Today (Feb. 18) is the 76th anniversary of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s My Day column in which she recapped her visit to Keuka College.
Roosevelt told her readers that Keuka College “is a small college which takes approximately 200 girls. For that very reason, the girl who might not be able to obtain anything of value from a big college, may receive a real education here and develop in a way which might be out of the question if she did not have individual attention.”
She reported that “the tuition and board are lower than in many colleges, opportunities are made for work, and they have a few scholarships. They draw largely from the State of New York and from the smaller towns, villages and rural districts.”
She seemed particulalry impressed by one student who was a “victim of infantile paralysis and was still on crutches. She seemed entirely independent, however, and I learned she had earned a large part of her college expenses by work in the book shop.”
Roosevelt wrote that President J. Hillis Miller’s “influence on the girls is excellent. The Dean, Miss Chloe Owens, is a woman who has done so many interesting things that I imagine she can fire the imagination of almost any youngster.”
Two years later the United States was on the brink of war. President Miller wanted the College to contribute to the war effort should the country be drawn in. But how? The answer came from Roosevelt.
Miller wrote Roosevelt and she replied by urging the College to set up courses in nursing and work with the Red Cross.
Three years later, during World War II, Keuka’s nursing program was born.