June 12, 1949
At Commencement, in addition to the 259 graduates in the Class of 1949, two former GIs, completing their work at Vassar, received degrees from the University of the State of New York. They were the second and third veterans to complete degree work, and 25 remained as undergraduates. Ten master’s degrees were also awarded.
Dr. Millicent McIntosh, dean of Barnard College, apparently unaware that students at Vassar had been doing seven hours per week of housework and messenger service since 1942, warned graduates heading toward marriage that they would be doing housework and that “wise acceptance of your situation” would “save you much frustration.” She also counseled those hoping for both marriage and a career that “fundamentally the man must be the person whose career comes first, because woman’s biological role is not to support and defend the family but to bear and rear the children.”
Katharine Blodgett Hadley '20, chair of the board of trustees, announced that the college had received a gift of $2 million from the Old Dominion Foundation of Washington, DC, for the establishment of the Mary Conover Mellon Fund for the Advancement of Education. The purpose of the foundation was the exploration and encouragement of those conditions in the life of the college that contribute most to mental and emotional health.
The fund, named in honor of Mrs. Mellon, a graduate in the Class of 1926, established a long-range educational program and a more specific, complementary counseling program. In her remarks about the gift, President Blanding noted that both Mrs. Mellon and her husband, Paul Mellon, the president of the foundation, were interested in “the possibilities of applying to the development of the individual during the educational process some of the insights and techniques provided by the new sciences of psychology and psychiatry.”
Development of the new programs was the responsibility of psychiatrist Dr. Carl Binger, a member of the faculty of the Cornell University Medical College. Yale University received a similar gift at this time from the Old Dominion Foundation. The New York Times