A Step into the Unknown Commencement at Tufts University

1910 - 1919

The Fifty-fifth Annual Commencement in 1911 marked the first time Jackson College for Women was present at commencement, following its founding in 1910. The sole graduate for the year, Marjorie Bonner Patterson, received the first Jackson College Bachelor of Arts Degree. Despite intentions to the contrary, Jackson College remained a part of the joint Commencement ceremony for many years to come.

President Hamilton's plans for segregation and the independence of Jackson College were carried out even to Commencement arrangements. According to the original blueprint, graduation ceremonies were to be jointly conducted for only the three years after 1910. When Jackson graduated an independent class in 1914, the students were to have had their own commencement. However, when 1914 arrived and 17 young ladies received the first bachelor's degrees given by Jackson to a group completing the four-year course, they took their places at the regular exercises. Following precedents set earlier, Jackson, as a division of the College, was represented on the panel of Commencement speakers.

– Miller, Russell E. Women's Role in the History of Tufts University: A Sketch by Russell E. Miller (1960) p. 14

The United States' entry into World War I on April 6, 1917 unavoidably affected Commencement. The theme was a focus of student orations including "War-time censorship as a necessity" given by Charles Ingram Stanton, Cand. B.S. in 1917. In 1918, "Labor, the Prop of War" was delivered by Jane Stodder Davies, Cand. A. B.

In 1917 an asterisk marked student Chester Read Earle, Cand. B.S., one of the orators, as "called to National Service." In 1918 the asterisk had been replaced by a star and, in contrast to the one student listed as being called to service in 1917, in 1918 there were many. In 1918 and 1919 war certificates were awarded to members of the graduating class who had left college to join the military, "in recognition of their work at College and their service to our Country."