This is the first article in a series about the experiences of women from the first four-year coed graduating class at the College. This series will explore various aspects of coeducation, take a look at what some of the pioneering women of Bowdoin have done since graduation and see what’s next for women at Bowdoin today.
Click here to meet the women of '75.
On September 28, 1970, a notice from the Dean of Students was posted on bulletin boards around campus. It announced a resolution that the Governing Boards—Boards of Trustees and Overseers—of Bowdoin College approved just three days earlier:
“[...] that Bowdoin College undertake a program for the admission of circa 300 women to courses of study leading to the baccalaureate degree [over a period of four years], substantially as set forth in a report of September 1970 prepared by President Howell.”
“This was kind of a closed world and I could now go in and see what a New England men's school was like,” said Joyce Ward ’75, who was one of the nine female applicants accepted early decision for the first four-year coeducational class at Bowdoin, in a phone interview with the Orient. “It was like having a door open to see something that a woman my age would never have been ever able to see before.”
In that fall of 1971, 65 women would enter into Bowdoin as first years. Fourteen of them were legacies, all but two of them were from the Northeast, 26 of them had gone to private school and nine were women of color.
They would join 254 first-year men, making about a one to four ratio of women to men in their class, and about a one to 10 ratio for the College as a whole. The ratio of women to men would increase gradually over the next 20 years.
“There were so few of us [women] that it was almost like we didn’t have time to make friends with each other,” said Celeste Johnson ’75 in a phone interview with the Orient. “We had to go out and be ambassadors on behalf of all the other women.”
The notice on the bulletin boards came after the 1969 Report of the Study Committee on Underclass Campus Environment, also known as the Pierce Report. The Pierce Report cited a 1968 survey that showed 81 percent students in favor of some coeducation, and outlined the main arguments for (and one against) coeducation.
The report’s reasons for supporting coeducation mostly focused on the benefits for male students at the College. The benefits of coeducation included an increase in diversity of thought, an increase in student involvement in the humanities and in extracurricular activities and an improvement in men’s social abilities—having a “civilizing” effect on fraternities and helping them not view women as “sex objects.”
This report cited a desire to increase the size of the College from 900 men to 1200 or 1500 students so that it could compete with other liberal arts schools and offer a wider variety of courses.
According to an October 2, 1970 Orient article about the Board of Overseers’ approval of coeducation, the discussion about coeducation happened at the same time as a more urgent conversation about the “financial plight” of the College. President Roger Howell stressed that it was “economically imperative” that Bowdoin grow its student body to at least 1200 students.
“Coeducation was viewed not as an end in itself, but rather as a means of achieving economic stability,” wrote Michael Cary ’71 in the Orient.
The Pierce Report heavily cites the March 1969 Princeton Report “The Education of Undergraduate Women at Princeton,” and this document along with other records in the office correspondence of Howell show that the administration was keeping a careful watch on the progress of similar schools. By the time the report was published, it had been no more than a year since Yale and Princeton released plans to go coed and several other men’s schools—Hamilton and Williams in particular—had announced a coordinate college program with a women’s school.
“It was in the air,” said Interim Dean for Academic Affairs Jen Scanlon, whose 2011 gender and women’s studies class created a website to commemorate 40 years of coeducation. “It was in the air in the late 1960s and early 1970s that women’s worlds were exploding. And the academy was one of those places, so there were many, many schools that started to go coed at around the same time.”
Bowdoin educated female students in years prior to 1971, but they were there as part of the Twelve College Exchange program, or were transfer students. In fact, months before the first four-year female students arrived on campus, the first woman, Sue Jacobson ’71, graduated from Bowdoin after transferring from Connecticut College.
As Bowdoin began matriculating women, it formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Coeducation, as well as many committees and subcommittees for three phases of coeducation.
“I don't know that they were prepared for girls, so that made it a little challenging,” said Tawana Cook Purnell, who matriculated with the class of ’75 and transferred to Spelman College after her sophomore year at Bowdoin, in a phone interview with the Orient. “And they looked at us as though we were sort of seductive aliens.”
A February 1972 Orient poll prompted students to indicate if they preferred for Bowdoin to be an exclusively men’s college; be a men’s college accepting women as transfers; continue with the present schedule for coeducation; or progress to fully coeducational (50 percent women).
