Over four years ago, I received a postcard in the mail from Otterbein with the image of a picture perfect Towers on the front. I told my parents that the last place I wanted to go for my college adventure was a place that ended in “ville.” But although I have spent these last four years in a quiet, peaceful village, I think we can all agree there are no shortage of adventures here. I would like to share with you just a few of my many adventures here, or as Otterbein calls them, “Cardinal Experiences.”
The first thing I did when I arrived at Otterbein as a freshman (after making sure my dorm was up to HGTV design standards), was participate in the Community Plunge. Along with several other busloads of enthusiastic freshman, I gave back to the Westerville community while building long-lasting friendships.
I have walked in rain, sleet and snow at unbelievable hours of the night just to get one of Schneider’s famous doughnuts, which I have paid for in all pennies, nickels and dimes scrounged from underneath the couch.
I travelled to China and ate dumplings with President Krendl, along with 63 other Otterbein music faculty and students. How many students can say they got to eat Chinese dumplings with the president of the University? I chatted with many students from Chinese universities. There were language and cultural barriers, but during those short two weeks, we learned that music truly is the universal language. We all understood what Glee is and knew the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s Long Song. My experience was just one of many opportunities at Otterbein to travel abroad. Some of you traveled to England to study health care issues, others studied the literature, religion and art of ancient Italy. Some of you have explored the coral reefs in Belize. We are an assortment of global travelers.
Many of your have conducted research, constructed brave arguments, presented theses or have had pieces published. I was able to conduct research and work one-on-one with a professor to develop my abilities as a composer and singer-songwriter. My homework consisted of figuring out the time signature of various Math Rock pieces. Now that is my kind of research.
This past fall, I did an internship in the Office of Admission, where I traveled throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio essentially proclaiming my love for Otterbein. I must say I was really good at it. So forgive me if I have now rambled on about my love for Otterbein and its well-rounded liberal arts curriculum, the sense of community, the cardinal pride, the opportunities, the internships, the relationships you build, the personal attention, the 11:1 student to professor ratio, the creative arts and the competitive athletics — because I could go on for hours. The best part is that my story is not unique. Many of you have has similar adventures, and if given the chance, would probably say the same thing.
Celia Ihrig Grabill describes it perfectly in the Otterbein love song:
In a quiet peaceful village, there is one we love so true.
She ever gives a welcome to her friends both old and new.
She stands serene mid tree tops green,
She is our dear Otterbein.
This is exactly how I imagine Otterbein. Even on some of Ohio’s wettest, coldest, ugliest days, Towers Hall stands proudly at the end of a long brick road. Otterbein welcomes friends both old and new. My favorite Otterbein tradition is to sing the Love Song at the end of a concert or convocation. All across America, alumni of all backgrounds and ages stand up to sing with us. It is a connection and a newfound friendship of a whole different level. They jump at the chance to share their Otterbein story with young students like us because well . . . after all “She is our Dear Otterbein.”
Congratulations class of 2012, and may this be only the beginning of your adventure.
Sarah Overdier is a double major in music and business. She has represented Otterbein as an intern with the Office of Admission, Cardinal Caller supervisor and host and tour guide. She has also worked as a Grants and Operations Intern with Ohio Arts Council in Columbus, OH.