May 31, 1970
At Commencement, homemade paper peace symbols adorned the caps of most of the graduates of the Class of 1970, including Vassar’s first ten male graduates, all transfer students. Twenty members of the class declined to participate in Commencement in protest to the war, but the class voted 159 to 99 against making a peace statement at Commencement. The principal speaker, feminist activist and journalist Gloria Steinem focused her address, “Living the Revolution,” on imagining the future, when liberated women no longer accepted the myths of women’s secondary roles in society.
In the first modern instance of a student speaking from the commencement podium, the class president, Mary van Dusen Savage ’70, spoke out against the war to students, faculty, trustees and guests, then asked for a moment of silence in memory of students, soldiers and civilians “killed on both sides.” The New York Times