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June 8, 1920

After being reassured at the baccalaureate service the previous day by the Rev. Robert Elliott Speer, secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Missions, that he who “says that times are the worst that have ever been known…betrays an imperfect historical perspective,” the 257 members of the Class of 1920 were addressed at Commencement by President MacCracken, who spoke of “The Castle of Ladies,” a game at mediaeval courts where ladies sat enthroned in a miniature castle and were “assaulted” by rose blossoms. The game symbolized, he said, “that human trait which insists on making sport out of the tragic reality of life. They played in the Middle Ages at a siege…which [in reality] lasted for months and years and killed hundreds.” Then, reminding his audience of the recent bloody sacrifice of young Englishmen at the battle of the Dardanelles, MacCracken noted “the most popular fox trot of the year…’Dardanella,’” asking, “Is it possible for the spirit of play to commit a more grievous sin against the spirit of heroic youth? Have we changed so much after all?”

Gifts to the college of over $600,000 were announced including $110,000 from Harriet Trumbull Williams ’70 for a residence hall for members of the faculty. Three master’s degrees were awarded, and although The New York Times had earlier reported a shortage of daisies, the daisy chain was revived for the occasion.

The Years