"No very good reason for not doing this": Dartmouth Trailblazers

Dartmouth has been slowly taking steps to become a more inclusive place for all its students. In 1972, the first women students matriculated, and in the early 1970s, a renewed commitment to education of Native American students lead to the creation of the Native American Studies program.

The Afro American Society and the Formation of Black Studies at Dartmouth

The urgency, the immediacy, the importance of what needed to be done was sensed here, and things were done and changed very, very dramatically. And it became, you know, a bit of a model for what should be done everywhere. The New York Times had this article: DARTMOUTH ADMITS 100 BLACK STUDENTS, ... something like the most ever in the Ivies. It happened in 1972 I think. It really did become a model for what is possible. And, you know, I carried that with me for the rest of my life, that -- what a few guys can do.

-- From an interview with Forrester Ashe Lee, '68 on March 1, 2013

Artium Baccalaurei '73 - The First Alumnae

Trustee Thomas W. Braden later wrote: "So here we are... sitting around a long polished table in the trustees' room, trying to decide whether to admit women to Dartmouth, and hold classes the year around, partly so as to make room for the women. Now there was no very good reason for not doing this, except the reason that it would change things. But you would have thought to hear us talk that we were about to bulldoze the place...."

-- President David T. McLaughlin discussing coeducation in his 2007 book, Choices Made: a Memoir.

"When the first group of women arrived, they were foreigners like I was. Like the few faculty women that started to trickle in, we didn't belong to the place. It was very uncomfortable. We were looked at as strangers, as off people who did not belong to the place."

-- Professor Marysa Shadara MacNicol, 2018

"We knew we were a part of history in the making. You don't get that chance very often and as any pioneer would find, there were times where the going was tough... We were all so grateful to be part of bringing Dartmouth into the world serving the entire population and not just half the population. I mean could you imagine today if Dartmouth wasn't coed?"

-- Martha Beattie '76

Previous: "Yard by Yard"

[Demands and Responses]

In 1969, Dartmouth's Afro-American Society wrote a letter to the administration, demanding increased recruitment, admission, and support for Black students, as well as the creation of a Black Studies program.

Black Students and Alumni

Members of the Class of 1973 from left to right: Swift C. Barnes III, George C. Riley III, Derek J. Rice and Stephen P. Stetson.

Green Book [for class of 1976]

The Freshman Green Book for the Class of 1976, issued Fall 1972. 

Green Book [class of 1976]

The Freshman Green Book for the Class of 1976, issued Fall 1972.  Most of the transfer students that year were women, many of whom were awarded Dartmouth degrees in 1973.

Choices Made.

President David T. McLaughlin's 2007 book, Choices Made: a Memoir.

Samson Occom, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 24 July 1771

"Leaving you and your Service Confirms me in this opinion, Your having So many white Scholars and, So few or no Indian Scholars, gives me great Discouragement." -- Samson Occom, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 24 July 1771.

Native Americans 2

David Bonga '74 (White Earth Chippewa), Director of Native American Program 1975-1979.

[Native American Visiting Council letter]

A letter from Robert Kilmarx '50 to Michael Dorris (Modoc), Michael Hanitchak '73 (Choctaw-Chickasaw), and Gregory Prince dated June 7, 1975.