The Barbara Bailey Brown Fund, was established in 1966 by the Class of 1932 in memory of their classmate Barbara Bailey '32 in support of programs and lectures fostering international understanding.
The Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library was renovated again. The north and south courts, formed by wings added in 1918, were made into stack areas with access from each floor.
Pablo Picasso's "Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier)" (1910) was among the 19 20th century paintings from the collection of Governor Nelson Rockefeller displayed in Taylor Hall. In an appreciation of the painting in The Miscellany News, Geraldine Dunphy '60 observed, "Without the 'Girl with a Mandolin,' Picasso's [later] portraits of Dora Maar, for example...are inconceivable. The richer and more complex image of synthetic cubism with its more relaxed arrangement of forms, its curvilinear elements and its powerful enrichment of color is the product of the new pictorial concept first explored by analytical cubism"
The paintings on display included examples of the Fauves and early Cubists and were chosen for the advanced course in modern painting.
In a letter to the editor of The Miscellany News, President Blanding explained the college's decision to continue to offer students low-interest loans under the National Defense Education Act of 1958 despite its "offensive" requirements of a loyalty oath and non-communist affidavit. Noting that several institutions, including Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Harvard, Yale and Oberlin, had either refused to offer the loans or withdrawn from the program, she quoted a faculty resolution passed the previous June stating that the "faculty deplores the provision in the...act requiring a disclaimer affidavit and joins with other colleges and universities in seeking to repeal the provision." Assuring students who "preferred not to accept a federal loan under these conditions" that they might apply for a loan from the college, she said that Vassar's board of trustees "felt that the signing of the oath and the disclaimer were matters of individual conscience and that the college should protest the requirement but should not deny the loans to students."
"If the offensive provisions are not rescinded," the president declared, "the matter will be re-opened. I am glad that our faculty and student body are ready to protest what seems to them objectionable in public life. I am glad, too, that our Board of Trustees takes into consideration no only the needs of individual students but the right of students to make their own independent decisions." On March 21, 1960, President Blanding notified head of the Student Loan Section of the Office of Education that the executive committee of the board of trustees had voted to withdraw Vassar from the loan program as of June 30.
In 1959, Senator John F. Kennedy introduced a bill to eliminate the loyalty oath and the non-communist affidavit from the education act, and on October 16, 1962, President Kennedy signed the bill removing the non-communist affidavit from the defense education act. In the interim, 153 colleges and universities had withdrawn from the law's loan program.
Under the auspices of the department of physical education, the José Limón Dance Company presented a master class and a concert featuring four pieces set to the music of Vivaldi, Pergolesi, Purcell and contemporary American composer Norman Lloyd. "This is not easy dancing to watch," Imogene Howe '60 wrote in The Miscellany News. "It makes heavy demands upon the viewer's concentration. He does not know what is going to happen next in this choreography; surprise follows surprise."
Refused service at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, NC, four African American students started a sit-in, triggering a season of non-violent student sit-ins in the South. Six months later, the four students were served lunch at the same Woolworth’s lunch counter.
"Uncle Fred's Nose," the addition to the Main Building given by trustee Frederick Ferris Thompson and erected in 1893 for a library, was demolished by the Campbell Building Company, as part of the plan for restoring Main Building’s original façade. The Class of 1960 took part in a brief ceremony, at which the first blow to the venerable eyesore was struck by President Blanding. Mrs. Martha Wyman, '18, and Professor C. Gordon Post impersonated Lady Principal Georgia Kendrick and "Uncle Fred" Thompson.
Twenty-five Vassar students were among representatives from many Northeastern colleges and universities attending a colloquium, called the Challenge, at Yale. Speakers included Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater; Sarah Lawrence College President Emeritus Harold Taylor; A. Philip Randolph, international president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Thurgood Marshall, director-counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the topic was civil rights.
Students who attended the civil rights symposium at Yale University the previous weekend held a civil rights rally at which Herbert Hill, labor secretary of the NAACP, and Democratic Socialist activist Paul DuBrul spoke. About 150 of the college’s 1,400 students attended.
Over 100 students picketed the Woolworth’s store on Main Street, Poughkeepsie, to protest against lunch counter segregation in the chain’s southern stores. Apparently by coincidence, simultaneous protests were staged by Smith College and Bennington College students at Woolworth stores in Northampton, MA, and in Bennington, VT.
Investigative reporter McCandlish Phillips put these incidents in context on March 20 in The New York Times:
“Informal organizations have sprung up in the last ten days at a score of colleges and universities, including some of the nation’s foremost institutions. Many of these have gone into action within forty-eight hours.
“There is a quality of invention to their work. The students lack means and experience. They admit to uncertainty about what they can do.
“But money is being raised, meetings are being held and picket lines are forming in sympathy with Negroes who have protested segregation at chain-store lunch counters in the South.
“The present campus generation has been accused of self-concern and a pallid indifference to social or political questions. This issue appears to have aroused it as have few others.”
Vassar senior Marian Gray ’60 told Phillips that a meeting late in the first evening of the gathering at Yale with Democratic Socialist activist Paul DuBrul and Yale Law School alumnus Allard Lowenstein “stimulated us most in deciding to do something on our own campus about civil rights.”
“‘Mr. Lowenstein arrived from Alabama that night,’ Miss Gray said. ‘He and Mr. DuBrul explained the issues and urged students to return to their college communities and organize demonstrations and protests. They urged us to educate our home communities on the problems facing Southern Negroes….’"
Gray then told Phillips about the meeting she and her group arranged on campus with Herbert Hill and Paul DuBrul and about the protest the following evening, the late shopping night in Poughkeepsie:
“‘We announced that we intended to picket Woolworth’s and we got practically the entire audience,’ Miss Gray said.
“Meetings were held in all eight dormitories Wednesday night.
“Late Thursday afternoon about 100 girls rode downtown and carried signs outside the store: ‘Don’t Buy From Woolworth—It Discriminates in the South.’
“‘For the most part the reaction was one of indifference,’ Miss Gray said. ‘There was a little open antagonism and some curiosity. We do not feel we had any effect on the business of the store. We did not really expect to, but we had hoped that we might.’
“Miss Gray, a Negro, said that the picketing was ‘about the most extreme thing we could have done. There have been no pickets at Vassar in the last twenty years. We did not know how to go about it, we did not know what our legal rights were, we did not know how the administration would react and we had to tell the girls that we could not offer them protection of any kind.’
“‘Having told them the risk we did not lose a single girl who had signed up for the demonstration,’ she said….
“Girls from Miami, Fla., Durham, N. C., and Frankfort, Ky., took part in the Vassar demonstration.
“A meeting will be held Wednesday night to decide ‘what other action might be effective here,’ Miss Gray said.” The New York Times
Dr. Marian Gray Secundy '60, the first African American to serve on the Vassar board of trustees (1965-1971) and a founding board member of Triple A VC (African American Alumnae/i of Vassar College), was a professor and the director of the Program in Clinical Ethics at Howard University. Her brother, former Pennsylvania Congressman William H. Gray III, served for many years as president of the United Negro College Fund. He was Vassar' s commencement speaker in 1988.
Visiting Lecturer in Drama Norris Houghton, co-founder of New York's Phoenix Theatre, and the Vassar Experimental Theatre used the Living Newspaper technique developed by the theatre's founder Hallie Flanagan during her directorship of the Federal Theatre Project to produce "Standing Room Only," a study of the global overpopulation. The Living Theatre format, which Flanagan based on her study of Russian revolutionary theater, combined journalistic research and data on a public issue with broadly drawn characters representing segments of the public or public figures, mixed media, offstage commentary and dramatic stage effects to, in her words, "dramatize a new struggle – the search of the average American today for knowledge about his country and his world; to dramatize his struggle to turn the great natural and economic forces of our time toward a better life for more people." The tecnique learned, she said, "from the chorus, the camera, the cartoon."
America's first Living Theatre in at least a decade, Houghton's production involved a cast of some 80 students, faculty, Poughkeepsie residents and professional actors and was the result of extensive research in the first semester by an "editorial board" of students in Drama 270-370 for a script that was being revised up until the show's dress rehearsal. "This illustrates," Houghton told Mary Walther '61 for an article in The Miscellany News, "the most important tendency in theatre today, that is, it brings back the rapport between audience and actors, and breaks through the barrier set up by the restrictions of realistic drama."
"With its production of "Standing Room Only" last week, Mary Davis '60 wrote in The Miscellany News, "the Experimental Theatre justified its right to the title of 'Experimental.' Using film clips, a narrator (Richard Kronold [a professional actor]), a 'representative' of the audience, Jane Q. Public (Nancy Gannett ['60]), and a large cast including many non-actors, Experimental Theatre not only presented the facts of the problem of the population explosion but took a controversial stand on it by advocating contraception as the quickest and simplest solution. And in its exciting, if not completely successful, exposition of the problem, Experimental Theatre illuminated the possibilities for the theatre inherent in the living newspaper form as well as the problems it may present. For if [the play's] more successful aspects cause one to wish that the living newspaper form were more used in the West than it has been, it also offers an explanation for its continued use and success to educate and propagandize among illiterates in Communist China." Laura Browder, Rousing the Nation: Radical Culture in Depression America, The Miscellany News
Six hundred students signed a petition to the trustees requesting that Vassar withdraw from the National Defense Student Loan Program as a protest against its requirement that students submit a affidavit disclaiming communist ties. The trustees responded that Vassar would withdraw from the program as of June 30, 1960, unless the disclaimer clause was deleted by that time. The requirement was not deleted, and Vassar withdrew.
In 1959, Senator John F. Kennedy had introduced a bill to eliminate the loyalty oath and the non-communist affidavit from the education act, and on October 16, 1962, President Kennedy signed the bill removing the non-communist affidavit from the defense education act. In the interim, 153 colleges and universities had withdrawn from the federal loan program.
Students from ten academic departments presented papers at "East and West," an intramural symposium held under the auspices of the department of history that focussed on the 15th century Council of Ferarra-Florence, the last great attempt to unite the separated Christian churches of East and West. Carole Lomax '61, Elizabeth Clark '60, Irene Stocksieker '62 and Lynda Wallace '61 delivered papers on Pope Eugenius IV and the Greeks, the "Greek schism" known as Filioque or the procession of the holy spirit, Patriarch Joseph II of Constantinople and Mark of Ephesus, the dissenting Archbishop, respectively. Hettie Albo '61 spoke on the council's unofficial translator, Ambrogio Traverari, showing how he became in influential Latin supporter of the Union; Susan Perkins '61 described Isidore, Metropolitan of Kiev, another supporter of the Union, whose political travails and imprisonment upon his return to Russia became "a catalyst to the tradition of Moscow as the third Rome"; and Susan Merritt '61, according to Sherrell Bingham '62, Ann Friedberg '62 and Margery Henderson '62, writing in The Miscellany News, "gave the amusing impression of the anonymous Russian who accompanied Isadore as an illustratioin of the basic misconceptions and ignorance of the East and West about each other."
Having established the purposes and some of the personae of the Council, the symposium turned to its effects. Lydia Vecchi '62 discussed the influence on the Council and particularly on Cosimo de Medici, whom he met there, of the Neoplatonic Greek philosopher Georgius Gemistus—known as Plethon—which resulted in de Medici's founding of the Platonic Academy in Florence. Margery Henderson's paper introduced Plethon's disciple Basilios Bessarion who, passionately engaged in the Council's attempt at union between the Eastern and Western churchs, as a Cardinal in Rome commissioned the transmission and translation of Greek manuscripts into Latin, thus fostering humanistic study of Greek scholarship in Western Europe. Margot Lancastle '61 interpreted a panel in Ghiberti's "Gate of Paradise" in light of the approaching Council, and Nancy Dow '62 used works by Fra Angelico, Benozzo Gozzoli and Piero della Francesca to demonstrate the effect of Eastern pageantry on Italian art. Concluding this session, Anne McPherson '62 saw the failed attempt in the 1460s by Pope Pius II to liberate the Eastern church from the Turks as the final attempt for interrelation and aid.
The symposium's keynote speaker, Professor Donald F. Lach from the University of Chicago, the preeminent scholar of Eastern influences on Western history and culture, presented what the students writing in The Miscellany News termed "a penetrating and meaningful survey of 'Asia in the Eyes of Europe'" on the evening of the symposium's first day. Commenting on politics, economics, religion, philosophy and the arts, Professor Lach in "a concise and illuminating manner," they said, "emphasized how the West reached the East, how the purpose of the European contact often coincided with a salient interest in Western society, how the West interpreted the knowledge of the East in the light of its own biases and how this knowledge of the Orient contributed to Western culture."
On the following morning the symposium's final session, "The Missionary as Historian of China," focused on one aspect of Professor Lach's impressive survey in three historical periods. "Each of the papers," said The Misc., "considered its period and group of missionaries as a whole, then concentrated on an individual historian to get at his particular view-point and the causes and effects of it." Gail Ross '60 discussed "The Missionary Friars of the Mongol Period, 13-14th Century," with particualr attention to the 13th century missionary, explorer and envoy William of Rubruck and to Giovanni de' Marignolli—known as John of Marignola—a 14th century Florentine traveller and envoy. The paper of Nada Beth Ellend '61, "A Jesuit of the 17th Century: Matteo Ricci," the influence of the court diaries of the Italian missionary, cartographer and mathematician—one of the first Westerners to learn to write and speak the Chinese language and the composer of the first Chinese map of the world—on subsequent Western understanding of Chinese culture and governance. In the symposium's concluding paper, Linnea Bush '62 discussed "Protestant Missionaries in the 19th Century."
Pictorial exhibits accompanied the symposium, and eight students from the music department gave the American premiére of Lamentatio sanctae matris ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae (The Lament of the Holy Mother Church of Constantinople), a motet by the 15th century composer, Guillaume Dufay.
The Hon. Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of the State of New York, and father of Mary Rockefeller '60, spoke on "Survival in a Nuclear Attack." Asked to speak by a group of concerned students, Rockefeller spoke about nuclear fall-out and the need for a program to promote private construction of shelters to protect families in case of a nuclear attack.
Rockefeller's plan to encourage voluntary construction of nuclear fall-out shelters was roundly mocked and defeated in the New York Legislature, and he warned his Vassar audience that, given the Soviet nuclear power, “at some point the American people are going to question…whether Berlin is worth the risk to us as a people who are exposed to such an attack and have no defense against it and no place to go.” The New York Times, The Miscellany News
Speaking to about 200 fathers of sophomores at the 6th annual Sophomore Father’s Weekend, Robert E. Nixon, M.D. the college’s resident psychiatrist, reported that nearly 15 percent of the student body consulted him each year. Most of these students, he said, are emotionally healthy and seek from him “instruction in self-knowledge.” Students “need and expect to learn the facts of their own human selves as well as to learn the facts of this world, past and present”
Dr. Nixon declared that “the truly contemporary liberal arts college strives to teach the student not only what she needs to know about the world but what she demands to know about herself.”
The Right Reverend Johannes Lilje, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hannover, Germany, and president of the Lutheran World Federation, preached on "The Good Shepherd." Convicted by the Nazi government in 1944 of high treason for expressing his religious convictions and imprisoned under sentence of death until his liberation by American troops the following year, Bishop Lilje said that since their experience with the Third Reich, German Christians have been struggling anew with the question of their right—or duty—to resist tyranny. The Miscellany News
Margaret Leech ’15 won her second Pulitzer Prize in History for In the Days of McKinley (1959), a recreation—as was her Reveille in Washington (1941)—of a precisely defined period in national history. “Seldom,” The San Francisco Chronicle said of the book, “has 19th Century America been recaptured and evoked bore successfully or more skillfully…. It is rare indeed to find a work of such solid and permanent historical value which is executed with such literary skill.”
Leech, whose book on McKinley also won the prestigious Bancroft Prize, was the widow of Ralph Pulitzer, the son of the founder of the Pulitzer Prizes.
"The story," Irish novelist and visiting professor Elizabeth Bowen told an audience in the Chapel, "is the master of the writer; the glory of the writer is that he serves the story, and his reward for his work is doing that work well." The author of eight novels, including The House in Paris (1935), The Death of the Heart (1938), The Heat of the Day, (1949) and A World of Love (1955), numerous short stories and nonfiction works, including Bowen's Court (1942), Why Do I Write?: An Exchange of Views between Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene and V. S. Pritchett (1948) and A Time in Rome (1960), she asserted, said Mary Davis '60 in The Miscellany News, that "part of the power of the story...is over the author himself. As much as the writer begins with a conscious intention, he is likely to release, by his very comtemplation of an imagined scene, a great mass of imaginative material that he did not expect. This unexpected material, which Miss Bowen called 'the strange little growth...which is the stuff of the story,' does not make the writer happy, or satisfy his egotism."
Visiting professor in the English department for the second semester, Bowen wrote a few months later about the experience. “How much,” she said, “goes on in these buildings!—these classrooms and halls and theatres, galleries, music rooms and laboratories! The campus is not a cloister. I have seen no attempts to shield it from the winds of reality—harsh as they sometimes blow. Late evening lectures on world developments, prevailing problems and current topics are thronged; groups for debates and discussions flourish, with ever-increasing membership. These students like their brothers and sisters elsewhere, are seeking a synthesis….” Glamour, August, 1960
“The college is prepared to assist students who marry during their undergraduate careers in making appropriate plans for continuing their education…. The college requires any student who wishes to be married while she is enrolled at Vassar to confer with the Warden in advance to secure approval of her plans.” Vassar College Bulletin
“Continuing your education,” former chair of the board of trustees Morris Hadley told the 267 graduates in the Class of 1960, “is not just a pious principle, it is a hard fact of life. You can’t afford to let up on the process of learning.” The graduates also heard briefly from New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the father of their classmate, Mary. “The greatest source of confidence and inspiration we can have in the future of freedom and in the dignity of the individual,” he told the audience of 2,000, “is the character and caliber of the young people of today.”
Frederica Pisek Barach ’25, chairman of the board of trustees, announced that the graduates and their parents made gifts to the college totaling $19,111. The New York Times
President Blanding accepted the largest single class gift, $200,589 from the Class of 1910, at alumnae weekend. The total alumnae giving came to $804,613, of which $615,201 was unrestricted. The New York Times
At the mid-point of the ten-year Twenty-Five Million Dollar Development Program, established by the trustees in 1955 and announced in 1957, the total received to date was $13,824,235. The program's goals were $16.5 million for the educational program, with emphasis on faculty salaries and scholarships, and the remainder for improvements to the physical plant.
In November 1964, President Alan Simpson announced that the goal had been reached, nine month before the program's deadline. Since the program’s inception faculty salaries had been substantially improved, a new residence hall and a modern language center built and significant improvements made to Main Building, the Library and the Art Gallery.
With support from the National Science Foundation and the New York State Education Department and taught by Vassar faculty, two summer programs, in earth science and modern languages, were held on campus for junior high and high school teachers. The earth science program acquainted junior high and high school teachers with the latest advances in knowledge and techniques and granted certificates for six hours of academic credit to the participants. The language programs, requiring full-time residency of their participants, were in Russian and French. All participants in the earth science program received stipends as did New York State teachers in the modern language programs.
President Blanding announced that gifts to Vassar College during the fiscal year 1959/60 set a new record, with a total of $4,245,000. This amount exceeded the previous record year, 1957-58, by more than a half million dollars. The alumnae provided $2,927,375 in bequests and $750,825 through the annual Alumnae Fund.
College opened in the midst of Hurricane Donna, the most powerful storm of the 1960 hurricane season, which hit Long Island on September 12. One thousand four hundred and seventy-one students were enrolled from 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 26 foreign countries, including Nigeria, the world’s newest nation. Over one-forth—28.27 percent—of the 437 members of the Class of '64 were from New York State, and 120 of the new students—27.45 percent—came from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In all, the class represented 40 American states and Argentina, England, Japan, Switzerland, Colombia, India, Turkey, Sweden, Germany, Hong Kong, Cuba, Brazil, Tunisia, Canada and Peru. Fifty-five percent of the freshmen came from public schools, 42 percent from private schools and three percent had attended both types of school.
