The Great Day

378 female students from Wellesley, Smith, Mt. Holyoke and Colby Junior College attended the event.

The photos above appeared in the April 1967 issue of Dartmouth Alumni Magazine

On Saturday, March 4, 1967, the student-led Committee on Freshman Reading Freshman held a day of book discussions with students from nearby womens colleges. The day was meant to give undergraduates a chance to interact with visiting female students within an intellectual context (as opposed to explicitly social nature of other socializing opportunities like Green Key weekend or Winter Carnival.)

“The Great Day” was organized after two successful co-educational discussion days were held in the fall of 1966—one with Colby Junior College, the other with Smith College. Organizers from the participating schools gathered in December to begin planning Dartmouth’s large March event. 

This class of freshmen would be the last to graduate before Dartmouth went co-ed in 1972.

Participating students were broken into groups of five men and five women with each group’s discussion being led by a fellow student.

Over four hundred Dartmouth undergraduates participated in the discussions, which brought 385 female students from Colby Junior College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Wellesley College. To participate, Dartmouth students had to sign up and pay a $1 participation fee; the female participants were responsible for their bus fare to Hanover.

The discussions 75 titles were agreed upon in advance and included The Hobbit and Crime and Punishment.

“Socially, the program provides an informal and relaxed atmosphere where students of opposite sexes may meet under no inhibitory pressures as in mixers or dances,” said Michael Chu 69, director of the program, in an article about the day’s events that appeared ahead of the occasion in The Dartmouth

Participants ate dinner together before electing to join in the evening’s many social opportunities, which included a gathering at the Top of the Hop, a viewing of the film Divorce Italian Style, “Al Foley’s Variety Night” in Spaulding, and a Dartmouth hockey game against Brown. 

The visiting female students re-boarded their charter buses back to their respective colleges that evening around 11pm.