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 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.

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

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.

Joan Baez, called by The Miscellany News "a new folksinger who has attracted much attention recently," performed in the Students' Building as the "stellar attraction" of Frosh Weekend.  The 20 year-old singer, praised by Robert Shelton in The New York Times for an "almost laconic stage manner and marmoreal delivery that...steps back to let her poetic texts and lovely melodies take the limelight," had recently appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival, Harvard, Wellesley, Yale and the Dartmouth Winter Carnival.

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.


"A Doll's House", a play by Henrik Ibsen, was performed by the Vassar Experimental Theater.


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.

In a centennial observance, veteran actress Dorothy Stickney performed A Lovely Light, her portrait of Edna St. Vincent Millay ’17, as seen through her poems and letters.  Stickney presented the 1958 one-woman work on Broadway in 1960, directed then—as at Vassar—by her husband, the playwright, actor and director Howard Lindsay.

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

A major centennial event, an international conference on “Emerging values and new directions of present-day societies—their implications for education,” brought over 40 scholars, scientists, diplomats and writers, representing 20 countries in the non-Communist world, to the campus. After a welcome from President Blanding and a greeting from Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, British economist and political analyst Barbara Ward gave the keynote address to an audience of 500 in the Chapel.  Her topic was the comparative abilities of the West and those of the Communist countries to appeal to the world’s underdeveloped nations.  Although its basis is coercion, she said, the Communist model’s appeal as a ready-made system is likely to have an advantage in many African areas.  Miss Ward’s address was the basis for discussions in the following day’s seminars.
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.
One hundred and ten alumnae gathered at Vassar for an update on the college's recent events.
Twenty sculptures by Professor Concetta Scaravaglione, were displayed in the Vassar College art gallery.
The London Vassar Club gave a Celebration Dinner to mark the centenary of the college in the Harcourt Room of the House of Commons. The guest of honor and chief speaker, Professor Arthur Lehman Goodhart, K.C., American-born international jurist, co-founder and editor of The Cambridge Law Journal and master of University College, Oxford. Goodhart was the first American to become master of an Oxford college and the second American to be made a King’s Counsel.
Former president of Sarah Lawrence College, Harold Taylor, lectured on "Education and the Dangers of Conservatism."
American harpsichordist, teacher and proponent of early music Albert Fuller gave a recital at Skinner Hall.  Fuller was the first artist to record the complete keyboard works of Jean-Philippe Rameau.
The Student Swupper Club presented a water ballet and synchronized swimming exhibition entitled "One Hundred Proof."
E.E. Cummings gave a reading of his poetry as a part of the Student Lecture series in the Chapel. The Miscellany News reported, “his poetry is filled with an almost child-like affirmation of life.”
British theologian and philosopher Austin Farrer, warden of Keble College, Oxford, lectured on "Divine Omnipotence and Human Freewill."
Game-theory scholar Professor Frank M. Stewart from Brown University spoke on “Games” in Taylor Hall, as the second Centennial Mathematics Lecture in the series sponsored by the mathematics department for the centennial year.
The Vassar College Choir, the Harvard Glee Club and the Wind Ensemble of the Eastman School of Music, gave a recital in honor of Vassar's centennial year.
The Committee on Instruction announced the creation of the Department of Independent Study for the next academic year as a necessary step in achieving “education of the whole woman.” The department was to be staffed by 14 scholars specializing in a wide array of areas of expertise from around the country.
Philip Evergood, American painter, draftsman and engraver, came to Vassar as a visiting artist to talk with students in the painting classes.
The Vassar Art Gallery held an exhibition of Sarmatian fibulae representing the early, middle, and late Sarmatian periods shown in contrast with items of similar design from upper Anatolia and Scythia.  The Sarmatians were an Iranian people who flourished between the 5th century BC and the 4th century AD.
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.
Work by German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, recipient of the American Institute of Architects' 1960 Gold medal, was shown in a photography exhibit.
Veteran American journalist and special assistant to the publisher of Time magazine, John Scott lectured on "Russia Revisited."  As a young man, Scott spent a decade in the Soviet Union working in the steel plants of Magnitogorsk, an experience on which he drew for his book, Behind the Urals, an American Worker in Russia’s City of Steel (1940).
The William's College Glee Club and the Vassar Glee club gave a concert.
Founder's Day was an all-student celebration in honor of Matthew Vassar. Concerts were given by the Yale Band and the Yale Glee Club.
Gore Vidal, historian, playwright, novelist and political activist, lectured in the Aula on the topic of "Love in a World of Strangers."
Pianist Basil Brominov gave a concert and a lecture of Russian music in Skinner Hall.
On a visit to South Vietnam, Vice President Lyndon Johnson hailed President Diem as the “Winston Churchill of Asia.”
President Kennedy sent 400 American Green Beret “special advisors” to train South Vietnamese soldiers in counterinsurgency warfare.
Professor Neal McCoy from the Smith College department of mathematics gave an open lecture to the senior mathematics seminar on “Boolean Rings” in Rockefeller Hall.
‘The Weird and the Wise,” by Jane Alexander ’61, which The Miscellany News  thought a “polished potpourri of centennial spoofing skits mixed with music,” was presented in Avery Hall.
Sixty members of the Vassar College Glee Club traveled to Annapolis, Maryland to perform with the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club.
Italian-born American soprano Licia Albanese, a leading singer at the Metropolitan Opera, gave a concert under the auspices of Italian department. The concert, a gift from Miss Albanese, commemorated the centenary of Italian freedom and the unification of Italy as well as the centennial of Vassar College.
Vassar and the surrounding community celebrated Matthew Vassar Day, as proclaimed by Mayor Victor Waryas of Poughkeepsie and Town Supervisor, Thomas Mahar.  The festivities included a community parade in the morning (including costumed units and several Matthew Vassars) and open house for Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County friends in the afternoon sponsored by the Poughkeepsie Vassar Club.  The photography exhibit, “The Magnificent Enterprise, Education Opens the Door” was shown in the Aula; Noyes House, Ferry House, Chicago Hall and the Observatory were open to the public and campus tours were conducted by alumnae and student guides.  A movie, She Goes to Vassar, was shown in Chicago hall. The silent film, refitted with music by music professor Clair Leonard, was made in 1931 by filmmaker Mary Marvin Breckinridge ’27—as The Washington Post noted at its first showing—“to keep the alumnae in touch with the college, and to show parents…what their daughters will do at the school.”
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.'"

