The Wilson College family consists of many different groups of people, all who profess to have Wilson’s best interests at heart. The Wild Wilson Women, a group of female alumni whose graduation years span the timeline, are one set of those people. They live all over the United States with different careers, and the thing that unites them is their love for Wilson. The Wild Wilson Women are not the only Wilson alums out there, of course, though in the past two years they have proven the most vocal and controversial.
Many of the concerns that the Wild Wilson Women have stem from misunderstandings. Whether it is miscommunication with the board of trustees or President Mistick, they make it no secret that they have begun to feel slighted.
However, not all alumni feel this way. As Joan Edwards ’58 says, “I have supported the decision, coeducation and the Wilson Today program since it was announced.”
The issue that most stands out for the Wild Wilson Women is the co-ed decision. Although they say they are not looking to kick the men out, they feel upset that the school has changed so drastically to accept them.
Karen Stines ’74, said, “If you have to go co-ed, you have to go co-ed.” She expressed disappointment but it was more with the process that led to the switch. “There are repercussions that happen if you don’t get your alumni base on board.”
However, many alumni are okay with the co-ed decision.
As Edwards says, “I think it’s long overdue,” and fellow alumna Denise Foreman ’48 agreed wholeheartedly.
Alumni from both sides are not looking to recreate their Wilson experience exactly. They understand that change happens, but some feel that the changes being made are making the Wilson experience unrecognizable.
“I’ve seen evolution since I’ve been gone from Wilson,” says Kendal Hopkins ’80. “I’m not stuck in the way it was when I was there. I love to see how young women who make a decision to come to Wilson are different from the way I am, but I also see so many similarities. It’s eerie. I wish there was more of a connection.”
A final issue for the Wild Wilson Women is communication across the board. Whether it is communication between alumni, students, or the college, they feel that there is a problem. Their biggest concern, however, is the communication between alums and current students, a connection that they feel is necessary. They want to pass along stories of Wilson to new students who can then take those experiences and add their own to them, making the history richer.
However, the Wild Wilson Women say they are sometimes blocked from interaction with students because the administration and board of trustees feel that they may try to bombard students with the issues they have or try to get them to turn on the administration.
The Wild Wilson Women say that is not the case. They claim they just want to be there for the students and provide them the same support the alums who came before them provided during their years at Wilson.
Carol Noon ’87 pointed out how they have supported the students and mentioned how they are free to feel how they wish. “The women on the Wild Wilson Women page restarted the Aunt Sarah program. These are the women who delivered Girl Scout cookies, sent valentines, and showed up for senior parties. You are all entitled to your own opinion whether you’re against co-education or pro co-education.”
It seems that this is at least one aspect in which all alums can agree. Foreman was quick to say, “Tell the students that we support them and love them and they can contact us at any time.”
Hopkins also added that she, and the others as well, still love Wilson, visiting and interacting with the current students, “I really enjoy when I’m on campus. I truly enjoy coming to campus and talking to students because I see so much that I remember of my time there and I’ve been gone now for 30 years.”
In the end, differences are going to exist. Whether or not these differences can be resolved remains to be seen, but it is vital that all parties are informed and able to make their own decisions regarding said issues.