The Vassar chapter of Students for Democratic Action held its first meeting.

The college hosted a national intercollegiate arts conference, gathering students, teachers and artists representing every fine art from across the country to discuss “The Creative Arts in Contemporary Society.” Panel discussions focused on the challenges of new artistic media, trends in literature and the arts, the creative process and the scope of public involvement in and understanding of the arts. 

The American studies scholar and literary critic F.O. Matthiessen from Harvard gave the keynote address. The drama and dance panel included Irwin Shaw, playwright and novelist, and pioneering modern dancer Merce Cunningham. The panel on art and music included the social realist painter Ben Shahn and the composer, poet and philosopher John Cage. The poet, critic and former member of the Vassar English department, John Malcolm Brinnin, spoke on contemporary literary trends, and the Yale philosopher of theology, metaphysics and aesthetics, Paul Weiss, offered a summary and led the closing discussion.

Professor Edith A. Roberts and Mildred D. Southwick ’26 of the plant science department reported to the Electron Microscope Society of America that they had determined that Vitamin A, heretofore thought of as being formed primarily in fish livers, was in fact formed in young plants and vegetables, in the form of carotene.  In October, the team reported more fully on their technique in “Contribution of Studies with the Electron Microscope to Studies of the Relationship of Chromoplasts to Carotene Bodies and Carotene Bodies to Vitamin A,” in Plant Physiology.

The Vassar Chapel Choir and the New York University Glee Club gave a joint concert in the Chapel.  The combined choral groups, numbering 160 singers, sang in New York City two weeks later.

President Blanding conferred the bachelor’s degree on 175 members of the Class of 1948 at Commencement.

Vassar trustee and former director of recreation in the Federal Office of Defense Health and Welfare Services Mark A. McCloskey delivered the commencement address.  A pioneer in the integration of community service and education, McCloskey, director of community education for the New York City schools, spoke on “The Civilized Citizens.”

2,500 delegates to the biennial session of the General Council of the Congregational Christian Churches of the United States elected Helen Kenyon ’05, former chair of the Vassar board of trustees, the church’s moderator.  She was the first woman to receive the denomination’s highest honor.


President Blanding was the only woman and the only educator among the 12 nominees sent to the Senate by President Truman for a European recovery advisory board to Economic Cooperation Administrator Paul G. Hoffman.  Other nominees included former New York governor Herbert H. Lehman, Eric Johnston, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, Allan Kline, president of the Farm Bureau Federation and the secretary-treasurers of both the CIO and the AFL.

President Blanding conferred the bachelor of arts degree on 188 seniors, the last group to complete their degree under the three year plan.  In her commencement address, Agnes Ernst Meyer—with Miss Blanding, one of two women on President Truman’s Commission on Higher Education—promised the graduates that they were entering upon “the most promising era of all human history,” with possibilities that “stagger the imagination.”

In her remarks, Katharine Blodgett Hadley '20, chair of the board of trustees, conveyed the board’s highest tribute and its gratitude to Dean C. Mildred Thompson ’03, who was retiring after 40 years on the faculty, 25 of them as dean.     The New York Times

Topics for the workshops and seminars at the 23rd session of the Vassar’s Summer Institute for Family and Community Living included “Child Development and Family Relationship and Guidance,” “Parent Education Leadership,” “Family Needs and Community Resources” and “The School Curriculum.”

Entire families often attended the summer sessions.  Children lived separately from parents and participated in special activities while parents attended the adult education events.

Dr. Marion Tait, former associate professor of Greek and Latin at Mount Holyoke College, succeeded C. Mildred Thompson ’03 as dean.  Sydnor Walker ’13, formerly an officer with the Rockefeller Foundation, was appointed assistant to the president. 

The college welcomed 390 freshmen, 54.9 percent of whom came from private schools and 37.4 percent from public institutions.  Both types of secondary school had been attended by 7.7 percent.

Reporting on her work with President Truman’s Commission on Higher Education, President Blanding expressed her sense of the college’s place in higher education’s future: “I hope that Vassar College will always have something going on, that we will always be experimentally minded.  If Vassar learns how to do something better than any other college, we will be affecting all of education in the country.  I think that, perhaps, is our justification for being.”     Vassar Alumnae Magazine

Harry Truman defeated Republican Thomas Dewey in the presidential election.  In a campus poll Vassar students voted for Dewey, 558 to 128.

Denis W. Brogan, professor of political science, Cambridge University, lectured on "The Present Political Situation in France." 

Denis W. Brogan, professor of political science, Cambridge University, lectured on "The Present Political Situation in France." 

The Vassar Glee Club joined the New York University Glee Club in New York City for its 20th annual Town Hall concert. This was the first time the NYU group had performed with a guest ensemble in the annual event, and it was the first appearance for the Vassar club at Town Hall.