It’s 1961 in our Look Back series, and Stephens women are abuzz over presidential candidate John F. Kennedy.
This is the first year Stephens had Young Democrats and Young Republicans chapters—and judging by the club photos, the Young Democrats group has three times as many members. One student, Fran Farr, even had a chance to meet Kennedy. Spoiler: She ended up marrying Prescott Bush III, a nephew of George H.W. Bush. Pictured with Richard Nixon is Judy Wangelin -- you can read more about her below.
This year’s Stephensophia yearbook is full of great photos, such as these. We’re told bicycles are the “latest fad.”
There’s not much text describing academic programs this year, other than science—which is appropriate because science remains popular at Stephens. This description is not unlike science here today;
Individual experiments bring a clearer understanding of the problems in science ... The science program at Stephens is structured to accommodate the students wishing to specialize, as well as those desiring a scientific acquaintance with the world in which they live. In the physical and biological sciences offered here, laboratory work is and always has been an integral part of the educational method. All of the fields which comprise our science department provide the student with the opportunity of studying the subject first-hand. A well stocked laboratory is available for every student of science at Stephens.
Performing arts is and was also strong. A couple of great images, including one showing the transformation of a character:
This year, Hal Holbrook—just 34 at this time—brought his “Mark Twain Tonight” production to Stephens.
Stephens also hosted Canadian ballerina Melissa Hayden.
Among notable Stephens Women this year is Barbara Willis, who is deemed “Best-Dressed Stephens Girl.” Today, she’s Barbara Hearst (yes, “that” Hearst, as one online bio describes her) and is a well-known artist and philanthropist. She is founder and president of B. Hearst Designs a “for-benefit company” that supports women’s causes. A former media consultant, she’s also served on a number of boards and organizations.
Shannon Illges represents the Ideal of Courage. Today, Shannon Candler is also an artist who has had exhibits in galleries around the country.
And Judith Wangelin, editor of this year’s Stephensophia, would go on to serve as a teacher and administrator at Three Rivers Community College.
And Linda Kessel is a champion tennis player at Stephens. She went on to be Linda Koenig, a tour manager and guide in St. Louis and a former teacher appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be the special assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.
Here are some more great images from the 1961 Stephensophia: