Oxholms Begin Presidency With Alumni Visits While Expanding Legacy in California

By Purnell T. Cropper | July 1, 2011

President Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III has not wasted a moment getting to know Arcadia University, even as he was expanding the mark he has left on Sacramento and the campus that he founded there—Drexel’s Center for Graduate Studies, which he opened in January 2009.

In his first official act as Arcadia’s President-elect after attending both commencement ceremonies on campus, Tobey and his wife Kim visited Rosemary and Walter Blankley at their home in California. Among the things that President Oxholm and Rosemary Deniken Blankley ’57, have in common: They both were student-athletes who competed at the national level, and they both have led national annual fund campaigns for their alma maters.

President Oxholm chaired the Amherst College Annual Fund, and Blankley was National Chair of the Arcadia Annual Fund for almost two decades. Oxholm played squash, and Blankley played varsity field hockey, basketball and lacrosse. She played on the U.S. Field Hockey Team for five years. They both play golf, and they both have a great sense of humor.

“Tobey’s enthusiasm, along with his excellent qualifications for the position of president, are exciting,” said Blankley after the visit. “He and his wife Kim are eager to become members of the Arcadia family. Walter and I enjoyed discussions of our shared interest in Arcadia. I look forward to having Tobey as our next president.”

Not long afterward, back on the East Coast, he visited with former Chair of the Arcadia Board Lois Arnold Haber ’71, President Emerita Bette Landman, and Drew Dunlap ’85, who was a Senator in Student Government while an undergraduate and who has a house in Gouldsboro, Pa., near the Oxholms.

June 25 was a key day in the life of the new Drexel campus in Sacramento–and for Oxholm as its inaugural Dean: the first commencement ceremony outside of Philadelphia in Drexel’s 120-year history. It was held at the Crocker Art Museum, one of the city of Sacramento’s oldest, newest and finest landmarks. More than 100 graduate students participated in the ceremony, with almost 700 dignitaries, faculty, staff, family and friends attending.

The ceremony celebrated Drexel’s past and its future. Presiding at the event, Dr. Mark L. Greenberg, Drexel Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, announced the establishment of the inaugural Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III Award for Leadership in the Classroom and in the Community. “It is a large silver bowl on an impressive wooden base, and has enough space to list the names of the winners for decades to come. Named after Tobey, the award is for Leadership in the Classroom and in the Community – and speaking as the Provost of Drexel University, I cannot imagine a greater prize to be awarded, or greater honor to be bestowed, upon Tobey or the recipient.”

Tobey and Kim’s commitment to public service was noted in the Sacramento Business Journal, which carried an op ed article complimenting Kim on her leadership as a member of the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Zoo, and an article about a $10,000 donation they just made to the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program, which seeks to develop a diverse regional leadership.

“Sacramento takes great pride in its being one of this country’s most diverse cities, but its leadership is remarkably not diverse,” Kim Oxholm said in a statement. “I am glad to fund a program that brings excellent resources to train up-and-coming diverse leaders, especially women of color.” Read more.