Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1960

The Stephens of 1960 looks a lot like the Stephens of today.

The programs that have given the College national prominence are thriving this year, according to the 1960 Stephensophia, as they are today.

There’s fashion

Education, complete with an on-campus children’s school

Equestrian studies

Film—in 1960, television was the rage; today’s it’s filmmaking

And, of course, performing arts

Speaking of the latter, there’s another important tie between past and present. In 1960, creative writing instructor and an Avery Hopkwood Fiction Award winner Jack LaZebnik debuted his original production “John Brown” at the Playhouse Theatre. You might know that Jack’s son, Ken LaZebnik later served as our dean of Performing Arts and today is helping the College develop new programming around filmmaking.

This year’s Stephensophia yearbook contains a lot of photographs but few words. There’s a section devoted to new students and orientation—processes much like our 250 new freshmen are going through this week. 

And there are several photos of dances and formals held on campus.

One notable difference between the Stephens then and Stephens now are the admissions counselors. In 1960, we’re told: “Your grades? Your dates? Your suggestions of prospective students? All of these are questions from the daddys of the campus, who first introduce each student officially to Stephens, who bring news from the hometown just visited and who give encouragement to ‘his girls.’”

While our admissions counselors today certainly encourage young women, they’re mostly female (and are more friend than mother figure!).

The Foreign Relations Club this year hosted campus guests including Clement Atlee, prime minister of Great Britain; Madame Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, an Indian diplomat; John Scott, an editor at Time magazine; and William Worthy, one of few American journalists to enter Red China at the time.

A couple of noteworthy Stephens Women include Civic Association President Karen Vandersloot, who went on to be Dr. Karen Vandersloot Richards, a faculty member at the University of Connecticut. 

And Donna Peltz is president of the campus Standards Council this year, a group dedicated to making sure students adhere to rules. It’s a fitting position—Donna went on to be Donna Young. Her first job was a s the child protection officer for Norfolk, Va., and was the driving force behind the enactment of Virginia’s child abuse law. She later moved to New York where she worked at the Institute for International Education, administering the Fulbright scholarship for Near and Middle East students.

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