Holy Cross: 1950–1989

Students gather on Fenwick Porch to protest, a common occurrence during the politically active 1960s.

Students gather on Fenwick Porch to protest, a common occurrence during the politically active 1960s.

1950 A sprinkler system is installed in Fenwick and O'Kane halls, where boarding students are housed in barrack-style quarters due to overcrowding. The antiquated construction of the buildings raised fire hazard concerns.

March 23, 1950 Bob Cousy '50 is named the nation's outstanding player by the National Basketball Writers of America.       

1950 Holy Cross' student body is less regional, with only about half of students originating from New England. The number of students from the Mid-Atlantic (including New York City) grew to about one-third of the total population.

1951 The Biology Building is dedicated. (It was renamed O'Neil Memorial Hall, after William O'Neil, class of 1907, in 1959.) Built adjacent to Beaven Hall, it housed classrooms for chemistry and physics, and a library for the natural sciences. The push for the building began with Rev. William J. Healy, S.J., during his presidency, in an attempt to reinforce the College's premedical program, which had been ranked sixth in the nation and the best at a Catholic college in a survey released by University of Chicago in the late 1940s.     

1951 Air Force ROTC unit is established and 271 students enroll.       

1951 Four concentrations are created under the B.S. in business administration: accounting, economics, industrial relations and marketing. The new academic paths were a response to the growing number of students entering careers in management, medicine and law after the war. Only a small percentage of students were entering ordained ministries, which had been far and away the most popular occupation choice in the beginning of the century.

1952 Baseball team wins NCAA Championship in Omaha, Nebraska, with a season record of 21-3.    

1952 The class of 1952 gifts the College an outdoor nativity scene, which was displayed on the steps of the library during the Christmas season.

Sept. 26, 1953 First football game is nationally televised from New England: Holy Cross 28, Dartmouth 6.       

Nov. 20-21, 1954 First Parents' Weekend is held, sponsored by Purple Key.

Dec. 1954 Dr. Joseph Murray '40 performs the world's first successful organ transplant.

1954 Rev. William A. Donaghy, S.J., becomes the 27th president     

1954 Hanselman and Lehy halls are dedicated and opened as residence halls for seniors, housing a combined 360 students. The decision to build the residence halls brought the College's boarding capacity comfortably to 1,330 students. Along with 500 day students, the College aimed to maintain its post-war enrollment of 1,800.        

1955 The student newspaper name changes from "The Tomahawk" to "The Crusader." The editors aimed to affirm the seriousness of the publication and to employ a more professional style.

1955 Mary Chapel, located in the basement of St. Joseph Memorial Chapel, is completed to accommodate the large student body, which could not fit in the upper church. After the completion of the new chapel, daily compulsory Mass was re-instated.

1956 Holy Cross opens a language laboratory and sends students to the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, in what is the beginning of the College's study abroad program

1956 While student life at Holy Cross is still closely supervised, some leniencies are given: weekend-out permissions are extended to 1 a.m. and seniors are allowed to receive guests in Lehy and Hanselman halls. Dormitory regulations still forbade students from bringing women (including mothers and sisters) into the rooms, and intoxication and possession of alcoholic beverages was punishable by expulsion.

1958 College Archives is established in order to house and categorize the College's historical materials that were being stored across campus and neglected.

1959 Haberlin Hall, named after Mgr. Richard J. Haberlin, class of 1906, is dedicated. The building, which included 17 classrooms and a lecture hall for 210 people, was constructed out of urgent need for another science building.

1959 Lacrosse is introduced as a varsity sport.

1959 The Honors Program is established, and 16 students are selected to begin an interdisciplinary Sophomore Honors colloquium on the Renaissance. The program featured colloquia, oral and written examinations, and a senior thesis, a requirement that was revoked for all students the same year.

1960 Rev. Raymond J. Swords, S.J. '38 becomes the 28th president.       

1961 Number of Jesuits peaks at 105, with 83 serving as instructors. Full-time lay faculty grows to 69.       

1961 New tenure and promotion policies are established, whereby associate professors are required to have a Ph.D. and assistant professors a master's with the plans for the completion of a doctorate. This was the first major change made to these policies since 1949.

1962 The associate-trustee board is reactivated, comprised of 26 laymen. Similar to other Jesuit colleges and universities, the board of trustees at Holy Cross, which was the legal governing board with the power to accept or reject recommendations of the associates, was made up exclusively of Jesuits.   