The Vassar Art Gallery presented an exhibition of “Drawings and Watercolors from Alumnae and their Families; a Centennial Loan Exhibition.”  The exhibition moved to the Wildenstein Galleries, New York City, where it was on display from June 14 until September 9.

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).

Speaking at Commencement, Vassar trustee George C. McGhee, former ambassador to Turkey and recently appointed policy planner for the State Department, told the Class of 1961 that Cold War “containment” policies treating neutral nations as hostile were now out of date.  The Soviet Union, he told his audience, could not tolerate neutrality but the United States could and must, if it hoped to set “positive goals” for the world.  “Containment,” he said, “tended to divide our world into friends and foes.  Those who were not standing side by side to hold back the tide were considered to be against us.  In recent years we have come to understand that we can live with all truly freedom-loving nations.”     The New York Times

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

Vassar and Wellesley College collaborated for the first time to send thirty juniors to Washington D.C. for summer internships in politics.
The Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, with the Hudson Valley Chorale under the direction of Claude Monteux, presented the first concert performance of Vittorio Rieti's  ballet Trionfo di Bacco e Arianna.
The Vassar College Centennial Loan Exhibition, 155 drawings and water-colors, plus one Goya oil—on a three and a half inch square of ivory—was displayed at Wildenstein & Co. in New York City.  Writing in The New York Times, critic John Canaday hailed the “summer-long delight of an exhibition,” lent by 56 alumnae and their families.  Artists represented included Rembrandt, Watteau, Gainsborough, Daumier, Cézanne, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso and Leger.  The earliest work was an English parchment drawing from around 1400.
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
Two hundred and fifty members of the New York State Citizens' Council attended the 17th Annual Institute of Community Leadership at Vassar. Topics discussed over the three days the topics discussed included "City and Suburbia in Transition", "The Future of Higher Education in New York State" and "Integration versus Ghetto."
Two hundred and fifty members of the New York State Citizens' Council attended the 17th Annual Institute of Community Leadership at Vassar.
Summer workshops in French and Russian began. The programs were sponsored by the college and the New York State education department.

