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including Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Harvard, Yale and Oberlin, had either refused to offer the loans or withdrawn from the program, she quoted a faculty resolution passed the previous June stating that the "faculty deplores the provision in the...act requiring a disclaimer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"If the offensive provisions are not rescinded," the president declared, "the matter will be re-opened.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.