Mary Kime ’50 MA, currently 97 years old, remembers her experience at Yale in 1950. Then, women were admitted for the Master of Arts in Education degree, but there were very few women on campus. Nonetheless, she felt completely respected by the faculty at the time. She was invited to go on at Yale for her PhD, but at that time in her life she had other plans. She went on to receive a MMus and a PhD in English at the University of Denver, where she taught for 25 years.

Why Yale?
In 1950, age 26, I wanted to teach public school but had no undergraduate work in education. Yale offered a masters in this subject and simultaneously supervised the program to become certified to teach in Connecticut. I was very happy about this — the program was absolutely tailored to my needs. I lived in Shelton, Connecticut, which was an easy bus commute to New Haven.

What is your most enduring memory of your time at Yale? 
The incredible brilliance and competency of the faculty. My professors were all leaders in their fields. I lived off campus and did not really know other students, but I noticed there were several women in my classes. Some were nuns from local Catholic schools. In seminars the atmosphere was collegial and enjoyable. At Commencement I was a marshal and I thought it notable.

If you could relive your time at Yale, what would you do differently?
Really, nothing! Every moment was deeply satisfying. The library, the wisteria in spring, the campus, all pleased me to the full. I was married and had a life where I lived in Shelton, and my times at Yale were golden.

What would you do exactly the same? 
I could happily relive the two years at Yale just as they were then. In the long saga of my life, my Yale experience was a charmed time.

What is your favorite place in New Haven, past or present? 
The campus.

What is your favorite spot on campus?
The library.

What advice would you give to current students? 

Know that this is beginning, the very beginning, of a life open to knowledge at its most demanding and rewarding level. Habits of mind you form here will sustain you throughout life.

Who is another Yalie who inspires you? Why?
Dr. John Brubaker, professor of history and philosophy of education, now deceased.

What have you gained from your alumni engagement with Yale?
I have gained appreciation of how different college education is today. Today's awareness of race and gender issues is far greater than anything I encountered. The energy today's students have, the degree to which they take things into their own hands, is very impressive.

How did your time at Yale shape the person you are today?
I became aware of the degrees of excellence there are in education, and as a result, my career as professor and dean at the University of Denver was pointed energetically toward achieving that excellence.

What is your hope for the future of the Yale alumni community?
I appreciate the intellectual outreach that Yale extends to its alumni. Yale alumni do not have to be "rah-rah" cheering fans to support the institution, but instead thoughtful, informed persons working in our society aware of the many issues we confront.

 


How would you answer? Share your responses with the YAA and they might be featured in an upcoming edition of "Getting to Know You." 

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December 1, 2022

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