Sarah Lawrence College
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Sarah Lawrence is located in the Lawrence Park section of Yonkers, New York, (though listed in the postal zone of Bronxville, New York), about thirty minutes north of New York City. It has a student population of 1,200 and is renowned for its strong writing and performing arts departments. The college boasts a low 6-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and a nontraditional but rigorous, individualized approach to academics.
At the undergraduate level, Sarah Lawrence offers a Bachelor of Arts degree where, instead of traditional majors, students take a wide variety of courses in four different curricular distributions: the creative arts (creative writing, music, dance, theater, painting, film), history and the social sciences (anthropology, economics, political science, sociology), humanities (Asian studies, art history, languages, literature, philosophy, religion), and natural science and mathematics (biology, chemistry, physics). Each student is assigned to a faculty advisor, known as a "don," to plan a course of study. Most courses (apart from the performing arts) consist of two parts: the seminar, limited to 15 students, and the conference, a private, bi-weekly meeting with a seminar professor. In conference, students develop individual projects that extend the course material and link it to their personal interests. Sarah Lawrence has no required courses and traditional examinations have largely been replaced with writing final research papers and essays. The College sponsors international programs in Florence, Paris, Cuba, and Oxford, and at the British Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Sarah Lawrence also offers Master's-level programs in Writing, Child Development, Health Advocacy, Human Genetics, Theatre, and Dance, and is home to the nation's oldest graduate program in Women's History.
Founded in 1927 by pharmaceutical mogul William Van Duzer Lawrence on the grounds of his estate, Sarah Lawrence College was originally constructed as a finishing school for affluent young women in rapidly expanding Westchester County. William Lawrence worked closely with the president of Vassar College, Henry MacCracken, to establish a school that was founded on ideas of educational reform that MacCracken felt unable to apply to Vassar. The College was modeled with the tutorial system of Oxford University in mind, and a low student-to-faculty ratio was considered to be of absolute importance. Followed by Bennington College, Sarah Lawrence was the first Liberal Arts college in the United States to incorporate a rigorous approach to the arts with the principles of progressive education, focusing on the primacy of teaching and the concentration of curricular efforts on individual needs.
Sarah Lawrence began to take its present shape shortly after World War II, when the College began admitting male students on the G.I. Bill, though the school did not become fully coeducational until 1969. During the McCarthy Era, a number of Sarah Lawrence's faculty members were accused by the American Legion of being sympathetic to the Communist Party, and were called before the Jenner Committee. Since that time, activism has played a central role in student life, with movements for civil rights in the 1960's and for student and faculty diversity in the 1980's. In the late 1980's students occupied Westlands, the main administrative building for the campus, in a sit-in for wider diversity. Students have remained active in recent years, with numerous organizations and movements sprouting in response to the Iraq War. For many years, the College has been considered at the vanguard of the sexual rights movement.
The current president is Michele Tolela Myers, who has served since 1998. Born in Morocco and raised in Paris, President Myers holds a Ph.D. and a master's degree from the University of Denver, another master's degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, and a Diplôme in political science and economics from the Institute of Political Studies at the University of Paris. President Myers has seen the recent completion of a $75 million capital campaign at Sarah Lawrence, as well as the construction of several new buildings and facilities on the campus. Dr. Myers announced in late 2005 that she will retire in the summer of 2007.
- J.J. Abrams, Emmy Award-winning film and television producer, writer, actor, composer, and director.
