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Chicagophile


LETTERS
O-Week goes way back


The letter from Isadore Richlin ("Letters," June/01) called my attention to the question of the beginning of Orientation Week. Mr. Richlin notes that he experienced it in 1932. Orientation Week and indeed the white booklet detailing the schedule of the week go back to at least 1922 or 1923. Someplace in my papers, I have a copy of the booklet from that year. It differs only in the programmatic details, not the format or appearance, from the booklet that I edited annually as Dean of Freshmen in the 1960s and that was still in use when I left the University in 1975.

In the College of the late 1940s and early 1950s when great emphasis was placed on "early entrance," "first-year student" referred to a student who entered after only two years of secondary school, "second-year student" referred to one entering after three years of secondary school, and "third-year student" referred to a secondary school graduate. Classes entering in 1951 and 1952 consisted of about 40 percent early entrants, but class size was rapidly declining. In 1953-54 the baccalaureate degree was relocated to the four-year, post-secondary pattern; the "Hutchins A.B." was eliminated; and early entrance was de-emphasized. In the years immediately following, in the lingo of the epigoni, "first-year student" was employed to avoid the use of "freshman."

My title was created in the mid-1960s as part of an effort to recreate "classes" both to improve the sense of community within the College and to suit the convenience of the fundraisers. When I resigned, then Dean of Students in the College Lorna Straus abolished the title in recognition of common Chicago usage and the fact that "classes" were emerging without the standard names.

James W. Vice Jr., AM'54
Wabash, Indiana




  OCTOBER 2001

  > > Volume 94, Number 1


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