Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898 | SUBSCRIBE

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Alumni | Commencement 2010

The Senior Members

July-August 2010


Photograph by Jim Harrison

The oldest graduates of Harvard and Radcliffe present on Commencement day were Rose Downes Arnold ’36, 90, of Arlington, Massachusetts, and George Barner ’29, Ed. ’32, L ’33, 101, of Kennebunk, Maine. Both were recognized at the afternoon ceremony by HAA president Teresita Alvarez-Bjelland ’76, M.B.A. ’79. Arnold was accompanied by her brother, J. Edward Downes ’35, of Weston, Massachusetts. In chatting about the days when they and their two siblings, Thomas Downes ’34 and Philip Downes ’40, now deceased, attended Radcliffe and Harvard, they recalled that tuition was $400 per year. Even so, they reported, a fair number of their classmates had to drop out because of financial hardships during the Great Depression. “It was terrible,” Edward Downes noted. “There was no help at all with tuition--or anything.” A generation earlier, their mother had been accepted at Radcliffe, but chose to attend Boston University instead because it was $25 cheaper than Radcliffe’s annual tuition of $150. “Her family just did not have the extra $25,” Rose Arnold reported. “That’s what times were like.”

According to University records, the oldest alumni include: M. Louise Macnair ’25, 107, of Cambridge; Halford J. Pope ’25, M.B.A. ’27, 106, of Hilton Head, South Carolina; Rose Depoyan ’26, 104, of Brockton, Massachusetts; Edith M. Van Saun ’29, 103, of Sykesville, Maryland; Priscilla Bartol Grace ’58, 103, of Woods Hole, Massachusetts; George H. O’Sullivan ’30, 102, of Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts; J. Mack Swigert ’30, 102, of Cincinnati; Ruth Leavitt Fergenson ’28, 102, of Rockville, Maryland; Mary Horgan Spicer ’30, 102, of Grafton, Massachusetts; and Dorothy P. Collins ’30, 102, of Hyde Park, Massachusetts. 

You Might Also Like:

Drawing of a female mallard flying down to her nest on a Harvard rooftop with food for her seven ducklings, each bearing a letter on its chest spelling out H-A-R-V-A-R-D.

Illustration by Mark Steele

Headlines from Harvard’s history

Photograph of Harvard economist Martin Feldstein

Martin S. Feldstein

Photograph by Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Wilbur Cross, Martin Feldstein, and Charles William Eliot

Mark Steele illustration of Lowell House’s bells being rung for the first time by a giant hand stretching from a cloud to swing the detached belfry.

Illustration by Mark Steele

Headlines from Harvard’s history

You Might Also Like:

Drawing of a female mallard flying down to her nest on a Harvard rooftop with food for her seven ducklings, each bearing a letter on its chest spelling out H-A-R-V-A-R-D.

Illustration by Mark Steele

Headlines from Harvard’s history

Photograph of Harvard economist Martin Feldstein

Martin S. Feldstein

Photograph by Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Wilbur Cross, Martin Feldstein, and Charles William Eliot

Mark Steele illustration of Lowell House’s bells being rung for the first time by a giant hand stretching from a cloud to swing the detached belfry.

Illustration by Mark Steele

Headlines from Harvard’s history