June 30, 1946
Acting for the last time as “dispenser of diplomas,” as he had called himself a few years earlier, President MacCracken conferred the bachelor’s degree on 353 members of the Class of 1946, Vassar’s largest graduating class to date. During the 31 years of his presidency, the college weathered the depression, prohibition and two world wars. In the cause of international understanding, he brought many foreign students to Vassar and sent them back to positions of leadership in their own countries. The college became, under his guidance, an academic community where trustees and administrators were not the governors of faculty and students, but their colleagues. During his term, Vassar grew: 11 more buildings; $12 million more dollars of endowment; 170,000 more books in its libraries.
In his commencement address, John G. Winant, former United States Ambassador to Great Britain and U.S. representative on the United Nations economic and social council, urged the graduates to resist the effects of finding the inevitable: that military victory had not “wiped out” injustice in the world. “I feel among many,” he said, “a premature discouragement, a post-war weariness that holds great danger for the future. It makes for indifference, for cynicism, for intolerance…. We have now to dig down to the roots of our social and economic problems. We have to draw out from the post-war soil the infertile elements of intolerance of man to man or of country to country and to replace them with the seeds of tolerance and social justice.”
Katherine Blodgett Hadley ’20, chair of the Vassar board of trustees, announced that the trustees, alumnae and other friends of the college had given more than $100,000 to endow the Henry Noble MacCracken Chair of English Literature. The New York Times