I can’t remember when I’ve been prouder of being an Antiochian: proud of alumni who raised $18 million in 125 days, proud of students who refused to bail when the going got iffy and the pipes got leaky. I am grateful to faculty who so espoused the values of Horace Mann that they have hung in when salaries were cut, when names were black-listed during Joe McCarthy’s rampage…and now, when tenure is spelled “tenuous.” I bask in the reflected glory of past Antiochians… Stephen Jay Gould, Coretta Scott King, Eleanor Holmes Norton. Hey, I once grilled a hamburger in the C-Shop for Rod Serling and shared a chemistry class with Mario Capecchi! (I would be delighted to sign autographs.) An anti-bumper sticker person at heart, my little Honda now sports a sticker that proclaims “I ‘Heart’ Antioch College.”
There is much that I regret. Immature below my years, I did not march when we invaded Vietnam. I did not understand civil rights. “What difference does it really make what fountain they drink out of? where they sit in the bus?” (Until my date and I were refused service in a restaurant because we were a mixed couple.) I graduated third from the bottom of my class and had to make up those grades before I even dared apply to graduate school. I was accepted only because of the support of one professor (Dr. Bill John, who believed that nobody can be that hopeless!) and because of my Antioch degree. Some of us are really late bloomers!
I like to believe that I did eventually bloom because of my Antioch heritage.
I desperately need our current crop of students to make up for my shortcomings. They cannot do this if Antioch closes. Not understanding that Antioch was in difficult straits financially, I stopped contributing when I retired. Big mistake. Now I’m in, believing that even the modest contribution I can afford…multiplied by tens of thousands of alumni…can make a difference. When all of the hoop-la dies down, Antioch will still be struggling against financial difficulties. Anyway, understanding that ongoing financial support is critical to the survival of the values that shaped our lives, I am dedicated to spreading the guilt around.
I listened online to the whooping, hollaring, whistles and applause that greeted the announcement that the closing had been suspended. But within hours, the objections and suspicions had begun to emerge…and although they made good points, they may be premature. We were told that there is much to be worked out. I have learned that it pays immeasurably to first listen…and then listen some more. It is crucial that we continue to air our questions and doubts, but let’s give the new plan a chance. It can always be amended.
Priscilla (Kip) Klein Zink, 1963