Journalist, philanthropist and education activist Agnes Ernst Meyer encouraged an audience of Vassar students to resist the pressures of conformism in an address entitled “Freedom is for the Brave.” “Let not the authoritarians frighten you,” she said, “into a submissive conformist attitude of mind. I know that some college students have allowed themselves to be brow-beaten into a neurotic conservatism. But after years of contact with all age groups, I am confident that for the most part the undergraduates of today are more mature, more critical, more independent than any previous generation in recent times….”
Mrs. Meyer—with President Blanding, one of two women appointed in 1946 to President Truman’s Commission on Higher Education—gave the address at Commencement in 1948. Her daughter Katherine, who was in the Class of 1938, transferred to the University of Chicago.