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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Class of 1966 Shoots Above Planned Size

By Richard Cotton

The Class of 1966 rocketed past all Admissions Office predictions as it piled up a total of 1220 men without the admission of any waiting list candidates. It will thus inadvertently be the largest Harvard freshman class since the veteran-choked classes of the late forties.

The bumper crop of freshmen is the product of the highest rate of acceptance in the past 20 years. This year's candidates flooded the Admissions Office with acceptances at the unheard of rate of 84 per cent--a full five per cent jump over '65.

The percentage of students accepting admission offers has been climbing fairly steadily for the past ten years. It finally passed the 70 per cent mark in 1956, climbed to 80.4 per cent two years ago, fell slightly to 79.1 last year, and then leaped to this year's high of 34 per cent.

The Admissions Office, however, not only didn't expect this sudden rise, but had actually predicted a drop in the rate to a 78 per cent return on this year's 1450 admission offers. Fred L. Glimp '50 , Dean of Admissions, called the six per cent miss "an incredible error," but also observed that this type of jump is "pretty unusual."

The number of commuters in the Class of '66 dropped to 28 from last year's total of 32. Thus, the entire increase is in resident students. Glimp felt that the new spaces in Weld should keep any crowding in the Yard to a minimum, while the nine House shouldn't have any real trouble in absorbing the extra men.

The Admissions Office has received 1213 acceptances from the students admitted this year, which, combined with seven men admitted last year who postponed entrance until this September, round out the class to 1220.

The original target size for the class was 1185--a figure which was supposed to include about 50 students from the waiting list.

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