Oakwood Closes 2016-17 Annual Fund on June 30th

Why do I give to Oakwood?

Oakwood lived up to its promise to me, as it has for so many other students over so many generations: it nurtured the spirit, the scholar, the artist, and yes, the athlete within me. It turned out that the first three were easier than the last, but in the long term none of us gave up on it. I give to Oakwood for that reason: so that young soccer stars can discover a passion for music performance, so that freshly-minted activists can learn strategy lessons from the finer points of U.S. History or the literature of the Harlem Renaissance, and so that talented actors can realize how what they love to do most can be a force of change in the world. Whether in yourself or in a student you know, I am sure that you have seen the way that Oakwood changes lives, and I hope that you will join me in celebrating that by giving this year.

After graduating from Oakwood in 2007, Nick attended the University of Chicago (BA History, 2011) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (M.Ed. Youth Development, 2014). He has worked in a variety of non-profits, churches, and youth spaces around the city of Chicago, in part through his two Years of Service with the Episcopal Service Corps (2011-2013), and since 2014 has worked at the University of Chicago's Community Service Center (UCSC) where he currently serves as the Assistant Director for Student Leadership and Advising. In this role he works with student leaders to nurture their passion for service and civic engagement, and frequently finds himself applying lessons he learned as far back as his own Oakwood days.

Juan Williams '72 Returns to Present
Dash Davis Social Justice Lecture

Nationally known journalist, author, political analyst and regular panelist on the Fox News Channel, alumnus Juan Williams returned to Oakwood Friends School to present the Caroline “Dash” Davis Gleiter ‘51 Lecture on Social Justice on Tuesday, May 2nd, at 2:30 pm. Now in its 13th year, this lecture series was established by classmates in memory of Dash Davis Gleiter in recognition of her work in civil rights and her lifetime of volunteer activities to promote social justice. On another visit to Oakwood in 2006, Juan Williams told the students: “Oakwood is where I got a sense of life’s potential and where I learned the Quaker spirit of caring.” Even the school’s youngest students were riveted as Juan described the changing landscape of civil rights issues through the decades.

Juan Williams was born in Colon, Panama, and attended public schools in Brooklyn, New York, before coming to Oakwood. While at Oakwood After graduation in 1972, he attended Haverford College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 1976. He began his career in journalism as an intern and general assignment reporter for The Washington Post, becoming a national correspondent covering political and social issues during his 23 years at the paper. During this time, he won numerous awards, including an Emmy for TV documentary writing. Juan joined National Public Radio where he hosted “Talk of the Nation” and covered major stories on politics and race as a senior correspondent and political analyst for ten years. He was also a contributor to Fox News Channel since 1997 and is currently a co-host of FNC’s “The Five” and a regular panelist on “Fox News Sunday” and “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

The author of six books including the best seller, “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965” and the critically acclaimed biography “Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary,” Juan Williams has received many awards for his writing and investigative journalism. He has interviewed numerous influential people including five presidents: Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama. Many colleges and universities have recognized his work by awarding him Honorary Doctorates.

Najah Muhammad ’10
President of the Alumni Association

After graduating from Oakwood, Najah joined the Alumni Council, serving throughout most of her time in college. Shortly after graduation from Emerson College in May 2014, where she received a degree in Theatre Education & Acting, Najah was nominated to become co-President of the Alumni Association along with Bill Homans ‘51. She began her term as co-President and ex-officio member of Oakwood’s Board of Managers in December 2014 and has been proudly serving since then. Najah also works with Oakwood's Young Alumni Council as well as the Development Committee. Currently, Najah resides in New York City and is an elementary school drama teacher in Brooklyn. She can also be seen creating important political theatre with various performing arts companies, directing children in plays and musicals, and hosting live events in downtown NYC.

"Amazing. A place where I grew and flourished and was allowed to let my light shine bright. I will never forget Oakwood and will always be thankful for the independent, unapologetic, confident and free woman it helped me to become. I’m proud to be an Oakwoodian and can’t wait to give back to this school for the rest of my life, as it gave me so much! Being able to participate in every school play while I was there, being challenged in the classroom like I never had before, and being able to lead my community as clerk, showed me that passion lives inside of a person. Oakwood will always get five stars from me."
-Najah Muhammad ‘10

Academic Support Center and Visual Arts Benefit from Powell Fund

The Powell Fund was established in 2010 with an inspirational gift from Dick Powell, class of 1968. A leadership donor to the Annual Fund over many years, Dick made the decision to endow a fund that would strengthen Oakwood’s financial position for the future while providing income to today’s needs. This year, a distribution was taken from the Powell Fund to enhance two programs with new technology. Read more: Powell Fund Supports New Technology

The Oakwood Experience
By Eric W. Springer '46

I know from personal experience that there is a unique and clarifying transformation which happens to virtually everyone who attends Oakwood Friends School. I believe that the same is true for faculty members and staff.

It started for me on a spring afternoon in 1943, when my mother and I met with Headmaster William J. Reagan at his office the Friends’ Headquarters in the Greenwich Village neighborhood in New York City.

To me he seemed a character straight out of Dickens. A heavy-set man, he was dressed in a grey vested suit, and of course, a braided gold watch chain hung from small pockets on either side of his vest.

We chatted for a bit about my experiences in the New York City schools I had attended. He engaged me in general conversation, and then he looked directly at me and asked:

Who is your favorite author?

I remember responding directly: I like Edgar Allen Poe, best. His short stories and poems are really good. I especially like The Raven.

Read more: The Oakwood Experience

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