The full-time faculty numbered 190: 83 men and 107 women. Full professors earned between $8,500 and $13,000; associate professors between $7,500 and $9,000; assistant professors between $6,600 and $7,500 and instructors between $5,000 and $6,500. The Magnificent Enterprise, The Miscellany News
Plans for Vassar’s centennial year were announced at Fall Convocation, the first event on Vassar’s centennial calendar. Dean Emeritus C. Mildred Thompson '03 spoke on "Vassar: Its Tradition and Its Future."
Soprano Eileen Farrell, in a centennial event, gave the ninth Barbara Woods Morgan Memorial Concert in the Students' Building. Miss Farrell's program included classical works by Ludwig von Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Carl Maria von Weber, Claude Debussy and Francis Poulenc. She concluded the recital with five contemporary works: "The Lamb," by Clifford Shaw, "Linstead Market," by Arthur Benjamin, "Where is Dis Road A-leading Me To," by Harold Arlen and "The Winds" and "I Thank You, God, For Most This Amazing Day," by Celius Dougherty. The text for the last song was by E. E. Cummings.
The Barbara Woods Morgan Memorial Fund was established by the Class of 1935 and other friends of Barbara Woods Morgan '35, who died on December 6, 1936, in recognition of her deep interest in music. The first memorial concert took place on March 6, 1938.
Eileen Farell made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera on December 6, 1960.
Irish playwright Brendan Behan talked informally under the auspices of the drama department, addressing his audience as "faculty members, madonnas and escorts." "Puffing mightily on an aromatic cigar," Diana Fries '61 observed in The Miscellany News, "Mr. Behan rambled on about Vassar girls, chorus girls, Irish orphanages, Americans abroad.... Much of his discussion consisted of satirical reminiscences of his experiences in theaters all over the world. In these he played the various roles, from a paunchy American producer to a slightly drunk Dublin actor attempting the part of a French emperor. To see Behan's mobile hound dog face assume these characters with the flick of an eyebrow and the slope of a shoulder was an experience that would have aroused even the most peevish of audiences to laughter."
Behan's first play, The Quare Fellow (1954), played in New York in 1958, and The Hostage (1958) had just moved to Broadway at the time of his visit to Vassar.
The New York Times noted a centennial event involving community leaders in Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County. President Blanding invited 114 representatives of agricultural, educational, governmental and other enterprises that aided Vassar students and faculty during the 14 years of the field work program’s existence to visit the campus on two days during the week. She discussed the history and development of the college and the campus with the visitors before they joined students to attend classes, tour the campus and lunch in the college’s residence halls.
Republican State Assemblyman R. Watson Pomeroy and Williams College Professor of Political Science James MacGregor Burns spoke on campus supporting, respectively, Richard Nixon and John Kennedy in the upcoming presidential election. The Young Republicans sponsored the six-term representative's afternoon address, "How the Educated Voter Approaches the Issues of the 1960 Campaign." In the evening Professor Burns's sponsors were the Young Democrats and Students for Kennedy and Johnson. Speaking on "Kennedy and the 1960's," the author of John Kennedy: A Political Profile (1960), perceiving, as Barbara Rosof '62 observed in The Miscellany News, "that the audience was not entirely pro-Kennedy...divided his lecture into three sections to appeal to the Stevensonian liberals, partisan Democrats and Independents to vote for Kennedy."
Professor of English Doris Russell, chair of the faculty committee for the college's centennial, and faculty colleagues revealed the centennial's major event at an assembly in the Chapel. An article in The Miscellany News urged "every student..to attend the assembly to learn the essential and rewarding part she can play in the program." "The highlghts on the calendar," Professor Russell said, "are events dependent upon student interest and participation."
Joan Gordon of the sociology department and chemist Edward Linner spoke about student involvement in the Conference on the Natural and Social Sciences, scheduled for the weekend of November 5—the same weekend, The Miscellany News noted, as Junior Party, a major social event of the year. Anita Zorzoli of the physiology department discussed the much anticipated participation later that month of a team from Vassar in the "G.E. College Bowl" television program. Professor Zorzoli coached the five-member team: Eleanor Green '61, Joan Oxman '61, Perre MacFarland '62, Dana Dowling '63 and Marina Darrow '63.
The major mid-winter event was to be the Festival of the Mid-Nineteenth Century being planned by Professor Arthur Satz from the music department and Elizabeth Daniels from the English department. The focus of the festival's lectures, discussions and associated events was the two decades before and after the founding of the college in 1861.
Professor Dean Mace from the English department discussed the week-long International Conference scheduled for March 19-24, 1961, which would convene participants from around the world to "consider common problems and values of their divergent cultures." Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt would welcome the delegates to the conference, which was supported by a $5,000 grant from the Hazen Foundation. "Seldom at any college," Mr. Mace told the assembled students, "can there be for an occasion so large and distinguished a collection of contemporary leaders drawn from over the surface of the whole earth...challenging us to consider with all of our resources of intellect and experience one of the major questions of our time."
The following week,an editoria in The Miscellany Newsl, "Centennial Disenchantment," expressed the editors' concern that "after five years of elaborate planning—with careful attention given to the special pink of the Vassar rose—the Centennial Committee has made one oversight in their plans—they have forgotten the student body." While praising the scope and importance of the several conferences, the editorial cited the lack of student participation in their planning and such details as the scheduling of the International Conference during the spring vacation, when it "will be missed by a good part of the student body" and the diversion for the major conferences (with the exception of the International Conference) of lecture funds from "independent lectures that usually supplement our academic work."
In response the planning committees pledged to work with students wishing to contribute to the centennial events and the trustees approved additional funding and offered free room and board during the spring vacation for students wishing to attend the March conference.
"Vassar Backs Jack," said The Miscellany News, a few days after the predominately Democratic faculty support for John Kennedy overcame by five votes the slight edge given Richard Nixon by students and staff in the campus-wide mock election. Some 1,100 votes were cast in the November 3 poll that found the faculty supporting the Massachesetts senator 100 to 40, the students backing the Republican candidate 560 to 534 and the staff choosing him 81 to 52.
Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower carried the Vassar campus vote by a better than two-to-one margin in 1952 and by nearly that difference in 1956. The Miscellany News
“Science and Society,” a conference on the natural and social sciences, was held as part of the centennial celebration. The speakers included: Bentley Glass, professor of biology at Johns Hopkins University, who spoke on “The Growing Political Role of the Academic Scientist;” Yale University Professor of Biophysics Ernest C. Pollard, who discussed “The Advance of Physical Science into the Biological and Social Sciences;” Czech-American analytic philosopher of science Ernest Nagel, John Dewey Professor of Natural and Social Sciences at Columbia, who explored “Certainty and Doubt in the Natural and Social Sciences” and Donald W. Taylor, professor of psychology at Yale University, whose topic was "Creative Thinking among Scientists."
Professor Nagel, according to The Miscellany News, "said the certainty of natural and social sciences often differ from reality: laws, in natural science, are formulated in ideal cases which are deceptively precise," whereas in social sciences, "laws descrivbe irregularities. The tendency is not to formulate generalizations in terms of ideal cases...but in terms of actual observations. Because of these basic differences between the two sciences sharp comparison is 'not playing the game fairly.'"
Noting scientists' historic desire for "political immunity," Professor Glass said that "with the advent of World War II...science became forever linked to government....Certainly, the dangers of nuclear fallout have necessitated international conferences where scientists and diplomats alike can discuss the problems of arms control and nuclear testing."
Senator John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States, defeating Vice President Richard Nixon by some 113,000 votes out of nearly 70 million cast.
The Collegium Musicum of the University of Illinois, directed by George Hunter, gave a centennial program of 13th- through17th-century music. The ensemble included Jantina Noorman, mezzo-soprano and portative organ; Uni Thomas, vielle and rebec; James Bailey, tenor and percussion; Robert Smith, recorders and krummhorn and George Hunter, lute and viola da gamba.
Writing in The Miscellany News, Professor of Music Carl Parrish praised the five performers' "skill and expressiveness." "The program," he said, "was an impressive demonstration of the variety and richness of the repertory of pre-Baroque music, and a convincing testimony of the fact that, when performed with the musical insight and warmth of feeling that is brought to it in performances such as this, such music is anything but archaic or remote in feeling."
Competing for the first time in the televised "GE College Bowl," a Vassar team defeated four-time winner Vanderbilt University. Originally a popular radio program, the College Bowl—"The Varsity Sport of the Mind"—was broadcast between October 1953 and December 1955. Two four-person teams competed in each 30-minute program, answering questions on topics ranging from literature, history and philosophy to science, the arts and religion. Revived for televison in 1959 by the General Electric Company, the games appeared on Saturdays and Sundays through June of 1970. The competition resumed in 1977 under the sponsorship of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), continuing until 2008.
The college accepted an invitation to participate in the competition in May 1960, and, said The Miscellany News, "under the auspices of the Intra-Mural Committee of the Centennial, has already laid the ground work for securing next fall an outstanding group of students for the team." After a series of written and oral tests, the four members of the Vassar team, Marina Dorrow '63, Dana Downing '63, Perre McFarland '62 and Joan Oxman '61, were selected from a field of 16 by a student-faculty committee chaired by Associate Professor of Biology Anita Zorzoli, who served as their coach.
The careful preparation for the contest was upset when, in anticipation of a strike by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the event was filmed on November 13, a week before the live contest was originally to be aired. An anonymous account of the day by one or more of the team members appeared, under the headline "Vassar Versus Vanderbilt, Venimus,Vidimus, Vicimus," in The Miscellany News for November 16. "Vanderbilt, victorious in four previous games, determined to take home the silver cup that is presented to five-time winners.... Vassar, competing a week earlier than we'd expected, with only two weeks of intensive practice sessions. Four exceedingly determined young men, who refused to believe that 'mere girls' would stand in their way. Four exceedingly worried young women, who doubted their ability to stop such determined opponents."
After two defeats in practice sessions, the Vassar team won a "dress rehearsal" held an hour before the live competition, filmed by kinescope, began. Behind at half-time, the Vassar team rallied in the second half, only to see their opponents gaining as the clock ran down. "We watched the clock anxiously, wondering whether they could catch up...before time ran out. But the score was still in our favor: Vassar 200, Vanderbilt 155 when the final bell rang.... When the cameras had stopped we stood on the stage and sang 'Gaudeamus Igitur'; and voices in the audience joined in."
The following week Vassar lost to Boston University. The team donated their prizes, $ 2,000, to the scholarship fund. Vassar teams competed in three subsequent College Bowl national championship: tied with eight other teams for last place in 1981; finishing in fourth place in 1982; and tied with Princeton for third place in 1984. The Miscellany News
In recognition of the centenary of the college and of the birth of Anton Chekhov, the Vassar Experimental Theater presented The Cherry Orchard. The production honored Professor Catherine Wolkonsky, chairman of the department of Russian from 1946 until 1961, who retired in June.
Delivering the annual Martin Crego lecture, Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith put aside his announced topic, "Modern Industrialism, East and West," to discuss both "vulgar" and "worthy" responses to his book, The Affluent Society (1958). Explaining, according to Margaret Rose '61 and Pam Rymer '61, writing in The Miscellany News, that traditional economic problems were laregly absent from mid-century America, Galbraith identified instead the "lack of an urgent need to produce; that is, to produce can no longer be the sole aim because the demand for the products is not increasing so fast as the growth rate. Already, we are almost satiated with material goods. The pressure caused by this mis-balance in the economy is felt by the private sector because it is requested to carry public burdens which it cannot and should not assume. Modern society should apply itself to correcting the imbalance of private wealth and public need, not by producing more, but by creating a means for the public financing of its needs."
Galbraith dismissed "vulgar" critics of this position, such as the "'quaint sage of Arizona, Mr. [Senator Barry] Goldwater,' whose theories are based 'on verbal aptitude rather than thought'" and the "'one time paragon of the New Deal,'" Raymond Moser, a key member of Franklin Roosevelt's "brain trust" who was now a radical conservative. But he took seriously other criticism of, as the student reviewers put it, "his idea that the process of want creation must be matured by a change from the simple production of goods to that of satisfying the more fundamental wants—good health, education, the qualities which sustain a strong society."
The following morning—a Saturday—Professor Galbraith met with students in a question and answer format.
The Crego lecture, part of the Crego Endowment established in 1956 by Jean Crego '32 in honor of her father, was an annual lecture in the general field of economics, under the auspices of the economics department.
The editors of The Miscellany News came out strongly for the proposed Youth Peace Corps service program, which would send young Americans into undereloped nations of the world as teachers, social workers, doctors and technical advisors, to fight poverty, illiteracy and disease. An alumna of the 1930s wrote a classmate: “Can it be that here at last is that something which will ‘engage’ this generation as settlements and suffrage moved Mother’s and ‘one third of a nation’ ours!” MS letter
The Christmas concert was given in the Chapel by the Vassar College Choir and the Cadet Glee Club of the United States Military Academy. After a program of works by Gustav Holst, Michael Praetorius, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and George Frederic Handel and others by, first, the Vassar Choir and then the Cadet Glee Club, Professor of Music Donald Pearson conducted instrumentalists and the joined choral groups in a performance of the Magnificat in C by Johann Pachelbel.
In recognition of the centennial, Connecticut social activist Dr. Emily M. Pierson ’07 gave the college “The Controversial Book Shelf,” a collection of material concerning controversial contemporary issues. An ardent suffragist and, after the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, a progressive socialist, Dr. Pierson commented at the time of the gift, “I don’t think I would bother with this gift except that I have noticed that the mountain of ignorance and prejudice over which the world must struggle year by year is a grave menace to peace, even to the very existence of the world.”
The book shelf, a collection of books and pamphlets acquired over the years by Dr. Pierson and housed in the basement of Rockefeller Hall, was a gesture of gratitude, Dr. Pierson said, to another radical, Matthew Vassar. "Vassar taught me one thing," she was quoted in The Miscellany News as saying, "not to be afraid of honest investigation, wherever it might lead."
The New York State Board of Regents approved a proposal that the state grant $200 annually to state residents enrolled in a private or sectarian college in the state, in order to allow colleges to raise tuitions to meet their own needs without further burdening students. This was a device to circumvent the constitutional prohibition of public funds being given to religious institutions. President Blanding said, “I am not at all sure that this proposal to grant a subsidy which would then come to the independent college is a sound one,” given the questionable inclusion of sectarian institutions. She continued, “I don’t like to see the long-held and traditional separation of Church and State broken down.” The Miscellany News
Vassar presented “The Magnificent Enterprise: Education Opens the Door,” an exhibition of 200 photographs, engravings, lithographs, posters, and drawings illustrating 100 years of higher education for women, at the I.B.M Gallery of Arts and Sciences in New York City. Nationwide circulation was under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, and the exhibition was mounted on campus in the Aula in early May.
Vassar's centennial celebration began on "Charter Day," the day on which, 100 years earlier, the regents of the State University of New York granted a charter to Vassar Female College. An editorial in The New York Times recognized the day, saying, in part: “Vassar College is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding today. There is good reason also for the nation to honor the date because Vassar was the first adequately endowed college in the United States to offer women an education equal to that generally available to men.
“This is an occasion to look backward: to review the long struggle, now all by won, to gain for women equal rights and opportunities in every field, a struggle in which Vassar and its graduates have played so conspicuous a part….
“This is good time also to look ahead: to explore the way in which education, especially that of women, can best keep pace with, and furnish leadership for, the profound changes of the future, so many of them upon us even now.
“For Vassar, the year’s events will help those who control its destiny to evaluate the college in the light of its first 100 years’ experience and to set new goals toward which the college will steer in the next 100 years. These President Sarah Gibson Blanding has well characterized as comprising ‘the best possible education for young women in a rapidly changing world.’ May the year’s events amply serve such aims.”
In Poughkeepsie, Secretary of the College Theodore H. Erck spoke on "Vassar College and Poughkeepsie" at the January Chamber of Commerce Contact Club breakfast. At the breakfast, the chairman of the Contact Club Breakfast Committee, Paul D. Tower, presented President Blanding with the Chamber's Achievement Award, honoring Vassar for its 100 years of high standards and excellence in education.
On campus, the 100th anniversary of the granting of the charter was celebrated with a Charter Day party at which President Blanding and the board of trustees honored the employees and staff. President Emeritus Henry Noble MacCracken gave the Salute to Employees, and those with more than 25 years of service received citations.
A special exhibition, "The Body Corporate," was shown in the Library.
President Blanding accepted an invitation from Lylas Good ’61 and Joan Page ’61 to tea and a housewarming in the igloo they had carved out of the snow piles in the Main Building parking lot. Professor of political science C. Gordon Post accompanied the president, and the group was joined later by Gwendolyn Hamilton of the music department, Jean Fay, curator of the Art Museum and Martha M. Wyman ’18, head resident of Main. "The girls," The Miscellany News reported, "spent 14 nights digging out this colossal snow structure."
The class of 1961 celebrated Vassar’s 100th Birthday Party, hosted by Martha McChesney Wyman ’18, assistant to the warden and head resident of Main, and Mabel Victoria Ross, assistant to the warden, and directed by Centennial Coordinator George B. Dowell and Jane Alexander ’61. Alexander wrote the lyrics for both the festivities and the proposed new Alma Mater which was premiéred, causing President Blanding to exclaim, "I've waited fifteen years for this!"
Matthew Vassar (Dowell) attended, along with his niece Lydia Booth (Ross) and Vassar's first Lady Principal Hannah Lyman (Wyman), who sang "Matthew Vassar, we thank you for the dough/ Were it not for you, we intellects would have no place to go." A “Musical Cavalcade of the Century” presented “Vassar Girls” from different periods in history, including a Southern belle from the 1860s, a suffragette from the 'teens and, according to The Miscellany News, a "Bette Davis type" from the '30s who took her tune from Gershwin: "It ain't necessarily right/ For every young girl to be bright./ It may be her teacher's unable to reach her/ 'Cause she's taking courses at night!"The event concluded with a cake replicating the original Main Building. "At first, no one wanted to eat the cake, for fear of destroying its beauty. Finally, however, it was cut, every senior trying to eat her own room." The Miscellany News
In what chairman Phoebe Jane Wood '63 called the "most gala event on the Vassar social calendar so far this year," the sophomore class presented "College All-Around Weekend," a program of events ranging from an address by American contralto and UN delegate Marian Anderson to a performance by comedian Shelley Berman and an original musical, "When Better Men Are Found." A member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee since her appointment in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower, Anderson, who had recently sung at the inauguration of President John Kennedy, spoke on Friday evening in the Chapel on "A Step Towards Peace."
Saturday afternoon commedian Berman—a frequent guest on the Jack Parr and Perry Como television programs—performed in the Students' Building with musical support from folk-singers The Cumberland Three. In the evening the curtain rose on "When Better Men Are Found," a musical by Bonnie Baskin '63, Sue Buck '63 and Judy Welles '63. The cast was supported by a 17-voice chorus, five dancers and music by Phoebe Wood and Jackie Awad.
The play centered around "five girls' search for a C. A. G. [College All-around Guy]" that took them from a Vassar committee room to two Ivy colleges, "Hale" and "Yarvard," the Biltmore Hotel and a beatnik pad in Manhattan, "and to rustic Pickahick Falls, Arkansas," according to The Miscellany News. "As the Organizer of the search says, 'We'll not leave any men's rooms untouched.'"