The poll revealed dissatisfaction with coeducation: “The largest body of student opinion wants faster progress toward full coeducation; the next largest group wants no coeducation at all,” wrote Richard Patard ’74 in an Orient article published on February 4, 1972.
Satisfaction with coeducation also fell along fraternity lines. According to the poll, two-thirds of independent men (that is, not a member of a fraternity), favored full coeducation, while only around 42 percent of fraternity men did.
One male respondent wrote: "They're dumb, but they are good tools. The girls have preserved my sanity, bless their dumb little hearts."
"I don't really feel that this place is co-ed; it is still a men's college with some women around,” wrote an anonymous first-year man in the 1972 Orient poll.
The history of women at Bowdoin is only a small piece of the timeline of Bowdoin, which was chartered in 1794.
“We have a long past—hundreds of years—and women have been present only for  years,” said Scanlon. “You wouldn’t expect a lot of the people we talk about to be women, because it’s recent. But even so, I think that we don’t say enough about our alums who are female. I think most people probably couldn’t name any.”
In upcoming issues of the Orient, we examine how the women of the class of ’75 navigated fraternities and social life, health services, athletics, safety and the classroom.
Julia O’Rourke ’19 and Katie Miklus ’16 contributed to this report.
Rain threatens to move Ivies Concert indoors
A questionable weather forecast for the weekend may change the location of the Saturday Ivies Concert. In an email to the student body, Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols stated that inclement weather would relocate the concert to Farley Field House. According to Ruiqi Li '13, E-Board co-chair, the decision to move the concert inside will not depend on the weekend's weather alone, as last night's rain will be a factor too.
Two seniors win Fulbright Program grants
Out of the 18 Bowdoin applicants this year, two seniors have won Fulbright grants, and four of their classmates have won funding for teaching assistantships. Daniel Jeong and Eli Garrard won Fulbright grants. Nick Powell, Derek Brooks, Zach Crawford, and Shazeda Ahmed received the other awards. Each year the Fulbright Program funds approximately 1,000 Americans who study or conduct research in any field. The other type of grant, which is not provided by the Fulbright Program, provides funding for students to work as English teaching assistants at schools and universities in foreign countries. Last year, approximately 870 teaching awards were made.
Faculty salaries increase for 2nd year, ranked 11th of liberal arts colleges
Professors' salaries have increased for the second year in a row. The increases come despite a sluggish economy, which led to across-the-board decreases in 2010. The Chronicle of Higher Education places Bowdoin 11th among liberal arts colleges in terms of the salaries paid to full professors. This is a departure from past years in which Bowdoin often "fell fourth or fifth," according to a Chronicle report.
Upswing in STI cases prompts more students to seek testing
A greater number of students have been getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at the Health Center in recent weeks. The influx of students occurred in the wake of an email sent out by Whitney Hogan, coordinator of health education, on March 7. The email reported an uptick in STIs on campus, including chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and gonorrhea. "We saw this spike right before spring break," explained Sandra Hayes, director of Health Services. "It was short notice, but we wanted students to be aware that if they chose to be sexually active over the break, that there's a risk to that. Some students feel very complacent in the Bowdoin bubble—they think their risk is smaller and that's not true."
Students elect representatives, class councils for 2012-2013
Last Sunday Bowdoin Student Government elections determined the next year's 2014 and 2015 class councils. Positions on the BSG assembly, such as at-large representative and E-Board representative, were also determined. Of the 346 votes cast, roughly 74 percent were cast by first years or sophomores. A number of newly elected students, including John Izzo '15, Ryan Davis '15, Alex Tougas '14, and Sunnie Kuna '14, and Asher Stamell '13, ran unopposed.
- April 20
‘Consent is Sexy’ Week fights sexual misconduct
ASAP, which acts as a unifying organization to combine the efforts of multiple campus groups, was formed in 2008 under the direction of Davis. "There were so many groups working in different ways on the spectrum, from healthy relationships to sexual violence, that we decided to create this umbrella group," said Davis. In its first year, ASAP was made up of groups such as Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence (BMASV), V-Day, and Safe Space. The alliance has since grown to include 16 organizations, ranging from the Bowdoin Outing Club to the Spirituality Circle.
