Diana Dunn

Diana Dunn

Dayton, Ohio - Penn State Doctoral Student

During spring semester, 1970, I was completing my Ph.D. studies at Penn State in Recreation and Park Management and Sociology at University Park. Throughout my doctoral program (1966 to 1970), there was little mention of the Vietnam War anywhere on my campus trajectory.  I and my student colleagues were focused on completing our degrees.

In fall 1969, I was appointed Director of Research for the National Recreation and Park Association, with offices at 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.  Throughout the winter, I commuted from Penn State to Washington in order to meet with my advisor, and to have my data analyzed by the IBM 360 computer on campus.

On nights and weekends, when I was in Washington, I feverishly scrutinized reams of data and typed various drafts of my dissertation. From my eighth floor Arlington, Virginia apartment, I could see below me hundreds of anti-war protestors crossing the bridge toward the Lincoln Memorial as they marched into D.C.  The vision seemed alien to me.

My dissertation defense was scheduled for what turned out to be the first Earth Day – April 22, 1970.  I arrived for the morning event to learn that war protests on campus would necessitate my orals being postponed.  I complained vigorously, pointing out that I had a full time job in Washington, and this interruption was not acceptable.  Somehow, my complaint was effective, and my orals were scheduled in the afternoon.  I passed the exam, then drove back to Washington, with no thought about the war.