Following the performance, a dance was held to the music of the Yale Six Pack from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. "As an added attraction, 2:30s taken for this occasion will not be counted.... The weekend's final event will be a milk punch party on Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at Alumnae House. The Spizzwinks, of Yale fame, will furnish the music to drink by." The Miscellany News
In a Centennial event, the Vassar College Choir and the Harvard Glee Club, with the Brass Ensemble from the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra and the Wind Orchestra from Harvard's Bach Society Orchestra, presented a concert at Emanuel Church in Boston. Included in the program, under the direction of Elliot Forbes and Frederic H. Ford from Harvard and of Donald M. Pearson from Vassar, were two motets from the Symphonie Sacrae of Giovanni Gabrieli and the Mass in E Minor of Anton Bruckner.
The program was repeated at Vassar on April 18.
Thirteen Vassar students participated in the "Student Turn Towards Peace" demonstration in Washington D.C., sponsored by Robert Pickus’s Turn Toward Peace organization, whose goals were to end atmospheric nuclear testing, to persuade the government to find alternatives to the arms race and to call for disarmament. The students picketed the White House, in what The Miscellany News reported was "the largest peace picket of the White House in 20 years." The group met with Senate members, congressmen, labor leaders and foreign emissaries, conducted a march to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and held a mass rally at the Washington Monument, at which socialist leader Norman Thomas and others spoke.
A group of about "Young Americans for Freedom" carrying signs bearing slogans such as "They're Not Red, They're Yellow," "Pacifism Is Cowardice" and "I Like Nike," counter-picketed at the White House.
Dr. Gladys Hobby '31, chair of the department of infectious diseases of the Veterans Administration Hospital in East Orange, New Jersey, gave the third lecture, entitled “Twenty Years with Antibiotics,” in a plant science series. "Miss Hobby," said The Miscellany News, "divided her lecture into an historical introduction to the field of antibiotics and a description of the steps and problems involved in the production of an antibiotic All of our major antimicrobial drugs of both biological and chemical origin were discovered within a span of twelve years. Miss Hobby was primarily influential in the discovery of two of these, terramycin and biomycin."
In 1940, working at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia, Dr. Hobby had developed the first doses of penicillin to be tested on humans.
Guest speakers, faculty and students joined In a centennial celebration, a “Festival of the Mid-Nineteenth Century.” Residence halls were decorated in 91th century styles, students supplied tableaux appropriate to the presentations and lectures and a Soiree de Gala in the Students' Building—"free champagne in a 'meadow of asphodel'"—celebrated the event. A special exhibition was mounted in the Library, and the Vassar Experimental Theater presented Ibsen's A Doll's House.
An exhibition in the art gallery, “Samuel F. B. Morse, Art and Science,” opened with the reading of a poem commissioned for the occasion, “S.F.B. Morse Sits for His Portrait at Locust Grove,” by poet Samuel French Morse, professor of English at Mount Holyoke College and a descendent Samuel F. B. Morse, a founding trustee of the college. Professor Morse's talk was preceded by a student sketch about Morse under the chairmanship of Babs Currier '63, entitled "Lightning in the Line."
The author of The House of Intellect (1959), Jacques Barzun, dean of faculties and provost at Columbia University, claimed a "new conciousness" must arise from the current "deliberate meaninglessness of modern artists" in the Phi Beta Kappa Lecture, "The Cultural Revolution and Its Victims," which was introduced by "The Magnificent Enterprise—A Colloquy." Written by Esther Wolf '62, Jane Wright '62 and Professor John A. Christie from the English department, the sketch presented a dialogue between Matthew Vassar and Milo Jewett, the founding president of the college. The dialogue included five student tableaux presenting contemporary reactions to the founding of the college: John Ruskin and two students; Vanity Fair magazine and a young girl; Madame Sewell "of the reactionary school" and a gentleman; John Stuart Mill and his father, the Scottish philosopher and historian James Mill; Florence Nightingale, Voltaire, a Vassar girl and a French gentleman, portrayed by Professor of French Louis Pamplume.
A lecture, "Lamarck, Darwin and Butler: Three Approaches to Evolution in the Nineteenth Century," by George Gaylord Simpson, professor of vertebrate paleontology at Harvard University and a leading scholar of evolution, was introduced by "Ape or Angel: A Presentation of the Huxley and Wilberforce Debate." The student examination of the famous exchange on Darwinism at Oxford in 1880 between Thomas Henry Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce was chaired by llsa Roslow '63.
In "A Time of Crisis" Civil War historian Bruce Catton, senior editor of American Heritage, analyzed both Abraham Lincoln's pragmatism and his idealism in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. And identifying the emancipation and the founding of women's education with a contemporary liberalizing movement in American in the 1860s, he echoed his introduction, the student sketch "Songs of the Brothers' War," which included Civil War songs, sung by Jane Alexander '61, "with intermittent narration about Poughkeepsie happenings at the time of the war."
On Sunday, the Rev, H. Richard Niebuhr, Sterling Professor of Theology and Christian Ethics at the Yale Divinity School, addressed "The Radiance of the Infinite." The Miscellany News
A radio discussion program focussing on the life of Matthew Vassar and produced by Vassar students Marsha Teller ‘61, Elizabeth Orton ‘61 and Edith Johnson ’61, debuted on Poughkeepsie radio station WEOK. The program ran for the next 12 Sundays and, featuring guest drawn from the Vassar faculty and the larger Poughkeepsie community, subsequent topics were drama, politics, music, college admission and current events. The Miscellany News
Commander Grace Murray Hopper '28, director for research programming for Remington Rand UNIVAC, gave the first Centennial Mathematics Lecture, on "New Languages." "Research consists in discovering the obvious," she began, adding, according to Babs Currier '63, writing in The Miscellany News, that mathematics gives researchers in pursuit of the obvious "the special ability to think by different means in solving problems." Currier found it "fascinating to realize that computers can be taught a language rather than numbers which can be manipulated by familiar operations in order to solve problems involving a conglomeration of data."
A commander in the Naval Reserves, Hopper was working to transform her compiler-based FLOW-MATIC programming language into the new language, COBOL, which became the fundamental business programming language. In 1967, Hopper became director of the Navy Programming Group responsible for the COBOL standardization for the entire Navy.
Eminent historian of American art James Thomas Flexner spoke about Samuel F. B. Morse, a founding trustee of the college, in a lecture entitled "Samuel F. B. Morse and the American Aesthetic Dilemma." Flexner completed his three-volume history of American art in 1962.
Foreign students held an informal meeting entitled “Nigeria Today.” They hoped to acquaint the college community with the foreign student sand the countries from which they came. Lina Makinwa ’64, from Nigeria, was the principal speaker.
"A Doll's House", a play by Henrik Ibsen, was performed by the Vassar Experimental Theater.
The college announced a development program seeking $25 million in new funds. "In 1961 Vassar College," President Blanding said, "will celebrate her 100th anniversary not by extolling past achievements but with a commitment for the future. When we talk about the highest standards in education, what we really mean can be described simply enough: the best students, the best teachers, and the finest relationships between them. We believe that independent liberal arts colleges have a continuing responsibility to improve the education given to young people, to pose new educational questions, and to develop an educational program that meets their needs. Vassar's primary concern is and will continue to be improvement of its curriculum and its teaching. No college or university today can afford to rest on laurels of past accomplishments, however distinguished these may have been. Higher education has suddenly come face to face with a demanding present and an even more demanding future. To meet them both simultaneously requires bold planning and action." The Miscellany News
Dorothy Stickney gave excerpts from her one-woman play about Edna St. Vincent Millay ’17, "A Lovely Light," at a luncheon honoring the “conspicuous excellence” of Sarah Gibson Blanding. The event, held at the Starlight Roof of the Waldorf-Astoria, was sponsored by the Vassar Club of New York and Vassar clubs of the region. In her remarks, President Blanding was pessimistic about the future of women’s colleges and unsparing on the profligacy of American higher education.
“I believe,” she said, “I am on firm ground when I predict that of the hundred or more women’s colleges now in existence no more than ten will be functioning in the year 2061.” Despite their present “splendid achievements, present high social esteem and the influence and loyalty of their alumnae,” Miss Blanding said, the question could be raised “whether independent colleges—both those for men and those for women—will continue.
“There is little doubt that, if asked, the deans, the faculties and presidents of these hundred institutions would wish their colleges to survive essentially as they are today. To assume that this will be the case is sheer folly unless drastic changes are effected.”
Agreeing with Jacques Barzun, dean of Columbia’s graduate faculties, the “next to hospitals, American colleges and universities are the worst administered private establishments in the land,” Blanding outlined the institutions’ “wastes:” of facilities, used “about seven hours of the day, five days a week and eight months of the year;” of faculties’ time, through “the multifarious committees that exist in the name of democratic process;” of student ability and interest, “because we insist that the four-year college course is sacred…and because we do not put enough responsibility on the student to get along with her own education” and of “contemporary usefulness,” because of “concentration of study, almost exclusively upon Western culture. ”President Blanding announced that a team of Vassar trustees, faculty and administrators was at work on a ten-year plan intended to address the serious issues she had raised. The New York Times
Other speakers included: Alva Myrdal, Swedish Ambassador to India and noted sociologist, author and teacher; Indian Deputy Minister of State Lakshmi Menon; American philosopher Susanne K. Langer, professor of philosophy at Connecticut College and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Vera Micheles Dean, distinguished American author and lecturer, editor for the Foreign Policy Association and former Vassar trustee.
Panelists included Egyptian social worker and family planning pioneer Zahia Marzouk; Nigerian barrister and businesswoman J. Aduke Moore; British politician and diplomat David Owen; former Pakistani delegate to the U. N. Commission on the Status of Women Begum Anwar Ahmed; former Indian Minister of Health and president of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences Rajkumari Amrit Kaur,; Argentine economist and educational historian Dr. Elba Gomez del Rey de Kybal; Greek author and educator Ketty Stassinopoulou, vice-president of the International Council of Women; Danish Judge Helga Pedersen; Christian Democrat member of the German Bundestag and Federal Minister of Health Elisabeth Schwarzhaupt; Indonesian Minister of Health Hurustiati Subandrio; Korean educator Helen Kim, president of Ehwa Womans University; Margaret Ballinger, the first president of the South African Liberal Party and former member of the South African Parliament; Chilean educator and women’s rights advocate Irma Salas de Silva; Lebanese writer and educator Salwa C. Nassar; Yugoslavian composer and teacher Lala Spajic; Polish biochemist Alina Szumlewicz, a specialist in tropic diseases; Parvin Birjandi, the first dean of women at the University of Tehran, Iran; Dutch lawyer and diplomat Jeantine Hefting, former alternate delegate to the U. N. Commission on the Status of Women and Mexican jurist, playwright, journalist and ambassador Amalia de Castillo Ledón.
Discussion leaders included United Nations Under Secretary Ralph Bunche, Professor Emeritus of Economics Mabel Newcomer, foreign affairs expert Dr. Dorothy Fosdick, eminent teacher and critic Germaine Bree and Connecticut College President Rosemary Park.
The Voice of America, the United States government’s external broadcasting service, taped nearly half of the conference participants, and the interviews were broadcast in many countries. The proceedings of the conference, edited and with commentary by the journalist, foreign correspondent and editor Emmet John Hughes, were published in 1962 by Harper and Row as Education in World Perspective: the International Conference on World Education, Celebrating the Centennial of Vassar College.
The fibulae—brooches or fasteners— were part of the collection of the late Benito Mussolini and were acquired by Vassar through a grant form the International Fibulary Society.
President Kennedy sent 400 American Green Beret “special advisors” to train South Vietnamese soldiers in counterinsurgency warfare.
In the evening, a centennial dinner for about one thousand people honored Vassar and capped the days events in the Field House of the IBM Country Club. The college received an unrestricted gift of $29,550, from members of the Poughkeepsie community.
Republican Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, author of The Conscience of a Conservative and chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, lectured in the Chapel on the advantages of local versus federal support of schools. In preparation for his presentation, Assistant Professor of History Clyde Griffen presented a critique of The Conscience of a Conservative.
Asserting that Sen. Goldwater believed that "the constitution...is an instrument above all for limiting the functions of government," Mr. Griffen criticized the book's positions on both national and international issues. While he he managed to, in the words of The Miscellany News, "poke holes in the Senator's condemnation of graduated income tax as a 'confiscatory tax' and of government intervention as leading to 'welfarism' and evil," Griffen was most concerned that Goldwater's suggestion that the United States withdraw recognition of communist countries. "Mr. Griffen felt this would only 'put us in an embarrassing position without any advantage'.... He said, 'The book, in terms of political theory, is incoherent.'"
Testing new laws prohibiting segregation in interstate travel, more that 1,000 student volunteers began taking bus trips through the South, as “freedom riders,” provoking attacks by angry mobs. The program was sponsored by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).
An estimated 6,000 alumnae and spouses from the United States and ten foreign countries participated in Vassar's centennial reunion. Representatives of Vassar classes from as far back as 1889 joined in the parade led by a car containing Jenny Mae Wickes ’89, Henrietta Houston Hawes ’91 and Louise Lawrence Meigs ‘91.
President Blanding announced that alumnae centennial gifts reached “the magnificent sum” of $1,352,680, the largest annual alumnae gift in the college’s history. The alumnae, “the pride and glory of the college,” the president said, “have insured freedom and vitality for the college to grow and change.” Another gift, announced at an earlier date, was an enlarged steel engraving, 17 by 20 inches, of the south front view of the White House, in a shadow-box gold frame with antique velvet matting. President Blanding read the enclosed message from Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, ex-’51:
“I am proud to have been a student at the first large woman’s college in the United States to achieve its 100th birthday. I know Vassar will continue to instill in each student, along with the love of knowledge, a desire to serve her family, her community and the nation. The President joins me in congratulating you today.”
The reunion events included two short comic operas “Mardi Gras,” by Mildred Kayden '42, and “Trial of the Dog,” adapted from The Wasps of Aristophanes by Martha Alter '25, and a pageant of college life, “The Colors of the Day,” by Muriel Ruykeyser ’34 in the Outdoor Theatre. The centennial photographic exhibition, The Magnificent Enterprise: Education Opens the Door, continued. The New York Times
The drawings were gathered together by Belle Krasne Ribicoff ’45, and A. Hyatt Mayor, curator of prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, headed a selection committee consisting of Louisa Dresser ’29, Katharine Kuh ’24 and Aline B. Sarrinen ’53. Proceeds from the New York exhibition went to the Art Gallery’s Agnes Rindge Claflin Purchase Fund, and the show’s comprehensive catalogue was also dedicated to Professor Claflin, a gesture that John Canaday thought appropriate, because her “teaching accounts for much of the interest that has led Vassar graduates to own drawings.” The New York Times
Under the direction of Professor John Johnsen of the department of geology, Vassar held a National Science Foundation summer earth science program for high school students.
The college opened for its second century with the largest enrollment in its history, 1,493 students, of whom 434 were freshmen.
The college instituted the Matthew Vassar scholarship to be given to sixty students, fifteen in each class. Up to $ 2,500 was awarded to the students as either financial aid or an honorary scholarship.
Also in the audience were British Shakespearean actor Sir Ralph Richardson, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Joseph Pultizer, Jr., Under Secretary of State Chester Bowles, David Rockefeller and Henry Cabot Lodge, former United States representative to the United Nations. Dr. James G. McManaway, senior staff member of the Folger Shakespeare Library and editor of The Shakespeare Quarterly, noted that President Kennedy now joined his predecessors Lincoln, Jefferson and Adams in his demonstrated love of Shakespeare. The New York Times
In his remarks, President Emeritus Henry Noble MacCracken characterized the colorful procession as “a pious pilgrimage of scholars bringing tribute t this temple of learning.” In the principal address, Radcliffe President Mary Ingraham Bunting ’31, speaking on the theme of "Cultural Evolution," urged imagination and innovation in educating the young around the world. “It is indeed one race,” she declared, “and in countries all over the world, I believe, youth senses this and feels a loyalty to the human condition that far outweighs allegiance to any intermediate governmental groups.” The New York Times
Poet and critic I. A. Richards, professor of English at Harvard University and influential proponent of in the "New Criticism," read from and commented on his own poetry. A former lecturer in English and moral sciences at his Alma Mater, Magdalene College at Cambridge, Richards had early on advocated a "practical criticism" based on semantics and unannotated "close reading" of texts, grounded in such works as The Meaning of Meaning (1923; with C. K. Ogden), Principles of Literary Criticism (1924) and Practical Criticism (1929). He had spoken twice before at Vassar, comparing, in 1941, passages from Dryden's "To the Pious Memory of the accomplished young Lady, Mistress Anne Killigrew" and "An Anatomy of the World, the First Anniversary," by John Donne and answering the question, "What is general education?" in 1947 by describing his course at Harvard based solely on the Iliad, certain books of the Old Testament and the philosophy and writings of Plato.
Turning to the writing of poetry in the last decades of his life, Richards's prompted a writer in The Miscellany News to approach his reading with caution. "When a critic and teacher as influential as Dr. Richards,"she wrote, "publishes his own poetry for the first time quite late in life there is bound to be a great deal of interest in seeing how he has 'practiced what he preached.'" The event, however, held no discord. "His reading," she observed, "was highly personal, and his comments witty, so that from the beginning the audience had a sense of informality which seems to be so helpful when poetry is read, since appreciatioin can involve a personal understanging as well as a grasp of what is said.... Dr. Richards indicated at the end of his reading that his theme had been 'personal identity.' He described poetry as a 'spirit-calming ceremony' which operates in the 'silences' of a poem." The Miscllany News
In 1972, he travelled to Vietnam with Jane Fonda ex-’59, and they were married the following year.
In 1972, he travelled to Vietnam with Jane Fonda ex-’59, and they were married the following year.
The following day, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced that he and Ambassador to South Vietnam Frederick E. Nolting, Jr. were flying to Hawaii for a day-long meeting on “the Communist threat to South Vietnam.” An aide said that Secretary McNamara was “determined to leave ‘no stone unturned’ in the effort to support South Vietnam against the communist guerrillas, known as the Viet Cong.” The New York Times
Karl W. Deutsch, professor of Political Science at Yale University, delivered the opening speech, entitled “The Challenge to Liberal Education,” in which he outlined the goals of higher education. Taking issue with a recommendation of the Sanford volume, Deutsch said that many freshmen whom the social scientists would “orientate” would be better served by a year’s maturation during a pre-freshman year abroad under college supervision or “a productive year of paid work or voluntary service, freed from the anxiety by advance assurance of admission the following year.
Other participants also challenged the "new findings about intellectual and personality development during the college years" outlined in the book. Dr. William C. H. Prentice, dean at Swarthmore College, called much of the book’s material “armchair theorizing” and “generalizations about the American college on the basis of superficial acquaintance with a small number of nonrepresentative institutions.” “I think I can detect,” he also told his colleagues, “in many of the contributors to the present volume a predilection toward making our colleges into institutions for personal and social development.”
Dr. William Carl Fels, president of Bennington College, praised the studies in the volume, calling the work the “greatest challenge” to educators since John Dewey’s Democracy and Education appeared in 1916. “The reason The American College presents a formidable challenge to collegiate education,” he said, “is that it now calls upon them to face up to both Dewey and Freud, and, except for a handful of them, they haven’t yet faced up to Dewey. It has caught educators with their means down and their ends exposed.”
As the conference drew to a close, some participants spoke of another such gathering at Vassar in a year’s time. The New York Times
Speaking in the Chapel, progressive educator Harold Taylor, president emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, and William F. Buckley, Jr., editor of the conservative journal The National Review and author of God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of 'Academic Freedom' (1951), presented liberal versus conservative viewpoints on education in the year's first event in the Student Lecture Series. Taylor held, as the first sentence of a 1961 essay in The New York Times Magazine declared, that "each generation has its own style and its own truth, having lived through a particular expanse of time which belongs to it and to no other." "The only difference between the liberal and conservative in education," he told his Vassar audience, according to The Miscellany News, "is that the first encorages the student to use his own intellect, the second does not." Claiming that his main interest in Taylor was "pathological, rather than intellectual," Buckley directed attention to the "immutable truths, which the educator has a duty to pass on to his students. He attacked any concept of academic freedom which would constrain the teacher to present all points of view at the expense of presenting one truth."