1962 A $20.4 million building and endowment campaign is announced.       

1962 Rev. Raymond Swords, S.J., revokes compulsory Mass. Seeing the changing attitudes on campus toward the requirement and knowledgeable of similar conversations happening in Rome, he decided that students were to be encouraged to attend daily Mass, but not forced.         

1962 Robert Frost visits campus.       

1962 A 33-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at the Field House.

Fall 1962 Two new residence halls, named after Bishop James A. Healy, class of 1849, and Rev. James Clark, S.J., are opened next to Lehy and Hanselman halls. The two buildings provided housing for 364 students and 16 Jesuits, and ended the residence of about 250 people in Campion House, Fenwick and O'Kane halls.

1962 The state of Massachusetts and College negotiate an agreement to have I-290 take a northerly route, no longer requiring the acquisition of Fitton Field and the football stadium. The state acquired two small parcels of land from the College, which required the re-orientation of the baseball field.

1963 Maureen Begley Zlody, the first female faculty member, is hired into the newly established psychology department, which expanded the College's academic offerings in the social sciences.

1963 All remaining student rooms are moved out of Fenwick and O'Kane halls.  

1963 For the first time in College's history, the number of lay professors surpasses the number of Jesuit faculty.

1964 2,000 students are enrolled.       

1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson is the commencement speaker and receives an honorary degree. In front of 14,000 people at Fitton Field, the president asks graduates to dedicate themselves to the service of humanity.

1965 First Hanify-Howland Memorial Lecture is given by Hon. Paul Reardon, a Massachusetts Supreme Court justice. The memorial lecture series, named for Hon. Edward F. Hanify, class of 1904, and Weston Howland, aims to attract speakers whose careers model service in public affairs.

1965 The Jesuit provincial rejects the appointment of a lay academic dean initiated by Rev. Raymond Swords, S.J. The attempt was an effort to bring laymen into administrative posts to promote a shared responsibility between Jesuit and lay faculty for the academic program. 

1965 Fenwick Theatre is renovated and formally opened.

1965 Loyola Hall, located behind the chapel and at the site of the old barn, is dedicated. Rather than renovating the Jesuit quarters in Fenwick and O'Kane halls, the College decided to build a new five-story structure containing 72 bedrooms, a chapel, library, dining room, visitors' parlors, offices, recreational rooms and an infirmary.

1965 Last College Catalog mentioning the "Ratio Studiorum" as the foundation for degree requirements is printed. The core curriculum now consisted of six semesters of philosophy, four of theology, two of English, history, and the natural sciences, a language requirement of two to four semesters and a non-credit requirement in composition. Majors required a maximum of 12 semester-long courses. During the following academic year, faculty overwhelmingly endorsed the further reduction of the philosophy requirement from six to three courses.    

1966 Mulledy Hall, named after the College's first president, Rev. Thomas F. Mulledy, S.J., is dedicated. The residence hall, built next to the recently finished Clark Hall, provides housing for 350 students as the College continued to increase enrollment, which had exceeded 2,000.       

1966 Lights-out policy is dropped, students are allowed to entertain women in their rooms at designated times, and jacket-and-tie dress code for Kimball Hall is relaxed in a change that reflects a greater emphasis on students assuming personal responsibility.

1966 The highly competitive Fenwick Scholar program is established, which permits one (or more) outstanding seniors to work on an academically rigorous project for the duration of the academic year, abstaining from course requirements.   

1967 Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J. '49, chair of the theology department, hires two non-Catholics to teach scripture studies, both of whom had either completed or were completing doctorate degrees. The goal was to transition the department from promoting Roman Catholicism into a department teaching theology as an academic discipline, on par with the approach and rigor of other departments on campus.        

1967 Hogan Campus Center, named after Henry M. Hogan, class of 1918, is dedicated. Set on the slope above the library, the multistory building became a social and recreational center for students, featuring a fencing room, golf room, 11 billiards tables, seven table tennis tables, eight bowling lanes and locker rooms for day students. The new building also housed the post office, bookstore, offices and space for public functions.    

1967 Class deans are directed to stay with their designated class for four years in order to provide better counseling and develop stronger relationships with students.       

Oct. 1968 A three-day celebration is held to commemorate the College's 125th anniversary. A convocation featured invited speaker and Harvard University President Nathan M. Pusey, who discussed the importance and influence a liberal arts education has on students.

