Vivian (Fain) Friedman arrived at Northeastern in 1943 as a member of the University’s first female undergraduate class. At a time of global conflict, during which the world’s nations were involved in World War II, Northeastern’s enrollment dropped precipitously as enlisted male students were called to active military duty. Women were admitted to the vacated slots and Vivian was one of only 212 freshmen, joining one of the smallest entering classes in University history.
A native of Quincy, Massachusetts, Vivian began her studies as a chemistry major but ultimately transitioned to math. In the summer of 1944, she held a co-op at the Weymouth Art Leather Company in South Braintree, where she conducted water and burn tests on camouflage and parachute materials for the United States Army. Beyond co-op and the classroom, Vivian was very involved in extracurricular activities including the Dramatic Society, the Constitution Committee, the Student Union, and the United Service Organizations (USO).
Vivian's senior portrait from 1946.
After graduation, Vivian became a math teacher in suburban New York City. In 1993, she returned to Northeastern and joined her former classmates for a 50th anniversary reunion of the University’s original female entering class. Today, Vivian is retired and resides in Florida.