Read by Class President Mary Ginn Weinland at the Meeting of the Alumnae Association on May 22, 2021.
Draft 1961 Class History
- When we arrived on campus, the Soviet Union had launched Sputknik, Orval Faubus had called the National Guard to prevent 9 African-American students from integrating Little Rock Central High School and we were shortly to face the Asian flu and quarantine in the gym. We were welcomed by our Big sisters, learned the required songs which we had to sing on demand, and learned to live for milk and cookies. We were President Gettell’s first class – i.e. the original class of “Uncommon Women.” We experienced gracious living, and pay phones down “down the hall.” “Sitting Bells” was an important part of all of this.
- During our time on campus, Fidel Castro launched a revolution and NASA was founded to start the Mercury Project to take the first Americans in space. Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th We were luck to hear in person: Robert Frost, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Updike, and Justice William Douglass (as graduation speaker). We celebrated 4 lovely Mountain Days, played bridge in the smoker, and met new professors and new friends every year. We experienced the first Father’s Day Weekend with our own Diana as “May Queen”. It was a time of travel and opening up our horizons.
- We spent our free time on campus navigating strict parietals and curfews, enjoying relaxing at the CI and Glessies, in the smoker watching the Nixon-Kennedy debates and organizing protests against Chapel and assembly requirements. We were agitating to let seniors have dorm keys (gasp!) which nearly produced a heart attack with the Dean! We were the first class to experience graduation in the brandnew Amphitheater.
- Finally the submergence in the traditions of Mount Holyoke produced four hundred young women to spread widely the dignity and idealism of their alma mater.