Ask the women of Radcliffe College where they attend college and many will tell you they go to Harvard University. That doesn't bother Radcliffe's new president, Linda Smith Wilson. ``Many of the Radcliffe students of this more recent era find a greater desire and need for the community Radcliffe is providing after they leave than when they were here. That's alright,'' she says.
``Radcliffe and Harvard, because of their relationship, give women the best of both worlds,'' says President Wilson.
``Radcliffe provides a challenge to conventions and a model to adaptation,'' said Nannerl Keohane, president of Wellesley College, a women's college in Wellesley, Mass., at the inauguration ceremony.
Donna E. Shalala, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, spoke of Radcliffe as a ``conscience to Harvard.''
For more than six decades, Radcliffe's women students were taught by Harvard professors who crossed the square to Radcliffe Yard and repeated the lectures they gave to the men of Harvard. A 1943 agreement allowed women students into the Harvard classrooms.
It took 20 more years, however, for Radcliffe students to receive Harvard degrees. In 1975, admissions offices were merged and restrictions were lifted on the number of women to be admitted. Since 1977, Harvard has been responsible for housing and other daily student activities for women.
``Getting the doors formally opened, the rules formally changed, is a major change, but it's not the last step,'' says Wilson. She sees an important role for Radcliffe in being an advocate for women's continuing educational opportunities.
``We are not hanging on to a role here because we have nostalgia,'' says Wilson, ``we are only staying in the games where we know we're still needed.''