The idea for the Oberlin Group grew out of conferences of the presidents of 50 liberal arts colleges held at Oberlin in 1985 and 1986 to discuss the role of private colleges in educating the nation's scientists. The colleges represented had produced an exceptional number of graduates who later earned doctorates in scientific fields. One of the purposes of these conferences was to draw national attention to the importance of liberal arts colleges for scientific education and, in so doing, to garner more foundation and government support. Drawing on the science conferences model, the late Bill Moffett, then Director of Libraries at Oberlin, formed a steering committee to plan a meeting of 60 liberal arts college library directors. Members were Bill Moffett (Oberlin) chair, Will Bridegam (Amherst), John Sheridan (Colorado College), Kathy Spencer (Franklin and Marshall), Christopher McKee (Grinnell), Eleanor Pinkham (Kalamazoo), Becky Pollock (Reed), and Richard Werking (Trinity University).