- Jean Erdman Campbell - dancer
- Jill Clayburgh, Academy Award-nominated actress
- Brian De Palma, director of "Scarface" and "Mission: Impossible"
- Cary Elwes, actor
- Rahm Emanuel, U.S. House of Representatives, Fifth Congressional District of Illinois
- Rachel Feldman, screenwriter and director
- Tovah Feldshuh , actress
- Carolyn Ferrell, writer
- Amanda Foreman, award-winning biographer
- Cornelia Fort, pioneer aviatrix: first woman pilot to die on war duty in American history, at Pearl Harbor
- Robin Givens, actress
- Louise Gluck, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry and former Poet Laureate of the United States
- Adam Goldberg, actor, attended, but did not graduate
- Lesley Gore, singer and songwriter
- Katharine Houghton Grant, actress and niece to Katherine Hepburn
- Lucy Grealy, Irish memoirist and poet
- Lauren Holly, actress
- Sue Kelly, (MA) Congresswoman, 19th Congressional District of New York
- Sarah Kernochan, Writer, producer, and director; made mark with "Marjoe," an Oscar-winning 1972 documentary
- Téa Leoni, actress
- Julianna Margulies, actress
- Susan Meiselas, photographer
- Meredith Monk, composer, singer and choreographer
- Yoko Ono, conceptual artist, was married to the late John Lennon, attended, but did not graduate
- Ann Patchett, award-winning author
- Holly Robinson, actress
- Elisabeth Röhm, actress
- Joan Micklin Silver, award-winning director
- Carly Simon, singer and songwriter
- Alec Soth, photographer
- Sabiha Sumar, director
- Guinevere Turner, actress, producer, and writer
- Alice Walker, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, The Color Purple
- Barbara Walters, television personality
- Vera Wang, fashion designer
- Joanne Woodward, actress/political activist
- Alan Yu, gamemaker
- Rudolph Arnheim
- Melvin Jules Bukiet,novelist
- Joseph Campbell, world-renowned cultural historian and critic of mythology
- Billy Collins, poet and former Poet Laureate of the United States
- Dorothy Delay, world-renowned violin teacher who also taught at the Juilliard School
- E.L. Doctorow, writer
- Fawaz Gerges, Middle Eastern Affairs analyst for ABC news.
- Paul Goodman, writer, anarchist, Gestalt Therapy contributor
- Allan Gurganus, writer
- Marie Howe, poet.
- Norman Dello Joio, Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award winning composer. Taught at Sarah Lawrence College from 1944-50
- Galway Kinnell, poet
- Tom Lux, poet
- Grace Paley, poet, fiction writer, and political activist who in 2004 was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Sarah Lawrence College
- William Schuman, Pulitzer Prize winning composer and former director of the Juilliard School. Taught at Sarah Lawrence College from 1935-45
Sarah Lawrence College in Quotes
- "We cannot preserve the loyalty and political integrity of our students and teachers by congressional investigation. We can only paralyze their will to think independently and to act politically. It is the proper function of boards of trustees to protect the educational system from political control by the Government. If education is conceived as a means of telling students what to think and making sure that they think it, this is the most un-American activity of all." -Harold Taylor, President of Sarah Lawrence, 1945-1959.
- "Sarah Lawrence is a noble intellectual community." -Komozi Woodard, biographer.
- "Schoenberg and Webern she'd studied at Sarah Lawrence and all that, and I didn't know any of that stuff, and she was turning me on to it, even Bertolt Brecht." -John Lennon, in a 1980 radio interview on the day of his death, commenting on Yoko Ono's influence on the inception of his controversial song, "Woman is the Nigger of the World."
- "A Sarah Lawrence education teaches you that you have the right and duty to be what some people would call a troublemaker—that is, an independent, intelligent, curious person who wants to find his or her own solutions to things." - Meredith Monk
Sarah Lawrence in Fiction
- In an episode of the animated Fox sitcom,The Simpsons Apu says, "I want to send my children to a good school, such as Sarah Lawrence."
- In the film American Psycho
- In the film 10 Things I Hate About You Katarina Stratford wants to attend SLC
- In the television show, Will & Grace November 2005
- In the Joseph Heller novel, Good as Gold
- In the J.D. Salinger novel, Frannie and Zooey
- In the Dani Shapiro novel, slow motion: a true story
- Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz. Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women's Colleges from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1993 (2nd edition).