"Tempers grew progressively shorter, and insults grew progressively longer...." The debate, said The Misc. "was originally intended to center on the liberal-conservative views on education, but soon developed into a more general squabble." Discussion about the confrontation continued on campus for weeks to follow.
The two men were frequent disputants on the subject of education. Taylor also appeared on Buckley’s popular television program, "Firing Line."
George M. A. Hanfmann, Professor of Fine Arts at Harvard University and field director at the current excavations at the ancient city of Sardis in Turkey, lectured on “Drawing and Measure in Ancient Architecture.” Tracing the history of architectural drawing and measurement from pre-historical clay sealings and Egyptian papyri to the writings of the Roman architect Vitruvius and illustrated manuscripts of medieval surveyors, Professor Hanfmann examined the question of the extent to which the temples of ancient Greece were designed and drawn beforehand by their architects. The Miscellany News
Welcomed with great enthusiasm by the student body, folk singer Pete Seeger performed at Vassar for freshman week. The event drew protests from the American Legion and other local organizations, who considered him a “condemned criminal.” Seeger was fighting for a retrial on charges of contempt of Congress arising from his refusal to answer questions before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955.
In response to the controversy the college explained that it was the freshman class, not the college, which sponsored Seeger's appearance—the first of Seeger's many visits to Vassar.
An appeals court overturned Seeger’s conviction in May, 1962.
President Kennedy praised the conference for promoting, “an increased awareness of the need for responsible and informed public understanding.” The New York Times
“We’re the right wing among the disarmament groups,” Harvard senior David Ottaway explained, “We’re not pacifists. We’re not for selling out to the Russians.” The New York Times
French composer and teacher Nadia Boulanger, hailed in The Miscellany News, as “the most influential individual in American music for the past forty years,” lectured, with illustrations by the Vassar Madrigals, and conducted a master class in harmonic analysis. On a two-month tour of the United States, Mlle. Boulanger visited several colleges and universities, conducted two concerts of the New York Philharmonic and dined at the White House with President Kennedy and the First Lady, with whom she enjoyed lively conversations in French.
"Nadia Boulanger arrived at Vassar," wrote Allison Lemkauy '63 in The Miscellany News, "as astronaut [John] Glenn was descending...from his orbital flight in space. The impact of her pressence upon the campus was comparable to that of Glenn's achievement upon the world. For two days, any semblance of normalcy in or around the Music Department disappeared, while Mlle. Boulanger, possessing limitless energy, captivated her audiences with accounts of her many varied experiences in music and revealed during a master class in performance her dedication to young people and their education." The mentor and powerful influence, over the years, on some 600 American composers and musicians, she counted among her students composers Aaron Copland, Elliott Carter, Philip Glass and Walter Piston, jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, pianist and songwriter Burt Bacharach and American mezzo-soprano Judith Malafronte '72. Three former students, pianist and composer Robert Middleton, violist Betty Churgin and pianist Gwendolyn Hamilton, were on the Vassar faculty at the time of this visit.
Mlle. Boulanger visited Vassar in January 1925.
Professors from several colleges gathered in a colloquium on "The City in History.” The round-table discussion included David Hicks of Columbia, John Teall of Mount Holyoke, Fred Crain and Hsi Huey Liang of Bard, and members of the Vassar Faculty, Leslie Koempel of the department of economics, sociology and anthropolgy, Charles Jacob of the political science department, Thomas McCormick of the art department and Elaine Bjorklund of the geography department. Webb S. Fiser, associate professor of political science at Syracuse University, spoke about "Mastery of the Metropolis."
Urban activist Jane Jacobs, author of Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) gave the closing lecture on "The Citizen and Urban Renewal."
In an all-campus meeting, President Sarah Gibson Blanding told the student body that premarital sex and excessive drinking would not be tolerated at Vassar. Declaring sexual promiscuity to be “indecent and immoral,” she said that disciplinary action would be taken against those who did not follow the standards of the college. The President advised those students who could not follow the rules to withdraw voluntarily from Vassar.
The speech inspired heated debate across the campus for some time. A poll of students found that 52% of the campus supported Blanding, 40% disagreed and the rest were undecided. However, 81 % of students agreed that social mores were personal issues that should only be of concern to the college when they brought its name into public disrepute. An editorial in The Miscellany News said, “The president’s statement was an articulation of a hitherto ambiguous position which accepts only one standard of personal behavior and which defines a universal moral code of ‘decent’ personal conduct.”
The students opposed to Blanding’s views felt that the college was reverting to an archaic invasion into students’ private lives by considering itself responsible for instilling in them a prescribed set of views on sexual and social activity, complaining that, “this college is the domain of tyranny.” The Miscellany News
The chairman of the board of trustees, John Wilkie, announced that gifts to the college for the year totaled more than $2,500,000, including a senior-class gift of $22,969 for library purchases. The New York Times
When President Kennedy signed the bill into law in October, a three-year struggle in which he had been involved as a Senator, came to an end.
The Vassar-Mississippi Action Committee sent a petition supporting President Kennedy’s efforts for integration and pressing for further gains in civil rights through the residence halls for signatures, after which it was sent to Congress. The committee also decided to correspond with Southern and "Ole Miss" students, stressing the need for non-violent action.
Students organized a student-to-student, North-South dialogue, which strove “to combat the pervasive feeling that people in the North don’t understand and don’t know what is going on in the South.” Barbara Gerson ‘63 commented, “We hope that raising this issue will be the first step in a year long discussion at Vassar of integration.” The Miscellany News
In a nation-wide television announcement on all major networks President Kennedy revealed the discovery of Soviet medium range ballistic missiles in Cuba. He announced an immediate quarantine of the island republic and an unequivocal policy about the missiles:
“It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”
In the next two days, the Peoples’ Republic of China proclaimed that 650,000 Chinese men and women supported the Cuban people, and the Russian Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, denounced the blockade as “aggression” and said that it would be ignored.
After a tense week of threats, feints and negotiations, during which much of the world thought that war—perhaps nuclear war—would result, the Soviet government agreed to remove the armaments from Cuba in exchange for the withdrawal of United States missile from Italy and Turkey.
The Vassar College touch football team played a game against Sienna College, an all male college located in Loudonville, New York. Sienna's eight men defeated Vassar's eleven women, 14 to 6.
The New York Times covered the game:
“Game gets off to thrilling start as Vassar’s quarterback Betsey (Wily) Wilbur kicks off… Ball rises approximately three and one-half feet. Strategy so baffles opposition that it allows ball to roll almost to its own goal line….
“Four minutes after play begins, Siena scores first touchdown on pass interception. Two point safety follows as Vassar downs ball behind own goal line.
“Vassar regains ball. Quarterback fades back for hand-off to fullback, Priscilla (Whammo) Weston. They bump heads, fall stunned to the ground. No gain….”
Vassar’s touchdown came in the third quarter, partly as a result of quarterback Wilbur’s “devious piece of feminine strategy,” having to do with the sock, worn in the Vassar players’ right back pockets, the article to be “touched,” signifying a tackle.
“She transferred her sock from her right back pocket…to her left back pocket and darted 30 yards amid shrieks from her schoolmates. On the way she caromed off a small, sickly weeping beech planted by the class of ’63.
“As dusk settled over the playing field of Vassar someone observed that the game seemed a little long.
“’I don’t think anyone’s keeping time,’ said a substitute on the sidelines.” The New York Times
President Blanding, although ambivalent about the necessity of such shelters, postulated that the signs "might do some psychological good.'" The designated areas included certain sections—usually basements—of residence halls, Main Building, the Library, all academic buildings, the infirmary, the Boiler House and Alumnae House. The Miscellany News
Some students felt that “the differences between the old and new acts, like revised editions of textbooks used in elementary survey courses, are substantively nil.” The 1958 Act required that students sign an affidavit affirming their general loyalty to the Constitution and willingness to support it “against all its enemies, foreign and domestic,” and to foreswear membership in or support of any organization advocating the overthrow of the United States Government. The 1962 Act still required the affirmation of general allegiance to the Constitution and willingness to support it against international and foreign enemies; it also required the student to foreswear membership in any Communist organization as defined by the Subversive Activities Control Board.”
As a result, a student said, “we eagerly seized this opportunity to save face, but in doing so we have lost the issue for which we fought in ’59 and ’60…. Vassar College’s academic freedom is not now threatened by the National Defense Education Act… But the fact remains that Vassar College, having given its students the right to exercise their individual consciences, has and continues to participate in a program in which in principle it disapproves” The Miscellany News
At her death, President Kennedy said, “The United States, the United Nations, the world, has lost one of its great citizens. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt is dead, and a cherished friend of all mankind is gone.” Sarah Gibson Blanding wrote, “Vassar College is deeply indebted to this great woman who gave so generously of herself to generations of students. She will be missed but, like her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, she has achieved immortality.”
President Goheen’s wife was Margaret Skelly Goheen ’41, and his daughter Anne was a member of the Class of 1963. The Miscellany News
At the beginning of his remarks at Vassar—a version of an essay published in Harper’s Magazine in 1959—East noted his recent review of Black Like Me (1961) “by a close friend whom I admire and respect, John Howard Griffin. I gave the book a good review, which, in my opinion, it deserved.
“After publication of my review, I had a few letters from readers around the country; they were kind letters, on the whole. However, there was one letter from Jackson, Mississippi, written by a lady there. Along with other things, she wrote: (and I’m quoting) ‘Mr. East, you’re a traitor, a disgrace to your state, your family, and to yourself. Any native Mississippian who’d write as you did about that book is—is nothing but an S. O. B.’
“I’ve had a few such letters before, but never once did I answer them; however, this time I broke my rule and replied to the lady. I began by saying: ‘Dear Mother:’
She hasn’t answered—not yet.”
Turning to his subject, distinction, East cited himself as an example of its attainment:
“My claim to distinction, actually, is two-fold. First, I own a weekly newspaper in the village of Petal, located two miles from the town of Hattiesburg, in Forrest County, Mississippi…. My newspaper has the lowest per capita circulation of any in the world. I confess to an abounding ignorance of arithmetic, but I think in dealing with material objects the lowest count is zero. And zero is the number which represents my circulation in the area (whose claim to distinction is, as proud Petalite[s] will tell you, that it is ‘the largest unincorporated town in the country.’) Second, my paper is…the only one in the nation with an unlisted telephone number. I wish to point out that to reduce a local circulation from 2,300 to zero in only five years requires a certain ability and constant effort…. Frankly, you’ve got to work at it full time—and a ringing telephone is distracting….
“The secret of my early taste of success was relatively simply. I had reached a startling conclusion: that Negroes were, after all, people…. I reached that conclusion from reading the Constitution of the United States, and especially the amendments to it, which impressed me, and wouldn’t turn loose from my memory.”
East’s enumerated editorial “distinctions”—suggesting substitution of the backward-scuttling crawfish for the magnolia as a state symbol, supporting the candidacy of “Cornpone P. Neanderthal” against Mississippi’s iconic segregationist Senator James Eastland, average local sales of his memoir, The Magnolia Jungle: The Life, Times and Education of a Southern Editor (1960), of “one-half book a month”—alongside his accounts of the threats directed at him, his wife and his 10-year-old daughter, culminated in declarations:
“There is no place in the nation for slavery, be it economic, political, religious, or in any other form…. When men are denied their liberties guaranteed by the law of the land, that constitutes a form of slavery. And when and where one slave exists, it is a paradox, perhaps, but you’ll find two slaves, for whomsoever would keep a man down must stay down with him.
“In simple economic terms, we, as a Nation, as individuals, cannot afford to deny our freedom, our liberty to all men….
“For, in the final analysis, from my point of view, freedom is the only distinction worth attaining.”
Although the paper had no local advertisers or subscribers, a “P. D. East Committee,” formed in New York in 1959, subscribers in all 50 states and six European countries and his lecture fees helped The Petal Paper to appear as a weekly until East’s death in 1971. The University of Southern Mississippi Digital Collections
Helen and Karl Ulrich Schnabel gave a four-hand one-piano recital in Skinner Hall. An anonymous review in The Miscellany News, began with an admission. "It is very difficult to write a review in praise of perfection; one runs out of superlatives...." The recital, the reviewer said "came closer to perfection than any recital we have heard this year. The duo created a rare balance of teture and mood which remained unbroken throughout the program. They achieved a sheer transparency of sound, at once the most important and the most difficult requisite of four-hand piano music. It is incredibly difficult for two people to play a piece on one piano and be exactly together in timing, phrasing and expression, yet the Schnabels were beautifully together and made of every note a work of art."
The Schnabels' recital—"longer than the printed program"—began with Mozart's Andante and Five Variations for Piano duet, K.501, and Three Legends, in which "Dvorak's characteristic use of American folk melodies was evident. American themes on a quite different level were used in a Little Suite (1960)" by Swedish composer Laci Boldemann. "This piece was a surprise in that it had a real jazz beat and swinging syncopations." The program concluded with Mendelssohn's Allegro Brilliante, op 92, "a work of scintillating viruosity, and one which makes fantastic demands on the performers. Mr. and Mrs. Schnabel met these demands in a stunning and vital performance. But the audience would not let the performers go until they played two encores, by Brahms and Weber."
Karl Ulrich conducted a master class the following day for students of duet piano technique, at which he observed, "In four-hand playing...listening is at least as important as playing the notes." Although they each had distinguished careers as soloists, Karl Ulrich Schnabel, son of legendary pianist Artur Schnabel, often joined his wife, Helen, in one- and two-piano, four-hand concerts.
German-born émigré economist Dr. Otto Nathan, lectured at Vassar on "The Economies of Disarmament." Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1933, Nathan settled briefly at Princeton, where a life-long friendship with physicist and fellow émigré Albert Einstein began. At Einstein’s death in 1955, he was named sole executor of the Einstein estate and joint trustee of Einstein’s literary property, which he trebled in size and which went, in 1982, to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Otto Nathan taught at Vassar from 1942 until 1945. One of his students, Adele Gabel Bergreen ’44 and her husband, Morris, became close friends of Nathan’s in the 1950s, and he eventually gave them his personal collection of letters, photographs, books and other items belonging to Einstein. These materials were given to the college by Mrs. Bergreen, and they constitute the Morris and Adele Bergreen Einstein Collection at Vassar College.
Forty-two 16th, 17th and 18th century Italian drawings from the collection of Mrs. Richard Krautheimer, were shown at the Vassar Art Gallery. The drawings on display, most of which had been acquired in the last six years, included works by Domenico Tintoretto, Guercino, Annibale Carracci and Girolamo Brusaferro.
Dr. Trude Krautheimer-Hess, the wife of the eminent art and architectural historian Richard Krautheimer and herself a noted scholar and collector of Italian Renaissance master drawings, spoke about the exhibit on April 18, in the Art Gallery. Her husband, who taught at Vassar between 1937 and 1952, was a visiting scholar in Vassar's art department during the 1962-63 academic year. The couple published Lorenzo Ghiberti, a study of the 15th century Florentine master, in 1956. The Miscellany News
The Seven College Conference announced that the seven women’s colleges had sent 4,489 letters of acceptance into the classes of 1967, from which they expected about 2,760 new students to enroll. 11,116 completed applications were received.
Under the Early Decision Plan, 644 of the candidates had been notified the previous fall that they would be accepted. The percentage of new students accepted under this plan—which both allowed colleges to avoid the confusion of multiple applications and spared applicants months of anxiety about their futures—rose from 18 percent in 1961 to 23.3 percent in 1963.
Vassar’s admission director, Jean L. Harry ’33, who released the 1963-64 figures for the conference, noted that a major factor in determining the size of the freshmen classes was the number of upperclassmen who planned to return. “All seven of the colleges,” she said, “have noted with gratification that there has been a steady increase in the number of young women who complete four years of study and earn degrees.”
The accepted classes continued to draw from broader applicant bases. Barbara Clough, admission director at Wellesley, noted “the increasing number of applications from students in schools not previously known to Wellesley. In 1963, as in 1962, we had candidates from more than 230 schools new to us.” Jane Sehmann, director at Smith, observed that the college had seen in the last five years and increase of 200 in the public schools represented in the applications. The New York Times
An all-senior cast presented the Senior Class Play, “My Hero!” in Skinner Hall as a benefit performance for the construction of a recreational center in Guinea, a project inspired by Operations Crossroads Africa. In the audience for the performance were Mme. Telli Diallo, wife of the Guinean ambassador to the United States, Mme. and M. Achar Maroff, members of the Guinean delegation of the Untied Nations and the Rev. James H. Robinson, founder, chairman and director of Operation Crossroads Africa, and former speaker at Vassar. The play was “a takeoff on nineteenth century melodrama.”
The seniors presented the play again, in aid of Crossroads Africa, in Skinner Hall on May 31. The Miscellany News
Mid-Hudson Airlines treated representatives of The Miscellany News to a 20-minute ride in a four-seat Cessna airplane. Pilot Steve Richardson circled the Cessna over the campus. “From a vantage point of 1,600 feet,” wrote a reporter, “Vassar College looks like a group of toy buildings in a child’s model train set.”
The Dutchess County Airport offered regularly schedule flights, flying lessons at $15 an hour, charter service and limousine service.
John Wilkie, chairman of the board of trustees, announced that gifts to the college for the year totaled over $2 million. The New York Times
The college announced that British-born historian Alan Simpson would succeed Sarah Gibson Blanding on July 1, 1964, when she retired from the presidency of Vassar. John Wilkie, chairman of the board of trustees, said the board endorsed Mr. Simpson‘s nomination by a committee of five trustees and five faculty members “enthusiastically and unanimously” at its meeting on June 19. Simpson, Mr. Wilkie said, was elected “with complete confidence in his profound concern with and dedication to the further enhancement of Vassar’s distinction in the world of education.” President Blanding greeted her successor’s selection, noting that he “has proved himself to be one of the outstanding educators in the country and ideally qualified to head a great college.”
Educated at Oxford, Simpson studied at Harvard as a Commonwealth Fellow from 1935 to 1937. After eight years as senior lecturer in modern British history at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland, he joined the history faculty of the University of Chicago in 1946. Mr. Simpson served as the dean of the Undergraduate College of the University of Chicago from 1946 until 1964.
In a statement, Alan Simpson said, “It is a great honor to be invited to be president of Vassar College. I have the warmest admiration for its trustees, faculty, students and alumnae. By combining a firm grasp of established standards of excellence with a vigorous readiness for constructive change, its future will be as distinguished as its past.” The New York Times
Vassar students began what The New York Times called their "own version of the Peace Corps," an after-school tutoring program called "Horizons Unlimited." Coordinated by Patricia Blumenthal ’64 and Joan Leven ’66, the program sent 150 student volunteers four days a week to classrooms in four participating elementary schools for hour-long help sessions intended to provide “educational and cultural enrichment” to students identified by their teachers as having "potential for greater achievement."
"It does reduce," Blumenthal admitted, "the amount of time available for keeping up with our own studies. But, in a world where so much needs to be done, an experiment like 'Horizons Unlimited' also gives us a purpose and an opportunity for fulfillment." The New York Times
Carole Merritt ’62, a staff member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was jailed, along with five other SNCC workers, in Canton, MS. In all, nearly two dozen members of SNCC and CORE (Congress on Racial Equality) were arrested in Mississippi over a two-week period in late January and early Feburary on charges ranging from conspiring to intimidate a family to publishing libel and burning trash without a permit. Charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor in connection with a boycott of white merchants, Merritt was fined $500 and sentenced to six months in jail.
