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June 14, 1954

In his address at Commencement, Adlai E. Stevenson, former Governor of Illinois and Democratic presidential candidate in 1952 and again in 1956, warned of the growing pressures of conformity in American society. The “hazard” of conformity, he said, “is a more certain threat to the validity of your education and to your immortal soul than the blandishments of the flesh and the devil….and the wonder is how gladly we pay the price of conformity in order to ‘belong.’”

Alluding to the recent revocation of the security clearance of nuclear energy pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer, chief advisor to the newly created United States Atomic Energy Commission, Stevenson said, “And now, with the strange things that have been going on in our country we wonder if this generation has read the minutes of freedom’s last meeting…. The Oppenheimer case even suggests the weird new science of ‘security’ would deny us the security of science.”

President Blanding conferred the bachelor’s degree on 269 members of the Class of 1954, and Harriet Taylor Mauck ’25, chair of the board of trustees, announced that gifts and bequests to the college in the past year totaled $863,284.

The New York Times

The Years