The Quest for Sex

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The YWCA and YMCA organized Whitman’s religious emphasis week, called Quest. In 1965, the topic for Quest was sex with a strong emphasis on women’s role. Not women’s role in sexual intercourse, but rather “women’s role in society, sex on the campus and general problems facing society (i.e. homosexuality, abortion).” The program included lectures by several prominent psychologists and theologians: Robert E. Fitch, Suzanne Lloyd, and the keynote speaker Ted McIlvenna. The selection of these three speakers indicates a surprising liberal bias. Ted McIlvenna is a pioneer in open discourse between Christianity and homosexuals. In fact, the year before he spoke at Whitman, McIlvenna organized a meeting and open discussion between the Methodist Church and the homosexual communities in California. By the time he lectured at Quest, McIlvenna was a nationally recognized gay rights leader.


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“The Quest for Sex,” Whitman College Archives, accessed January 29, 2023,