At an emergency meeting on January 27, called by Susan Finnel '66, the chairman of the Vassar Committee on Civil Rights (VCCR), President Blanding stated the college "cannot take an official stand on this issue" since "we have people in this college that are not in favor of integration." The President declared however that Vassar would "strongly support any member of its community who takes a stand sincerely.... I feel so deeply that our students, our faculty, our employees, should all be concerned about these things. We should do anything we can to better the situation." At a meeting on January 31, the president advised students about effective measures individuals might take to aid Merritt, including contributions to the legal defense fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)—specifically designated to aid Miss Merritt, if the donor wished—and letters to senators and congressmen from students' home state favoring the civil rights legislation currently before Congress.
Sponsored by VCCR and addressed to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, a petition with 986 signatures was delivered to Assistant Attorney General Burke Marshall, and letters were sent to New York Senator Javits, Mississippi Sentor Eastland and Senators Lausche and Young from Ohio, Merritt's home state. The petition requested a federal investigation into the "harassment, intimidation and arrest" of civil rights workers in Canton.
Miss Merritt was released on an appeal bond on February 22. Saying she was "delighted to speak at Vassar," she returned to the campus on May 5 and spoke of her experiences in the South. Anticipating Merritt's visit, Adraenne Bernstein '65, the Vassar SNCC coordinator said, "I think it will be very beneficial to the Vassar community. Carole is someone with whom students can identify, yet she has had the kind of experience that is remote to most members of the community. I hope that the 986 people who signed the petition will attend the meeting to hear her speak." The Miscellany News, The New York Times
Professors Albert Van Ackere and William Rothwell co-directed the Vassar Experimental Theatre's production of Alessandro Scarlatti's two-act opera The Triumph of Honor (Il trionfo dell'onore, 1718), a joint production of the Vassar music and drama departments in Avery Hall. Reviewing the production in The Miscellany News, Susan Lysik '64 found it, if "not quite the triumph of the music and drama departments...certainly a charming and pleasant entertainment." Noting the lighting by Mary Barlow '64 and the period costumes of Catherine Pawclyn '65, the reviewer concluded, "the directors, cast, designers and entire production staff deserve congratulations for combining their diverse abilities in a charming opera." The Miscellany News
When accepted, his recommendations pushed the cost of American support of the war to $2 million per day.
Dr. John Rock, professor emeritus of gynecology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Rock Reproduction Clinic, gave the Martin H. Crego Lecture.
The Crego lecture, part of the Crego Endowment, established in 1956 by Jean Crego ’32, in honor of her father, sponsored an annual lecture in the general field of economics, under the auspices of the economics department.
On a tour of campuses showing his directorial debut, a feature film called The Young Lovers, Samuel Goldwyn Jr. spoke with students after a showing of the film in Blodgett Hall. The film intrigued the students, who “especially” liked —according to Eugene Archer, writing in The New York Times—“a scene in which young Sharon Hugueny’s mother returns home unexpectedly to find her daughter’s beau, Peter Fonda, taking his early morning shower.”
Mr. Goldwyn defended his choice of young and unknown actors, although it made finding funding for the film even more difficult. “Everyone said, get Tony Curtis,” Goldwyn said, “but he isn’t an adolescent. Where can you find teen-age stars today?” The students sponsoring the event confided in the young director that they had formed their own company, “Carborundum Films,” and they asked his advice about how they should go about making a film. “I try to encourage them,” he said, “but I also…try to tell the truth. Making experimental films in 16-mm., using college friends and faculties in the cast so they’ll have a ready-made audience, is a fine idea. Then they ask how they can get the film distributed outside their college and make a profit…. I tell them I have exactly the same problem myself.” The New York Times
Scholar of early French Medieval sculpture Willibald Sauerländer, a professor at the University of Freiburg and visitng professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, lectured on "The Sculpture of Reims Cathedral," particularly the influence of ancient works on Reims figures of the 1220s and 30s. "In the period between 1220 and 1230," wrote Ann Thomas in The Miscellany News, "sculpture at Reims entered a new phase of influence. Not only is it closer to the normal Gothic style, as seen in the elevation of the Virgin to a position of prominence in the decorative scheme, but in several instances it bears resemblance to antique prototypes. Professor Sauerländer feels that, while there was not a wholesale antique revival, a few artists were strongly influenced by studies of antiquity.... Unfortunately, Professor Squerländer in his lecture did not answer the question of how the Reims sculptors came to be influenced by antiquity, and what antique monuments were available for observation."
Professor Sauerländer's Gotische Skulptur in Frankreich (Gothic Sculpture in France, 1970,1971) established him as a leading historian in his field. He became director of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, in 1970.
At Commencement, president-elect Alan Simpson told the members of the Class of 1964 and their families and guests that the “brains and energy of women is our most neglected national asset.” Urging the graduates to claim their rightful places in the professions, Simpson said, “There are countries today in which women play a far more conspicuous part in the national life and national dialogue than they do in ours. The question in countries like ours is whether you will be content to occupy all the lower-echelon jobs or whether you will be interested in scaling the heights.”
Students, faculty and Mr. Simpson also paid tribute to Sarah Gibson Blanding and her 13 years of service to the college. Mr. Simpson told the graduating class "If I have one last wish for you as you graduate it is that you may have as much gallantry and gaiety, as much pride and as little pomposity, as much capacity for work and enjoyment, as Sarah Blanding. In plain, in heroic magnitude of spirit, she has few equals.”
John Wilkie, chairman of the board of trustees, announced the board's approval of a new faculty housing complex to be built between Raymond and Hooker Avenues. The New York Times, The Miscellany News
In response to purported attacks on American vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin, ten miles off the shore of North Vietnam, United States bombers destroyed oil facilities and naval targets in North Vietnam. “We Americans know,” President Johnson said in a nationwide telecast, “although others appear to forget, the risk of spreading conflict. We still seek no wider war.”
Three days later, Congress passed almost unanimously the “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,” put forth by the White House, allowing the President to “take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force” against further attacks on U. S. forces.
Opening Vassar's 100th academic year, its new president, Alan Simpson, gave the address at Fall Convocation. One of his concerns was with the nature of “style.” “Style,” he told the students and faculty, “is the form imposed by art on life. A great deal of life has been and is without style: an aimless scurrying of matter, a dull scratching of itches, a wearisome struggle for survival. There is obviously no style without leisure, without exposure to good models, without a passion for improvement.
“Style is not a veneer; it is not a dressing; it is not a nice frosting on a poor cake; it is not make-up. Style has to be built into the motion of the mind by passion and practice.”
A record 1,162 students were enrolled, and the 451 freshmen included women from 21 foreign countries.
Alan Simpson, Oxford-educated historian and former dean of the college at the University of Chicago, was inaugurated as Vassar’s 7th president. Some 4,000 alumnae, faculty, students and guests, including representatives from over 300 American and European colleges and universities and 90 representatives from Alumnae clubs, filled the Outdoor Theater on a perfect Indian summer afternoon, as Mary St. John Villard ’34, chairman of the inaugural committee, introduced the speakers.
Charles C. Griffin, professor of history, brought greetings from the faculty; Katharine E. McBride, president of Bryn Mawr, greeted the new president on behalf of the women’s colleges; Herbert G. Nicholas, professor of American history and Fellow of New College, Oxford, spoke for the European universities; W. Allen Wallis, president of the University of Rochester carried best wishes from American colleges and universities and George Wells Beadle, president of the University of Chicago, spoke on behalf of Mr. Simpson’s former institution. Also in attendance were Sarah Gibson Blanding, Simpson’s predecessor, and Henry Noble MacCracken, president of the college between 1915 and 1946.
In his remarks, President Simpson, noting Vassar’s “special duty to consider the minds, aptitudes, and goals of women in an age where women everywhere are seeking new directions for their energies,” declared that it also shared with other colleges responsibility for the grand traditions of liberal learning. “The American university,” he said, “was once a one-story building with a few graduates in the attic. Today it’s often a one-story building with a lot of undergraduates in the basement.” The best liberal arts colleges, privileged to focus on providing undergraduates with individual programs and instruction and on offering breadth of knowledge instead of pedantry, “the characteristic vice of scholarship,” bore the responsibility for defending and strengthening these traditions.
The New York Times included some personal notes on Vassar’s new president in its coverage of the event, including his fondness for composing clerihews—four-line biographical verses beginning with the subject’s name; his preference for “Mr.” instead of “Dr.,”arising from his academic upbringing in England, “where members of the faculty do not ‘Doctor’ each other;” his plan to teach an advanced history class on revolutions in 17th century England in the spring term (“I always got great pleasure out of teaching.”) and his anticipation of taking part in a residence hall reading of Bernard Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell, where he was cast as the devil. The New York Times
The New York Times reported that Vassar was among five colleges and universities in New York State collaborating as test sites for the innovative new approach to teacher education advocated by former Harvard president and United States Ambassador to Germany James B. Conant. Conant proposed making colleges and universities responsible for teacher certification rather than the states, making classroom performance the major factor in certification, siting more practical training in local schools and giving state authorities responsibility for supervision of practice teaching. Most controversially, Conant’s plan, outlined in his book The Education of America’s Teachers (1963), called for the replacement of “how-to-teach” classes with “learning through teaching,” leaving more classroom time for teaching and learning in subject matter fields.
To avoid prolonged theoretical debate about his proposals, Conant enlisted as a test bed five quite different institutions with established commitment to teacher education in New York State. In addition to Vassar, Brooklyn College, Cornell University, Colgate University and Fredonia State College agreed to implement the plan, which already had the blessing of James E. Allen, Jr., the state’s commissioner of education.
“The problem is,” Conant told The Times, “to get the professors of the various disciplines to sit down with the professors of education and to appraise what is now taught and what should be taught.” Equally important, he added, was a commitment from the professors to examining classroom teaching in the schools and evaluating how well their subjects were presented to students.
Defending the liberal arts and praising "the educated woman" at the Washington Vassar Club, President Simpson announced that the college had met, nine months before the deadline, the $25 million goal set in 1955 for a 10-year development program. The majority of the donations came from alumnae, and of the total $16,500,000 was earmarked for the educational program, with emphasis on faculty salaries and scholarships, with the remainder intended for improvements to the physical plant.
Upholding the ideals of a liberal education against the pressing claims for a less broad and my professional curriculum, Simpson also asked, "What can the educated woman do for this world?" "Her stake in life," he replied, "is the biggest because it's the longest. She needs less reminders than men that we are born for purposes larger than ourselves. She is the natural conservationist of tested values; the best interpreter of change; the last generalist in our intensely specialized civilization. She can also claim a larger role for herself as explorer, manager and governor. She can be invited to study countries in which the male fortresses are more battered than they are in ours, and where some of them have been reduced to the picturesque irrelevance of a medieval castle in a modern city."
Since the program’s inception faculty salaries were substantially improved, a new residence hall and a modern language center built and significant improvements made to Main Building, the Library and the Art Gallery. The president noted that the college was currently attempting to meet a $2.5 million 3-to-1 challenge grant from the Ford Foundation. Success in this effort would, he said, further enhance faculty salaries and academic programs as well as starting to address further physical plant needs, such as a biological sciences building, a laboratory theater, new faculty housing and residential facilities for students. The Miscellany News
Southeast Asian specialist and author Dr. Virginia Thompson Adloff '24 gave the inaugural C. Mildred Thompson Lecture, "Unity and Disunity in the Third World: Southeast Asia and Negro Africa," in Skinner Hall. An officer with the Office of War Information in Southeast Asia during World War II and a professor at the University of California between 1961 and 1972, Dr. Adloff and her husband, Richard Adloff, a former State Department officer, published prolifically on East Asian and African issues after the war.
The Thompson lectureship, given to the college in 1963 by an anonymous donor, honored American historian C. Mildred Thompson '03, who taught in the history department from 1910 until 1923, when she became Vassar's dean, a position she held until her retirement in 1948. On December 16, 1964, President Alan Simpson wrote to Dean Emeritus Thompson, who came from her home in Atlanta to attend the inaugural Thompson Lecture. "From all sides," he said, "have come reports of the success of the first C. Mildred Thompson Lecture. Virginia Adloff did herself and you proud.... Mary [Mrs. Simpson] and I thoroughly enjoyed your visit and the opportunity of coming to know Vassar's famous Dean Thompson—a distinquished scholar!" Vassar Controller's file F0006
Dean Thompson died in 1975.
Dick Gregory, African American comedian, author and civil rights activist, was featured at Christmas House Parties Weekend. Noted by The Miscellany News for "his ability to make people laugh and then think about why they're laughing," Gregory aimed his humor at targets ranging from the snow on campus—"I like snow; it's about the only white thing we can step on"—to his daughter's reflection of the shifting status quo in American families—on telling him he must knock before entering her room: "'I'm three years old, I've got rights.'" She also, he said, no longer believed in Santa Claus, because "'No white man's coming to our neighborhood after midnight.'" The Miscellany News
A frequent visitor to Vassar, Dick Gregory appeared on campus in November 1976, February 1981 and March 1999.
Six hundred marchers, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and prominent members of his Southern Christian Leadership Council, in the first of three marches from Selma, AL, to Mongomery in support of efforts at voter registration by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), were attacked by state and local police, using tear gas and billy clubs.
Vassar faculty and students, along with President Simpson and his family, joined 3,000 other marchers, including representatives of the NAACP, the Human Relations Council, local ministries and Congressman Joseph Resnick, in a march in Poughkeepsie, part of a "nationwide response...to protest recent events in Selma, Alabama." The march was to object to the "the denial of suffrage and civil liberties to the Negro citizens and the brutal attacks upon civil rights demonstrators by the Alabama State Troopers." The Miscellany News
Viet Cong terrorists bombed the United States embassy in Saigon.
In response, President Johnson authorized sending another two Marine battalions, along with 20,000 more logistical personnel to Vietnam, secretly authorizing American combat troops to conduct offensive operations.
“Modern art,” she continued, “is a very good way of finding out what the world looks like. Artists are more important than most people. The have a reach, a sensitivity. They alert men’s imaginations 10 years ahead of events…. But concepts of art history have changed so much that I worry constantly about people going around with all those wrong things in their heads that they learned 25 years ago.” The New York Times
Asked why she had joined the annual event, she replied, “I came to Pamplona because I heard it was the greatest party in Europe.” The New York Times
Rioting broke out in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles when police arrested first one, then the other of two Watts brothers and then their mother. Angry onlookers attacked the officers and longstanding racial tensions exploded. Despite the efforts of Black leaders in several community meetings, the crowds, the anger and the destruction continued to grow.
Police, firemen and nearly 14,000 National Guardsmen brought a curfew into effect on the 4th day, and the rioting subsided. Thirty-four people died, 1,032 were injured and 3,438 were arrested. Nearly 1,000 buildings were destroyed or damaged, and property damage was estimated at $40 million.
A consolidated department of biology moved into the Olmsted Hall of Biological Sciences in 1972, and the administrative computing center and its new mainframe were dedicated in 1967. All but the façade of Avery Hall was razed to make way for the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film, which opened in 2003.
The Vassar Committee on Civil Rights, “adopted” a Mississippi Democratic Party worker, Ira Grupper, whom they called "The Grupper." The VCCR financially supported the worker, whose responsibilities were to canvass local neighborhoods to determine the problems of the people and to organize the Freedom Democratic Party.
Grupper, a lifelong activist, returned to Vassar from time to time.
Operation Rolling Thunder, authorized a month earlier by President Johnson, began. A limited but protracted bombing of North Vietnam, the operation was intended to dissuade North Vietnamese support for the Vietcong.
Rolling Thunder ended in November of 1968, having lost over 900 American aircraft and 818 pilots, either dead or missing. By U. S. estimates, some 182,000 North Vietnamese civilians died.
American anthropologist Fred Eggan, Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago, lectured on "Lewis Henry Morgan and Cultural Evolution." Eggan’s application of the principles of British social anthropology in his study of Native American culture aligned him with the pioneering American anthropologist and social theorist Morgan (1818-1881), who first described underlying kinship patterns among Native Americans.
Eggan delivered the Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures at the University of Rochester in 1964, and the lectures were published as The American Indian: Perspectives for the Study of Social Change (1966).
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Lowell and his wife, critic and essayist Elizabeth Hardwick visited the college. The sixth Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—a title changed in 1984 to Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—in 1947-48 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1947 for his collection Lord Weary's Castle (1946), Lowell acknowledged in his remarks the great influence on him of Elizabeth Bishop '34. He read and commented on two of her poems, "The Armadillo" and "Visits to St. Elizabeth's," before turning to his own work. Bishop, he observed, "never writes a poem just to write a poem." His reading, said Judy Nadelberg '69 in The Miscellany News, "was a quiet reading—never overtly emotional—but the subtle shadings and tonings and the slight raising and lowering of his voice over certain words and phrases brought out all the bitterness, joy and anger inherent in the poems."
Earlier in the day Lowell and Hardwick spoke with reporters from The Miscellany News about both their work and the world. He declined, he said, an invitation to read his work at a White House Arts Festival, in response to "an intuitive moral reason," his dissaproval of United States policies in Vietnam and Santo Domingo. While he felt that such gestures by the country's intellectual element "can act as a brake on the government," "the main thing for me was not going." "The Lowells," Betsy Dick '68 wrote in The Miscellany News, "both felt that the press, especially The New York Times, has been responsible in reporting the Vietnam war. Said Mrs. Lowell, 'Television is good so far as the pictures are concerned, but there is a certain unreality about television—people are unresponsive. Everyone thinks it is so far away.' Added Mr. Lowell, who in a recent letter to the White House expressed fears that we are becoming an 'explosive and suddenly chauvinistic society,' 'People think the country can't be wrong.'"
“Oh, some speak very softly, and some are most polite,
And some will make concessions, and admit you may be right,
But I’m for disputation, and a good old fashioned fight,
Says that rough, tough wreckster, J. H. Hexter.”
Quoted in “Historian J. H. Hexter dies at the age of 86,” http://wupa.wustl.edu/record_archive/1996/12-12-96/6978.html
The Thompson lectureship, given by an anonymous donor, honored American historian C. Mildred Thompson '03, who taught in the history department from 1910 until 1923, when she became Vassar's dean, a position she held until her retirement in 1948. Dean Thompson died in 1975.
Some 250 fathers of members of the Class of 1968 (and a few mothers) from all parts of the country joined their daughters, their daughters’ friends and members of the faculty for the annual Sophomore Fathers Weekend. Dancing began the weekend, and afterwards some students took their “daddies” to, as William Borders put it in The New York Times, “Vassar’s traditional dating haunts, such as Palmer’s and The Dutch, to the dismay of the standard weekend crowds already there from such places as Williams and Yale.”
Tennis, golf and bowling were intermixed with a Sunday sermon from the Rev. Eugene Carson Blake, secretary-elect of the World Council of Churches, on “The End of the World,” weighty faculty seminars and a talk about computers from Professor of Mathematics Winifred Asprey ’38 and Theodor H. Nelson from the sociology department. Dr. Asprey told the fathers about three seniors in her nascent computer program who had accepted jobs for next year at starting salaries over $7,000, and the man who had already coined the terms “hypertext” and “hypermedia” assured the visitors that computers like the IBM Model 360 the college had just acquired “are reshaping our lives.”
“It’s the first time in 19 years,” said one fathers about the time with his daughter, “that we’ve really talked, and we’re both getting to say a lot of good things we’ve left unsaid too long.” “It’s like this every year,” professor of history and dean of freshmen Clyde Griffen told Borders. “I guess,” he continued, “it something about American society. But here they are. The come from all over, and they love it.” The New York Times
United States Commissioner of Education Harold Howe II urged the Class of 1966 to realize and then remember that real improvement in American life could only come about through the creation of decent communities which grant to all their members social justice and courtesy. “If I could find it in myself to do so,” he said, “I would encourage you to aim at the stars, to renew this tired world with your youthful enthusiasm and your high hopes…to echo, in short, the thunderous boosterism that has been popular with graduation speakers.” But, he warned, the world and the nation needed heroics less than it needed everyday courage and decency. The rare geniuses and occasional heroes would do what they inevitably do, he prophesied, but each person “can share the action and passion of his time without making a career of it. It is not necessary for you to build the millennium by 1970…. This is especially true with regard to civil rights, for the great battles remaining to be fought will not be waged in Selma and Watts, Montgomery or Bogalusa. The most enduring and critical victories will have to be won in the quiet communities.
