Celebrating 40 Years of Coeducation

  • The signature event is the formal dedication of the Patricia E. Harris Center for Business, Government and Public Policy on Oct. 10.  

The range of activities planned for Franklin & Marshall’s celebration of 40 Years of Coeducation, The Legacy of Women at Franklin & Marshall is as diverse and engaging as the women who inhabit the F&M campus. An impressive array of talented and influential women will come to campus this fall to mark the occasion.

The events will include thought-provoking lectures by nationally recognized speakers on issues affecting women. There will be visits by accomplished writers. And, in the centerpiece event, dignitaries will dedicate the College’s newest academic neighborhood.

Author Ariel Levy and poet Robin Morgan will arrive on campus in October to engage in a dialogue on “Intergenerational Feminism.” Levy is a contributing writer for the New Yorker and author of Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. She has appeared on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, ABC’s Oprah and Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Feminist poet Morgan has published 20 books, including the anthologies Sisterhood Is Powerful and Sisterhood Is Global.

This year’s Hausman Lecture will feature Amy Bloom, an award-winning novelist and short-story writer. Bloom, who teaches in the English Department at Yale University, has written for the New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and Atlantic Monthly. Bloom is the author of two novels and two collections of short stories and will also give a fiction craft talk at the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House.

The signature event is the formal dedication of the Patricia E. Harris Center for Business, Government and Public Policy on Oct. 10. The dedication will include a keynote speaker, reception and tours of the facility, named in honor of Patti Harris ’77, first deputy mayor of the City of New York and a Trustee of Franklin & Marshall.

Harris graduated from Franklin & Marshall with a degree in government and is one of the College’s most accomplished graduates. Appointed deputy mayor by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2001, Harris began her career in public service in 1977 as an assistant to Congressman Edward Koch. She served throughout Koch’s term as mayor of the City of New York, primarily as assistant to the mayor and executive director of the Art Commission.

Thanks to an anonymous gift on Harris’ behalf, the College was able to renovate the former Fackenthal Laboratories into a state-of-the-art facility to house the Business, Organizations & Society and Government departments, as well as the Floyd Institute for Public Policy and Information Technology Services.

Dennis Deslippe, associate professor of American Studies and Women's & Gender Studies, helped to plan this year’s events. Deslippe says the College’s transformation into a coeducational institution in fall 1969 involved “a redefinition of the college experience itself. Women changed the courses that were taught and the way in which they were taught. The imprint can be felt on the F&M campus today, whether it be in a classics, history, or the sciences.”

Director of Alumni Relations Cathy Cross Roman ’77 is hopeful that “all our students, male and female, take from these events an understanding of the historical impact of coeducation on the campus and a sense of celebration of this important milestone.”

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