This week I looked through 2 binders titled “The Harvey Mudd College Diary” and found out a bit more about Harvey Mudd College’s beginnings. As expected, establishing a new college is not a simple thing. George Wickes, one of the original founding members of the college, documented the highs and lows of the first three years of the college. Today I want to share some excerpts from the diary.
September 20, 1957
“This morning we all had a sense that Harvey Mudd College had at last come into being… In the afternoon the College trustees made it official with a tour of inspection. Although the dust had not yet settled, they seemed as pleased with it as we are.”
September 26, 1957
“This date should go down in history as marking the formal opening of Harvey Mudd College… President Platt then turned to the future of Harvey Mudd College, inviting all present to look back from the vantage point of the year 2000 and consider what we might behold. Thus he brought it home to us that the responsibility is ours: ‘The future of Harvey Mudd College is what we make of it.'”
October 4, 1957
“We ran head-on into the solid realities of building a new college this afternoon at faculty meeting when we began to consider plans for a science building and to peer into the future generally. How many students shall we admit, how many dorms shall we build, how many classrooms and labs will we need?
October 8, 1957
“General alarm as Bill Davenport reported at faculty meeting that some of our students are discouraged about their studies, a few to the point of being panic-stricken, one even ready to bolt. Probably they suffer only from a routine case of freshman blues, but without upperclassmen to diagnose their ailment, they are understandably demoralized.”
May 20, 1958
“Already we’re beginning to celebrate anniversaries. It seems hard to believe, but a year ago we first gathered as a faculty to plan what we were going to do. Claremont was strange to us then, the college illusory, without students or buildings, the whole week rather unreal as we met briefly and exchanged ideas, only to disperse again our several ways.”
Though these are only a few pieces from a few diary entries, it shows that so much time, effort, and patience goes into something of this scale.
More next week!