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.

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.