Renaissance Women: Breaking the Woman Barrier

Arcadia Magazine Fall 2008 Cover
Fall 2008 Cover

Each year, a new class of students enters Arcadia with unlimited dreams of what they will become. That hasn’t always been the case. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that women were able to dream without limit. Students in the Class of 1968 entered Arcadia amidst a societal evolution and were soon draped with the moniker “The Renaissance Class.” For them, the full range of careers in arts and sciences was open as never before. When they gathered at Reunion 2008 in June to celebrate their 40th anniversary, they talked about their many accomplishments.

The fall issue of Arcadia magazine takes a look at the Class of ‘68 and some of their individual journeys. “One of the unique things about the Class of ’68 was that at the time of our graduation, corporations were seeking qualified women to train and fill positions that had been offered to men up until that time,” notes Anne Pilert ’68. “Miniskirts not withstanding, women’s lib did begin to open many doors for women college graduates. I chose to follow a more traditionally female career path and became an elementary teacher, while several of my friends went to work for large corporations, banks and businesses on the move.”

I entered college 15 years later, along with my classmates feeling unfettered about what we could do. We were the “superwoman” generation. We had been liberated and wanted to do everything, and in some cases ran ourselves ragged doing what became known as the balancing act between career and family. The young women entering college today have 40 years of history to build on, and the research indicates that they will forge unique paths of their own. Finally, they feel free to make individual choices. Some fully intend to move in and out of the workforce to rear families, knowing that they will be able to get back in the game when they choose. Some are still forging new paths in math and the sciences as well as the arts, humanities and education. All of them have a full menu of choices. That is the legacy of the Renaissance Class-and each class since. In fact, across the nation, more women are going to college than men. Share your thoughts with us; leave a comment.

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3 responses to “Renaissance Women: Breaking the Woman Barrier

  1. I really enjoyed reading the first hand experiences of past Arcadia students. Its truly was a completely different world for women in the 1960’s, and it is interesting to think about how our lives in the 21st Century would be if things hadn’t changed.

  2. I thought the article was very interesting. It was great to see women with such great aspirations during a time that was just starting to give women more rights and freedom. I was also quite shocked to see how two of them, (Allison Rossett and Joann Jacobs), went into Technology fields. As well as two other graduates from the class of ’68 that went into Science fields, which happens to be what I am majoring in. Over all I thought it was very inspiring to read about these women.

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