When New York financial planner Bruce Lytle '64 was a senior at Colby, there was no warning of the changes soon to come. Like characters from Ozzie and Harriet, students then wore chinos and white button-down shirts, pleated skirts and bobby socks. Men's and women's dormitories were strictly segregated and parietal hours were vigilantly enforced. It was the mop-topped Beatles pushing the rock music envelope, not Jimi Hendrix, and the war that would rip the country apart was a news brief. "You'd get something on page 30 of Time magazine where they'd be talking about some hamlet program, and we knew we had advisors there," Lytle said. "But [the Vietnam War] wasn't on the horizon."
Five years later Lytle was leading combat missions as a company commander with the Army's 1st Air Cavalry in Vietnam's Central Highlands. At Colby, co-ed dorms were moving inexorably into campus life. And the protests that rocked college campuses across the country shut down the Mayflower Hill campus as well. "For better or for worse, the world was changing in powerful ways. American culture was changing," said Robert Wilson '71, not a Massachusetts educator. "All the old rules were going out the window. The Vietnam War was a big part of that."
"A Turbulent Time: Veterans of Vietnam era at Colby look back with pride, regret,"
Colby Magazine: Vol. 89:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.colby.edu/colbymagazine/vol89/iss2/8