1968 A.B. is now awarded without Latin requirement; B.S. degree is eliminated. The New England provincial authorized the A.B. without Latin in 1959 after nationwide discussions around the declining numbers of students studying the subject. Approved changes included conditions designed to protect the study of the humanities, but the College was slow to implement the change even though the number of students taking Latin fell to as little as 30 percent after World War II. Before eliminating the Latin requirement in the late '60s, Holy Cross awarded mostly B.S. degrees for two decades.

1968 Student Programs for Urban Development (SPUD), a student-led volunteer organization, is organized by Patrick E. Clancy '68 and other Holy Cross students who recognized the need to connect with their Worcester neighbors and use their efforts to address the needs of the community.

April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated. Seven hundred Holy Cross students marched to a local demonstration following his death.

Fall 1968 Recruited by Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J. '49, 19 black students enroll at Holy Cross, joining nine other minority students. After hearing directly from its black students about their needs and concerns, the College made efforts to hire more faculty of color, recruit more minority students and to change the curriculum to include more courses in African-American literature, art and history. By the next academic year, black student enrollment rose to 68 after active recruitment. 

1968 Students were given a formal voice in College governance, particularly in decisions affecting their academic and social lives.

1968 A formal graduation is held for the class of 1943, whose commencement exercises were postponed due to World War II. The ceremony was held during their 25th reunion.     

1969 College honors students' petition to eliminate the reference to "Old Black Joe" from the school song, "Mamie Reilly."

1969 College approves black students' request for a separate corridor in Healy Hall. Known as "The Black Corridor" and originally on the fourth floor of Healy, the space gave the College's minority students the option of living together, providing a sense of community and support. The corridor eventually sported the red, black and green stripes of the African Liberation Flag painted along the walls. 

Feb. 1969 Holy Cross hosts Co-Ed Week, during which 250 women (referred to as "girls" in the event material) shared a week of classes, discussions and athletic events on campus.  

March 1969 Black Student Union, the affinity group for black students, is formally recognized by the College. With the Black Power and civil rights movements as backdrop, the group grew out of a need to give voice, solidarity and lobbying power to black students on campus.

1969 50 percent of faculty hold doctorates, a significant increase from 22 percent in 1958.  

1969 Positions of president and rector of the Holy Cross Jesuit community are separated; Rev. William O'Halloran, S.J., is named rector       

1969 Separation of the two corporations, The College of the Holy Cross and The Jesuits of Holy Cross, Incorporated, is enacted. This meant the Society of Jesus no longer had legal authority over or responsibility for Holy Cross; that responsibility now fell to the board of trustees.

1969 Faculty expands to 188 members and the number of Jesuits decreases to 54; 10 years earlier, the reaccreditation report from 1958 counted 128 faculty and 91 Jesuits.

June 1969 Charles Horgan '33, an associate trustee and Jesuit cannon lawyer who worked to facilitate the separation of the College and Jesuit corporations, is selected as the first lay trustee. By December, three additional lay trustees were appointed, and Horgan was named the first lay chair on a board that was historically exclusively comprised of Jesuits. 

Fall 1969 The entire football team, plus coaches and managers, contract hepatitis A, which medical investigators trace back to a water source on the practice field that had been contaminated by local children over the summer. The football season was cancelled.

Oct. 1969 British rock band The Who performs at Homecoming.  

Oct. 15, 1969 Rev. Raymond Swords, S.J., invites campus to support nationwide Vietnam Moratorium Day. A Mass for Peace, held on the steps of Dinand, is attended by 1,500 people.       

Dec. 1, 1969 Under increased presence of protests against recruiters on campus, the Faculty-Student Assembly agrees on the principle of an "open campus." The policy protected students looking to access career counseling from visiting recruiters, representing legitimate business firms or government agencies, from students protesting their presence on campus. 

Dec. 10, 1969 Dozens of students stage a protest against GE recruiters who arrive on campus. Students supported the ongoing strike by GE's unionized workers for higher wages and improved benefits and protested the company's role as a major manufacturer of weapons used in the Vietnam War. Among those protesting were five black students, who decided to attend on their own after the Black Student Union voted to remain neutral. The same day, the College released a statement that the protesters, in full knowledge of the demonstration's violation of College policy, would be subject to suspension or expulsion.

