizations and campus departments answered questions about their programs and events at a fall Connections fair. 

OCTOBER 15: Students attended an art exhibition featuring visiting assistant professors Kat Burdine and Sophie Isaak.

OCTOBER 16: After the pandemic spoiled graduation for members of the Class of 2020, the college held an all-day celebration and ceremony in October.

Across the street from 2020 graduation exercises, students rented one of the more than 350 pieces of artwork that were made available for them through the college's Art Rental program.


OCTOBER 19: Music, food, and gifts welcomed Oberlin College employees at this year's appreciation event.

Historical Performance faculty gave a concert in Fairchild Chapel on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the death of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562 – October 16, 1621). This program was part of the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Fairchild Chapel Organ at Oberlin College and Conservatory, the "Mary McIntosh Bridge Memorial Organ" built by John Brombaugh & Associates, Opus 25, 1981.

OCTOBER 22: A live concert was held on the patio of Harvey House aka Spanish House in honor of Latinx Heritage Month.

OCTOBER 23: Opera theater professors and guest artists worked with conservatory students on a newly commissioned opera as it was being written. The performance will be staged during Winter Term 2023, followed by an off-campus presentation.

OCTOBER 27: A Halloween social in Wilder Hall included costumes, student organizations tables, and a mechanical pumpkin.

OCTOBER 29: Students held cellphone flashlights up during the Halloween edition of Organ Pump in Finney Chapel.

OCTOBER 30: Oberlin Cross Country finished fifth in NCAC Championships.

NOVEMBER 1: Guest artists from NEXUS Chamber Music performed with Oberlin's Professor of Oboe and English Horn Robert Walters.

NOVEMBER 5: Professor Jay Fiskio discussed her new book Climate Change, Literature, and Environmental Justice, as a featured President's Lecture speaker. She talked about the ways that environmental justice communities protect and repair the world through expressive culture, including dancing, cooking, and blockades.

Composer Theo Chandler '14 retuned to Oberlin to work with conductor Oberlin conductor Raphael Jimenez and the Oberlin Orchestra on a piece he created.

A fall semester jazz forum at the Cat in the Cream Coffeehouse.

The college welcomed 1,300 parents and family members to campus.

Student taiko drummers played at a welcome reception for parents and family members.

NOVEMBER 6: Sharing Stages shined a light on student artists in the Conservatory of Music and the Department of Athletics.  

A Quantitative Thinking course was part of a new Learning Lab program at Oberlin.

NOVEMBER 12: This rehearsal of Acis and Galatea with the Oberlin Conservatory in Hall Auditorium  marked the first fully staged production with full audiences since fall 2019.

Students interested in the sciences and research visited 22 labs across campus during Lab Crawl.

An Academic Writing Through Transition course is part of a new Learning Lab program.

NOVEMBER 17: The Oberlin College Choir performed in Finney Chapel.

NOVEMBER 19: Richard Ellis '21 dug deep during a three-day Oberlin College Invitational. Competition came to an end with the Yeowomen finishing in first place with 1,231.5 points, while the Yeomen placed fifth with 816.5 points.

NOVEMBER 30: A large flatbed truck brought the first of 126 trees to be planted in Oberlin this semester. The arrival of trees marked the end of the first of five phases involved in the Sustainable Infrastructure Program (SIP), a major step toward achieving a carbon-neutral campus by 2025. 

DECEMBER 1: Oberlin College students worked with members of the Langston Middle School sixth grade choir.

DECEMBER 2: Workers planted trees as part of the Sustainable Infrastructure Program.

DECEMBER 3: OSwing presented live music, a workshop for new swing dancers, and crash courses throughout the night in Wilder Main.

Students helped with food distribution at the Oberlin Community Services Center.

DECEMBER 4: The Nicholas Payton Trio (featuring Vicente Archer, Joe Dyson, and Payton) performed in Finney Chapel. Payton is a Grammy award-winning multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, producer, essayist, arranger, and social activist. The event was presented by the Oberlin College Black Musicians Guild. 

DECEMBER 5: A Grand Menorah Lighting took place in Tappan Square.

DECEMBER 5: Handcrafted goods made by members of Oberlin's student creative community were sold at this semester's maker's market.

DECEMBER 11: Fall Forward, an annual tradition featuring student and faculty choreographed works of varying genres, was performed in Warner Gymnasium.

DECEMBER 11: Oberlin's Pottery Co-op and community volunteers sold 600 bowls and mugs at the Empty Mugs fundraiser this month. Proceeds from the annual event were given to Oberlin Community Services, an organization that provides local residents with access to utilities, food, and housing.

DECEMBER 12: Fridays at Finney Chapel presented the Oberlin Orchestra in an all-Beethoven program with guest conductor Robert Spano '84.

DECEMBER 13: Bassoon Christmas took place in the conservatory lounge.

A yoga workshop for conservatory students focussed on meditation and movement exploration through. 

Contact Us


2022 © Oberlin College