JoAnn Copperud ’73.
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Pitzer Majors: Anthropology
What were some of the important topics being discussed by the Pitzer community when you attended? How did the community address these topics?:
Being a student in the late 1960s, the Vietnam War and the beginning of the Women’s Movement were huge parts of my college experience. I was very politically active, and was one of a number of students who went on strike after the American bombing of Cambodia in 1970. It was a very difficult time because so many student strikers were really concerned about being arrested for engaging in civil disobedience and losing financial aid. Plus, we all quit attending class, which resulting in my taking “Incompletes” in all of my classes. It was a huge risk, but I believe we changed minds because of our student activism, and I’m proud of that. And yes, I eventually finished up those four classes!
Did your post-graduate plans change while you were at Pitzer?:
I was really interested in both Biology and Asian Studies, but I ended up majoring in Anthropology. I didn’t have any specific career goals when I was at Pitzer – I just knew that I didn’t want to end up in a traditional female job. There weren’t a lot of great jobs in 1973 for women with a B.A., but I knew I’d figure it out. And I did, eventually!
What skill sets should Pitzer students focus on developing to be competitive in the post-graduate world?:
Learning to listen to diverse opinions, and to draw conclusions based on thorough review of all the data, and express those conclusions clearly and succinctly both verbally and in writing.
How would you describe Pitzer to prospective students?:
A hotbed of learning! A thriving intellectual community where students and faculty care about making the world a better place.
What’s the best way for prospective students to get to know Pitzer?:
Visit campus! I never visited campus before showing up on Day One, but I was convinced it was the right place for me because of the course offerings. It just had so many interesting sounding classes!