- April 20
College hires new women’s soccer coach
The women's soccer team has a new coach in Brianne Weaver, Director of Athletics Jeff Ward announced this Wednesday. Weaver has served as head coach at her alma mater, St. Mary's College in Maryland, for the last six years. Weaver will take over for Maren Rojas, who stepped down after five years to take a job as head coach at Boston College. According to Ward, the athletic department began receiving calls of interest only hours after Rojas announced her decision. "We had over 100 applicants for the job—the deepest pool of candidates that I can ever remember for a search," said Ward, who has hired 16 new coaches in his 14 years at Bowdoin.
- April 20
College’s deans remind faculty: Ivies is a weekend, not ‘spring break’
In an email to all faculty members earlier this week, deans cautioned professors not to accommodate students' celebrations during Ivies Weekend. While the email acknowledged the "longstanding student tradition at Bowdoin," and that "students should and will have fun," it asked faculty, "please don't cancel classes or defer exams, papers or projects to accommodate their revelry." "We ask for your help in making sure this annual weekend celebration doesn't turn into another full week of spring break," read the email, signed by Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd and Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster.
- April 20
Nichols briefs BSG on new Ivies procedures
Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols briefed Bowdoin Student Government on expectations and preparations for Ivies at its Wednesday night meeting. Changes, including a new registration process for guests, are expected to make security arrangements tighter than ever before. During any given Ivies, it is generally the guests of students that pose the majority of security problems, said Nichols.
- April 20
Bowdoin trustee collects millions from Oaktree Capital IPO
Oaktree Capital Group, the world's largest distressed-debt investor, priced its initial public offering at $43 a share on Wednesday April 11. Bowdoin Trustee Sheldon Stone '74, a principal and portfolio manager, will take away the third largest share from the $387 million that the firm raised from the deal. The company first filed for an IPO in June 2011, and the IPO will allow its top executives to realize their stake in the firm.
Editorial: At long last
Ivies serves as a reward for a week of studiousness
When this issue hits campus, much of the school will be reveling at the annual Ivies celebration on Brunswick Quad. This weekend is a well-earned break from the relentless workload at Bowdoin and a defining part of the College's traditions. Some administrators and faculty members are wary of the deleterious effects a week of bacchanalian carousing may have on academic commitment, and their concern is understandable.
Could West Hall Become Sanville Manor?
Since coming to Bowdoin and spending my freshman year in West Hall, I've always wondered when and how buildings, rooms and even trees on campus receive their names, and more importantly, how I could leave my name behind.
Campus music events ignored by Orient
To the Editors, On Wednesday April 11, Professor McCalla convinced me that the James Carter Organ Trio's performance would not disappoint. It didn't. It was likely the best jazz concert I have ever attended: a fitting finale to Professor McCalla's 27 years at Bowdoin.
- April 20
Editorial: Experience Weekend
Last night, Hari Kondabolu '04 performed stand-up comedy as part of a week of Asian-themed events sponsored by the Asian Student Association. Kondabolu began by speaking about his time at the College, humorously noting that many of his experiences as a student left him frustrated with Bowdoin's glaring lack of diversity. He recalled times when he felt like "the Indian kid" on campus, and when a first year from New England was uncomfortable around him because she had never interacted with someone with brown skin.
- April 20
Natural Analysis: Environmental education underemphasized at the College
Carbon neutrality by 2020: the rallying cry, the crown jewel of Bowdoin's sustainability plan. There are, of course, plenty of other initiatives geared towards "going green," from zero-sort recycling to the Yellow Bike Club. But reigning in an institution's carbon footprint has become the green standard; talk of sustainable campuses does not happen without hearing the phrase. Just ask any high school junior or senior touring around the NESCAC how many times they have heard about carbon neutrality goals.
- April 20
Smoking detracts from hipsters’ irony
At its root, hipsterdom is about one thing: irony. Hipsters cast a satirical take on all that mainstream culture holds near and dear. Mainstream culture celebrates preppy, clean-cut looks. Hipster culture celebrates disheveled dollar store duds. The Salvation Army—hipsters' preferred shopping destination—recently sent out a petition asking grandmothers around the world to knit more ugly sweaters to meet the growing demand.