“These battles will be won by personnel managers who go beyond employing brilliant Negroes to giving mediocre Negroes the same chance for a job as mediocre whites…. We need,” Howe concluded, “quiet heroes who—while going about their nine-to-five business—take time to shape a slightly different world than the one they found.” The New York Times
Mr. Ferry had given $200,000 in 1950 for the Dexter M. Ferry, Jr. Cooperative House, which opened in 1951. Two of Mr. Ferry’s daughters, Edith Ferry Hooper ’32 and Jean Ferry Davis ’35, were Vassar graduates, and two of his sisters, Blanche Ferry Hooker ’94 and Queene Ferry Coonley ’96 had given $100,000 in 1919 for the erection of Alumnae House.
Vassar became the first women's college to have a student chapter of the National Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
"It is very doubtful that what is called Bloomsbury ever existed, but for the purposes of this lecture I have to pretend that it did," said English novelist David Garnett, lecturing on "Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury." A younger member of the group of English writers, theorists and artists who gathered in the London district called Bloomsbury in the early 20th century that included Lytton Strachey, Maynard Keynes, Virginia and Leonard Woolf and Virginia Woolf's sister Vanessa and her husband, the artist Clive Bell, Garnett gained wide acclaim for his novel Lady into Fox, which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction in 1922.
In what Tona Johnston '68 called in The Miscellany News "a delightful and exceptional evening," Garnett spoke of the interests and eccentricities of the diverse group of intellectuals, ranging from pacificism, condemnation of snobbery and sexual freedom to the economist Keynes's habit of inviting those who wished to speak with him about his ideas to do so as he was taking his bath and to Virginia Woolf's little-known "delight in lampooning herself." About Woolf he said, "By the time I got to know her well, she'd suffered much and was already almost middle-aged," adding that "Everything she described was a unique experience; she never generalized, always particularized.... I was trying to write, too, making feeble experiments, and my goodness, it was exciting to read Virginia!"
"The Trustees of Vassar College have accepted an invitation by the Corporation of Yale University to make a joint study of the possibilities of cooperation between the two institutions, it was announced today by the presidents of Vassar and Yale. The desirability and feasibility of relocating Vassar College in New Haven would be a major interest in such a study.”
In making the announcement, President Simpson said, 'This is a most imaginative and exciting proposal. The benefits to these two distinguished institutions might be tremendous; the problems to be faced are formidable.
“Vassar College would have to determine whether New Haven offers a wider field for its modern mission than its historic home; whether its identity could be properly preserved; whether the site is ample enough; and whether the prodigious human, legal, and financial problems are surmountable. The possibilities of such a brilliant partnership, among the varieties of development which are open to Vassar College, merit the most thoughtful study.”
President Kingman Brewster, Jr., of Yale said, “I am very pleased that Vassar has accepted our invitation to a joint study. The Yale Corporation made it known last March that if further study indicated that Yale could make a contribution to the education of women at the college level, the coordinate college approach would be preferable to any expansion of Yale College to accommodate women.“The opportunity to explore these possibilities with Vassar College is a great privilege for Yale. Whether the interests of both institutions can best be served by such a coordinate relationship cannot now be foretold. Whatever the outcome of the study, Yale will benefit greatly from this joint exploration with such an eminent and successful sister institution." The Miscellany News
As the new year began, the United States had 385,000 troops in Vietnam and 60,000 sailors offshore. American deaths in the war stood at 6,000, with another 30,000 wounded. Although the number of Vietcong killed was estimated at 61,000, their forces numbered over 280,000.
Dean-elect of the Faculty Nell Eurich was appointed vice-chairman of the Committee on New Dimensions, joining Dean of Studies Elizabeth A. Daniels '41 in directing the committee's work.
Former President Henry Noble McCracken announced his opposition to the college's proposed affiliation with Yale University, citing it as "an ethical breach of trust in the more than 1,000 individual endowments to Vassar College, dating back 106 years to Matthew Vassar's original $400,000 investment." A month later, in The New York Times, MacCracken charged that moving to New Have would be "a wholesale takeover of an independent institution," casting aside Vassar's independence "for a position alongside a big university. The Poughkeepsie Journal, The Miscellany News
At its first meeting, the Vassar-Yale Joint Trustee-Fellow Committee approved the guidelines for the Vassar-Yale coordinate study.
President Simpson and two aides met with 32 Dutchess County leaders in industry, government and education to discuss the study being undertaken by Vassar and Yale. Simpson ruled out closer cooperation with the four local colleges -- Bennett, Dutchess Community, Bard, and Marist -- as a suitable alternative to moving to New Haven. “I realize,” he said, “that a college must be rooted in the heart of a community, as Vassar is, and that it must serve the community. But…I have an even bigger responsibility. The college has an obligation to offer to some of the best women in the country some of the best education. The problem is how to fulfill that trust.”
City Manager Thomas W. Maurer said that the college’s 500 nonprofessional jobs and the support of its 1,600 students and 935 acre campus accounted for $7 million of the community’s economy and that the $200 million urban renewal program under way in Poughkeepsie would be slowed if Vassar took its business to New Haven. The group of legislators and businessmen stated that they would "press for the establishment of a graduate university center in Dutchess County regardless of whether Vassar College [moved] to New Haven." The Poughkeepsie Journal, The New York Times
The first of six meetings of a sub-committee of the Committee on the New Dimensions, chaired by Elizabeth A. Daniels, Dean of Studies, heard student thoughts on "the entire scope of Vassar education."
Merce Cunningham, Matthew Vassar Lecturer, presented a dance lecture-demonstration.
The college announced that 39 prominent alumnae and former faculty members had written to The Miscellany News criticizing Vassar student leaders’ failure to endorse a recent statement, sent to President Lyndon Johnson by students from many colleges and universities, which strongly opposed United States policy in Vietnam. “As alumnae and former faculty members,” the letter said, “proud of Vassar’s record of active concern for human life and social progress, we are disappointed in this silence.”
The letter’s signers included: Professor Emeritus of English Helen Sandison; Professor Emeritus of Economics Emily Clark Brown; poet Muriel Ruykeyser ’34; photographer Rollie Thorne McKenna ’40; Mary Clabaugh Wright ’38, professor of history at Yale; writers Felicia Lamport ‘37 and Jane Whitbread Levin ’36; art historian and critic Katharine Kuh ’25; Charlotte Curtis ’50, women’s news editor of The New York Times; Margaret Skelly Goheen ’41, the wife of Princeton president Robert Goheen and Jane Northrop Bancroft ’36, wife of the executive editor of The Times.
The editor of The Miscellany News was not immediately available for comment, and Secretary of the College Lynn C. Bartlett said he would have “no comment because Vassar people, like everyone else, are free to express an opinion if they want or not express an opinion.”
Subsequently, Student Government Association President Marcia Sneden ’67 and Beth Dunlop ’69, the editor of The Miscellany News, responded that neither had known of the student leaders’ letter, but they noted that Ms. Sneden had been among a special student steering committee that met on January 31 with Secretary of State Dean Rusk to express strong student misgivings over the administration’s Vietnam policies. The New York Times
Assemblyman Victor Waryas introduced in the State Assembly a bill calling for the establishment of a university center at the Vassar College site.
A panel of seven seniors discussed their Vassar educations with the Trustee Committee on Undergraduate Life. Discussing "the relative merits of 'bigness' and the drawbacks thereof, "Vivian Bland '67, who spent her junior year in Princeton's critical languages program, found the level of "intellectual blood, sweat and tears" at the university on a par with that at Vassar, but she felt that the university perspective lent a sense of greater pupose to the work. Rosemary Boyd '67, a mathematics major, found the criticism of small college math departments unjust. "The Vassar education," she said, "is not designed to educate the men who can be educated anywhere." "I have learned here," she concluded, "to respect myself as a mathematician and a woman."
Kathleen McAfee '67, a biology major and Matthew Vassar scholar and the president of the Vassar Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), declared herself "rather bitterly disappointed with my intellectual experience at Vassar." A consistenty low level of expectation among the faculty and the "general maternalism of rules and regulations at Vassar"—along with an ineffectual College Government Association (CGA)—led, she said, to a general fear of experimentation at the college. But, Miss McAfee added, "the depth of my alienation is not shared by all students." Sara Linnie Slocum '67, a former editor-in-chief of The Miscellany News and an honors history major, noted a growing disappointment among seniors with the approach of the end of their time at the college. "In me," she said, "it's taken the form of not caring anymore. It's the feeling that there was nothing you could have done about the place." There was at Vassar, she added "no way to expand your horizons."
Trustee John F. Dooling's response to Miss Slocum, that the trustees "are not trying to adjust you to the world but to maladjust you to a bad world," provoked Ellen Kovner '67, a student observer to the discussion, to say, "You're doing us an injustice—you're turning our discontent into something admirable." Miss McAfee concluded this part of the conversation, declaring, "This education is precisely to maladjust you to a bad world, and it doesn't do that—it lulls you into complacency."
Other student speakers were Eve Slater '67, an honors chemistry major, and Jane Rubens '67, an English major. "I have felt," Miss Slater said, "a day by day, hour by hour learning process," adding "my education here has been special, but it is in jeopardy in terms of the future," and Miss Rubens said, "I am one of those who, given a choice, would come here again, but it isn't that this place is perfect."
In conclusion, Marcia Sneden '67, the program's moderator and the acting CGA president, summed up the attitude of the senor class as one of "withdrawal, retreat, frustration and quietism." The Miscellany News
William S. Gaud, administrator of the State Department’s 15 year-old Agency for International Development, lectured on "The U.S. Foreign Aid Program."
In his Winter Alumni Day address, President Kingman Brewster of Yale, spoke to 1,000 Yale alumnae and wives about the proposed Yale-Vassar study. Yale, he said, could make a crucial contribution to higher education with Vassar's move: human, library and laboratory resources would be better utilized and a coordinate college situation would better suit the increasing pace of the change in society.
“Bringing women in,” Brewster declared, “will enrich and enlarge the variety of interests, points of view and values taken into consideration in the classrooms and seminar rooms of Yale…. The presence of the opposite sex is a constructive stimulus to a higher level of performance on everyone's part, students and faculty of both sexes." The New York Times
New York Chamber Soloists Orchestra gave the Barbara Woods Morgan Memorial Concert in the Students' Building.
Robert Van Nice, Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, gave the Class of 1928 Visiting Scholars' Lecture, entitled "Saint Sophia: An Architectural Inquiry." As resident representative of Harvard’s Dumbarton Oaks research center, Van Nice published the core documentation on Hagia Sophia, the 6th century church/mosque/museum in Istanbul. The first volume of his St. Sophia in Istanbul: An Architectural Survey appeared in 1965, followed by volume two in 1986.
Columbia University musicologist Denis Stevens, former editor of Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians and founder of the baroque chorus and orchestra Accademia Monteverdiana, lectured on "Claudio Monteverdi: The Madrigalist."
Folk-singer Pete Seeger performed. Seeger, whose appearance at Vassar in 1962 was protested by the American Legion, was a vigorous opponent of the war in Vietnam. His 1967 song, “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” subtly attacked both the war and President Johnson, prompting its censorship in some performances.
Physician and sex educator Mary Steichen Calderone '25, lectured on "Sex Attitudes and Sex Education."
President Alan Simpson confirmed the announcement by Elizabeth Daniels, dean of studies, that the Committee on New Dimensions was “reorganizing to examine alternatives to the Yale-Vassar study."
American bassoonist and conductor Arthur Weisberg conducted the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, a group founded by Weisberg in 1961 and in residence at Rutgers as part of a workshop program supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Among the selections on the program was “Fantasy and Variations,” by Richard Wilson, who joined the Vassar music faculty in 1966.
The Board of Trustees approved the proposal that Elizabeth Daniels, Dean of Studies, devote the remainder of the semester as full-time chairman of the Committee on New Dimensions, in order to study alternatives to the Yale-Vassar coordination.
British poet Jon Silkin, read from his work. Silkin’s Poems, New and Selected appeared in 1966.
Civil rights leader Whitney Young, Jr., executive director of the National Urban League, lectured on "From Pledge to Performance in Civil Rights." Under Young’s direction, the league, a relatively small and cautious organization founded early in the 20th century, became a major force in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
Spanish-Canarian historian, critic and essayist Juan Marichal, Harvard University, lectured on "The Intellectual and Politics in Modern Spain."
British philosopher and political theorist Sir Isaiah Berlin, former Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory and president of Wolfson College, University of Oxford, gave the first C. Mildred Thompson Lecture of the academic year, entitled, "The Enlightenment Century: Revolution in Ethics and Politics."
The Thompson lectureship, given by an anonymous donor, honored American historian C. Mildred Thompson '03, who taught in the history department from 1910 until 1923, when she became Vassar's dean, a position she held until her retirement in 1948. Dean Thompson died in 1975.
President Alan Simpson addressed Associate Alumnae of Vassar College, stating "Vassar cannot go it alone...It must break out in some constructive way. Otherwise it faces a 'brain drain.'" Dean of Studies Elizabeth Daniels also spoke on alternatives to the Yale-Vassar coordination.
Abstract expressionist painter Ad Reinhardt gave the1928 Visiting Scholars' Lecture entitled, "Artists among Artists."
Two hundred faculty and students marched in front of Main Building in silent protest against United States' involvement in Vietnam.
Irma Brandeis, Dante scholar and professor of literature at Bard College, lectured on "Glimpses of the Master's Hand: Two Canti from Dante's Purgatory."
Polish-born biologist, mathematician and historian of science Jacob Bronowski, associate director of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, gave the Sigma Xi RESA (Research Society of America) Lecture, entitled "The New Philosophy of Biology." Established in 1959, the club was a preliminary step in the establishment in 1995 of a chapter of Sigma Xi, a national honorary scientific society open to faculty members with associate membership for outstanding students.
Pioneer social psychologist Theodore M. Newcomb, founder of the doctoral program in social psychology at the University of Michigan, gave the Helen Gates Putnam Conservation Lecture, entitled "College Influences on Change and Persistence of Attitudes."
As letters of acceptance to Class of 1971 at Ivy League and Seven College Conference institutions went out, The New York Times noted sharply increased efforts to add cultural and racial diversity to their student bodies. The paper also presented application and acceptance data for the schools. At Vassar, where the 1,386 applications represented a 2.9 percent increase over the previous year, 699 applicants—50 percent—were accepted for 435 places.
Radcliffe, experiencing a 17.5 increase in applications accepted 350 of the 2,428 applicants—14.4 percent—for 300 places in the freshman class. Barnard, with 4.7 percent more applicants over 1966, accepted 48 percent; Mount Holyoke, seeing a 3.6 percent increase, accepted 41percent; Smith, with a 1.6 percent decline in applications, accepted 44 percent and Wellesley, down 7.9 percent in applications, accepted 30 percent.
Astrophysicist Vera Cooper Rubin '47, Carnegie Institution of Washington, lectured on "Galaxies and Quasars."
Judicial historian and biographer Carl Brent Swisher, Johns Hopkins University, gave the Sharpe Memorial Lecture, entitled "Law and Lawlessness."
American attacks on North Vietnamese airfields began, inflicting heavy damage on runways and installations and over time destroying about half of the North’s air power.
William Sloane Coffin, Jr., chaplain of Yale University, lectured on "The Ethics of the War in Vietnam." An early spokesman for the civil rights movement, Coffin was also among the first to denounce the United States presence in Vietnam.
Representatives from Vassar’s academic departments held preliminary discussions on coordination with their Yale counterparts.
Vassar held a symposium, "Historians Look at Latin America Today," in honor of Latin American and foreign policy scholar Professor of History and Dean of the Faculty Charles C. Griffin, who was retiring after 34 years in Vassar’s history department. The panelists included Robert Alexander, Rutgers University; Lewis Hanke, Columbia University; Frederick Pike, The University of Pennsylvania; Stanley Stein, Princeton University and Professor Griffin. Professor Carl Degler, the symposium's moderator, said its purpose was "to honor Charles Griffin for the high position he has acheived in the field of Latin American studies, both in this country and south of the Rio Grande." "On this occasion," Professor Degler continued, "Vassar will pay tribute to one of her most distinguished teachers and historians, as well as to the dean of the faculty."
In his retirement, Professor Griffin worked in Swift Hall under a grant from the Library of Congress, organizing the Library's Latin American section, and in the second term of 1967-68 he taught at Princeton. The Miscellany News
American mathematician and historian of mathematics Kenneth O. May, from the University of Toronto, lectured on "Quantity and Quality of the Mathematical Literature." May contributed “May’s theorem” to the field of social choice theory and was the founder of the International Commission on the History of Mathematics (ICHM).
The Honorable Eugenie Anderson, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, gave the inaugural Barbara Bailey Brown Lecture entitled, "The United Nations Now: Problems and Promises." The Barbara Bailey Brown Fund, was established in 1966 by the Class of 1932 in memory of their classmate Barbara Bailey '32 in support of programs and lectures fostering international understanding.
Yale University President Kingman Brewster addressed the Vassar faculty on Yale's vision for coordinate education.
The chancellor of the State University of New York, Samuel Gould, spoke to the Class of 1967 and their guests at Commencement, warning that the age had become a “juvenocracy, where even the old are preoccupied with youth. Yet there exists an acute lack of awareness between the youth who aims to keep up with change and the adult who styles himself in the image of youth and yet desires to preserve traditional realities.” Gould described the alienated youth who claimed that his education was manipulated and irrelevant: “He trusts no one over 30; his alienation is so rampant that he has begun scrutinizing his own peers and doubting his own motives.”
President Simpson conferred the bachelor’s degree on 388 graduates of the college. The New York Times
At the annual meeting of the Associate Alumnae of Vassar College (AAVC), alumnae fund chairman Mrs. Helen Hendrickson Couch '24 announced that the $7.5 million raised by alumnae to match a $2.5 million challenge grant from the Ford Foundation made Vassar the first college whose graduates had successfully matched a Ford Foundation challenge unaided by other bodies. The Ford challenge, issued in 1964 and set to expire on June 30, 1967 had already been met by the college in August of 1966.
The AAVC president, France Prindle Taft ’42 announced that 100 percent of the 165 living members of the Class of 1917 contributed to the class’s 50th anniversary gift of $400,000.
Dr. Nell P. Eurich became Dean of Faculty. A former member of the English department at New York University and former acting president of her alma mater, Stephens College, and of New College in Sarasota, FL, she was the wife of Alvin C. Eurich, president of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies. Her Columbia PhD dissertation appeared as Science in Utopia: A Mighty Design from Harvard University Press in 1967.
Racial tensions erupted in Detroit when police raided a party for two returning Vietnam veterans at an unlicensed club. As trouble spread, city and state police were overwhelmed, and by the second day, nearly 500 fires and hundreds of separate incidents resulted in 1,800 arrests. President Johnson sent in Federal troops on the third day, and the 82nd Airborne stood ready to deploy paratroopers. Machine guns and tanks were used to regain control of several areas of the city.
Before subsiding on July 26, the riots had inspired similar incidents in Flint, Saginaw, Grand Rapids in Michigan and in Toledo, Ohio. In all: 43 people—33 of them African Americans—died; 467 people were injured; 7,231 people, ranging in age from four to 82—were arrested; 2,509 stores were burned or looted; 412 buildings were damaged irreparably; 388 families were homeless and damage estimates were between $40 and $80 million.
In the wake of racially-inspired riots in many parts of the country President Lyndon Johnson appointed a National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, to be chaired by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner with New York City Mayor John Lindsay as vice chair. The commission issued its report and a summary of its 17 chapters and six main recommendations on March 1, 1968.
