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Charm School draws crowds to courses

The third annual presentation of Charm School during IAP was the most successful yet, and many people have already inquired about participating in next year's event.

"I think this was our best attended in terms of both students and `faculty,'" said Charm School "headmistress" Alberta Lipson, assistant dean for undergraduate education and student affairs. More than 80 people from the faculty, administration and student body taught mini-courses on subjects ranging from Clothing Statements and Personal Style to Walking, Doorway and Elevator Etiquette.

About 125 Charm School bachelor's, master's and doctoral "degrees" were conferred on attendees who collected coupons by passing individual courses. The "graduates" were entitled to the best seats in Rm 10-250 to hear a talk that evening by Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners (see accompanying story).

New offerings this year included courses on Overcoming Shyness and How to Deal With Difficult People and Difficult Situations. Among the most popular sessions were those on table manners, body language, small talk and attentive listening, and Buttering Up Big Shots, which for the last hour featured Paul E. Gray, Chairman of the Corporation.

Classes were held in Lobby 10 as well as Lobby 7. Toby Elliott, administrative assistant in UESA, circulated between the lobbies, handing out bright orange "fashion violations" to passers-by, listing infractions such as Facial Sandpaper, Using Both Straps on a Backpack and Dangerously Large Earrings.

"It's a unique event. It's very spirited and it brings people from different parts of the Institute together," Dr. Lipson noted. "It was a wonderful day."

Charm School is supported by the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and the Peter De Florez Fund for Humor.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 1, 1995.

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