MADISON, Wis. — According to Joan Lappin, there were eight things women were allowed to be when she graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1964: school teacher, bank teller, secretary, stewardess, librarian, department store buyer, nurse and social worker.
“I did the first three,” Lappin said. “And many other gals went to college in pursuit of becoming a ’Mrs.’”
Lappin had bigger dreams, however. And, after taking inspiration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she turned those dreams into reality by going on to enjoy a successful career on Wall Street.
That’s just one of many stories alumni from the Class of 1964 will bring with them when they return to UW-Madison from Oct. 9 to 11 when they celebrate their 50-year class reunion. More than 200 classmates are expected to commemorate this milestone moment and to reconnect with the campus and each other.
“When I arrived at UW-Madison from Chicago as a freshman in January of 1961, I marveled at the vastness of the campus and the almost bewildering array of exciting courses and extracurricular activities offered,” recalled Judith Ward, known for her accomplished career on campus, including service as executive associate director of the Waisman Center. “Registering for classes in the old Red Gym in the days before computer registration was like running a marathon, though it was also a great scene for meeting new people and picking up good intelligence about which courses to take.”
Along with reminiscing, reunion-goers will partake in a variety of campus tours and the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s Day of Learning led by UW faculty; as well as sessions about how the 1960s are still affecting the world today, led by author and journalist David Maraniss and fellow 1964 graduate Jeff Greenfield, an award-winning author, journalist and former editor of The Daily Cardinal.
The highlight for many, though, will be a dinner event, at which Chancellor Rebecca Blank will welcome alumni to the Half Century Club. This time-honored tradition will also include awarding commemorative pins and recognizing the Class of 1964 gift. The gift supports the continuing development of the Lakefront Gateway, which combines the Memorial Union Reinvestment, Alumni Park, and One Alumni Place.