- April 20
The Cold, Hardt, Truth: It’s time to share your love of Bowdoin with prospective students
During the past two weeks the College has apparently taken it upon itself to remind graduating seniors that in about a month we will no longer be students at Bowdoin College. From the letters in our mailboxes asking us how to pronounce our names at graduation to the emails asking us to request our cap and gowns and the bittersweet reminders that in a few months we won't have access to the soon-to-be-defunct Bearings, Bowdoin seems intent on waking us up from the dream that we'll always be college students. On behalf of the Class of 2012, we get it.
- April 20
Angus King offers new voice in Washington
To the Editors: I write in support of Angus King, Bowdoin professor, former Maine governor, and candidate for the United States Senate. Governor King needs and deserves our help to start his campaign in a position of strength that will see him to victory in November.
- April 13
Editorial: Cost of counseling
Alcohol and drug counseling is an important service; it should not
As Ivies approaches, we often use this space to caution students against excess revelry, and this year is no different. However, in light of recent events involving students and the use of fake IDs, this cautionary message has more to do with the tangible, monetary consequences of violating the law or the College's social code than the health risks. While students should be held accountable for their actions, we question one of the College's measures.
- April 13
Identifying as a 'queer queer' on campus
Less than a week ago, I was going through a painful breakup with the label "queer." I had tried to make it work between us, but I could no longer keep a label in my life that didn't support me. Queer and I had a good run. We met a couple of years ago and after getting to know each other, I realized I had fallen in love. We seemed meant to be.
RoboCup team gears up for international competition
Grass carpets sprouted inside the Watson Arena in preparation for the RoboCup U.S. Open, which was held at Bowdoin Saturday and Sunday.
McEwen—professor, dean, mentor—retires after 30 years
When Craig McEwen left Sills Hall after teaching his last class of the fall semester, he was met with applause. Students, faculty and staff had gathered to celebrate the sociology professor, dean and community leader who was retireing after 30 years at Bowdoin.
- April 20
Dear Doctor Kinsey: As long as it’s given, consent doesn’t always have to be sexy
I think a lot of people would agree that Dan Savage is a modern Kinsey of sorts: He's a contested public figure drawing conclusions about sex and love by listening to people's personal stories.
- April 20
It's a date! Katie Mac '14 and Michael Walsh '14
Brought to you by the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention, "It's a Date!" sets up brave Bowdoin students on blind dates in order to report the hilarious, unexpected and awkward parts of their rendezvous.
- April 13
Counting calories: The lowdown on Bowdoin’s fattiest foods
Ever wonder how many calories are in the Philly cheese steak sandwich you ate last Friday? How about that delicious slice of pesto chicken pizza? Though the Huffington Post recently recognized Bowdoin for having the number one healthiest college dining hall in America, the Orient decided to investigate the underbelly of Bowdoin dining to find the top 10 most caloric dishes.
- April 13
Coppin' a meal: Matzo brei makes for a delicious post-Passover breakfast
Passover is my least favorite Jewish holiday, even in a roster of celebrations that includes Yom Kippur, a day when you are supposed to fast while you think of all the people you've hurt in the last year. Passover is the worst because it lasts an entire week and comes right before Easter. I remember sitting quietly at lunch in elementary school, listening to my friends talk excitedly of all the chocolate they had eaten on Sunday, while I slowly chewed on my matzo. In fact, matzo in some form or another is the base of almost everything that one can eat during Passover. For those who don't know, matzo is a dry, sheet-like cracker. The entire baking process that goes into creating it, from mixing the dough to placing it in the oven, must be completed in less than a surprisingly specific 18 minutes, or else it must be thrown out.
- April 13
Faculty governance and the rise of the administration
For many students, the faculty's rejection of the proposed expansion of Thanksgiving break served as a jarring introduction to the considerable influence that professors have in the governance of the College. Though the initiative received the support of 57 percent of students in a survey, professors voted 47-28 against the proposal at a December faculty meeting, effectively killing the plan for the time being.
- April 13
Bursting the Bubble: Violent strikes impact juniors’ semester in Chile
Most students studying in volatile foreign countries know to be vigilant when walking around at night, but juniors Alexandra Alvarez and Jessie Turner had to take more extreme precautions during their stay in Chile. As university students, they were caught in the midst of daily strikes and protests about the education system that occasionally turned violent. The protests began just as they were arriving, Alvarez in Santiago and Turner in the city of Valdivia.
