Yale frequent News .Yale-Vassar: The wedding that nearly was

| Yale-Vassar: The wedding that nearly was

Vivian Yee 3:00 am, Oct 20, 2009

Although this 12 months marks the 40th anniversary associated with the enrollment of females in Yale university, it may have already been the anniversary that is 42nd.

In place of empty stretches of greenery along top Prospect Street, there could now be a bustling campus that is little the Divinity class where in actuality the Yale Farm, Farnam Gardens and Betts home now stand. In place of driving straight down Route 22 to Poughkeepsie, brand new York, Yalies might now just be able to walk up Science Hill to see their buddies at Vassar university.

A move Vassar trustees ultimately rejected at least, that’s what former University President Kingman Brewster and Vassar President Alan Simpson envisioned in 1966, when the two schools contemplated bringing the women’s college from Poughkeepsie to New Haven. Though Yale’s proposal to Vassar captivated both schools from December 1966 until November 1967, as well as in the conclusion, coeducation stumbled on both schools because of the autumn of 1969. The Vassar-Yale research — which examined the feasibility of a move — ready the University when it comes to impending arrival of feminine pupils.

“Once we had opted into examining the Vassar merger, there was clearly no heading back,” Henry “Sam” Chauncey Jr., the unique associate to Brewster whom served regarding the Yale committee learning the proposition, said in a job interview. “The ultimate effectation of exploring that merger would be to bring coeducation to Yale the next year.”

AWAITING WEDDING BELLS

Brewster and Simpson assumed their presidencies to their campuses in 1963 and 1964, correspondingly, whenever coeducation ended up being a maximum of a hypothetical for either college. But both knew something needed seriously to alter: Simpson thought Vassar was stagnating and required a brand new way,|direction that is new} while Brewster desired to make certain that Yale kept up because of the times.

“What Brewster ended up being wanting to do, honestly, would be to make Yale more appealing to guys by having women provide,” said Gaddis Smith ’54, Yale historian and emeritus history teacher.

Therefore in March 1966, the Yale Corporation formally announced the University’s desire for bringing females to campus — but as an element of a college that is coordinate like those between Brown University and Pembroke university, between Harvard University and Radcliffe university, and between Columbia university and Barnard university.

Yale shunned the chance of pairing with nearer women’s universities, such as for instance Albertus Magnus College up Prospect Street, and Connecticut College in brand new London, Conn., preferring Vassar as the utmost desirable partner university available. The theory was created whenever a Vassar trustee and buddy of Brewster brought Simpson and Brewster together for a gathering, Chauncey stated. Alongside Smith and Mount Holyoke universities, additionally users of the “Seven Sisters” group of elite women’s universities, Vassar had been a destination that is longtime Yalies trying to find times and weekends of enjoyable.

“That wasn’t the only method you could see ladies, but one of several major ways,” Michael Winger ’67 LAW ’72 stated.

Driving right down to Poughkeepsie after classes for lunch and beverages ended up being typical practice for Yalies, as was racking up speeding seats along the way, John Brim ’68 recalled.

But having an automobile had been no prerequisite: groups at both schools would often charter buses forward and backward for about $5, circular journey.

Vassar girls often stumbled on New Haven to see a soccer game and stay when it comes to week-end, frequently residing at the resort Taft in the part of College and Chapel roads (now a condo building), stated Beth Dunlop, whom graduated from Vassar in 1969. Using one week-end, Dunlop remembered, the Taft was so complete she needed to slip into her date’s Saybrook College suite to rest, “very chastely,” on a daybed.

Many girls that are vassar had been in support of coeducation, stated Elizabeth Daniels, a 1941 Vassar graduate who was simply the dean of pupils during the time and chaired Vassar’s New Dimensions Committee, which learned how to bring males to campus.

“There had been plenty of anxiety from the area of the pupils to find yourself in coeducation,” Daniels stated. “They thought Vassar had been protected.”

Then when Brewster and Simpson announced in December 1966 that the 2 schools had been forming a committee that is joint learn the feasibility and desirability of Vassar going to Yale, pupils at both schools applauded the concept. A large number of girls turned up to cheer Simpson as he made the statement, performing “Boola Boola” and “The Whiffenpoofs Song,” the Vassar Miscellany Information reported.

By that springtime, all of the domestic universities had created social relationships with Vassar residence halls, although the Young Democrats and literary mags on both campuses begun to merge and run events that are joint.

Vassar alumnae and faculty, along with Poughkeepsie authorities, had been less enthusiastic. In a huge selection of letters to your Vassar alumnae mag, Simpson and Vassar trustees, Vassarites vigorously decried the loss that is proposed of historic campus in addition to presumed loss in institutional identification that could follow.

Simpson argued right back, telling alumnae in a single message, “Vassar College cannot get it alone yourself the victim of a silent move, one not so dramatic, a move away from excellence.… you can stay in Poughkeepsie and find”

Back brand new Haven, a lot of the Yale community took the scholarly research in stride. Vassar, all things considered, had a dowry that is sizeable collection and museum collections, faculty, prestige, good pupils and a $63 million endowment.

However the match had not been become. The Vassar trustees unanimously rejected Yale’s proposal, bowing to pressure from alumnae and faculty who wanted to maintain the college’s independence after months of visits between the two schools, tours of potential sites on campus and negotiations between Yale academic departments and their Vassar counterparts.

In hindsight, even Brewster’s trusted assistant Chauncey stated he believes Vassar made the decision that is right.

“I think it could’ve been a terrible mistake,” he stated. “But that’s playing Monday morning quarterback.”

One major barrier to the move ended up being the issue of integrating the raya Vassar and Yale characteristics and educational policies. Although the joint committee wished to offer pupils from both schools to be able to cross-register in courses, Vassar’s representatives wished to preserve the college’s institutional identity first and foremost.

“Vassar professors had been afraid Vassar could be provided the undergraduate training and the Yale professors would continue being top dogs,” Daniels, also an English professor at Vassar, stated.