Vassar celebrated the opening of the new computer center and the dedication of its IBM 360 computer. "No other women's college...has a computer of this capacity," stated President Alan Simpson. Professor of mathematics Winifred Asprey '38 introduced the keynote speaker at the dedication, her former Vassar professor and a computer pioneer, Commander Grace Murray Hopper '28, who spoke on "Computers and Your Future." Concurrently serving in the Navy (since 1943) and as staff scientist in the UNIVAC division of the Sperry Rand Corporation, Hopper, Susan Frelich '70 reported in The Miscellany News, "emphasized the future because she feels that she actually lives in the future. This is only the beginning of the computer age, she said; we are only beginning to know what to do with computers."
"She then explained that although computers can perform two operations simultaneously (multi-processing), we do not know how to use this power since human beings can only perform sequential rather than parallel thought operations. Creating a form of multi-dimensional mathematics should be our next challenge she said. She pointed out, however, that one must remember that machines are useless without people telling them what to do and that there is a serious shortage of such brainpower."
Student seminars and faculty research were highlighted as the college embarked on academic computing. Among faculty projects cited by The Miscellany News were the examination of light wave patterns given off by amber by Professor of Chemistry Curt Beck, tests of intuition devised by Associate Professor of Psychology Malcolm Westcott and a study by Associate Professor of Religion John Glasse of the use of Lutheran doctrine by Ludwig Feuerbach, whose identification as "(a nineteenth century theologian)" drew a spirited posthumous response from Feuerbach in the issue for October 4.
"It is pleasant," he wrote, "to have made the front page of The Misc...even if it had to be as data for Vassar's new computer." "I am distressed, though," Feuerbach continued, "at being billed as a 'theologian.' That is just what I have wanted not to be, ever since I quit theology after having tried it as a freshman. I am a philosopher. As to Lutheran doctrine, the philosopher continued, "I hope your man Glasse has found that that didn't really interest me. What did was Martin Luther the man, and his lively reports on religious experience from within.... He misunderstood his own experience, of course, as Chrisitians do. But I've cleared that up in my book, The Essence of Christianity. It's in paperback, you know."
A frequent visitor to the campus, Grace Murray Hopper returned in the fall of 1971 to join three other distinquished alumnae, Princeton philosopher Margaret D. Wilson '60, historian C. Doris Hellman '30 and microbiologist Gladys L. Hobby '31 in a discussion of "Science and Human Values," the final Alumnae Association Centennial Seminar. The Miscellany News
Columbia University historian of city planning George R. Collins, visiting scholar in art, lectured on "Visionary City Planning in Our Century." Collins taught Art 386a, "Modern City Planning," and focusing his lecture on modern "geometrics," "utopias" and "technological fantasies," he concluded that "the visionary plans of our century tend toward the dynamic—expandable and expendable in character." The Miscellany News
Collins’s Camillo Sitte and the Birth of Modern City Planning (1965) illuminated the work of the 19th century Austrian architect and innovator, and his 10-volume general edition of the “Planning and Cities” series (1968-75) traced the history of urbanism back to ancient and primitive societies.
Speaking to the Associate Alumnae of Vassar College, Elizabeth Daniels '41, dean of studies and director of special studies for the Committee on New Dimensions, said that a survey of alumnae showed the majority of responding alumnae to prefer single-sex education.
The Gertrude Folks Zimand Lecture entitled, "Community Power Structure and the War on Poverty," was given by Kenneth Clark, professor of psychology at the City University of New York. Clark, whose 1950 study of the effects of segregation on the development of both white and black students was cited in the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, was recipient of the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal in 1961.
An article, "How Dare They Do It?" by Dorothy Sieberling '43 in LIFE magazine denounced Vassar’s possible move to Yale and to New Haven. A senior editor at the magazine, Ms. Sieberling asked "How can they consider plunging into a congested city at a time when colleges—and the human soul—crave space? How can theY contemplate trading an intimate personal environment for the mounting depersonalization of the multiversity?." "Most of all," she continued, "how can they abandon and destroy an institution of long and great distinction whose potential for valuable service and leadership is still strong?"
The article sketched Vassar's history, traced the history of the Vassar/Yale negotiations, presented the work of the campus Committee on New Dimensions and contrasted photographs of the lawns and vistas of Vassar, of students in the Daisy Chain and of Main Building with a a smoky aerial picture of Vassar's "probable site in New Haven.... It overlooks factory and slums beyond." "An appeal to preserve Vassar in its setting," Ms. Sieberling concluded, "is often dismissed as sentimental nostalgia. To this alumna, Vassar's historic campus, its beauty, calm and amplitude constitute values vital to education and to life; they are a rare heritage of the past most in need of preservation today. How dare they do it?" LIFE
Wiley Jackson, housing chairman of the Northern Dutchess chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a member of the Poughkeepsie Housing Committee, led a discussion on "Fair Housing in Poughkeepsie." The city was among the finalists for a federal "Model Cities" grant under the Johnson administration's "War on Poverty," and public housing and neighborhood improvement were key elements in its proposal.
In November 1967 Poughkeepsie was one of the 63 communities eligible for "Model Cities" grants.
After two days of discussion of reports from the Committee on New Dimensions and from the affiliation study headed by President Simpson and Yale’s president Kingman Brewster, Jr., the board of trustees announced that “no decision has been reached” on the proposed affiliation between Vassar and Yale. “The several studies,” said Secretary of the College Lynn C. Bartlett, “are still under serious consideration. The trustees will meet as often as may be required to further this consideration.” The New York Times
The Anna Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble performed. In addition to her ensemble work, blending the lyric and the stark images of contemporary life, Sokolow , a student of Martha Graham, was the Broadway choreographer of Street Scene, Camino Real, Candide and the original production of Hair.
Topologist W. Wistar Comfort from Wesleyan University lectured on "The Marriage Lemma: A Fixed-Point Theorem in Banach Space."
The Dean's Program held a conference on "Problems of Urban Poverty—Strategy for Slums," "to discuss effective methods to deal with the problem of urban poverty." The conference included: the founder of American community organizing, Saul Alinsky, Franklin Thomas, the newly-appointed president of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation ; political scientist John Bailey; East Harlem community leader Ruth Atkins; Poughkeepsie city planner Julio Vivas; Lou Glasse, co-founder of the “Good Neighbor Pledge,” a project in aid of racial integration in Poughkeepsie; Poughkeepsie City Manager Theodore Maurer; Ron Gregory and Zion Page.
Pioneer in superconductivity and quarks, physicist William M. Fairbank from Stanford University, gave the Research Society of America (RESA) Lecture, entitled "Low Temperatures: A Frontier of Physics," to the Sigma Xi Club. Established in 1959, the club was a preliminary step in the establishment in 1995 of a chapter of Sigma Xi, a national honorary scientific society open to faculty members with associate membership for outstanding students.
Social critic, editor and journalist Dwight MacDonald posed the question "How Democratic Can A Culture Get?" Appreciating, in The Miscellany News, that the "longtime political and literary critic proved to be as witty and bombastic with his rhetoric as he can be in his writing," Ellen Chesler '69 stated the evident answer to MacDonalds's question—"Not very." "What MacDonald wants," she wrote, "is two cultures, one for the 'masses' and another for the 'cultural classes.' The burden of culture in history has never been carried by more than 20 percent of the people, he says.... He claims that culture is something that implies discrimination and standards and that only a minority of any society is willing to have these standards. But he points out that since the 19th century, industry has provided means for mass production of culture, and public education has provided a mass market for it."
A former editor of Partisan Review and staff writer for The New Yorker, MacDonald published Against the American Grain: Essays on the Effect of Mass Culture in 1962 and Our Invisible Poor in 1963.
A conference on the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, hosted by the college in conjunction with the State University of New York at New Paltz, began at New Paltz with a lecture by New Paltz Professor Harry Schwartz. A member of the editorial board of The New York Times and the newspaper's specialist on Soviet affairs, Professor Schwartz spoke on "Fifty Years of the Bolshevik Revolution." Events at Vassar at the weekend included panels on Soviet economy, foreign policy, intellectual life and literature.
Professor Herbert Levine, a specialist in Soviet economic planning at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Harry Braverman, editor of the Socialist Monthly Review, and Professor Lynn Turgeon, a scholar of Soviet industry and labor at Hofstra University spoke on "The Russian Revolution: 50 Years of Economic Change. "Fifty Years of Soviet Foreign Policy" were examined in a lecture by Professor Alexander Dallin, the Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Relations at Columbia University.
Focusing on "The Cultural Impact of the Revolution," Russian émigré historian Marc Raeff from Columbia spoke on "The Revolutiion and the Russian Intelligentsia," Professor George Gibian, chair of the department of Russian at Cornell University, examined "A Half Century of Soviet Literature: Issues, Achievements, Problems" and John Githens from Vassar's Russian department described "Metaphoric Avatars of October in Mandelstam and Mayakovsky."
Sponsored by the economics, history, political science and Russian departments and supported by the Matthew Vassar Lecture Fund and the Crego Endowment, the conference concluded with a concert by the Yale Russian Chorus, a group of some 40 undergraduates, graduate students and faculty members which toured in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. "The conference," explained one of the event's planners, Vassar political scientist Suzanne Lotarski, "is not a celebration of the anniversary of the revolution but an educational opportunity to evaluate a timely and much discussed event." The Miscellany News
The Crego Endowment, established in 1956 by Jean Crego '32 in honor of her father, sponsored annual lectures in the general field of economics under the auspices of the economics department.
Philosopher and linguist Dr. Jerrold J. Katz from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology lectured on "Interference and Opacity." Katz’s The Philosophy of Language appeared in 1966.
Donald Pearson, professor of music and college organist, performed a Dedication Recital on the new Gress-Miles chapel organ. The new instrument, built by the Gress-Miles Organ Company of Princeton, NJ, had four manuals and pedal, 106 ranks and 5,700 pipes, and occupied the same space and the same hand-carved façade designed by architects Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge in 1904 for the original chapel organ. A reception in the Chapel's choir rehearsal room followed the recital.
Handwriting and documents expert Elizabeth McCarthy '17, lectured on "Crimes in Ink." A lawyer and one of the country’s leading handwriting experts, McCarthy gave testimony in the Kennedy assassination and the Alger Hiss investigations. While investigating Boston mayoral nomination documents in 1967, she discovered that her own name had been forged.
The Dean's Program hosted a lecture by Bob Moore, organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Selma, Alabama, on "The Black Movement in America and the Role of White People." Moore was imprisoned for his participation in Julian Bond’s “Atlanta Project,” the registration of black voters and the protest of Bond’s ejection from the Georgia legislature.
Anthropologist Bruce E. Raemsch from Hartwick College lectured on "Recent Evidence of Man in New York 35,000 Years Ago." Raemsch’s extensive collection of artifacts are in the Yager Museum of Art and Culture at Hartwick.
The college announced that, after a year’s study of affiliation with Yale University, Vassar would “remain in its birthplace” and “the mistress in our house.” The trustees said that Yale and Vassar, as two institutions, each “engaged in expanding its reach through its own invention, will serve the interests of higher education better than one.” Further, the trustees said that the decision to remain in Poughkeepsie was “influenced by loyalty to a place as spacious and beautiful as ours, by confidence in the future of our region…and by our commitment to the education of women.”
Interviewed by The New York Times, President Alan Simpson said that the decision to abandon affiliation with Yale was reached with difficulty. But, he said the Vassar trustees endorsed an alternate plan—"Vassar will remain in Poughkeepsie and undergo a multi-million dollar expansion...including proposals for a coordinate men's college, graduate institutes, curricular innovations, and a residential unit in New York." Simpson added that the men’s college would be at least minimally operative within five years. In this alternative plan, "Two autonomous institutes, one for the Study of Man and his Environment and another for the Advancement of Teaching will be launched to serve both graduate and undergraduate men and women." They will offer degrees at the M.A. level and will also conduct research. The 14-page alternative plan, which would cost $50 to $70 million, was given to the faculty for discussion and reaction.
Campus reaction to the trustees’ decision was generally favorable. “Yale,” one student told The Times, “is a nice place to visit, but we wouldn’t want to live there. Why? Just think of losing this gorgeous place and going to a large university. We get close enough to the Yale boys now.” Another student added “Everyone seems to think that the school needed something. I want to see what they’re going to do here. I’m waiting for that.”
A nearly simultaneous statement by Yale president Kingman Brewster, Jr., said that the Vassar decision was “a disappointment to me,” but announced plans for a new women’s college of some 1,500 students to be developed at a cost of between $50 and $70 million. An editorial in The Yale Daily the following day was similarly bittersweet, saying, “Yale’s gentlemen have been jilted. All we can do is take it like men and join President Brewster in considering the even more exciting possibility of founding an independent women’s college here.” The New York Times, The Miscellany News
English literary critic and scholar Christopher Ricks, Worcester College, Oxford, lectured on "Milton's 'Lycidas.'" Ricks’s highly regarded Milton’s Grand Style (1963) was followed by his edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained in 1968.
Sister Jacqueline Grennan, president of Webster College, gave the Helen Kenyon Lecture, entitled, "Can the Academic World Seek the Living God?"
Greek architect, city planner and visionary Constantinos Doxiadis lectured on "Man and His City." The lead architect for the Pakistani capital Islamabad (1960), Doxiadis’s Ekistics: An Introduction to the Science of Human Settlements appeared in 1968.
Asked by Barbara Walters on NBC's Today Show if Vassar was planning on some form of coeducation President Alan Simpson said yes, that this was part of the trustees' plan for the future of the college. He said, according to The Miscellany News, he had come to the college, in 1964, with an open mind on the question, although he was a bit inclined towards segregation of the sexes. A Sarah Lawrence graduate and thus preferring the single-sex approach, Walters asked why coeducation was a good idea. "Mr. Simpson noted that Vassar was founded to give women the same education available to men at top colleges when women were not admitted to such institutions.... Women are now admitted to most schools for segregation of the sexes is historical. Coeducation is a growing irreversible trend.... When asked why Vassar had turned down the Yale merger, Mr. Simpson again cited the desire for independence and a sense of place."
Speakers at a four-day symposium on "The New Morality," sponsored by the Dean's Program and discussing “personal, social, and religious aspects of morality” included physician and sex education advocate Dr. Mary Steichen Calderone ’25, poet and activist Alan Ginsberg, neo-orthodox theologian and social activist William Stringfellow and Vassar Chaplain Frederic C. Wood.
A founder in 1964 and the executive director of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), "We argue about sex, Dr. Calderone told her audience, "as we would argue about whether a car we've never seen, never driven and don't know the mechanics of could win the Gran Prix. If we are to create a valid morality about sexuality, we'll have to know about man's sexuality.... Man's sexuality needs to be studied, researched and treated with a little more respect and dignity."
"If rules must be posed," wrote Alison Luchs '70 in The Miscellany News, "Dr. Calderone demanded that they be honest ones, based on 'a relationship of mutual respect between the power group and the group over which they have power. When we make a rule like "no men in girls' rooms after 9:00 p.m.," we have to be clear in our terminology.... If you mean no students are to have intercourse on the grounds of the college, or while they are students at the college, then say so.' Few students in her audience could argue with her sincere approach. But even fewer could imagine a rule stated that explicitly in the Vassar handbook."
Writing in The Misc. about Allen Ginsberg's peripatetic visit to Vassar, its several informal discussions—in the Gold Parlor, in Cushiing Living Room—and it's culmination on Saturday evening before a capacity crowd in the Chapel, Susan Casteras '71, said, "Perhaps the most powerful and ironic ability of the man was his capacity to make an audience of either one or 1,000 more than just comfortable in his presence; to make them actually close to him. He had the power to infuse into his audience a gripping sense of this closeness.
"The reading provided a somewhat frightening opportunity to infuse into his audience a man baring his intellect and his consciousness, leaving himself in a state of emotional nakedness. After the poetry reading, he asked...members of the audience how they had reacted to the evening. When someone mentioned that it had been painful to watch a man so self-absorbed in the verbal and emotional stripping of himself, Ginsberg nodded and said he had felt that way."
Concluding the symposium in his Sunday Chapel sermon,"The New Old Morality," Vassar Chaplain Frederic C. Wood, Jr., said Christiane Citron '71, in The Miscellany News, "pointed out that the so-called new morality involves a new ethical attitude, not a new set of literalized rules; the rules are still the Commandments.... He wants the individual to establish the principle of love of God (and neighbor) within himself, and then to be guided in every action by this internal principle." Enumerating four main aspect to this form of morality, Wood identified the most fundamental aspect, said Citron, was "the priority to be given the spirit over the letter of the law.... It is up to the individual determine the sprit of the law. Therefore the morality is antinomian: one can in specific instance go against the law....
"Secondly, this...morality asserts the internal, rather than the external source of values.... Everyone has to realize the importance in its own right of his decisions.... In addition, he said this 'new old morality' draws a distinction between freedom and responsibility in one's behavior.... Finally, Mr. Wood concluded, implicit in this morality is its religious nature, for without some sort of ultimate commitment, the morality is meaningless.... Mr. Wood added that although this guidance is religious in nature, it is not necessarily religious in form."
Former Harvard lecturer in psychology and founder of the League for Spiritual Discovery Dr. Timothy Leary lectured in the Students’ Building on the "Conflict of Men and the Use of Drugs in Modern Society." The advocate of spiritual discovery through the use of psychedelic drugs had expressed interest in speaking at Vassar during an earlier interview with The Miscellany News, and he reportedly waived his customary $1,500 fee. “No drug is either ‘bad’ or ‘good,’” Leary told his audience, “but using makes it so.”
Leary’s league, founded in 1963, was for several years housed at a 2,500 acre estate near Millbrook, NY, owned by heirs to the Mellon banking fortune. On February 19, lawyers for the estate’s owners had announced that the League for Spiritual Discovery and two other groups, the Neo-American Church—headed by Chief Boo Hoo—and the Sri Ram Ashrama, had been ordered to leave the premises.Writing to The Vassar Alumnae/i Quarterly in 2007, two members of the Class of 1971 reflected on the event. “…one thing I recall with perfect clarity” said one, “he gave his lecture sitting on the floor of the stage (no podium, no chair) with his legs crossed, barefoot—and the bottoms of his feet were filthy!” “I do not know,” said the other, “who invited him or why, but even then I knew he was a drugged-out jackass with nothing to impart to me. I stayed away in droves.” The Vassar Alumnae/i Quarterly
Rioting, looting and arson broke out in dozens of cities, most notably in Washington, DC, Baltimore and Chicago. On Chicago’s west side two days of lawlessness left 11 people—all African Americans—dead, almost 3,000 arrested and over 200 building damaged beyond repair.
Vassar accepted 50 percent of the applicants for its 400 freshman places, compared to acceptance rates of 35 percent, 46 percent and 48 percent at, respectively, Wellesley, Smith and Mount Holyoke. Radcliffe accepted 13 percent of its applicants.
Both the Ivies and the Seven Sisters noted increased recruitment and enrollment of students of color, students prepared at public schools and students living outside the Northeast. Admissions Director Jean L. Harry ’33 said that Vassar had admitted twice the number of black students as in 1967, and she credited the help of the student Afro-American Society in recruitment. “These Negro girls at Vassar,” she said, “can talk to their friends about the total experience, academic and social, in a way we cannot.” The New York Times
American historian Christopher Lasch from Northwestern University, gave the second C. Mildred Thompson Lecture of the academic year, entitled "The Ambiguities of Equality: The Idea of Asylum in Nineteenth Century Reform." A liberal critic of liberalism, Lasch published The American Liberals and the Russian Revolution in 1962, and his The New Radicalism in America appeared in 1965.
The Thompson lectureship, given by an anonymous donor, honored American historian C. Mildred Thompson '03, who taught in the history department from 1910 until 1923, when she became Vassar's dean, a position she held until her retirement in 1948. Dean Thompson died in 1975.
