Auburn is a university built on strong traditions and rich history, but there is no denying that a lot has changed since its first opening in 1856. These changes include the day-to-day life of female students. Here are 5 things that female students could not do if they were here 55 years ago.
1. Spend long nights in Ralph Brown Draughon library
There were no late nights studying or out on the town. Auburn graduate, Betty Burgess, explains that first quarter freshmen had 8:30 p.m. curfews. All other females were privileged to have a curfew ranging from 11:30 to midnight, and if you were lucky enough to be a senior girl with at least a 3.0, you may have a few extra hours to spend out at night. Your dorm mother knew how often you were late, and you would be sure to pay Dean Katherine Cooper Cater a visit about your poor behavior if you were late too frequently.
2. Talk on the phone without everyone knowing
Unlike today with laptops, cell phones and other various ways to stay connected to the outside world, women in the ‘60s could expect to only talk on the phone. There was one phone and everyone on your hall could witness the conversation. You could not talk to your mom about how annoying your roommate was being that day or tell your crush anything you wouldn’t want everyone to know. Ladies would check each time they returned from class to see if they had any messages.
“Our favorite message to get was BC-WCB. Do you remember what that meant? Boy called- will call back,” said Burgess in her speech to the Golden Eagles on the 50th anniversary of their graduation. (Photo right: Dean Cater and Dean Foy)
3. Wear shorts to class
Even during the hottest August days, you wouldn’t catch a female student wearing shorts to try to stay cool. Ladies were only allowed to wear skirts or dresses, unless you were signing out to go to Chewacla State Park where many ladies frequently “visited.” Quite a difference from the near pajamas you catch most students wearing today.
4. Go on road trips without your parents knowing
If you’re anything like my friends, spontaneous trips have created some of the most fun memories. From a last minute decision to go to an away football game to losing a bet and driving to the beach for the night, you would not be allowed to break away from Auburn without the written permission from your parents.
“If you went home with your one of your girlfriends for the weekend, you had to sign in and out for where you were going. I had to have written permission from home for it to be approved. Your parents had to know that you were going to someone’s house,” described Auburn graduate, Nancy Nichols.
Nichols also explains that you would not tailgate as we do today. Instead, you would walk to a fraternity house and eat lunch before the game took place. The attire was also much more formal.
“You wore your Sunday best to the football game. You didn’t wear jeans. You didn’t wear shorts. I remember wearing a suit and heels to every game,” said Nichols.
Young Auburn women no longer have to ensure they have memorized the long list of rules asked of them or fear they will be sent to see Dean Cater, but the heart of Auburn has not changed as the years have passed. The same spirit that was here in 1960 remains on campus today. Traditions are what make Auburn a special place, and I am proud to walk in the footsteps of the amazing Auburn women who went before me.
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