Vassar was awarded a Grand Prix for an exhibition prepared for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis that included models of its buildings and grounds, photographs and library and departmental exhibits. 

The Frances A. Wood House, faculty dwelling at 79 Raymond Avenue, was completed, Pilcher & Tachau, architects.

Miss Wood's long association with the college started in 1866. She held the posts of teacher of music, teacher of English and assistant lady principal before being appointed to the librarianship, which she held from 1880 until her retirement in 1910. 

Prolonged pressure from the Students’ Association forced the faculty to take a first step towards voluntary class attendance: permitting students to present written excuses for absence.  Faculty members could accept the excuses or not, but an excuse alleging illness was to be accepted without question. 

The million dollar endowment drive, undertaken in 1900, reached the $350,000 mark.

A large student audience showered applause on Dorothy Donnelly in the title role and Arnold Daly as the poet/lover Marchbanks in Daly’s production of Bernard Shaw’s Candida (1897).  Daly’s was the first professional American production of Shaw’s play, which—departing from Ibsen’s A Doll’s House—proposed, in Shaw’s words, “that in the real typical doll’s house, it is the man who is the doll.”

The Vassar Alumnae Association of the West, meeting in Chicago, pledged to raise $70,000 before Founder’s Day, April 29.  $50,000 was intended to endow a James M. Taylor chair of Biblical Literature, in honor of President Taylor.  The remainder was to be added to the general endowment fund.

Ex-secretary of the Navy John D. Long delivered the Founder’s Day address, which assessed the achievement of Matthew Vassar. “When Matthew Vassar founded the college,” he said, “it was an experiment; it was the first real college for women.  Now the woman’s college is one of the settled institutions of our country, and that, too, without the slightest impairment of woman’s delicacy.” The New York Times

Four new Vassar records were set at the annual Field Day.  Fanny James ’04 ran the 50-yard dash in 0:61.5 and the 100-yard dash in 0:13, Helen Babson ’05 set the running high jump record at 4 feet 2 ½ inches and Alice H. B. Elding threw a baseball 195 feet 3 inches.

The seniors won the day with 55 points to the juniors’ 29, the freshmen’s 14 and the sophomores’ 10.

The Everyman Company,the English acting company of Ben Greet and Edith Wynne Matthison, which presented Everyman at Vassar in December 1902, performed Shakespeare's As You Like It, under the auspices of the Tuesday Club of Poughkeepsie, on the grounds of the DeGarmo residence. In the evening the same company performed Much Ado about Nothing at the Collingwood Opera House. Both performances were in support of the Vassar Endowment Fund. 

"In the evening the boys of the Riverview Military Academy held their annual drill on the campus for the college students. The manoeuvres were skillfully done, showing thorough training and discipline, and the college enjoyed the sight greatly. Lemonade was served to the boys after they broke ranks."      The Vassar Miscellany

In the baccalaureate sermon to the Class of 1904, President Taylor voiced his concern about complacency, especially in regard to public education.  “Unless,” he said, “we educate the people, North, South, black, and white, we shall fail among the nations of the world.  We boast of our progress in this line.  The splendid progress of the South is worthy of great praise, but it is a fact that some of the Northern States have grown in illiteracy.”     The New York Times

In his Phi Beta Kappa address, President Charles F. Thwing of the Western Reserve University saw a transition where the individual had become larger in national life and the state had become smaller.  Business and the Stock Exchange, where individuals flourish, were, he said, often more powerful than the Congress.  Certain men who sought no office were nearly as influential as the President of the United States. A result that demanded attention was that popular respect was shifting away from the formal leaders to what President Thwing called “informal governors.”     The New York Times

The Chapel was used for the first time for Commencement.  The largest graduating class to date, 176 students, received their degrees.  President Taylor announced that total raised in a year-long campaign for the endowment fund amounted to $171,834.  As John D. Rockefeller had offered to match any amount up to $200,000, the endowment fund now stood at $343,668. 

Additional subscriptions brought the final amount raised by the end of January, 1905, to $175,000, which Rockefeller matched.     The New York Times

A feature story, “How Vassar Did It,” in The New York Times credited an energetic, well-organized alumnae body and the college’s current students—along with “Mr. John D. Rockefeller, one of the trustees”—for averting a “crisis” at Vassar by raising $173,000 for the endowment fund in the recent campaign.  Noting Vassar’s great success in building a strong student body and an excellent faculty and commending the nine buildings that had recently been “added to the material equipment of the college,” the article reported that before the campaign “the general endowment was practically nil.”

Among alumnae donors, “some few, some very few, drew their checks for $1,000,” but the gift committee had suggested donations of $30 “as the amount which the average individual might safely pledge and pay.”  Individual subscriptions, the article said, “rarely exceeded $100.”  Vassar calendars, Vassar fudge and Vassar blotters were sold by alumnae, and one graduate wrote “sketches of Vassar which sold at $1.25 a volume and brought in a neat sum.”

When asked what students were doing to help, one undergraduate answered: “Well, I guess I’ll have to own up that it’s the alumnae who are doing things this time.  We girls on the campus are raising money chiefly by not doing things….  We’ve given all the way from ‘Phil’ [one of the two college proms, which was cancelled] to strawberries.”

A feature story, “How Vassar Did It,” in The New York Times credited an energetic, well-organized alumnae body and the college’s current students—along with “Mr. John D. Rockefeller, one of the trustees”—for averting a “crisis” at Vassar by securing the endowment fund in the recent campaign.  Noting Vassar’s great success in building a strong student body and an excellent faculty and commending the nine buildings that had recently been “added to the material equipment of the college,” the article reported that before the campaign “the general endowment was practically nil.”

Among alumnae donors, “some few, some very few, drew their checks for $1,000,” but the gift committee had suggested donations of $30 “as the amount which the average individual might safely pledge and pay.”  Individual subscriptions, the article said, “rarely exceeded $100.”  Vassar calendars, Vassar fudge, and Vassar blotters were sold by alumnae, and one graduate wrote “sketches of Vassar which sold at $1.25 a volume and brought in a neat sum.”

When asked what students were doing to help, one undergraduate answered: “Well, I guess I’ll have to own up that it’s the alumnae who are doing things this time.  We girls on the campus are raising money chiefly by not doing things…We’ve given all the way from ‘Phil’ [one of the two college proms, which was cancelled] to strawberries.”

Professor of Mathematics Achsah M. Ely ’68, a strong leader of the faculty and of the alumnae, died of a heart attack suffered while walking on the campus toward the Main Building.