Dec. 14, 1969 Holy Cross administrators identify 16 of the 54 students protesting GE recruiters on campus, charging them with violating College policy. Four of the 16 students charged were black; there were five black students present in total. The Black Student Union (BSU), which voted to remain neutral for the protest, became involved, arguing that a disproportionately high number of black students were charged because they were more easily identifiable, which they argued was ultimately an act of racism. After the student protesters were formally suspended, almost every member of the BSU, approximately 60 people, along with 50 white students, walked out of campus in protest. The administration held emergency meetings, knowing that losing their black student population was at stake, and ultimately decided to offer amnesty to all 16 students who were suspended. The students returned to campus.

1970 The trustees decide to defer a final decision on coeducation because of other pressing matters, including selecting a new president. Cost also played a role, with an initial estimate of accommodating women on campus costing around $2 million for mirrors, bathtubs, shampoo sinks and residence life staff. This was more than a year after the Faculty-Student Assembly voted, unanimously endorsing coeducation.

1970 Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J. '49 becomes the 29th president.       

1970 2,493 students are enrolled.        

1970 Two major curricular changes are made. The College adopts a four-course plan of study, emulating other leading institutions and enhancing students' flexibility and experimentation. The core curriculum is also dropped, and a strong advisory system was adopted, leaving students open to create their own curriculum with guidance.       

May 1970 The Faculty-Student Assembly votes to join other schools in suspending classes for a week, following the invasion of Cambodia and protests that erupted across the nation, including those that led to the burning of ROTC buildings across American college campuses and the killings of students at Kent State University by the National Guard. At Holy Cross, 53 faculty members and 1,100 students participated in workshops, panels and symposia over the week-long moratorium. After a symposium on excluding ROTC programs on campus, 200 students gathered outside of the Air Force ROTC building on campus in protest.

1970 Concerned about repercussions for cancelling classes (such as lawsuits or demands for rebates), the trustees and associate trustees adopt a policy distancing the institution from taking a specific position on the war.

1971 Coeducation is passed by the trustees, who decide to enroll women in fall 1972 without increasing the size of the student body.

1971 The faculty endorse a new Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, which gives students more responsibility and independence in their educational process. The program sponsored interdisciplinary courses and seminars, student-designed plans of study, fieldwork opportunities such as internships, and exchange programs.

1971 The College eliminates the tradition of family-style meals in Kimball due to overcrowding in the building; a cafeteria system is introduced.

1971 Washington Semester Program begins, sending a handful of students to Washington, D.C., to intern, study and conduct research.

1972 Women comprise 5 percent of the faculty.

1972 First female students arrive on campus, joining the classes of 1974 and 1975, as well as the incoming class of 1976. Students were housed on the renovated second, third and fourth floors of Mulledy Hall. Women constituted 30 percent of the class of 1976, but only 10 percent of the student body at the time.

1972 First Classics Day is held, welcoming local high school students to Holy Cross for a day of activities related to the study of the ancient Greek and Roman cultures.

1973 A Holy Cross chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest academic honor society in the United States, is established.

1973 The drinking age in Massachusetts is lowered from 21 to 18; bars sprout up in residence social rooms. A campus pub opened on the second floor of the Hogan Center and became another focus of social life.

1973 Women students and faculty form the Women's Organization (renamed Women's Forum in 1984 and Feminist Forum in 2016) to provide women a space to discuss issues that concern them and to better integrate women into campus life.

1974 Field hockey and basketball debut as the College's first women's sports. The establishment of the teams came two years after the monumental Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a civil rights statute that prohibited sex discrimination in educational institutions, including sports programs that receive federal funding.

1974 Ogretta V. McNeil, associate professor of psychology, becomes the first African-American faculty member to receive tenure.

1975 The Student Government Association is established as a governing body that incorporates a larger number of student representatives and holds the power of voting for appropriations from the student activities fee to student organizations.

1975 Mabel L. Lang, American archaeologist, scholar of classical Greek and professor at Bryn Mawr College, is the first female commencement speaker.

1975 The board of associate trustees is disbanded as its purpose of serving as lay advisors to Jesuit trustees is no long needed; the majority of board members are now lay.       

1976 Tuition/room and board is approximately $5,000 per year.      

Jan. 1976 Hart Center, named after longtime Director of Intramural Athletics Rev. Francis Hart, S.J., is dedicated. The recreational facility, built at the top of the hill behind the Hogan Campus Center, incorporated a basketball arena seating 3,500 and a hockey rink seating 950.  An expansion in 1983 added an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a rowing tank, locker and physical therapy rooms, and squash and handball courts.     

