Stories

RELEASE ON RECEIPT

SANTA CLARA

The University of Santa Clara's first class of freshmen coeds will receive degrees at commencement exercises on Saturday morning, June 12, at 10 o'clock in the Mission Gardens on the campus.

Four years have passed since the university opened its doors to women. On that day in September of 1961, 74 girls braved the registration lines for classes that for 110 years had been exclusively male. 

"Two, Four, Six, Eight, We don't want to integrate!" and other such jeers from men students were fairly common during those first weeks of coeducation. "But finally we were able to convince them that we wanted to work along side of them, not in spite of them," the girls confided in a recent campus interview. 

Of their original number, about a third have carried on to graduation. Most frequent reason given by those who left before finishing was to be married. (The 1965 class has added transfer students along the way, however, and 90 of the 570 total graduates are women.)

Sociology and history claimed the largest number of the first coeds. A decided majority are planning to become teachers. 

That first year of coeducation seems a long time ago to most of them now. "We were so scared. I remember how we used to band together to walk to the dining hall. It must have looked like a parade," reminisced one. 

Another said that she had not been interested in athletics before coming to Santa Clara. "But that first year, we all went to the games: baseball, football and basketball. Sometimes we had to rent taxis or pile a dozen deep into somebody's pick-up truck or station wagon, but we never missed a game!" 

They admit now they did many things then to try and win the boys over. "We felt we had to be active at every level. We didn't wait for the boys to decide about us. We baked cookies for them at Christmas time and carolled outside their dorms. When we saw a fellow who was chairman of some campus activity, we would go up to him and ask if we could help in some way." 

The girls think their early efforts have helped ease the way for the 800 coeds now attending the university. But they also believe the girls who have followed them will not feel the same about Santa Clara. It would be hard, indeed, to duplicate the experience of being one of the first coeds in a male university.