June 13, 1938
Conferring the bachelor’s degree on 257 members of the Class of 1938, President MacCracken addressed the class on “Ideologies.” Pointing to the dominance of ideology over reason in the regimes of Hitler and Mussolini, he said “reason is put into uniform and marches with the mass.”
Turning to recent efforts to struggles closer to home, MacCracken said, “If, in the last analysis, the destinies of the republic are settled in the classroom, then what goes on there is of infinite importance. And that we all have an inkling of this may be judged by the anxiety of those who have ideologies to market. They want to control academic policy. Fundamentally, they do not want real history, real science or real art, but their own ideological version of it.
“Therefore, as president of Vassar College, an institution in the free and liberal tradition of the higher learning, I ask your support of our present policy, which, so far as we are supported, we shall maintain: objective rather that subjective interpretation of social phenomena, free and untrammeled inquiry into every field of learning, honest and fair comparison of our own work with that of others, admission of our own shortcomings, a courteous hearing of criticism from whatever source, devotion to the religion that sets others before ourselves, inculcation of the spirit and loyalty, not to a fabricated ideology, but to the laws of God and His universe, and action consistent with our attitude; this is the policy to which today we pledge renewed allegiance.”
Helen Kenyon ’05, chairman of the board of trustees, announced that gifts to the college totaled $212,915, of which $117,944 was for the endowment and $94,971 was for current use. The New York Times