An article in The Miscellany News by Assistant Professor of Sociology Martin Oppenheimer called upon the Vassar administration to “publicly state that the college does not condone the use of informers on this campus.” Charging that local law enforcement “has had at least one student here act as an informer on the drug scene” and had “attempted to solicit other informers from the student body,” Oppenheimer declared, “the atmosphere of suspicion and mutual distrust is far more damaging to education and democracy” than drug experimentation.
Secretary of the College Lynn C. Bartlett, agreeing that the issues raised by Oppenheimer’s article were serious ones, said that student meetings were being conducted in the residence halls to discuss the drug situation. College chaplain Frederic Wood declared that tolerance of informers on campus was “subversive to the educational climate.”
In his article, Oppenheimer noted that a recent survey had shown that one-third to one-fifth of the students at Vassar had used marijuana at least once. But, he said, “We have neither the obligation to do the work of the police…nor to protect students from the due course of justice….” The New York Times
After a week of mounting protests and the seizure by protestors of five university buildings—including the office of university president Grayson Kirk—on April 30, some 1,000 New York City police moved onto campus and in an attempt to regain control of the buildings. Classes were suspended as the protests and building takeovers continued, and a review panel, headed by former United States Solicitor General Archibald Cox, a professor at the Harvard Law School, undertook analysis and resolution of the turmoil.
In late May, the university appointed a “director of student interests,” Assistant Dean Irving DeKoff, and over the summer, efforts by administrators, faculty and alumni to restore order and accommodate student issues alternated with the preparation for court trials of some 1,000 student protestors. Two women students, both in the School of General Studies, were fined $250 and jailed for 15 days. The New York Times
The New York Times reported that more than 250 Vassar students and 20 members of the faculty sent a letter to Columbia’s president Grayson Kirk saying that they were “appalled at the violence directed against the students and faculty” by the police. Vassar Student Association President Alison Bernstein ’69 said she “deplored the tactics of the demonstrators at Columbia but I deplore even more the action of the administration in calling in the police.” Toni Ackerman ’70 called the use of police force “not only unwise but unwarranted.”
As student protests developed at Columbia, Columbia students visited Vassar and offered informal informational discussions of the events on their campus near the student mailboxes in Main Building. The New York Times
The committee studying the organization of a men's coordinate college presented its report to President Alan Simpson. Since declining the invitation for a coordinate institution with Yale University in November 1967, the college had considered following the model exemplified by Brown University, which had established a separate women's college, Pembroke College, in 1897. Hamilton College, in Clinton, NY, formed a women's coordinate college, Kirkland College, in 1968, and Mount Holyoke College and Smith were considering similar, but less-formal arrangements in Massachusetts's Pioneer Valley with two coeducational institutions and Amherst College.
The Vassar committee, led by Associate Professor of History Clyde Griffen, presented both pros and cons of founding a coordinate institution, a possibility already referred to on the campus as "Matthew College." In October, the Vassar trustees endorsed instead the formation of a coeducational Vassar College, a decision applauded by The Miscellany News in its October 4 issue: "Social life is commonly regarded as part of the college experience, and most students believe that coeducation offers the only 'normal' life."
Miss Barber joined the Vassar faculty in 1931 and, in addition to her memorable lectures and her seminars in 14th and 15th century Italian painters, she contributed to the residential community, leading the college’s wartime defense program during World War II and serving, first as resident and then as house fellow, in Josselyn House from 1935 until her retirement. She was an early faculty supporter of the college’s decision to become coeducational.
In the Ivy League, Harvard received $38,346,000 and Yale was given $33,410,000. The New York Times
While rain pelted the campus, strong opinion rang in the Chapel at Commencement. In his address New York Mayor John V. Lindsay told the 1,400 guests and members of the Class of 1968 he was “disheartened” by the “irrationality” of the 90th Congress’s response to the report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders—the so-called “riot commission”—of which he was vice chairman. The report had urged strong efforts to help African Americans get jobs, housing and education, but Congress, Lindsay said, “has been moving in the opposite direction."
“Typical of the response by Congress,” he said, “was the recent action of the House Appropriations Committee in cutting by fully 50 percent the amount of funds requested by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, was awarded the entire appropriation it submitted. This divergence of values, this irrationality of national purpose, is indicative of a nation that has lost its way. It confuses the need to maintain our society with the need to rebuild our society.”
Frequent applause interrupted Lindsay’s 30-minute address, and many of the 413 members of ’68 who had been holding daisies or carnations as they listened handed the blooms to him as they walked past to receive their diplomas, some whispering “Flower Power.” At the end of the ceremony, Mary Lindsay ’47 approached her husband, “who looked a little sheepish sitting with his little bouquet in the lap of his blue and black academic robe,” saying, “John, you look just like a bride.” Richard Reeves, The New York Times
The resulting goal was to reach a student body of 2,400 with a 1:1 male/female ratio by 1975. The plan also proposed major construction to be done "regardless of the increased student body," including apartments/dormitories between the golf course and Sunset Lake, two main dining halls—rather than the proposed large dining hall to be located in the middle of the quad—a new science building and an experimental theater.
Negotiations began between six men's colleges (Bowdoin, Amherst, Dartmouth, Williams, Colgate, and Trinity) and Vassar to begin an exchange program next semester. By December, approximately 70 Vassar women and 70-80 men from Colgate, Williams, and Trinity registered in the exchange.
“Men in classes and on campus is the only way to prevent stagnancy,” declared Susan Casteras ‘71, managing editor of The Miscellany News,” when interviewed by The New York Times about a new exchange program with Williams. But Janet Stanton ’72 had doubts about both coeducation at Vassar and the plans to achieve it. “The way we’re doing it,” she said, “will take many years and probably after that Vassar will be a second rate school. We’ll have to refuse qualified women and take unqualified men.”
As the fall progressed, trustees at other men’s colleges approved a student exchange with Vassar, and faculty exchanges were also discussed. At his inauguration on October 12th, Trinity president Theodore D. Lockwood announced that a Vassar exchange would make the college “coeducational on a trial basis” and that the Trinity trustees had approved the immediate start of a coeducation feasibility study. Colgate University joined the exchange ten days later.
German-born cultural historian Peter Gay, professor of history at Columbia University, gave the C. Mildred Thompson Lecture, "The Enlightenment: Dead or Alive." Gay’s The Enlightenment: An Interpretation: Vol. 1, The Rise of Modern Paganism (1966) was awarded the National Book Award in history for 1967, and his Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider appeared in 1968.
Professor Bernard Berofsky, philosopher of free will, moral responsibility and determinism at Columbia University, spoke on "Purposive Action" at Philosophers' Holiday, a longstanding series of occasional lectures sponsored by the philosophy department. The term, Marsha Levine '72 wrote in The Miscellany News, was "his own definition" for "the features that he feels distinguish such action from the teleological behavior of machines and animals.... Mr. Berofsky presented his arguments in a clear, vigorous, predominately non-technical style: he illustrated each point with familiar and often amusing examples. The result was an illuminating hour and a refreshing change from some previous Philosophers' Holiday lectures, which were comprehensible perhaps to the initiated, but mysterious and bewildering to laymen in the audience."
Bernard Berofsky, who taught briefly at Vassar and who spoke again at the college on "Responsibility and Necessity: The Metaphysical Character of Free Will Debate" in February 1974, published Free Will and Determinism in 1966. Princeton University Press published his Determinism in 1971.
“I just came to see what its like to go to school with men,” Vassar sophomore Jean Brenner ’70 explained as she prepared to move into the room vacated by Frank Knoblauch, one of over half the Yale undergraduates who volunteered to give up their rooms for the project. “The idea,” Mr. Soifer explained, “is to take the male-female relationship out of the absurdly pressured situation of the weekend date. A lot of the guys think of women simply as objects, or dumb broads, but they’re human beings, too.”
Yale President Kingman Brewster, Jr. cited the success of “Coeducation Week” on November 14th when announcing that the university would admit 500 women as freshmen the following September. The New York Times
Former Vice President Richard Nixon defeated the Democratic Vice President Hubert Humphrey and American Independent party candidate George Wallace to become the 37th President of the United States.
Tomin sought support from Western academics and, in 1980, lecturing on Aristotle at one of Tomin’s “seminars,” the visiting Master of Baliol College, Oxford, Anthony Kenney was arrested by Czech police. The uproar in the British press led to the formation of the Jan Hus Foundation—named after a 13th Czech reformer—which aided Tomin’s emigration to England with his family later that year.
The Crego lecture, part of the Crego Endowment, established in 1956 by Jean Crego ’32, in honor of her father, sponsored an annual lecture in the general field of economics, under the auspices of the economics department.
Lawyer Theodore Sorenson, advisor and White House Counsel to President John F. Kennedy, gave the Barbara Bailey Brown Lecture, entitled "Whose Law and Order?"
The student senate passed a resolution for the abolishment of parietals on a college-wide basis. Realizing that neither enforcement of parietal regulations on male exchange students nor selectively enforcing them for women was suitable, President Simpson approved the senate’s proposal, leaving the decision about men’s visiting hours in the residence halls to a corridor by corridor vote.
Voting on March 5, 1,375 students voted for “no restrictions” on visiting hours, 68 voted for a “limitation” on hours without leaving their present corridors and 10 students voted for “limited visiting hours” even if they had to move.
Elizabeth McCarthy '17, handwriting and document expert, lectured on "Pen Points to Crime." A lawyer and one of the country’s leading handwriting experts, McCarthy gave testimony in the Kennedy assassination inquiry and the Alger Hiss investigations. While examining Boston mayoral nomination documents in 1967, she discovered that her own name had been forged
McCarthy lectured on “Crimes in Ink” at Vassar in 1967.
In an article entitled “Topics: Ask the Oracle About Coeducation,” Fred M. Hechinger, education editor for The New York Times, analyzed the growing interest in coeducation at previously single-sex colleges and universities. Calling the Vassar-Yale study “what turned out to be a 100 mile misunderstanding” and imagining a future when all single-sex schools had been coeducational for a time, Hechinger predicted that coeducational housing and other attempts to achieve “productive social interaction” would lead to rancor and, eventually, rebellion.
“After a violent confrontation in the parlor of Bryn Mawr’s coeducational dormitory, in which a Biedermeier vase and a shaving mug were shattered, a moderate Society for Newly Independent Girls (SNIG) will agree to a pilot exchange plan under which all Yale women will spend an all-girl week at Vassar, while all Vassar men will participate in a stag week at Yale.
“The experiment will be pronounced a success. Two years later, the first women’s college will be founded.”
Architect and acoustician Cyril M. Harris, Columbia University, gave the Dickinson-Kayden Lecture, "Acoustics, Architecture, and Music." Harris collaborated with the Danish engineer Vilhelm Jordan on the Metropolitan Opera (1966), and was at work on the design for the Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
Mildred Bernstein Kayden ’42 established the fund in 1966 in honor of the late Professor Emeritus of Music George Sherman Dickinson.
New York’s Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction against the college’s abolition of parietals. Responding to a breach of contract suit brought by a Vassar parent, the injunction required the college to maintain parietals as they were on September 15, 1968. A first hearing was scheduled for March 17.
President Simpson notified the student body that the former rules—male visitors in the halls from 12:30 pm to 7pm Sunday through Thursday and from 12:30 pm to 11 pm on Friday and Saturday—were in effect until further notice.
The following day, Simpson announced that the stay had been lifted pending the scheduled hearing. Students were given permission to vote, corridor by corridor, “on altering the [men’s visiting] hours in any way they wanted to, even doing away with them entirely.” The New York Times
The theme of the annual Soph-Frosh weekend, "Soulful Strut," was exemplified by its highlight, a concert in the Chapel by singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone. The weekend, according to its planner Claudia Thomas '71 one of "Black and blues," also featured a "Stoned Soul Picnic" and a black nightclub group. Ms. Simone, said The Miscellany News, used "her voice as a versatile instrument to se the mood of a concert and alternately to sooth and lash the audience until they loosen up to feel the beauty and the protest of the music. She sings racial protest songs—not of hate, but of justice, freedom and pain."
The Vassar concert was Nina Simone's last in this country before leaving on her sixth European tour during which she performed in Dublin, Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London before appearing in Munich and Paris.
Former New York City Commissioner of Health Dr. Leona Baumgartner, M.D., gave the Savel and Gertrude Folks Zimand Lecture, entitled "Society and the Revolution in Health Care." Known for her energetic advocacy of both national and international health education, she was New York City’s first female health commissioner, serving from 1954 until 1962, when President Kennedy appointed her head of the Office of Technical Cooperation and Research for the Agency for International Development. The highest-ranking woman in the United States government, Dr. Baumgartner was responsible for persuading President Lyndon Johnson to include birth control in the planning for health programs in underdeveloped countries.
Gertrude Folks Zimand ’16 was a lifelong crusader against the abuses of child labor. General secretary and trustee of the National Child Labor Committee and founder of its National Committee on the Employment of Youth, she was married to Savel Zimand, a Rumanian-born international journalist and author.
Milfred C. Fierce, who held that "White Studies have taken several hundred years of trial and error, revision, adjustment and improvement, and…still could use a thorough 'housecleaning,'" was named the first director of the Black Studies program. Under his leadership and through such innovations as the Urban Center in Poughkeepsie and the African Summer Study Trip he led in the summer of 1971, the program—ultimately the multidisciplinary African Studies Program—became a vital element in the Vassar curriculum. The Miscellany News
“In the pendulum swing between prescription and freedom which characterizes curricular history, this plan is as close to free choice as Vassar is ever likely to go. It offers three paths to a degree instead of one, abolishes distribution requirements, encourages a pace to suit the individual, reduces the course load by a change in the counting system, offers wide opportunities for off-campus experience carrying credit towards the degree and seeks to enlarge options of faculty as well as students.” Alan Simpson, The New Vassar, 1964-1970: Report of the President
Exchange of students among the men’s and women’s colleges remained strong for the 1969-70 academic year. Students from Amherst, Bowdoin, Dartmouth, Haverford, Mount Holyoke, New York University, Trinity, the University of California and Williams attended Vassar, and Vassar students went to Dartmouth, Colgate, Haverford, Trinity, Wesleyan and Williams.
Two Williams students and one student from Amherst from among this group elected to stay at Vassar.
The college launched a $50 million comprehensive capital campaign, the largest in Vassar's history. President Simpson said that the aim of the project was to “enable Vassar to sustain its place of leadership among American liberal arts colleges.” The national chairman of the drive was trustee Mary St. John Villard ’34.
The specific goals of the campaign were the faculty—additional chairs, salary increases, an improved leave system, and new faculty positions to accommodate the transition to coeducation—scholarships and financial aid, the Library and scientific equipment. The campaign aimed to raise the money by 1972.
Several hundred thousand students and faculty members on hundreds of campuses across the country observed a day of moratorium in honor of the nearly 40,000 American dead in Vietnam. By request of many of the faculty and students, President Simpson authorized all interested faculty to close classes on this day to protest United States involvement in Vietnam.
“Nearly 200 miniskirted Vassar College coeds stepped through the gates of the United States Military Academy at West Point in midafternoon and handed daffodils and apples to dozens of startled cadets. The girls walked to a sun-dappled lawn, sang “America the Beautiful” and then left, smiling as easily as when they arrived.” The New York Times
Professor R. B. Tate from Cornell University lectured on "The Writing and History of 15th and 16th Century Spain."
Protesting the erection of a new house for John Duggan, vice president for student affairs, on the hill east of Sunset Lake, over 90 students and five faculty members, working at night, filled in the recently dug foundation.
A few days later, the Master Planning Committee suggested eleven other possible sites for the construction of the house, which was built in a less prominent place west of the golf course.
1. That Black Studies be expanded into a degree-granting department.
2. That an increased number of black professors be hired to accommodate this expanded program.
3. The immediate renovation of the entire Urban Center.
4. That we receive those funds which had been promised in addition to any extra funds needed for the expansion and continuance of the Black Studies program.
5. That the college buy a bus for transportation to and from the Urban Center,
6. That Vassar College hire a separate black counselor whose additional job was to place black students after they leave Vassar.
7. That a black housing facility be provided by 1971 which will eventually accommodate at least 200 students.
8. That an architect be contracted to design this facility by Monday, November 17th, 1969.
9. That black students be provided with agreeable black housing until the construction of this facility was completed.
The annual meeting of the Seven College Conference was interrupted when 38 black students demonstrated in front of Alumnae House, protesting the administration's failure to act on their recent demands. At the meeting of representatives from Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley, President Simpson affirmed that, despite Vassar's coeducation decision, the college would remain a member of the group, which had met in one configuration or another since 1916. "The conference [sometimes known as the Seven Sisters]," Simpson said, "represents a fund of experience and concern. The times have changed, but we have not changed our basic commitment to education for women. In varying degrees all the colleges are interested in co-education."
Earlier in October his suggestions that Vassar might drop out and that there might not be “a viable future for women’s education” provoked varied responses. Wellesley’s President Ruth M. Adams observed, “Over the years, it has seemed to me that our group has begun to diverge in function and constitution, and that it might be advisable to enlarge the conference or listen sympathetically to the notion of dissolving it.” David T. Truman, president of Mount Holyoke, took a slightly different position, saying “we would like to persuade the errant institution [Vassar] to stay with our association, or else we would add to the association, or if necessary do with a smaller number.” The New York Times, The Miscellany News
Dr. Chester M. Pierce, professor of education and psychiatry at the Medical School, Graduate School of Education and School of Public Health at Harvard University, gave the Savel and Gertrude Folks Zimand Lecture, entitled, "The Success of the School System: The Most Common Problem for Black Youth." Founding president of the Black Psychiatrists of America, Pierce was also, as an undergraduate at Harvard, the first African-American to play in a college football game south of the Mason-Dixon Line at an all-white university, in a game against the University of Virginia on October 11, 1947.
Gertrude Folks Zimand ’16 was a lifelong crusader against the abuses of child labor. General secretary and trustee of the National Child Labor Committee and founder of its National Committee on the Employment of Youth, she was married to Savel Zimand, a Rumanian-born international journalist and author.
Professor of History Stanley M. Elkins from Smith College gave the first C. Mildred Thompson Lecture of the academic year, "Slavery in the Americas: A Reappraisal." Elkins’s provocative book, Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life (1959), argued that a comparative lack of pragmatism of American abolitionists led to a more violent, prolonged and debilitating struggle over slavery than had been the case in Britain and also that the practices of American slave-holders created and maintained a psychologically infantilizing and intellectually degrading slave culture. As evidence of the latter claim, he contrasted the slave and minority cultures of America with those in Brazil.
"Mr. Elkins discussed," said a writer in The Miscellany News, "the extraordinary rigidity and the interchangeability of the Noth and South American slave systems. He noted the differences and similarities...and compared his findings with those of...another historian who has investigated slave systems extensively. 'The comparative approach in discussing problems of slavery will become more popular in the future,' said Mr. Elkins, 'because it is broader and uses ideology as a base.'" In successive editions of his work—1963, 1969, 1976—Elkins reappraised its original assertions, trying to accommodate much of the original criticism.
At 3:20 AM, 34 African-American students—all women and a majority of Vassar’s 59 black students—peacefully took over the central first floor of Main Building, protesting the administration's failure to respond to the Student Afro-American Society’s nine points. A night watchman left quietly, a small group of African-American men from area colleges and the community guarded the front door and President Simpson spoke briefly with the students through an open window. A switchboard operator stayed behind, showed one of the students how to operate the system and left.
Speaking to several hundred students later in the morning from the portico outside the Rose Parlor, Simpson said that a meeting including trustees, student leaders, member of the faculty and representatives of the group occupying Main would be convened. While disapproving of the action, he said he understood “the spirit of deep frustration and high endeavor” motivating the students, adding “I cannot imagine any circumstance in which such conversations would be improved by the use of force or the threat of force.”
Conversations between the several parties began the following day. The New York Times