E ven in the age of the imperial faculty and powerful professional schools, the College was at the center of Harvard's sense of itself. This was evident in the two most significant events of the Pusey years: the great fund-raising effort of the late 1950s, pointedly called the Program for Harvard College; and the upheaval of 1969, in which the largest source of attention (and concern) was the degree to which Harvard undergraduates were involved.
After the postwar rush of veterans, Harvard College during the 1950s appeared in many ways to return to its prewar state. Only about a quarter of the students in 1958 were on financial aid. The typical graduate five years out in the mid-fifties lived in a large northeastern city, was married with one child, was a Republican who went to church once a month. Most undergraduates sought to live up to their national billing as the elite of the elite. The dress-down clothing style of the postwar vets gave way to resurgent preppy attire: casually (that is, purposefully) dirtied white buckskin shoes, tweed jackets, green book bags, alpine parkas. “At a distance and even from quite close up, ” said one observer, “everyone looks alike.” The prevailing social style was “polite arrogance—spare, dry, cautious, and angular.” Too cool by half, thought a critic: “Even in the unregimented student life of the Yard, there has been a certain failure of nerve, a hint of the youthful generation's prudence.” 1
The psychological downer of the Depression and the more mature post–World War II veterans temporarily squelched the venerable Harvard tradition of spring student riots. When there was talk of resurrecting that custom, a Radcliffe girl “sniffed scornfully: ';What sort of riot