Meet a Pitzer Alumna: Louise Beaudette Thornton ’68

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LOUISE BEAUDETTE THORNTON ’68 and Pitzer College found each other at just the right moment in 1964—when both were embarking on bright, uncertain futures. Pitzer consisted of just two buildings, and Thornton was beginning a transformative student career at what would become one of America’s leading liberal arts colleges.

Video Transcript: Louise Beaudette Thornton ’68 Video Profile

Going to a brand new school is an exciting thing. The freedom that represents the ability to create, the ability to become involved. That’s the spirit of Pitzer.

My name is Louise Beaudette Thornton and I’m from the Class of 1968, the charter class.

Well, we were the first four-year class at Pitzer, we came in as freshmen and were there for four years and graduated in ’68. While we kind of decided we were the charter class, some of us were struck with continuing that.

When Pitzer first opened in September of ’64, Sanborn Hall was the dormitory and Scott Hall was the administration and academic building. There were twelve faculty and staff and that included President Atherton and Dean Elmott. That was the administration, that was the faculty. So that was Pitzer; the rest of it was rocks and dirt.

I think just the people, the friendliness, the openness, the welcomingness of everybody was all so new so exciting, so the enthusiasm was there.

I think the thing that struck me the most was we were treated as personal equals to the faculty and we were being asked our opinions and they weren’t brushed away; they were, in many cases, incorporated and so that just made things really fun and educating.

You know, one of the funny things someone would say is, “Where are you going to college?”

“I’m going to Pitzer College.”

Pitzer was, of course, brand new, they never heard of it so you’d go through this long spiel. So even after graduating Pitzer four years later, you’d still have to go and explain all that. And it’s one of the things that we all get a kick out of today.

I’m still involved with a lot of the fellow alums and it is a fact that we can say we went to Pitzer College and they’ll go yes, we know of Pitzer College. It’s very rewarding to know that all of us have a part in that becoming of Pitzer.

It was just a fabulous experience.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility, and community involvement. For more information, please visit