Well, it’s that time of year again.
For three weekends in a row, our small campus is descended upon by hundreds of candidates and their parents from around the world to be interviewed, judged, and not evaluated. Current Oliners, alums, parents, staff and faculty are called upon for help with the design build, interview panels, club fair, performances, Friday activities and the dorm Open House on Saturday.
After I graduated from Olin, I went on to graduate studies at Cornell University, in a MS-PhD program. I work with and around a lot of people who went to many different schools, and I have taken classes at Cornell University. I can say one thing with absolute certainty: Olin is different.
Over winter break I read a book by a journalism student at Brown, Kevin Roose, called The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University.The book is the author’s account of a semester attending Liberty University.
Liberty is a school literally billed as the largest and fastest growing Christian Evangelical college in the world. For Kevin Roose, who grew up in a “crunchy liberal enclave” in the middle of the Lake Erie Rust Belt, the semester he spends away at Liberty is far more foreign than any abroad.
Reading the front-page article in the most recent issue of Frankly Speaking, this reader became very perplexed. The article used phrases like “military-industrial complex” and “ultimate institution of disempowerment, of aggression, domination, and death” to describe the U.S. Armed Forces. The article included radical implications – that a nonlethal defense-sponsored project, or even a project sponsored by a company whose customers include the U.S. Department of Defense, is undeserving of Olin students’ time and effort and just plain immoral.
On Star Wars, stained glass, and integrated circuit design.
Brad Minch is one of Olin’s best respected professors. The son of two mathematicians, Minch earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and his PhD in Computational Neural Systems from CalTech.
He came back to the Northeast for a teaching position at Cornell, where he won an award for dedicated and inspirational teaching, and a year later, came to teach at Olin.