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   Wellesley Class Sees ‘One of Us’ Bearing Standard

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4/14/2007 12:15 pm

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New York Times

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News

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Entered 4/14/2007, Updated 4/14/2007

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For her Wellesley classmates, Hillary Clinton’s quest to become the first female president is a generational mirror. Some like what they see; others are less certain. They were there for her fiery commencement speech, delivered at the height of the Vietnam War, when she described her class’s search for a “more immediate, ecstatic and penetrating mode of living” and said that every protest was “unabashedly an attempt to forge an identity in this particular age.” The speech landed Hillary Rodham in the spotlight as a celebrated archetype of a new generation of women. “We were very proud of her: she was a feminist; she was outspoken,” said Jane Moss, a classmate who now teaches French at Colby College. “Hillary was speaking for all of us, for a generation that felt we weren’t being heard.” From their days at Wellesley, where they attended Wednesday teas and fought to end parietal hours and curfews, to their pioneering careers in law, academia and science, the 400 members of that Class of 1969 have been marked by the profound shift in women’s roles that accompanied their coming of age. Throughout their journey, Hillary Rodham Clinton has been both a standard-bearer and a touchstone to measure themselves against. They have winced at her struggles over how to be a modern first lady and her marital humiliations, rejoiced with her election to the Senate, puzzled over how her guarded and cool political persona is so different from the warm, funny and outspoken woman they know.They still see her as the thoughtful friend who called every week after a husband died, or wrote a charming note about the birth of a grandson. And some are raising money or volunteering in Mrs. Clinton’s effort to become the first woman elected to the White House. “Just knowing that one of us is trying to be the first woman president is a kick in the butt,” said Jayne Abrams, executive director of a Pennsylvania nonprofit group, “enough to keep y


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