United States Senator-elect Chauncey M. Depew and President Taylor were the main speakers at the 23rd annual meeting of the Vassar Alumnae Association of New York—a meeting open by tradition to any alumna.  In his remarks, Taylor forthrightly addressed two current issues: Vassar’s “wealth” and whether the traditional liberal arts remained appropriate to a college curriculum.  Protesting reports in the press that Vassar was “a wealthy college,” Taylor declared “It is not a wealthy college in any sense, and the report that it is rich is a slander that no one connected the college ought to submit to.  The interest on our funds is decreasing every year.  When money drops from 7 to 4 per cent, as it has in recent years, and when our investments are limited by State law, we cannot do what we formerly were able to accomplish.  We must have $1,000,000 for endowment, we must have much-needed buildings on the campus, and it depends largely on the alumnae whether these needs be met or not.”

As to the curriculum, the president stated, “We want Vassar to be judged as a college, not as a university.  We want no woman’s university. We have faith that the public will judge us from the standard of our college work, which fits out girls to compete with university graduates….  To make every student a scholar is a Quixotic, an impossible, idea, but to make those who come under the influence of a college scholarly in taste, to imbue them with respect for learning in one of the ideals of a college.”

In his brief remarks, the senator-elect and former president of the New York Central railroad told the some 250 alumnae a Vassar-related story in support of his declaration that “girls were much more self-reliant than boys.”

“And talking about the enterprise of girls…some years ago I went up to deliver an address.  I didn’t intend to go, but it happened this way: A deputation of Vassar girls came to me in my office and invited me to the college.  I am a busy man, and I said no.  I repeated the refusal gently, but with that firmness which characterizes me.  Whereupon a business-like little girl drew her companions into a corner, and in a stage whisper said: ‘Girls, you must go out of the office.  You can’t get a man to do anything by college methods and tactics.  I understand men; you don’t.’

“Her companions went out, and, shutting the door, she turned to me and said:

“Now, look here, Mr. Depew, we can raise $100, but not another cent.’

“Of course, I went….”     The New York Times