Making College History

If you were out of diapers by 1966, you might remember that this was the year when China launched the Cultural Revolution, Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India, U.S troops in Vietnam topped 250,000 and John Lennon said that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. In that same momentous year, classics student Don Eaton ’68 read The Iliad out loud in the cellar of Mather, subjecting onlookers to a continuous 18 hours and 35 minutes of Achilles’ wrath. But you probably didn’t know that, unless you already discovered the fancy “Marlboro College Through the Years” timeline recently posted on the college website.

This mind-bending meander through Marlboro-ana is the product of hours of pouring through dusty archives. I mean, it required scrutinizing papyrus scrolls, stone tablets, mimeographs and cocktail napkins for essential details about the new buildings, academic programs, community activities and student initiatives that make up the college’s illustrious history. Where else could one find the essentials of “parietal rules” in 1951, or the first Plan student in 1962, or the establishment of the Outdoor Program in 1972? Who ever heard of parietal rules, for that matter (They seem to have something to do with limiting the function of the brain’s parietal lobe when entering a dorm of the opposite sex)? Actually, the exhaustive memoir of Tom Ragle, president emeritus, proved very valuable for remembering many of these early historic highlights.

So, whether you are a pioneer from the early days, a recent graduate, a prospective student or, like me, you just have a really bad memory, the timeline is a great way to take a trip down Marlboro memory lane. Meet the first 50 students, 35 of which were veterans, learn about the Town Meeting ban on cars and ponder the “Men of Marlboro” calendar. I discovered that in 1966, for instance, a potential donor offered $1 million if the college changed its name…to the donor’s name, of course. The potential donor is not identified but the cynic in me wonders if the college name would have changed to Winston or Salem.

 

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