"Take yer hatsoff!" cried a cop in brogue as seniors, debating the advantages of hook-and-eye over zipper gowns, shuffled by the statue of the founder of our nation's oldest and richest institution. Across the Common, where the girls commenced, it was all over by the kissing; for Harvard, only a dry run at the "Rump of Sever."
Less than half the degree candidates showed for a streamlined Class Day. It lasted barely an hour. Robert F. Wagner Jr. '65 delivered a brief W. Jamesian oration in which he attributed collegiate ferment to a dearth of "adventure" on American campuses. Wegner lauded protest and demonstration as an impetus to wider reflection about "vital issues" and as a healthy expression of student dissatisfaction.
Franklin L. Ford, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, spent a few merry hours in Widener's archives, and some parallels and discrepancies between the classes of 1865 and 1965 furnished the text for his remarks. Nine of the 75 who graduated a century ago were drafted but none, Dean Ford advised us, elected to serve. Harvard's role then as now, however, was to speed her men, with words of praise for jobs well done, on to tougher assignments. "That," said the Dean, "is the name of the game."