Together, at Last: SLC Goes Coed: SLC Goes Coed
“Obviously, the best reason for a man to come here is the same as for a woman,” President Esther Raushenbush wrote in 1969. “That is to get a Sarah Lawrence education, which is different in important ways from education elsewhere.”
By the time Raushenbush wrote this—the same year that coeducation became official at the College—male students had been on campus (for various reasons) for more than 20 years.
After World War II, the U. S. government asked women’s colleges to accommodate returning veterans, who were anxious to get into college under the G.I. Bill. In 1946, the College dropped the last two words from its name—“Sarah Lawrence College for Women”—and admitted 36 veterans over the next five years.
The graduate school, which opened in 1948, welcomed male students, especially in dance, theatre and music, from its beginning. Male undergraduates from other colleges were eager to take part in Sarah Lawrence’s renowned performing arts programs—and the programs were equally interested in the students, since it is a challenge to put on a play with no male actors. By 1953, male students from nearby colleges were allowed to take performing arts classes at SLC for transfer credit.
“…Our educational philosophy and process are equally applicable and beneficial to both men and women.” —Charles De Carlo
By the 1960s, changing ideas about education and about the roles of men and women in society had led almost all single-sex colleges to become coeducational. In 1967, SLC admitted two men as transfer students; in 1968, as an experiment, a handful of male students were admitted for one semester; and in the fall of 1969, Sarah Lawrence formally became a coeducational college.