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On Sept. 10, 1970, 146 women entered the classrooms as students at Lafayette. They joined a 138-year tradition in which only men had been educated at this exceptional institution. At that moment, they made history. During the 2010-11 academic year, the College is celebrating 40 years of coeducation with events beginning during Family Weekend in October and culminating in the First Women of Lafayette Reunion in April.

On Friday, Oct. 1, during Family Weekend, Elaine Stomber ’89, the College’s associate archivist, and Sarah Shuster ’12 will explore Lafayette’s transition to coeducation in a talk entitled “Lafayette: Coed in 1970” at 5 p.m. in the Gendebien Room, Skillman Library. Shuster is a double major in government & law and philosophy from Queens, N.Y. As a participant in Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars program, Shuster collaborated with the library’s Special Collections and College Archives to develop a web site ( that provides background for students, faculty, and alumni and reminds them about the change that Lafayette underwent. Beginning Oct. 15, the site will feature blogs focused on student life from 1972 up to the present.

Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 15-16, also will feature events celebrating coeducation. On Friday, Oct. 15, Leslie Miller-Bernal, a leading scholar in the field of women’s experiences in higher education, will deliver the College’s Ruth Gluck Memorial Lecture for 2010-11, speaking on “Coeducation: The Elusive Goal of Educational Equality” at 4:30 p.m. in Room 224, Oechsle Hall. Miller-Bernal is provost, dean of the college, and a professor of sociology at Wells College, Aurora, N.Y. She is the author of Separate by Degree: Women’s Experiences in Single Sex and Coeducational Colleges (2000) and the co-editor of Going Coed: Women’s Experiences in Formerly Men’s Colleges and Universities, 1950-2000 (2004). Her talk is co-sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies program.

Detail from the First Women of Lafayette Commemorative Quilt

The unveiling of the First Women of Lafayette Commemorative Quilt, designed by Liza Roos Prior Lucy ’74, a member of the first class of women at Lafayette, will be the centerpiece of events on Saturday, Oct. 16. The quilt incorporates images, photos, and memorabilia submitted by women in the Classes of 1972, 1973, and 1974 that are emblematic of their special place in the College’s history. Lucy says it “sort of looks like a bulletin board with different images from our time printed on squares of fabric.” The unveiling will take place during “A Morning Toast to Coeducation” at 9:30 a.m. in the Wilson Room, Pfenning Alumni Center.

An exhibition entitled Quilts in Glorious Color, featuring 14 quilts by Lucy, is on display through Dec. 31 in the Lass Gallery, Skillman Library. On Wednesday, Oct. 6, Lucy will speak about the exhibition and her work at 4:10 p.m. in the Gendebien Room. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Skillman Library.

Alumnae athletes are invited to gather at a tent, sponsored by the Maroon Club, during the annual alumni tailgate, which will begin at 11 a.m., preceding the football game vs. Stony Brook. The athletes will receive special recognition at halftime of the game, which kicks off at 1 p.m. A ’70s-theme disco dance will begin at 6 p.m. in the Bergethon Room, Marquis Hall, featuring live music by UUU.

Registration is required for some Homecoming events. For information, visit and click on Alumni.

A new production of We Were Pioneers will be staged March 3-5, 2011, in the Williams Center for the Arts. An original play written and produced in 2003 by Amanda Roth ’04 and Kamaka Martin ’04, We Were Pioneers is based on 50 interviews with alumni from the 1960s and ’70s who had witnessed the remarkable period of social change that saw an increased presence of African Americans and women on campus. Roth, Martin, as well as Vivienne Felix ’03, now a Lafayette College Annual Fund assistant director, assisted with the oral history project  documented in a web site. A new, 90-minute staging of the play, with the title, Hear Me Roar!, will juxtapose those interviews with interviews of current students and faculty. It will feature funny and poignant stories documenting residential life, dating, the racial climate, and the classroom. An alumni event will be planned around one of the evening performances.

Women in the classes of 1972, 1973, and 1974 will return to campus April 29, 2011, for the First Women of Lafayette Reunion. They will reflect on their days at Lafayette, share their experiences with students, and discover how the College has evolved. Complete with attending classes, participating in panels and discussions, and celebrating at a dinner with President Daniel H. Weiss, they will receive recognition for their pioneering spirit and the beginning of a transformative era for Lafayette. The 40th Anniversary Commemorative Quilt will be dedicated during First Women Reunion.

For more information on 40th Anniversary Celebration events, visit

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