Alumna Demonstrates the Utility of Lifelong Scholarship


Hunneman believes that couples' marital problems and divorce stem from the lack of equality in relationships.

"In my opinion, some of the principal causes of the present high divorce rate and marital dissatisfaction are the resentments and feelings of dependency which are inevitably fostered by marriages in which the husbands bear the entire financial burden and the wives have no option outside the home," she wrote in the class report.

However, despite her liberal view on women's rights, Hunneman says she didn't feel that her views separated her from her peers.

"My ideas weren't very unconventional, but they were unconventional," she says. "I think many people just thought I was a little odd."

Hunneman describes her upbringing as traditional and says that in her first marriage, to James L. Oakes '45, a circuit court judge, she took a conventional role.


"I think I was pretty much a traditional wife," she says. "I wanted a job, but I wasn't sure that I should."

Hunneman says her husband took the "traditional" role in their marriage as well.

"And my husband was a product of his time too," she says. "He wasn't a father the same way my son is today...he didn't take 50 percent of the care. He was of his time, and I was of mine."

However, Hunneman adds that her husband's traditionalism does not mean that he did not love his children as much as she.

"He just adopted the traditional role of father," she says. "He was very interested and fond of them and still is."

Hunneman remarried in 1980. She met her second husband on a Harvard-associated trip to China. He passed away five years later.

Outside of the home, Hunneman has served in a variety of public and community-service posts throughout her life.

After receiving her master's degree in psychology, Hunneman went to work as a psychologist for Experiments in International Living--a program now known as World Learning that branched off of the Peace Corps and does community service around the world.

While studying at Radcliffe's Bunting Institute after she got her master's in psychology, Hunneman also audited courses at Harvard business School. Through her experience there, Hunneman says, she became interested in utilities, leading her to apply for a position as the public utilites commissioner for the state of Vermont.

"I hadn't much thought about it, but it seemed interesting, and I applied when I saw the notice on our social service board, and then the governor appointed me," she says.