Looking Back a Half Century

On May 28, 1966, Berklee’s first graduating class totaled 16, with 13 grads receiving bachelor of music degrees in either music education or composition. The remaining three earned diplomas in arranging and composition. Among the graduates were Alf Clausen (award-winning composer for The Simpsons and other TV shows and movies), and Michael Rendish, Charles Cassara, and Ted Pease, all of whom became revered Berklee faculty members. 

Fifty years later, the 2016 class numbered 952 graduates who earned degrees and diplomas in a dozen different majors. While there were no women in the class of 1966, this year, 35 percent of the graduating class was female. The graduates came from 68 different countries and all across the United States. While most of the 1966 graduates were close in age, in 2016, the oldest graduate was 59 and the youngest was 20.


Class of '66. From the left, first row: Michael Rendish, Alan Marino, Steven Gould, Alf Clausen, Anthony DiMaggio, and Nicholas Aksenczyk. Second row: Richard Milgram, John McGill, John Julian, James Castaldi, Charles Cassara, and George Bookataub. Third row: unidentified, unidentified, Gerald Reber, Ted Pease, William Moulton, and James Miller.


The class of 2016, 952 strong, in which women accounted for 35 percent of the graduates, hailed from 68 different countries.