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.

Inez G. Nelbach, acting dean of studies and associate in English at Barnard College, was appointed the first dean of studies.   The new post came about through a redistribution of decanal duties.  In place of a dean and an assistant dean, the college now had deans of the faculty, of studies and of freshmen.
Sarah Gibson Blanding reported that for the 1960-61 academic year the college received $2,510,000 in gifts.
The Soviets cut off all access to West Germany from East Germany, closing the gates between the two sectors in Berlin and erecting the Berlin Wall, which separated the two regions until November of 1989.

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.

Vassar received a grant for $ 1,000,000 from the Old Dominion Foundation, a foundation established in 1941 by Paul Mellon.  In 1949, the foundation gave the college $2,000,000, with which it established the Mary Conover Mellon Fund for the Advancement of Education, named in honor of Mr. Mellon’s wife, a member of the Class of 1926.
The Lenox Quartet, a string group, performed at Vassar.
Barbara Gerson ’63 started a new political club called “Organization for Political Awareness,” hoping to investigate the solution to contemporary problems offered by the Democratic left.
Students disappointed with the Vassar Literary Review formed a second student literary magazine, The New Century. Editor Ilsa Rosenberg ’63 hoped that it would “be representative of the Vassar students’ creative abilities.”
General Maxwell Taylor and Kennedy aide Walt Rostow visited Vietnam.  Rostow, warning that “If Vietnam goes, it will be exceedingly difficult to hold Southeast Asia,” Rostow recommended that more military advisor be sent to the country.
Shakespeare scholar Helen Sandison, professor emeritus of English, was the guest of her one-time student, Jacqueline Kennedy, at a dinner in the White House.  After dinner, four scenes from Shakespeare were performed for the guest of honor, Sudanese President Ibrahim Abboud, on a new, permanent stage in the East Ballroom.  The troupe, under the direction of Jack Landau and Lincoln Kirstein, performed scenes from Macbeth, As You Like It, Henry V and Troilus and Cressida.
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
English-born theologian Professor Ursula M. Niebuhr from Barnard College spoke on "The Point of the Story." The first woman to win a scholarship to Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Professor Niebuhr was the wife of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.
Ravi Shankar, an Indian sitarist and composer, performed a program of classical Hindusthani music.
Veteran journalist Harrison E. Salisbury, assistant managing editor of The New York Times, gave the Barbara Bailey Brown Lecture, entitled "America in Asia: World Crisis."  Salisbury, who won a Pulitzer Prize (1955) as the first Times correspondent in Moscow after World War II and two George Polk Awards for foreign reporting (1957, 1966), was an outspoken opponent of the war in Vietnam.
Eminent ethnomusicologist David McAllester of Wesleyan University lectured on "Music and Culture."
An Academic Convocation at Vassar drew representatives from over 300 educational Institutions world-wide to conclude the centenary observances of the college. The day began with a procession to the Outdoor Theater of college trustees, faculty members, public officials, representatives of the board of regents and the state department of education, and institutional representatives.  Institutions attending the convocation marched in reverse order to their founding, with Dr. Frank K. Mosher, president of Rockland Community College, founded in 1959, leading the procession and historian Max Belof, professor of government in public administration at the University of Buckingham, England, concluding the line of march, representing his alma mater, the University of Oxford, founded in 1214.
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
Contemporary French writer and illustrator Jean Bruller, co-founder of Les Éditions de Minuit who wrote during the French Resistance in World War II as “Vercors,” gave a lecture entitled  "De la Resistance a la Philosophie."
Marine biologist George L. Clarke, of Harvard University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, lectured on "Light and Its Effects in the Deep Sea." Clarke offered Harvard’s first course in ecology, in 1939.
Charles Jones of the Divinity School of the University of South Carolina, and Charles McDew a senior at the University of North Carolina, both leaders of SNCC, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, spoke about their work in McComb, Mississippi.  They discussed the terrors faced by black voters attempting to register in their area.
Anne Oliver, lecturer at the University of Manchester in England, spoke at Vassar on Scottish Poetry.
Contemporary trends in art, literature, music, cinema and dance were discussed with Vassar students by some of those involved in creating the trends at a Contemporary Arts Conference, held in observance of the centennial. Jonas Mekas, film critic for The Village Voice lectured on New Cinema and William Rubin, art collector and historian—later, curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art—lectured on "American Avant Garde Painting Today." Poets Kenneth Koch, James Merill and Barbara Gatson Higgins read and discussed their work, and novelists Saul Bellow, Paul Goodman, and Elizabeth Harwick Lowell discussed the contemporary novel. A lecture by American modern dance pioneer Helen Tamiris and her husband and dancing partner Daniel Nagrin on “Trends in Modern Dance” was followed by a discussion on modern dance, and rising young pianist Howard Lebow gave a piano recital of contemporary music on the conference’s closing night.  A round table discussion the following day closed.
Students from across the nation attended the Collegiate Council for the United Nations in New York City. Representatives from Vassar included Lois Hansen ‘64, Marjorie Mueller ‘64, Sally Murphy ‘63, Susan Porter ’63, Claire Sheahan ‘64, Anne Hendricks ‘63, Mary Humphreys ‘64 and Sue Wallin ’63, who reported that on most campuses students were actively interest in seeing efforts toward world harmony replace threats of nuclear agression.  In his keynote address to the council India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru declared, “we must bring our ‘old world’ thinking into line with our ‘new world’ scientific achievements in order to avoid nuclear destruction.”
Commissioned for the college’s centennial, Command Performance, an opera by Professor of Music Robert Middleton, premièred at Vassar.  Produced by the Boston Opera Group and with a libretto by Harold Smith, the work centered on relations between England and Turkey in the mid-16th century.  The cast included: Metropolitan Opera soprano Blanche Thebom, as Elizabeth I, and bass Ezio Flagello and tenor Thomas Heyward, also from the Metropolitan, baritone Robert Treny, from the Sante Fe Opera, New York Opera soprano Doris Yarick and baritone James Billings, from the Boston Opera.

