Bunting, Mary Ingraham, 1910-

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Bunting, Mary Ingraham, 1910-

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Bunting, Mary Ingraham, 1910-


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College administrator and geneticist. Educated at Vassar College, B.A. 1931; University of Wisconsin, M.A. 1932, Ph.D. 1934. Taught at Bennington College, 1936-1937; Goucher College, 1937-1938; Yale, 1953-1955; Wellesley College, 1946-1947. Served as Dean at Douglass College and Rutgers University, 1955-1959. President of Radcliffe College and lecturer on biology at Harvard University, 1960-1972. During a leave of absence (1964-1965) she served on the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

From the description of Records of the President of Radcliffe College, 1960-1972 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83894991

Mary Ingraham Bunting, geneticist and fifth president of Radcliffe, was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 10, 1910, the daughter of Henry A. and Mary (Shotwell) Ingraham. She received her A.B. from Vassar (1931) and her A.M. (1932) and Ph.D (1934) in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin. In 1937, MIB married Henry Bunting of the Yale University School of Medicine. They had one daughter and three sons.

MIB served as an instructor at Bennington College (1936-1937) and Goucher College (1937-1938), as research assistant (1938-1940) and lecturer on Microbiology (1948-1955) at Yale, and lecturer on Botany at Wellesley College (1946-1947). After her husband's death in 1954, she became Dean of Douglass College at Rutgers University and Professor of Bacteriology (1955-1959). She was President of Radcliffe College and lecturer on Biology at Harvard (1960-1972). She took a leave to serve on the United States Atomic Energy Commission (1964-1965) during which period Helen Gilbert was Acting President.

President Bunting introduced many new programs and radically changed the structure of Radcliffe during her presidency. In 1961 she formed the Radcliffe Institute (now Bunting Institute), a research center for post-graduate women to help reverse what she called the "climate of unexpectation for women." Among its first one hundred and eighty-eight fellows (1961-1971), seventy-six went on to college teaching or administration in fifty-six different institutions. Two years later she closed the Radcliffe Graduate School and the Harvard/Radcliffe Program in Business Administration when the Harvard Graduate School and Business School opened their doors to women. She created a new residential house system for undergraduates, 1961-1962, by grouping the dormitories into North, South, and East (later Currier House.)

In 1967 MIB launched a capital campaign, a Program for Radcliffe which successfully raised ten million by 1970 to renovate the Quad houses, construct Currier House, renovate the old college library for the Bunting Institute and the Schlesinger Library, and expand financial aid.

The period from 1967 to 1970 saw escalating student protests against the Vietnam war. Radcliffe students were involved in protesting against recruiting by the Dow Chemical Co. (Oct 25, 1967). They participated in a sit-in at Paine Hall (Dec 12, 1968) demanding an end to Reserve Officer Training at Harvard (ROTC), the occupation of University Hall (April 9, 1969), a noisy sit-in in President Bunting's office in Fay House to protest the punishment meted out to Radcliffe women after the Paine Hall incident, and a university-wide strike. Other protests included a hunger strike for off-campus living (Spring, 1968) and a confrontation over Black admissions (Fall, 1968). Students joined Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to stop Harvard's expansion into low-income neighborhoods and to advocate an Afro-American Studies Department. Others joined Bread and Roses an off-campus women's liberation organization.

President Bunting was sympathetic to the need to increase the numbers of Black students and raised the minimum number of admits to thirty in 1969. She also believed that merger with Harvard was the only strategy for solving the serious inequities for women students in housing, financial aid, access to tutors, and in recreational facilities. The majority of the students were pressing for co-residence (the creation of co-residential houses) and President Pusey was unwilling to consider co-residence without merger of college offices relating to students. Alumnae were suspicious of merger and their negative reactions led in 1971 to an agreement between Harvard and Radcliffe known as the "non-merger merger" instead of the corporate merging of the two institutions. The Harvard and Radcliffe houses became coresidential and were operated by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). The President of Radcliffe was made a member of the FAS and Council of Deans, the Radcliffe Dean's Office was closed and the Radcliffe Administrative Board merged with Harvard's. Radcliffe administered its own ("retained") programs including the Career Services, Bunting Institute, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Seminars, Alumnae Office and, until 1975, Admissions and Financial Aid Offices. Administration of the college library, student life, athletics, dance and other extra-curricular programs and some business operations (payroll, accounting, dining halls, and buildings and grounds) were transferred to Harvard. All tuition and income from endowment were transferred to Harvard except for income restricted to the retained programs. These arrangements were essentially confirmed by the new agreement of 1977.

Following her retirement from Radcliffe, MIB served as an adviser to the president of Princeton for coeducation. She returned to Cambridge to marry Dr. Clement Smith and after his death in 1988 moved to New Hampshire.

MIB was named Woman of the Year in 1960 and received honorary degrees from Wheaton, Smith, Douglass, Goucher, and Radcliffe Colleges and the Western College for Women, as well as the University of Wisconsin, Princeton, Yale, Northeastern, Tufts, and Harvard Universities.

From the guide to the Records of the President of Radcliffe College, 1960-1972, (Radcliffe College Archives, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)



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Women in science

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Harvard--Radcliffe Merger

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