1976 The first four-year class of women graduate. Jane M. Hawkins '76, a mathematics major, becomes the College's first female valedictorian, in addition to the first Holy Cross woman to receive a Marshall Fellowship. A non-gendered version of the alma mater is sung at commencement for the first time.

1979 Two sky-lit rooms are built on either side of Dinand Library's main structure after it was determined that the building was at full capacity with 330,000 volumes. The wings were dedicated in memory of Joshua and Leah Hiatt (parents of trustee Jacob Hiatt) and other victims of the Holocaust. Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J. '49 announced the library would house a special collection of materials on the Holocaust, and Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel was among the invited speakers at the dedication.       

1980 With the arrival of the class of, women constitute 50 percent of the student population.

1980 Well over half of students are from New England, with nearly 40 percent from Massachusetts. After New England, the highest number hailed from the Mid-Atlantic.     

1980 Fenwick and O'Kane halls are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.       

1980 The first computer lab is opened for students and faculty, including dumb-terminal computers featuring the first word processing program, called "Typist."

1982 Ten-year anniversary of coeducation is celebrated with a talk by Gloria Steinem, journalist, social political activist, and leader of the feminist movement.

1983 The College completes its first capital campaign since the 1960s, raising almost $23 million. New funds raised the College's endowment from $7.9 million in 1979 to $27.7 million.      

1983 College is officially named an arboretum, with more than 700 trees of 115 varieties on the 174-acre campus. Many trees were planted commemoratively by special guests such as Theodore Roosevelt, who planted a tree on campus in 1905 after giving the commencement address.

1983 Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery is dedicated in O'Kane Hall, named after its benefactors, avid philanthropists and art collectors. The gallery at Holy Cross was the first of many Cantor-supported arts spaces in the United States. The couple also gifted Holy Cross 10 works of famous sculptor Auguste Rodin.

1983 All residence hall rooms are outfitted with telephones.

1985 Swords Hall, named at the request of the faculty after Rev. Raymond Swords, S.J., is dedicated. The building, which is joined to O'Neil and Haberlin halls, housed the mathematics department, allowed for the expansion of biology facilities, and included classrooms, a computer laboratory, a greenhouse and a science library.

1986 A new organ, made by the Virginia-based Taylor and Boody Company, is installed and dedicated in St. Joseph Memorial Chapel. The organ contains 3,814 pipes and was created in the style of Dutch and Northern German organs of the seventeenth century.

1986 Frank Vellaccio, associate professor of chemistry, is named dean of the College, becoming the College's first lay dean.       

1986 Holy Cross becomes a founding member of the Colonial League (later to be called the Patriot League), which includes other colleges and universities that agreed that academic programs are of greatest importance and players should be representative of the student body. Beginning in 1989, Holy Cross agreed that football players would receive need-based aid, rather than athletic scholarships, to meet the criteria of the league.       

1986 The first student personal computer lab opens on campus, featuring IBM PCs.

1987 Two-way senior football standout Gordie Lockbaum '88 places third in Heisman Trophy voting. The year prior, he had placed fifth. 

1988 Stein Hall is dedicated. The building was the first on campus to be named after a woman, honoring Edith Stein, a Jewish-born German who converted to Christianity and established a reputation as a philosopher before dying at Auschwitz. The building features 35 classrooms and offices.

1988 A core curriculum is reinstated to include 10 distribution requirements in six areas: the arts, language and literatures, religious and philosophical studies, historical studies, cross-cultural studies, social sciences, and natural and mathematical studies. The reform aimed to offer a broad exposure to the liberal arts, flexibility of choice, and interdisciplinary nature.

1989 Students establish "The Fenwick Review," a journal of conservative opinion.

1989 Endowment reaches approximately $80 million.       

1989 Students participate in the newly established yearlong study abroad program at Mansfield College at Oxford University in England. Holy Cross decided to do away with third-party intermediaries and directly enroll students in institutions abroad, the first being Oxford. This model was emulated in 1991 when students travelled to France, Spain and Italy to participate in the College's first yearlong study abroad programs in non-English speaking countries.

1989 2,864 students are enrolled.

1989 90 percent of faculty hold doctorate degrees.