Wilson Returns From Tour, Meets With Trustees

Low alumnae turnout marks 10-city outreach

Top officials of Radcliffe College gathered in Fay House yesterday afternoon to discuss the next step of the 119-year-old institutions' evolution.

During yesterday's talks, the Radcliffe Board of Trustees took time to meet with members of the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association (RCAA) Board of Management to discuss alumnae opinion about the future of the college.

The meeting comes three days after President Linda S. Wilson wrapped up a month-long, 10-city whirlwind tour of the nation to rally support for Radcliffe and hear alumnae's views on its future. Fewer than 300 women total--less than 1 percent of Radcliffe's alumnae base--turned out to share their opinions with Wilson.

Wilson declined yesterday to provide her thoughts the tour's effectiveness, or the trustees' plans for the future of the college.

Magical Mystery Tour

With seven women showing up to chat about their alma mater in Dallas and eight in Ft. Lauderdale, Wilson's outreach effort was hardly a tour-de-force.

The last tour stop--for which Wilson, Board of Trustees Chairman Nancy-Beth G. Sheerr '71 and RCAA Executive Director Mary M. Carty '74 flew to the University Club in San Francisco--drew about 20.

"I think that tells us all we need to know," said Tina Smith '83, vice president of the Harvard Club of Silicon Valley. "When President Rudenstine visited San Francisco last year, at least 300 to 500--men and women--showed up."

Publicity was uniformly poor; across the nation, alumnae were not sent special invitations to their city's event--although a letter was mailed in September announcing all of the tour dates--nor were they asked to RSVP. In Chicago, some alumnae did not receive news of the tour because of a "mailing glitch," according to Audris S. Wong '89, a member of the Radcliffe Club of Chicago's Board of Directors.

And while alumnae who did attend were able to share their views with Wilson, Wilson shared little with them.

"I can't tell you what we learned tonight," said Judith A. Dollenmayer '63 afterthe tour's kickoff in Washington.

"People were delighted that [Wilson and Sheerr]came; however this is a very empirical crowd,"said Dollenmayer, who just completed her term asthe first female president of the Harvard Club ofWashington. "They want to know the who, what,where, when and how."

At the National Press Club in Washington,Radcliffe officials agree that discussion stalledbecause the tour's ground rules were unclear.

Much of the discussion at that meeting focusedon the attendees' undergraduate memories--some ahalf-century old. Wilson recouped in New York, ameeting characterized by many who attended aspositive and more directed.

After Washington, Wilson began the majority ofher presentations by first warning that shewould--and could--share only the slimmest ofdetails about the negotiations with Harvardregarding a possible merger.

Recommended Articles