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Admission Letters

For hundreds of women in the 1970s, it all began with a YES. . .

When the long-awaited acceptance letter from Kirkland College arrived, a large, black, Gothic-script, capitalized YES announced the affirmative decision. YES— printed on a separate slip of paper–peeked through the sealed envelope and clearly revealed the contents to eager high school seniors.

YES boldly announced something else – how things were done differently at Kirkland. Rather than simply mailing out a standard acceptance letter Kirkland shouted one jubilant word before the translucent linen envelope could be peeled open. That YES captured our curiosity, symbolized our excitement, and generated enthusiasm that permeated every aspect of life at Kirkland College.

YES. . .our adventure was about to begin.

Acceptance letter

Kirkland Class of 1979 acceptance letter

Did You Know…?

The “YES” envelope was the brainchild of Carole Walker, Kirkland’s first Director of Admissions.

By  Oct. 1968,  200 Hamilton men were enrolled in Kirkland courses, while 75 Kirkland women enrolled in Hamilton courses.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Catherine Fahey K'78 permalink
    February 5, 2010 10:10 am

    Tears come to my eyes when I think of the “YES”. For me it said and still says, “We do it differently here. We are bold and brave. We will try new things, explore ideas both new and old, and we will do it joyfully.” That is the Kirkland I want to remember and it remains a large part of who I am.

    • Judy Silverstein Gray permalink
      February 5, 2010 3:49 pm

      Hi Cathy- so nice to read your comments and thank you for your perspective. Why not share other remembrances?

      We invite you to join our Archives, Media and Publications Committee call tomorrow ( Sat., Feb. 6) starting at 11:00 am EST? If you haven’t yet received an email with the dial-in information, send us a note at and we’ll fill you in on the details. We’d love to have your voice on that call.


  2. February 5, 2010 1:02 pm

    All my other letters were rejections. That YES was a gift.

    My interviewer at Kirkland had actually spent time talking to me about how scared I was by the whole College Application process. “I find students get accepted where they are supposed to go.” I didn’t plan on Kirkland, but Kirkland shaped me.

    • Judy Silverstein Gray permalink
      February 5, 2010 3:53 pm

      Hi Linda:

      That YES meant so much to so many people. Thinking about brings back that day- flipping over the envelope, it was just so exciting to see that YES peeking through the envelope.

      By the way, your website showcases beautiful art, We’d love to have Kirkland women create a page/share impressions of the Kirkland Arts Division ( and many other departments/experiences). We’ll eventually want to get jpgs of art created while at Kirkland as well as recent pieces that perhaps tell the Kirkland story in retrospective form.

      Can you join our conference call tomorrow at 11 a.m. EST? Email for call-in info.


  3. Jo Pitkin permalink*
    February 5, 2010 10:21 pm

    Hi Cathy,

    I’m so glad you said that! The YES must have meant a lot to me too, because this one is the scanned version of mine. I’ve kept it since the 70s. And Judy has her original envelope! We were hoping that the YES would bring back a lot of great memories, so thanks for the comments.

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