1969 Lanterns, Owls, and All

How frustrating that “special issues” like these are still necessary.

“But there is something that must be recognized; the realms to which the ‘Bryn Mawr experience’ has opened my eyes may not be accessible to me once I rejoin the real outside world.”

How strange it is to revisit my words—what?—50 years after graduating from Bryn Mawr. How maddening is it that, in 2020, American society is revisiting the same racial turmoil that it had when my original piece was written. How frustrating that “special issues” like these are still necessary.

My liberal arts education served me well, professionally and personally. Bryn Mawr was a good intellectual match for me. Bryn Mawr credentials supported entry into a world I didn’t even consider accessible then, and my time at Bryn Mawr taught me how to navigate it. I would never have predicted that my social environment now would be similar to that of my undergraduate years.

I don’t think there is such a thing as a “Black Experience”—or a “Bryn Mawr Experience” for that matter. There were things that I experienced in common with other Black students at Bryn Mawr and things I took away from the overall culture itself. Both influenced and contributed to the person I ultimately became.


This issue of the Alumnae Bulletin presents reflections from Black alumnae/i and students spanning 65 years in the life of the College.

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Born and raised in Brooklyn, Dolores Miller '70  lives in San Jose, Calif. She received an M.S. in analytical organic chemistry from Stanford University and then spent 37 years at IBM Research, retiring as a senior scientist/engineer. She currently is a textile artist and serves as vice president of the board of Studio Art Quilt Associates, a nonprofit that promotes the quilt as a fine art medium.