Class History


Read by President Di Marston at our 55TH REUNION

Looking back over 55 years since our arrival in South Hadley, it is clear to me that each of us would write quite different class histories. So let me first comment on some of the more common memories and experiences which many of us may have shared.

We wore Bermuda shorts, even in the winter, took required gym in short red, one-piece outfits, and dressed up in heels, nylons (at least knee length), and skirts for Gracious Living Wednesday evenings and Sunday noons. We attended seven church services per semester as part of the honor system, pretty conscientiously signed out for dorm meals (where all meals occurred), used linen napkins kept in napkin boxes, and hung out with our dates in cars or on the front porch waiting for the flash of the door light indicating that we only had minutes to get into the dorm before before judged LATE. We expected that all our tests would be administered under the honor system with the professor visible only at the start and end of the test period.

We were in college during the increasingly ominous cold war with the USSR and endured the national shock of the sputnik launch in 1957. We are generally viewed as a compliant group, but I remember several significant events where we “spoke up.” One was in the winter of 1956 when Autherine Lucy was prevented by a hostile crowd and university policy from attending graduate classes at the University of Alabama. Our student government debated and passed a resolution supporting her enrollment at the school. During the spring of 1958 two members of our class, Kay Baird and Ros Maslow, visited Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C. for several weeks. This was the start of an exchange with Bennett during the infancy of the civil rights movement. And finally, we all had the privilege of attending college with two African-American women who have become nationally-known and respected doctors.