Oberlin's Namesake: John Frederick Oberlin (1740-1826)

Designing a monument to our namesake (video)

In 1995 a monument to John Frederick Oberlin was designed and erected on the Oberlin College campus. Video interviews with the designer, the late Professor of Art Paul Arnold (1918-2012), explain how the college's president and alumni were involved, Arnold's inspiration for an element of the design derived from one of Oberlin's own inventions, and how the stone monument was made. 

Videos of artist Paul Arnold on the history and design of the monument

Beginnings: Why the monument was made

Waldersbach: Design Inspiration from an object made by J. F. Oberlin

Stone Carving: How the design was realized

Video by John A. Light, Oberlin College Class of 2011, in 2010.

Inscription on monument:

John Frederick Oberlin (1740-1826)

Oberlin, pastor of Waldersbach in Alsace, France, for whole Oberlin College was named, used the original of the optical curiosity shown above for pastoral counseling. His simple message—that people with diverse perspectives can live in friendship with one another—lies at the heart of the aspirations of this college.

Erected 1995
Friends of Robert S. Hunt ‘39


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