- April 6
College reaches longtime goal of gender parity among faculty
This year is the first in Bowdoin's history that the faculty is composed of an equal number of men and women.
- April 6
Dear Doctor Kinsey: Paging Doctor Kinsey: What to do about sex that stops short
As the real Doctor Kinsey is deceased (June 23, 1894 - August 25, 1956), we're on our own in seeking the answers to love's persistent questions. I was very pleased (and frankly a little surprised) to receive a few questions in my mailbox before break sent students off in search of tans that are now slowly fading.
Arts & Entertainment
Artist-in-residence to retire after half-century at Bowdoin
After 50 years of producing works that are held in the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the New York Public Libary, Thomas Cornell will retire from his post as artist-in-residence at the end of May.
Music to My Ears: Tupac hologram sets alarming precedent for industry’s future
Two weeks ago, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre's closing performance at Coachella set Twitter and other social media sites ablaze. Those watching the show live in California or streaming it online saw not only the raps of Snoop and Dre, but also an array of surprise guests including Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa, 50 Cent, Eminem, and, believe it or not, Tupac.
Medium Grey: How Hollywood could compete with pirates
In a federal courtroom on Friday, a judge ruled that much of the evidence the FBI had gathered in the hope of convicting MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom for pirating billions of dollars worth of American intellectual property may have been obtained illegally. If you're not familiar with the saga of Dotcom, he is a German-born Internet entrepreneur who founded the file sharing site and its sister site, Megavideo. In January, he was arrested by an Interpol SWAT team in his New Zealand home on copyright infringement charges from the United States Department of Justice. Since then, he has become the poster child of the online piracy debate.
Art historian to connect visual arts, neuroscience
Art historian Barbara M. Stafford will channel the philosophy of a liberal arts education on Thursday, when she presents her ongoing research on the interrelations of art and neuroscience.
- April 20
Gould exhibits new work inspired by recurring student query
At least once each semester, a student in Visiting Assistant Professor Meggan Gould's introductory photography class apprehensively approaches her with a manual camera in hand and asks the question: "I see dust and scratches on my viewfinder. Are those going to show up in my final photos?"
- April 20
‘Lullaby’ experiments with ‘aesthetics in performance’
A unique fusion of theater and dance, "Lullaby," will premiere next week in the culmination of a year-long exploration of far-ranging emotions, personal narratives and collaborative creation.
- April 20
NES-thetics: Molydeux makes case for designing more artistic, humorous videogames
Peter Molydeux may not be a real person, but he has some very real ideas about the future of game design.
"You know, my dream for gaming is in one game you'll shoot someone, and then in a game of, say 'FIFA,' you'll see their son crying," writes Molydeux. "Until developers think outside the box, we're going downhill."
Molydeux himself is an idea for a new age, a fictitious game developer brought to life through social media. Created by an anonymous industry insider in late 2009, Molydeux began life as a Twitter parody of luminary game designer Peter Molyneux.
- April 20
The Hum and the Beat: ‘Kill for Love’ strikingly subdued
Shorter tracks balance out longer ones on Chromatics' latest release, an ode to '80s minimalist electronic and post-punk
Electronic music, broadly speaking, has separated itself into two camps in the past several years. One of these camps is dominated by the pursuit of the colossal, the attempt to create waves of noise that overwhelm the ear and the body. Dubstep, a prime example, has become a musical arena for the survival of the thickest tones, the most audacious arrangements, and the most powerful, visceral reactions.
- April 20
Facts on Fiction: DeLillo’s first short story anthology sure to resonate
"Hammer and Sickle"—one of nine stories compiled from the last 30 years of Don DeLillo's career in his first-ever anthology, "The Angel Esmeralda"—depicts two prepubescent girls who anchor a children's news program. Their local access broadcast purports to offer international investment advice, and the scripted dialogue alternates between sounding—as it should—inane and informed. Their father, a man behind bars, watches them on television and thinks to himself their lines must have been written by his wife. Although fewer and fewer prisoners return to watch subsequent airings of the program, the dialogue of the children's show is unforgettable: "The word is Dubai." "Say it." "Dubai."
