Oberlin alumni on bridge

Obies at Kendal

welcome back

Greetings Oberlin College Alumni! Thank you for visiting us to learn more about your fellow Obies who choose to live at Kendal at Oberlin. We asked alumni, as well as former faculty and staff who are residents, to share what brought them to Kendal and what they like best about living in Oberlin at this time in their lives. Below are some of their responses.

About 37% of Kendal residents are Oberlin alumni or former faculty and staff. Another 4% are here because they have family connections at the college. And nearly all Kendal residents enjoy the opportunities for music, art and lifelong learning that come with having Oberlin College and Conservatory as your nearby friend and neighbor.

Are you considering options for your future? Why not consider returning to the place you chose for your college years? Come back to Oberlin.

Former Oberlin Faculty at Kendal

Phyllis Gorfain, Professor of English Emerita Oberlin College

Having heard many testimonials, over the years, about the great residents at KaO, I was looking forward to meeting new friends, particularly since I was remaining in Oberlin after retiring and I definitely did not want to continue my same old life. I desired new friends, new experiences — in fact, a different life. To my surprise, all this has occurred far more richly than I could have expected. Many of the people who live at KaO are passionately concerned with social justice, intellectual pursuits, the arts, environmental concerns, community service, and are often very talented and accomplished.  Although many are Oberlin connected, it is not at all an Oberlin College outpost, which I also did not want. At the same time, KaO benefits from sharing in what I consider the best aspects of Oberlin College values. With new activist, active, and thoughtful friends at Kendal, as well as ties to my old friends, I am feel stretched and stimulated — not only as I had desired but also in unexpected ways that exceed my hopes.

couple with bicycles

George Andrews

Class of ’54 and Faculty

“The most influential factor in my choice to move to Kendal when we were leaving our house in Oberlin was that we would be living in the security that living in Kendal represented. I attended college at Oberlin as a student majoring in Mathematics and taught there for thirty-five years as a member of the Mathematics Department.”

David Benzing,

Faculty 1965-2006

“Linda and I joined the KaO community for several reasons. First, we wanted to surround ourselves with accomplished, interesting and still intellectually engaged people in a setting free of the social practices and expectations characteristic of “country club” type institutions. We  also enjoy Oberlin’s politically progressive semi-rural small town atmosphere. Finally, spending a career as a faculty member at OC was one of the highlights of my life, and I enjoy my continuing opportunity to interact with former colleagues and make use of the college’s many rich resources.”

Sidney Rosenfeld

Faculty 1963- 2000

“Kendal is home to an exceptional community of interested, creative, productive residents. The proximity to Oberlin College and Conservatory and their countless resources makes Kendal unique.”

Bob Longswood

Bob Longsworth


“Kendal at Oberlin is an exceptionally vital community: it has brought together elderly people who seek protection against the vicissitudes of old age while at the same time nurturing our commitment to engagement with and service in the vibrant world around us.”

Oberlin Alumni at Kendal

Betsy Allen & Jeanne Berger,

Class of ’67

There are many reasons we love being here:

  • Intelligent, caring people with shared socially responsible values, respect for each of us as individuals
  • Peace of mind that things will be taken care of – medical care, housekeeping and maintenance, dining
  • Access to top-rated medical care and continuing care provided by Kendal
  • Bus rides to Oberlin College and other musical events
  • Auditing Oberlin College classes and interaction with students
  • Lectures and musical events brought to the Kendal campus

And… reconnecting as Oberlin College roommates after more than 50 years!

Tina at desk

Tina Graf

Class of’ 74

Living at Kendal at Oberlin turns out to be the closest thing there is to being back at Oberlin as a student:  there are more lectures and concerts to attend at Kendal, let alone on the Oberlin campus, than I have time and energy for (at least there are no homework constraints); there are always more interesting residents to get to know, because people are always moving in; and I can walk or drive in short order to Tappan Square and beyond.  I can be home from a first-rate play, concert, or lecture in 5 minutes, having spent nothing on parking!  What’s more, it’s easy to lock the door and go traveling, knowing that all will be well when I return. There is nowhere else I would like to live at this stage of my life!

Deborah Gray

Deborah Gray

Class of ’72

I’d spent three summers in Oberlin as a student and always wanted to return, and having no close relatives, I knew retiring to a life plan community made sense. Kendal at Oberlin was the one logical choice. Arriving in mid-2021, I’ve been warmly welcomed by the many interesting residents and caring staff. A few months later when I had a hip replacement, the help and encouragement I received with insurance coordination, transportation, physical therapy, etc., made a complicated process much easier. In this diverse and friendly community I’ve felt at home since day one and am now enjoying finding ways to volunteer.

Rich and Prudy Hall

Rich Hall

Class of ’59

If you don’t want to impose on your children when you get old, think about coming to Kendal at Oberlin: wonderful people (caring, well-educated, interesting), wonderful music (in Kendal and at the Con), great libraries (Kendal, the College, the village), lots of nature (ponds, woods, trails).   What more could you want? 


Mary Behm

Mary Behm

Class of ’66

I love being immersed in a vibrant community where I can pick and choose what to do. There is a banquet of enticing options here at Kendal at Oberlin, Oberlin College and Conservatory, and surrounding areas. We have easily made friends with very interesting fellow residents who enrich our lives and are fun to be with. We support and help each other if needed. I can thrive, grow, and spend time on meaningful activities rather than on chores that took so much time before we moved here. Or I can just relax, knowing a delicious dinner awaits after reading a good book.

Carol Harvey

Carol Sheldon Harvey

Class of ’62

“As a graduate of the Conservatory, my years at Oberlin were some of the most significant of my life. One reason was the junior year I spent with my entire class at the Mozarteum Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in Salzburg. Friends from those years are still my closest.
While living in the San Francisco area in the early ’90s, I read about Kendal in the Alumni magazine and knew right away that was where I would live some day. I came here in 2013 because of the Oberlin connection and the description of “Quaker values,” which meant nothing to me at the time, but certainly are the right way to live and thrive.
Kendal at Oberlin is a resident-run community with over 100 committees and interest groups that really do make life healthy, fun, stimulating, and educational.”

Jim Sunshine

Jim Sunshine

Class of ’46

For me, the best thing about returning to Oberlin 56 years after graduation is the close association Kendal has with the College. For those who have spent their lives in large cities, it is returning to the unusual community they knew decades ago, but without the bluebooks and housemothers. Of course it has changed in some ways. They no longer sing Ten Thousand Strong at important moments. In fact they no longer sing anything at all in the dining halls after supper…On the other hand, much remains the same, especially the students who insist on being heard. The classes remain what they always have been, and if you are from Kendal, you are welcome to sit in. The music in the Con (no tickets necessary) is as good as ever, plus a new major in jazz. And there is the small town peace and quiet if you want it, as well as the same small town affairs you can fight about if that is your thing. I have never for a minute regretted coming back. 

A conversation with Obie Residents

Would You Like to Learn More About Independent Living at Kendal?

Kendal at Oberlin is a vibrant life plan community. Enjoy an active lifestyle, along with the peace-of-mind that comes with a lifecare agreement.

Call Elisabeth at (440) 775-9062, or complete one of the forms below.