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

The Vassar College Glee Club, directed by Albert van Ackere, and the Lehigh University Glee Club, directed by Robert Cutter, gave a joint performance in Skinner Hall.
David Jeffreys, the former director of studies and cultural activities at the International School in Rome, gave a "A Tour of Ancient Greece" in Taylor Hall, sponsored by the department of classics.
John E. Allen III, instructor in Russian, gave a lecture on Linguo-Mathematics in the New England Building, sponsored by the Student Science Club.
Julia McGrew of the English department gave a lecture entitles “A Dream and a Debate,” presented by the English and history departments.
The Budapest String Quartet performed a program of chamber music.
Former editor for the Michigan Daily at the University of Michigan Thomas Hayden, co-founder and southern field secretary for Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), spoke at Vassar about the civil rights movement.  In 1962, the SDS issued its manifesto, The Port Huron Statement, drafted by Tom Hayden.
In 1972, he travelled to Vietnam with Jane Fonda ex-’59, and they were married the following year.
Former editor for the Michigan Daily at the University of Michigan Thomas Hayden, co-founder and southern field secretary for Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), spoke at Vassar about the civil rights movement.  In 1962, the SDS issued its manifesto, The Port Huron Statement, drafted by Tom Hayden.
In 1972, he travelled to Vietnam with Jane Fonda ex-’59, and they were married the following year.
The United States aircraft carrier Cole arrived in the capital of Vietnam, Saigon, with 33 helicopters and 400 crewmen to fly and service them.
Myrtle Tinklepaugh, chairman of the Columbia County Republicans, gave an informal talk on “Women in Politics” in the Old Council Room of Students’ Building, as the first in a series of talks sponsored by the Vassar Young Republicans.
Adolf Katzenellenbogen, chairman of the fine arts department at Johns Hopkins University, lectured on ‘The Reality of Ideas in Mediaeval Art: The Image of Christ,” in Taylor Hall. One of the world’s most prominent scholars on medieval iconography, Professor Katzenellenbogen, an émigre´ from Nazi Germany, taught at Vassar from 1940 until 1956.
The Vassar College Choir, directed by Margaret E. Cawley, gave a joint concert with the Colgate University Glee Club, under the direction of William Skelton.