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Coordinate Colleges for American Women

A Convergence of Interests, 1947-78

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Linda C. Morice

Coordinate Colleges for American Women: A Convergence of Interests, 1947–78 explores the history of the coordinate college—a separate school of higher learning for women connected to an older, all-male institution. This book places special emphasis on three (previously all-male) liberal arts colleges located in the Midwest and upstate New York. They established women’s coordinate colleges in the years following World War II, but ended them by 1980, becoming fully coeducational. The author draws on new primary sources to show that, in each case, a coordinate college was created to meet the converging interests of the founding institution—not to improve the education of women. The work is set in the context of four major social movements during the mid-to-late twentieth century involving civil rights, student rights, antiwar protest, and women’s liberation.

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Chapter 7. Three Campuses Revisited

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| 179 →

· 7 ·

THREE CAMPUSES REVISITED

Nearly four decades have passed since Hanover, Kenyon, and Hamilton absorbed their coordinate colleges for women. They have remained small, coeducational institutions committed to a liberal arts education. Today all three schools are on a solid financial footing, and are frequently included on lists of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States. Although initially established for men, each college now has a slight majority of women in its student population; each has appointed a woman president within recent years.1 Since—as Linda Eisenmann contends—coordinate colleges offer lessons in female institution-building, it is appropriate to look at Hanover, Kenyon, and Hamilton today to see how their prior experience with coordination is reflected in current practice. In so doing, this book does not attempt to compare the quality of each school’s female collegiate experience with that of its coordinate past. Such an endeavor lies beyond the bounds of this study.

Hanover

In 2017–18, Hanover College had 1,089 students, 54 percent of whom were women. Roughly 81.5 percent of the students identify as white.2 Unlike the separate men’s and women’s living units that characterized student housing ← 179 | 180 → during the years of Long College, today’s students live in campus residences that are both single-sex and coeducational. The three sorority houses that were built on a loan from the Long trust still function according to their original purpose.3 Although Hanover students do not affiliate...

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