The granting of credit toward the collegiate degree for theoretical study in art and music, coupled with the earlier discontinuation of the preparatory school, discouraged less-serious students and improved the intellectual tone of the college. Bringing Vassar’s practices thus in line with those at Smith and Wellesley raised student and faculty morale.

“Side by side with many exceedingly valuable preparatory and art students, there had always been a certain number of relatively frivolous spirits whose presence made difficulties for the college executives.”    “The Social Life,” Frances T. Marburg ’15, The Vassar Miscellany, Vassar 1865-1915, From the Undergraduate Point of View, Fiftieth Anniversary Number

A rear addition to the Vassar Brothers Laboratory was completed. 

 

When some 200 alumnae gathered in New York City for the annual winter meeting of the alumnae association, the largest concern—with the possible exception of salaries for women that were equal to those of men doing the same work—was the treatment of Vassar students in the popular press.  “Indignant protests were made against the alleged humorous paragraphs and the sensational stories which purport to depict the life of the girls at Vassar…. The articles were a direct injury to the institution.  It was decided to appoint a press committee, whose duty it should be to furnish the truth to newspapers on college affairs.  The alumnae, it was said, better than any one else, could tell to the public how the girls behaved and what their studies and amusements were.”     The New York Times

Class Day exercises were held, and the trustees elected United States Vice President Levi P. Morton to the seat of the late Benson Lossing and Poughkeepsie mayor Edward Ellsworth to replace Henry L. Young, who had recently resigned.

President Taylor conferred the bachelor’s degree on 54 members of the Class of 1892 at Commencement in the Chapel.  Six seniors delivered essays and two contributed musical interludes at the pianoforte.

Two graduate students received master’s degrees: Anna C. McFadden ’80 and Cora Angeline Start ‘90.

President Taylor announced that John D. Rockefeller had subscribed $33,000 to complete the construction of new student residential space.  The building was Strong House, named in honor of Rockefeller’s daughter, Elizabeth “Bessie” Rockefeller Strong, who was a special student (1886-88) and who married philosopher and psychologist Charles Augustus Strong in 1889.

Rockefeller’s contribution eventually totaled $35,000.

Anticipating the largest entering class in Vassar’s history, about 175 new students, the college faced a severe shortage of space.  Pending the opening of the new residence hall in December, about 75 students were housed at the Windsor House, a hotel some two miles from the college. A matron and several college staff lived with the students, chapel service was held at the hotel every evening and private conveyances brought the students to and from the campus.  While on campus, they used Gymnasium Hall in the Alumnae Gymnasium as a study hall.

A happier innovation for the new school year was the transfer of the dinner hour from noon to six o’clock in the evening, thus facilitating more leisurely and sociable dining.  “The fact that the students have been urged,” observed The New York Times, “ to pass an hour at dinner and in social enjoyment is in itself trivial, but shows that the college aims to develop more than one side of woman’s nature.”

The October issue of The Vassar Miscellany reported on several alumnae pursuing graduate work: at the University of Chicago, Myra Reynolds ’80 and Eva J. Daniels ’92; at Yale, Mary Augusta Scott ’76, Laura Johnson Wylie ’77, Charlotte C. Barnum ’81, Margaretta Palmer ’87 and Anna Owens ’92; at Cornell, Margaret Floy Washburn ’91 and Laura C. Sheldon ’87.  Penelope Flett ’92 was at the University of Michigan Medical School. Two of these graduates returned to Vassar as members of the faculty—Laura Johnson Wylie in the English department and Margaret Floy Washburn in psychology.

Grover Cleveland was elected President of the United States, defeating President Benjamin Harrison. Vassar voted for Harrison.

Woodrow Wilson, Professor of Politics and Jurisprudence, Princeton University, lectured in the Chapel on "Democracy."  "A large number of students," reported The Vassar Miscellany, "heard and enjoyed" his proposition that democracy's "fundamental idea is that the people are sovereign." Admitting that "history shows that the concurrence of majorities does not always express the general will," Wilson proposed, "by the sovereignty of the people...we mean tha tthe people agree to be governed by individuals chosen from themselves; the people govern well when they use discrimination in this choice."

The annual catalogue of the college, which appeared between semesters, compared student numbers between the current year—the first since the abolition of the schools of music and art—and the previous year: senior class, 53, 2 less than ’91-’92; junior class, 71, a gain of 20; sophomore class, 111, a gain of 35; freshman class, 140, a gain of 21; collegiate specials, 52, a gain of ll.

A Conference on Teaching English in Secondary Schools was held at Vas­sar, one of ten conferences held simultaneously by the National Education Association.