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The Campus Scene

Al Lasher

— At that time the soldiers were coming back from World War II by the millions. They had something called the GI Bill of Rights, so they had all sorts of benefits, and a lot of them applied to the city colleges. So there was tremendous competition to get into Brooklyn College, all the colleges throughout America. And Brooklyn College had a simple system — your average grade in high school plus the grade on the exam had to come to a hundred and sixty. They didn't have SAT's at the time. And the soldiers got a ten point edge. My high school average was sixty-nine so I had to get a ninety-one. Right? Is that correct? And it was a five-hour entrance exam and I got a ninety-one.

Rhoda Karpatkin

— I'd been one of the smartest kids in high school but I wasn't in college. It was clear that there was a lot more talent than what I had when I got there. And the veterans were just, to me, absolutely incredible people, and so mature! I came when I was seventeen and one of my boyfriends was twenty-one. He was so mature. He had served in the Army and seemed to know everything.

Bill Taylor

— There were a fair number of students who had served in World War II. And I thought the place was a more interesting place because, you know, here I was a sixteen-year-old and there were people who were twenty-three, twenty-four and twenty-five.

Rhoda Karpatkin

— And I liked as well the great self-confidence that all the students had. After all, we were the select. We had taken a competitive exam. We had all scored high on it, that's why we were there, and there was a kind of smart assed-ness and self-confidence about the students in the college that I really liked a lot.

Mike Lutzker

— Being on the Brooklyn campus in 1947 was extraordinary. First of all, there were hundreds - more like thousands - of ex-GIs on campus, older than the rest of us, either married or planning to get married, some with pregnant wives. They were very serious students and they had been abroad in the Pacific or Europe and had a lot of experience. I think about the ones who liberated the concentration camps or the death camps and what an impression that must have made on them.

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Al Lasher

— The school was flooded with ex-soldiers. The first ones were coming home at that time, and they were the ones that had the longest period of service. I’ll tell you the only things I can think of that had an impact on me. Number one, on the sports teams you had a lot of older guys — and I was seventeen — on the track team, for the field events, the javelin, the high jump, we had a lot of guys who were older and they were very athletic. They were in great physical condition. Also, I think that those soldiers brought a certain maturity to the student body that was exceptional, that after three or four years began dissipating.

Rhoda Karpatkin

— One of the wonderful things about Brooklyn College was that I didn't feel that there were any serious issues about feminism, or to put it another way, one could be a very assertive woman and it was fine. There were plenty of women student leaders in all these organizations and on Vanguard and none of them was a shrinking violet. I was also very impressed, moved and happy because it was my first real experience with ethnic diversity, and to me that was like another world opening up — to meet African-American students, then known as Negro students. I didn't know any people who were Negro until I came to college and that mattered a lot.

Al Lasher

— I was on three varsity teams. I was active in a fraternity, the first fraternity in America that was color-blind. I didn't understand it at the time. But out of forty guys, I'd say seven or eight were black.

Herb Dorfman

— On campus itself it was, you know, everything was happening. You could come to Brooklyn College almost any day of the week — something was happening all the time. You never had to leave the College to get to your social engagements. I remember that very well. It was wonderful.

Ann Lane

— At the dining room, there were tables — there was a Communist table, and there was a chess table, and there was a left-liberal table. There was probably a drama club bunch. There was a Zionist table. there was a very strong contingent of kids who were going to Israel, relocating. And there was no place for people who just wanted to have lunch.