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Winning the race

By Jack Copeland

Adrian Fenty attended high school and ran track in Washington, D.C., growing up just two miles away from the White House. But when offered a choice between attending an urban Ivy League university or a college in a rural Ohio community, he chose the least familiar path – one that ultimately would lead him into a political life back home.

He was drawn to Oberlin, where as a double major in English and economics, he also joined the cross country and track teams.

He also arrived on campus wishing to explore a developing passion, politics, and found himself under the tutelage of a professor who helped Fenty focus on just how he wanted to become involved.

Fenty spent his summers and a winter term working on local political campaigns and serving as a congressional intern.

At the time, Fenty didn’t see himself pursuing public office – he didn’t even run for student government – but the path he explored at Oberlin (even while finding time during his senior year to play basketball) led him first to Howard University’s law school, and ultimately to his election in 2007 as the youngest mayor in D.C. history.

After leaving office, he served as a visiting professor at his alma mater, and recently joined the board of directors of College Track, an organization that encourages young people in underserved areas to get on track to pursue their own college experiences.

Nominated by Keri Alexander Luchowski, executive director of the North Coast Athletic Conference.