ixty years ago, Pitzer College was nothing more than a dirt field, a pile of rocks, and a dream. The founding members inspired generations of students to take ownership of their education and build a transformative community. On Feb. 21, Pitzer hosted an inaugural Founders Day event to celebrate its 60th anniversary and the people who made that possible.
Dubbed the “Women of the Sixties,” some of the early graduates returned to campus to share their groundbreaking history with students, faculty, and other alumni. After watching a “Pitzer Then and Now” slideshow from the 1960s to the present, community members gathered with the alums for interactive conversations. Afterward, people perused the yearbooks and course catalogs from the College’s early days and left mementos to be placed in the Founders Day Memory Chest.Later in the afternoon, the special group of alums led a walking tour across campus. They gave insight into a multitude of black-and-white photos in McConnell Center and Scott Hall, including the town hall meetings (the beginnings of shared governance) and the founding faculty portraits. By the end of the tour, they were exchanging contact information with students and promising to see them again at Alumni Weekend.
Members of Pitzer’s Trailblazers classes (Class of 1973 and earlier) talked about how they charted their educational course with eagerness and innovation—a tradition that students continue to this day. Beyond the festivities, Founders Day became an opportunity for bridging generations and honoring the past and present.
“When I first looked at the campus, it was blank. … I came here because it was a blank page, and it just drew me. It changed my life.”
—Louise Thornton ’68
Trustee Louise Thornton ’68 put it best when she said: “When I first looked at the campus, it was blank. Dirt, rocks, and sagebrush. I came here because it was a blank page, and it just drew me. It changed my life.”
May Pitzer continue to change lives for the next 60 years and beyond.