Friday, August 19, 2011

Hello, Ladies (and Gentlemen)

ON THE THRESHOLD of the 2011-2012 academic year, Chalon is buzzing -- although you can't hear it. People are moving a lot faster, lingering projects are finally being wrapped up (like the new 24-hour study room), the desks that got cleaned out in July (and the contents sent to the Archives) are filled with new staples and pens, and Office Depot is delivering printer paper practically by the forklift. Time to get going!

For the freshmen who might see this, here is a photo of your academic ancestors, the Class of 1929, the ones who started the school you're now attending. Things were different when they started college...
  • The student body numbered 25, and it would be decades before a male student was accepted.
  • There was just one degree -- bachelor's -- and a handful of majors.
  • The faculty, staff and administration were almost all nuns, and they wore habits.
  • Nuns did the cooking and housekeeping, served the sit-down meals and did the resident students' laundry.
  • Almost everybody was Catholic. Students went to Mass (in Latin) every morning wearing academic garb over their uniforms.
  • Los Angeles was a small town (pop. 650,000), and MSMC's first Westside location was thought to be practically in the boondocks.
  • Almost no one had a car, although some dreamed of having their own airplanes.
Welcome to the Mount, ladies and gentlemen. Remember that, like these young women in the picture, you'll get out of the College whatever you decide to put into it. I hope you'll make some history of your own. And aren't you glad you don't have to wear a uniform?

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