The letters of acceptance mailed in the spring of 1959 bore the post-mark "Our task is still to build." Originally the motto of the Program for Harvard College, it has since come to reflect the atmosphere of growth to which the Class of '63 has been exposed.
The Class was selected from the largest number of applications in the University's history and lived in a yard which was beginning extensive renovations of its dormitories. The dorm improvements were only the beginning of what was to start an unprecedented spurt in both building and academic changes.
During the time that '63 was in residence the University either completed, began, or announced plans for Leverett Towers, the Holyoke Center, Loeb Drama Center, the Geological Laboratory, William James Center for Behavioral Sciences, dorms for married students, the Kennedy Library, the Countway Medical Library, and a tenth House to be built as soon as the appropriate land is purchased.
The Class of '63 was caught in the middle of several trends, trends which show every indication of being more clearly defined and directed than any any previously.
Most remarkable, perhaps, has been the tendency towards more individual instruction and research. While the University still remains an exponent of the comparatively impersonal lecture system, the years since '59 have resulted in changes which have directly affected those graduating this year.
The introduction of both extensive non-honors tutorial and tutorial in the sciences reflected the University's concern that more students should be able to avail themselves of the University's offerings.
Cloistered View Dispelled
It had long been held that the so-called Ivy-League schools had presented to students a false, cloistered view of the world; a favorite line has always been college students, particularly those at Harvard, have no conception of what lies outside the college community. With the rapid introduction to government service of several faculty members over the past few years--as advisers, officials and planners--this concept has lost much ground.
During the years of the Class of '63, student participation in political affairs also increased considerably; the debates which centered around such groups as Core, SNCC, Tocsin, and the Civil Rights Coordinating Committee were attended by more enthusiasm (and more students) than ever before. The phenomenal number of students who took part in the Peace March to Washington last spring represented this new political involvement.
Harvard student politics was, however, in a fairly shoddy state when '63 arrived in Cambridge; the student council had fallen into disrepute and its effects on the administration and students were minimal. The situation was brought to a head in 1961, and revolved around accusations that council president Howie L. Phillips '62 had been using his student council presidency to further his already prominent career in Young Republican Circles.
Student Council Abolished
In the subsequest of charges and counter-charges, the student council was finally abolished by a student referendum and resurrected as the Harvard Council for Undergraduate Affairs. The movement, led mostly by members of the Class of '63, resulted in the election of Cornelius J. Minihan '63 as chairman and the eventual re-ascendancy in prestige and effectiveness of the council. For the first time in recent memory, HCUA reports are now taken seriously, and the University has acted seriously on the reports of inadequacies in proctoring, food, and especially ticket allocations for football, hockey, and swimming events.
Yet despite an increased emphasis on academic achievement and greater interest in college activities, the Class of '63 has demonstrated a remarkable advance in its interest in the community surrounding the University. From its previous high of 730 members, Phillips Brooks House has jumped this year to 850, and reports that more members of a senior class than ever before are giving service to the community.
The years since 1959 have also seen more cooperation between administration and students, not only in the greater receptivity to student council suggestions but also in the willingness to give greater support to undergraduate organizations. For the first time, the director of the band received a salary from the University; new magazines such as the Harvard Review received full administration support and even sported a letter from President Pusey welcoming such additions to the Harvard community.
Yet '63 did not always agree with the administration. On April 21, 1961, the CRIMSON ran a small article on the bottom of its front page, innocently proclaiming "Lingua Latina Mortua Est." Less than one week later, several students gathered in front of Widener to hear an orator proclaim that Harvard should keep Latin diplomas even if the University became "the last light in a darkened world." Within three hours, more than 2000 students had participated in a riot which rivaled the proportions of the famed Pogo riot, complete with tear gas.
Yet the students lost on all counts: four were arrested and Pusey refused to change the diplomas into English.
Last year, the Class of '63 saw another example of administration-student strain when the CRIMSON produced a series of six editorials criticizing certain aspects of President Pusey's administration. This year, another administration official, Dustin M. Burke '52, general manager of the Harvard Student Agencies and director of the student employment office was criticized for a so-called "conflict of interest."
Yet through all the haze of criticisms by faculty and students, the University was able to resist the advance of academic infringement which began to rear itself at other Universities. When the Daily Pennsylvanian was suspended temporarily, the CRIMSON rushed to Philadelphia with a special edition expressing sympathy for the paper. While the University of Illinois was expelling a professor for advocating free love and other assorted "dirtinesses," Harvard came to the defense of its researcher John P. Spiegel who had been prosecuted for obtaining pornographic pictures despite his claims and the affirmation of his entire department that the pictures were necessary for the type of research he was doing.
Firing Draws No Criticism
So strongly has the University supported academic freedom, that when the Corporation fired an instructor last month for giving undergraduates drugs, few even suggested that the University had been guilty of infringing on academic freedom, despite the instructor's claims that he was engaged in valid scientific research on consciousness-expansion.
As the Class of '63 was soon to learn, however, being part of a University which prides itself on leadership could also be expensive. The rise in faculty salaries, keeping Harvard's at the top of the national scale, was paralleled by tuition hikes. The Class of '63 was subjected to a new 25-cent service charge at the Bick and an increase to $1.75 for haircuts in the Square. With the need for increases, the University has often re-evaluated the advisability of equalization and distribution of financial responsibility among students, such as room adjustment schedules.
Part of the new vitality was reflected on the athletic fields as well, with the football team's capturing the Ivy League championship (with Columbia) in 1961, in a victory which represented the University's first championship among Ivy League Schools since 1919.
Perhaps the most memorable event occurred last spring when John R. Pringle '63 led the swimming team to a 48-47 victory over Yale, and gave Harvard its first win over the Elis in dual competition since 1938. More than 2000 students had lined up for tickets before the meet, and the University finally resolved the problem by broadcasting the meet over closed-circuit T.V. to a capacity crowd in Sanders Theatre.
The Class of 1963 found itself in the middle of an extensive expansion in building, in individual instruction, in greater course offerings, and in the creation of new areas of concentration, such as social studies. 'Sixty-three has taken much from the College, but through active participation in the life around it, it has given much to the College, too.
With the quite recent eradication of gentleman "C's" as a desirable standard, the higher number of honors graduates, the stronger dedication to ideals, '63 has both followed and set new marks in the trends of the University. After four years of study, both they and the College are far richer