This year’s Convocation Ceremony, held on campus on Monday, September 13th, had a number of special guests: Five of the first female students enrolled in The Hun School. It marked the official start to “Her at Hun,” a year-long celebration honoring the 50th Anniversary of co-education at the School.
“These women were cum laude students, they wrote for The Mall, they were on the student council, Janus Players, athletes, and more,” Head of School Jon Brougham said. “They took this place by storm. I would say the year they joined The Hun School of Princeton is the most important year in the School’s history. Not only did our enrollment increase, but so did our energy, our diversity, and our talent. We became a school that influenced the lives of young women, and these women certainly were a big influence on us. Thank you for joining us, thank you for being brave enough to be pioneers in an all-male school, and thank you for the path that you began to forge for the girls that are with us today.”
Jasmin Leary Barry ‘75, Alumni Engagement and Reunion Giving and one of the first enrolled female students, organized a brunch event for the women to gather after Convocation to share stories about their experiences as students of The School. Despite five decades having passed, the women picked up like forever friends tend to do.
Barb Deitz Caprioni '76 was the first female boarding student admitted to Hun, and shared the third floor of Russell Hall with 12 other female boarding students. She came in as a senior, along with her brother.
“Coming here, the two of us, we knew nobody... and I wound up leaving a year later with people I'm still friends with, and coming back for reunions. And still, to this day, I talk about it as one of the best years of my life that changed my life forever,” Barb said.
In fact, all of the women had stories about the ways Hun prepared them for life after high school and beyond.
Cindy Guyer Skoriak '72 said that, while she was disappointed there weren’t enough girls to form a tennis team at the time, being outnumbered by boys in high school helped her prepare for a career in a male-dominated industry.
“I was the first woman land surveyor hired by the company I work for now, and now we have a few... so Hun helped me prepare to work in a male-dominated field,” Cindy said.
For many of the women, their time at Hun was also their first time being exposed to students from other countries and cultures, as the School had an international student population.
“It was just great to learn from so many types of people... we had international students and you learned about their cultures and their families,” Barbara Waterman ‘75 said.
Dee Dee Cronin Juno '76 agreed that life at Hun felt bigger than in their previous schools. “It just gave me a different view on people and the world, and I didn't have that before.”
Looking back on their experiences, the women agreed that enrolling at Hun among the first group of female students, was a rewarding (though sometimes challenging) experience.
Amy Grodnick Eckenthal '75 enrolled around the same time as a friend from her Temple in Trenton. She said the smaller class sizes at Hun compared to her local high school helped build her confidence as a teenager.
“I was very happy to be here. I'm studious, I love to learn,” she said. “I was very happy for the experience.”
This year, The Hun School will celebrate the 50th anniversary of girls and women with several initiatives, programs, activities, and publications.