June 11, 1918
Wartime marked the graduation of 267 seniors at the college’s 52nd Commencement. A symposium on “Vassar Women in the Nation’s Program” took the place of Class Day ceremonies, and five seniors were already married, with husbands in military service. In his commencement address, “The Treasure and the Heart,” President MacCracken called the American college “the most effective training camp of the organized and unanimous spirit of democracy.” In reference to the upcoming summer’s national training camp for nurses, he declared, “Just as the shipyards of Newark are launching the fabricated vessels, so Vassar campus is to launch the most vital of the women’s army, the well-trained pupil nurse.”
Earlier, in his baccalaureate sermon entitled “Fearlessness,” Rev. Robert Elliott Speer DD told the graduates: “It is not only the fearlessness of the boys abroad that will win the war, but also the fearlessness of the parents at home in sacrificing their sons to a cause which they know is right.” The New York Times
Among the $150,950 in aggregated annual gifts to the college was $500 from the Class of 1909 in memory of Inez Milholland Boissevain ’09. The crusader for women’s rights collapsed while addressing a gathering in Los Angeles in 1916 and died a few days later, on November 26, at the age of 30.