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.