Friday, June 11, 2010

Fifty Years and Counting, the Class of 1960

In the fall of 1956 the Class of 1960 matriculated as the largest class in the College’s history to that point. While they participated in all the usual activities (Bonfire, Tug of War, Gauntlet) there were some things that made the experience of the last “50s” class different from that of their predecessors. Some were unremarkable (the Nugget Theater raising its price to 65 cents for a movie) while others changed the face of the College forever (the long threatened, and much anticipated, construction of a performing arts center—the HOP—was finally begun).

During their time in Hanover they also saw a major change in the College’s academic calendar with the institution of a three-term structure. A petition of the students and faculty in their junior year showed that the majority of both bodies were in favor of coeducation. In response the Committee on Educational Policy voted to study the possibility, though it would take another twelve years before that dream would become a reality. Visiting hours for dorms were extended, but this didn’t make up for the lack of women on campus.

While Skiing, Basketball and Football claimed major prizes (NCAA championship for the first and Ivy League championships for the last two) fraternities faced a harsher reality. In response to an Inter Fraternity Council decision in 1954, all fraternities had to remove discriminatory membership clauses by April 1960. Many fraternities chose to break with their national affiliates over this policy, changing the face of the College forever.

Through all this the Class of 1960 persevered, and in June graduated, just as the Class of 2010 will this Sunday.

Curious to know more about the Class of 1960 and their experience of Dartmouth? Come see an exhibit of materials from the Archives on display in Rauner Library, Friday June 11 through Sunday June 13 in Room 109.

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