Home Biography Finch College Alumni Reveal Their Secrets and Stories

Finch College Alumni Reveal Their Secrets and Stories


Finch College was an illustrious women’s college in New York City that operated from 1900-1976 and was known for its liberal arts curriculum, diverse student body, and notable alumni such as Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Barbara Walters – but what was it really like to study there? How has Finch impacted its graduates lives and careers, as well as any secrets or tales from its graduates that they wish to share with us today?

This article will examine the history and legacy of Finch College, along with hearing from some of its alumni who have agreed to share their personal experiences and insights. We’ll also learn about some of the challenges women faced as 20th century women, but how they overcame them.

finch college
finch college

The History and Legacy of Finch College

Finch College was established by Jessica Finch, an innovative educator aiming to provide young women with a high-quality education. She envisioned an institution which fostered intellectual curiosity, artistic expression, and social responsibility while creating an inclusive and diverse atmosphere where individuals from various cultures, religions, backgrounds could all come together and learn from one another.

Finch College was located near Central Park in Manhattan and boasted a small campus consisting of only a few buildings and courtyard. As it had no dormitories, its students had to find housing within Manhattan – providing both independence and adventure while simultaneously becoming acquainted with urban life’s realities and dangers.

Finch College offered a liberal arts curriculum, with courses in literature, history, philosophy, languages, and sciences. There was also an emphasis on music theater dance visual arts programs at Finch. Finch was known for being experimental in its teaching methods – one of the first colleges to introduce courses such as psychology sociology anthropology.

Finch College was also well known for its distinguished faculty. These experts in their respective fields often had connections to New York’s cultural and political spheres and could often be found teaching there as faculty members; some notable professors who taught there included:

  • Margaret Mead was an esteemed anthropologist known for studying human cultures and behavior. She taught courses on social and cultural anthropology, encouraging her students to question their assumptions and values.
  • John Cage was an innovative composer and artist known for pioneering avant-garde music and performance art. He led courses on sound and music as well as challenging students to push the limits of art expression.
  • Betty Friedan was a feminist activist and author who famously wrote The Feminine Mystique – an influential book that ignited the second wave of feminism. Additionally, she taught courses on women’s studies and social change – motivating her students to stand up for their rights and opportunities.

Finch College was known for its selective admission process, accepting only 10% of applicants to their selective education institution. Students admitted were chosen based on criteria including intelligence, creativity, ambition and rebelliousness – yet many came from wealthy or influential families while some also came from modest or diverse backgrounds. Some notable alumni who graduated from Finch College included:

  • Grace Kelly was a Hollywood actress who rose to become Princess Rainier III of Monaco after marrying him. She studied drama and literature at Finch College before becoming famed for her beauty, elegance and talent.
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was the First Lady of the United States who married President John F. Kennedy and later Aristotle Onassis, a Greek shipping magnate. She studied History and French at Finch College before marrying Aristotle Onassis who was known for his style, grace, and intelligence.
  • Barbara Walters was an American journalist and television personality known for being the first female co-host of a network news program. Educated at Finch College in English and sociology, Barbara Walters became known for her skills, courage and charisma; becoming one of the greatest television news anchors ever.

Finch College was forced to close due to financial challenges and declining enrollment, selling its assets and campus while donating its library and art collection to other institutions. Furthermore, they established a foundation which continues to promote women’s education and advancement.

Finch College had an immense effect on its alumni, who went on to pursue varied careers and endeavors across various fields and sectors. Many remained proud and loyal to their alma mater by maintaining contact with classmates and professors as well as creating an alumni association which hosts reunions, events, and publications.

The Secrets and Stories of Finch College Alumni

Finch College alumni have an abundance of stories and secrets to reveal – from academic achievements and personal struggles, romantic adventures and professional successes. Some alumni have agreed to reveal some of these tales in their own words – here are excerpts of some such revelations:

  • Alice, class of 1952 and Lawyer: After graduating from Finch College in 1952, I decided to enroll in law school. Although discrimination and harassment from my male classmates and professors were constants, I persevered through their treatment of me with resolve, graduating with honors. I became a successful attorney specializing in civil rights and women’s issues. Additionally, I married and had two children – both now lawyers themselves One of my secrets is that I had an affair with one of my professors at Finch College who also was an attorney He was married, yet very charming and handsome. He taught me much not only about law but also life in general. Our passionate relationship ended abruptly when he moved cities; I still think about him often and wonder how things are with him now.
  • Beth, Class of 1964 and Artist: Finch College was an invaluable way for me to explore my creativity and talent as an artist. I took courses in painting, sculpture and photography with some of the city’s premier instructors and artists. I also participated in numerous exhibitions and shows, garnering several awards and scholarships along the way. Over time I established myself as a successful artist working across mediums and styles – as well as traveling around the globe being inspired by diverse cultures and landscapes. One of my stories involves meeting John Lennon at a party in New York and having a brief fling. He was very charming and funny, and took an interest in my art. He wrote a song just for me which never got recorded (he gave me a copy but lost it); some words from that song include: ‘You are my sunshine; make me happy when skies are gray.
  • Finch College allowed me to learn from some of the finest educators in America, states Carol from Class of 1972, Teacher. I took courses in psychology, pedagogy and curriculum development taught by pioneers of progressive education. Additionally, I gained valuable experience through internships and volunteer service at various schools and organizations – gaining both valuable experience and skillsets along the way. As I began teaching across multiple levels and subjects, I also became a mentor and leader, shaping and inspiring many students and colleagues. One of my stories includes my involvement in anti-war and civil rights movements through protests, demonstrations, arrests and jail time; however, this did not stop me from standing up for what I believed in. Furthermore, this time in jail allowed me to meet some incredible individuals whom I admire today.

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