- April 20
Film producer speaks frankly about industry
"I really feel that, if I can help three people win Oscars or get Oscar nominations, then I can keep doing it, because it's not that hard."
Baseball commits 18 errors in 6 games, clings to 5-4 NESCAC record
The men's baseball team finished 3-3 after playing against NESCAC East rival Colby and non-conference Roger Williams and Brandeis over the last week. Over the six games, the team raised its in-game record for defensive errors from four to seven, compiling 18 defensive miscues in total. Before last weekend, the Polar Bears had been averaging around one and a half errors per game; that average has doubled in the past seven days.
Coed sailors head to team race championship, women end historic year
Though the women's sailing team has garnered most of the attention this season with its highest-ever ranking—No. 11 in the nation—and successful regional finishes, it was the coed team that impressed this weekend. Bowdoin placed second out of six teams at Roger Williams' Staake Trophy, beating competitors from the University of Vermont and Salve Regina, among others, to secure one of two berths to the Fowle Trophy—the New England Team Race Championship—this weekend at MIT.
Women’s tennis compiling historic season
The women's tennis team is enjoying one of its best seasons in recent memory. According to Emma Lewis '14, its No. 10 ranking in D-III represents "one of the highest national rankings that Bowdoin has had in a long time." Bowdoin improved its overall record to 10-6 after a marathon of matches last weekend. After a loss to Amherst and wins over Tufts, Wellesley, and Hamilton, Bowdoin now has a conference record of 5-2.
Athlete of the Week: Liz Clegg '12
Four goals a game is a regular feat for senior Liz Clegg, who continued her scoring streak this Saturday to help the women's lacrosse team defeat the University of New England 8-0. Clegg has scored 18 points in her last four games, rounding out her season total thus far to 46 points—one of the most in the league. She is also one of the lead scorers on the field hockey team.
Weekly Roundup: Men’s tennis keeps rolling, doubles streak at 24 straight
Coming off of six consecutive wins, the men's tennis team secured victories number seven and eight last weekend to give the program its longest winning streak since 2000. The ninth-ranked men beat No. 15 Bates 7-2 on Friday and bested Hamilton 8-1 on Sunday, improving their record to 10-5.
Weekly Roundup: Track teams rise to top as Chick, Silva, Millett are PotW
Bowdoin's track teams came away from their meets this weekend with major hardware. They won 22 events, and had three NESCAC Performer of the Week honorees between them. The men competed at the Maine State Outdoor Track and Field Championship at Colby, while the women hosted the Aloha Relays at home.
Weekly Roundup: Gorajek, Clegg lead women’s lax to 2 victories, No. 5 seed
On Sunday, the women's lacrosse team bested the University of New England (12-4) in a non-conference game with a whopping 21-7 win. Bowdoin (10-5, 6-4 NESCAC) will now play against Amherst in the playoffs tomorrow as the No. 5 seed.
Weekly Roundup: DellaTorre, Dewar, Barlow, Smyth break softball records
The softball team swept Colby 5-0, 7-1 and 8-0 over the weekend, increasing its winning streak to five games overall and six games against conference rivals. The weekend was historic for the team, as Melissa DellaTorre' 14, Caroline Dewar '12, Gen Barlow '13 and Hillary Smyth '12 all broke school records.
Weekly Roundup: Men’s lacrosse loses to Tufts, will play Wesleyan as 3-seed
Men's lacrosse defeated Endicott 8-4 last Sunday and lost to Tufts 15-7 on Wednesday, bringing the team's overall record to 11-4. This is the first time since 2008 that the Polar Bears have won 11 games, and concludes a 5-0 out-of-conference record.
- April 20
Men’s lacrosse beats Colby, hits 10 wins for first time since ’09
Men's lacrosse secured two key victories this past week, bringing its overall record to an impressive 10-3. The Polar Bears won 7-5 against Wesleyan last Saturday, and 10-6 against Colby on Tuesday. The second win brought Bowdoin to 10 wins for the first time since 2009. "Wesleyan was an outstanding team victory," said Head Coach Tom McCabe. "Everybody played well—goaltending, defense, face-offs, and offense."