Our classmate Lynn Lobban will be our guest for a Casual Conversation on Zoom on Sunday, November 19, at 3 pm Eastern Time. Lynn is one of the eleven Pioneering Women of the Class of 1969, adopted by the Class of 1969, without a single dissenting vote, in the Fall of 2006, 37 years after they were in residence at the College with the status of exchange or special students during our Senior Year. Of those eleven, nine were brought to the College to be involved in the newly-created (just two years old) Drama Department, now called, for some inexplicable reason, the Theater Department. For the time they were with us, they took courses with us, in the Drama Department and elsewhere at the College. Only, after that year, they all had to leave, Lynn included. Lynn was among those who wanted to stay another year, but the College refused because to do so would have entitled Lynn and her colleagues to a Dartmouth diploma. (A letter was sent to the EEOC complaining about this treatment; three years later I received a letter from the agency stating that I would be allowed to file a formal complaint. A day late, and three interrupted lives—Lynn, Kammy Brooks, and Nanalee Raphael--short.)
Lynn has had a career in the performing arts, distinguished by appearing in the original cast of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical Quilters. With an MFA in Playwriting from Goddard College, she wrote and starred in a “cabaret play” she titled Quarter to Three after the opening lyrics of “One For My Baby,” the song best-known for being covered by Frank Sinatra. The production drew a rave:
"The result is a mesmerizing masterpiece where every action, thought, and emotion are one hundred percent believable.
Quarter to Three is so powerful and effective at addressing an all-too common problem you can only pray that this is just the beginning. It should become a public service production available to children as a cautionary tale, adults as a beacon of hope and inspiration, offenders as an awareness of the consequences of their actions, and to all humans as a celebration of the human spirit and desire to survive. Grateful viewers will be awestruck by Lynn Lobban’s courage in presenting her story."
Lynn is a singer, actor, dancer, union member (SAG/AFTRA and Equity). https://www.lynnlobban.com/ .
Lynn has now brought her skill at writing and an extraordinary memory for people, places, and events (with some detailed research) to the crafting of a memoir: One of the Boys: Surviving Dartmouth, Family, and the Wilderness of Men (Palmetto 2023).
Kirkus Reviews had the this to say about her book:
"Crisp, unflinchingly sharp prose makes this book a remarkable remembrance of a troubled childhood . . . [Lobban] notes how her experience at Dartmouth answered her stated need to be 'one of the boys, and offered her temporary quasi-membership in a male power structure . . . a skillfully composed, often disturbing read with barbed moments of levity."
Lynn’s story began well before Dartmouth, but as you have/will read, and as you will hear from her, and as you can surmise from the title of her book, Dartmouth plays an important role in her life, from when she arrived at the College in the Fall of 1968 to the present. You may recognize the names of students and teachers, as well as the fraternity she pledged when she arrived. But you needn’t know any of them to appreciate her tale, before, during, and after her year in Hanover.
At nearly the end of the book, Lynn recounts a conversation in 2017 with a former advisor and friend, then 92 years old. He says to Lynn:
"Going to a college of all men wasn’t the wisest of choices . . ..
Gasping at his bluntness, I choke on a laugh. “You think?” I say as if I agree.
As the room fills with laughter at my expense, I pick up my cup for he comfort of tea and consider a cookie. But then, I think for myself.
You might be right, Baird. Leaving the safety of women and going to a college of all men might not have been the wisest of choices. But it was absolutely necessary."
Think for yourselves and find out from Lynn this coming Sunday at 3 pm, why her year at Dartmouth was “absolutely necessary.” In the meantime, even if you haven’t read her book, you can re-read her two pieces in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine: https://archive.dartmouthalumnimagazine.com/article/2019/11/1/back-where-i-belong and https://dartmouthalumnimagazine.com/articles/one-boys .
Usual rules apply. Let me know by Friday, November 17 is you want to attend: firstname.lastname@example.org .