Preparations for College
The late 1960s was a period of change for students at Trinity College. Even the President of Trinity, Albert C. Jacobs, exhorted the class entering in the fall of 1966 to "change the world and make it better" (Tripod, 1966-09-20).
At that time, all-male undergraduate education reigned. Physical education, as well as general education courses, were required. Courses on non-Western subjects and cultures were not offered. A 'Senior Honorary Society' known as "The Medusa" maintained college traditions through discipline of students (such as regulating social functions and fraternities). The Student Senate was an important outlet for student representation in the non-academic aspects of college. The Air Force maintained a ROTC program on campus. The class entered with 331 students, making the total enrollment at Trinity around 1,000 men in the fall of 1966. Of these freshmen, 172 came from public schools. The Admissions Office did not track the racial identities of the undergraduates. It was the expectation that about 70% of the class would move directly to some sort of graduate education.
By the time the class of 1970 (transfers included) graduated four years later, the college had accepted women as undergraduates and would no longer require physical education. General education requirements had been replaced with an almost entirely open curriculum, except for some "guideline courses" for nonmajors. A few students were even teaching, including Abdillahi Haji '70, who offered a language course in Swahili. Four new majors—Non-Western Studies, Comparative Literature, Sociology, and Theater Arts—offered students new ways of understanding the world. The Student Senate and Medusa had all but disappeared. The United States Air Force would place Trinity's ROTC unit on probation for lack of student interest. Fewer graduates were headed directly to graduate schools; some were about to deploy to Vietnam. The class of 418 students entering in the fall of 1970 (class of 1974) was the largest ever at Trinity, thereby giving the college a total enrollment just shy of 1,500 men and women. In 1970, the Admissions Office began asking about and recording the racial background of entering students.
The excerpts and images shown here document the high academic character that marked the incoming members of the Class of 1970, as well as the intellectual promise which President Jacobs saw in the class.