To mark the 50th anniversary of Kirkland College’s first matriculating class, the Hamilton magazine asked a few alumnae to share how their experiences on College Hill shaped their lives.
Contact Lori Richard Reidel K’77, president of the Kirkland College Alumnae Association, to get more involved or to share ideas and questions.
The diversity of Kirkland women is best told through personal narratives. Long after our college closed her doors, our history remains compelling to current students, their parents, and current faculty members. The Kirkland Pioneers Poster Project helps gather snippets (and longer bios for the Kirkland Archives) paired with past and current imagery. The project fosters a greater understanding of who we are and how we changed College Hill. It highlights the range of career and life choices we made, offering a glimpse into our collective pioneer spirit.
To help perpetuate the Kirkland legacy on College Hill a number of specific initiatives have been established.
History of Kirkland College
Kirkland was to be the first of a cluster of colleges envisioned to reflect the model of the Claremont Colleges in California. Hamilton was an all male school at the time – McEwen and the board felt that creating a women’s college would be a reasonable path in an era in which the concept of co-education was being embraced. Kirkland College was chartered in 1965: its first class entered in 1968. Kirkland brought women to College hill along with a more diverse lifestyle and an innovative philosophy of teaching. Kirkland rounded out the Hamilton curriculum, adding the departments and offerings in the arts, creative writing and social sciences. Students could take courses at either school.
As a brand new school, Kirkland was heavily dependent on Hamilton financially. Without an endowment Kirkland’s finances became more and more precarious. In 1978 Hamilton’s President and Board of Trustees decided to merge the two schools. The curriculum remained the same. The legacy of Kirkland changed the Hill and enriched the Hamilton experience.