Oja Family (BardCorps)


Oja Family (BardCorps)


Interviewee Role

Friend of Bard

Significant Quote

"Living on campus during that time was a little bit like having Disney World, a national park and home right there, out your front door, every single morning."


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Other Program

Faculty family


Helene Tieger, '85


Three adult children of Professor Frank Oja (Dave, Anne and Matt) shared memories of growing up on the Bard campus from the late 1950s through the 1970s. They describe the building of their family home on the foundation of the Chocolate Factory ruin in Annandale. This was a family operation involving every child with the dismantling of Sunset Cottage on the Ward Manor property (then called the 'Hidden Village), and the recycling of the cottage's boards, nails, bricks, sinks, and hardware for use in the building of the new house.

The campus of that time is described as 'one community, a microcosm of the Red Hook community'; annual events for all students and faculty such as the Boar's Head Dinner at Christmas; the May Pole celebration in the Old Gym; and Christmas parties at President Reamer and Louise Kline's house which included gingerbread men for each faculty child. They remember playing all over campus, 'thing finding' on campus, ice cream and free tea at the Old Coffee Shop in Hegeman; finding 'arrowheads' in ploughed fields, selling artifacts or brownies and lemonade to students; snacks including chocolate milk, colored sugar water, apples or saltines; vending machines on campus available through weekly allowances ($.10 x your school grade).

Also remembered was the founding of the University Without Walls with Irma Brandeis and Bernie Tieger, a standing Thursday night faculty poker game called the 'Wisdom Society,' campus jobs including babysitting and pet care for faculty families, and odd jobs for Irma Brandeis.


Frank Oja, Ruth Oja, John Oja, Sands House, Faculty Circle, Chocolate Factory, Buildings and Grounds, B & G, Cal Avery, Dick Griffiths, Sawkill, South Bay, Shafer Family, Ward Manor, Hidden Village, Bruce Matthews, Sunset Cottage, recycling, Bill Lensing, Bard Pool, Dick Bard, Reamer Kline, Louise Kline, Boar's Head Dinner, Dodd Crane, Irma Brandeis, Bernie Tieger, University Without Walls, UWW, Stuart Levine, Justus Rosenberg


BardCorps trailer, main campus.

Interview Date


Interview Duration


Rights Management

The use of any image or audio from the Bard College Archives without permission is prohibited.

Oja Family (BardCorps)