Elections analyst and founder, in 1955, of the Elections Research Center Richard M. Scammon lectured on "Presidential Politics—1972." The author of America At the Polls: A Handbook of American Presidential Election Statistics, 1920-1964 (1965) and, with Ben Wattenberg, The Real Majority (1970) told his audience that there weren't for 1972 the sort of "cutting issues" that had characterized the presidential elections of 1964 and 1968 and that, in President Nixon's re-election bid, "the murky economy will cause murky election results." Social concerns—crime ecology, busing, student unrest—he said, "as always will be issues.... But in the absence of observable fact, i.e. demonstrations and street riots, those issues will fall by the wayside. Ecology—well good God, who wants dirty water? The only major social issue is busing, and it is a definite, abrasive conflict." The Miscellany News
In the election, President Nixon defeated his Democratic opponent, South Dakota Senator George McGovern with 60.67 percent of the popular vote and 96.7 percent of the electoral vote.
The faculty approved the creation of a Student Advisory Committee (SAC) to aid in the evaluation of faculty members. The committee was to be composed of four elected juniors and seniors—representing the social sciences, the natural sciences, the arts and languages and the independent and multidisciplinary programs—and one student elected at large. SAC was to compile and submit to the dean of the faculty a confidential report on all faculty members being evaluated for promotion, reappointment or tenure. The reports were to be considered by the dean and the newly-created Faculty Appointment and Salary Committee (FASC) in their recommendations to the president in such cases.
The SAC concept originated, as did the formation of FASC, with the report of the Committee of Seven authorized by the faculty,during a 14-day student protest in the dean of faculty's office in May 1971, to "make recommendations...concerning changes in the process by which faculty are evaluated." The chair of the Committee of Seven was Professor of Psychology Henrietta Smith. The Miscellany News
Civil rights advocate and lawyer W. Haywood Burns from Yale University—one of the founders, in 1968, of the National Conference of Black Lawyers—lectured on "The Black Man and the Law" at the Urban Center for Black Studies of Vassar College.
Microbiologist, experimental pathologist and pioneer environmentalist René Dubos lectured on "From Industrial Society to Humane Environment." Recognizing much contemporary environmental commentary about a "gloomy sunset for the human race," the man often credited with coining the admonition to "think globally and act locally" found reasons, according to The Miscellany News, for a more hopeful future in both the astounding new evidences of "the resiliency of nature" and a growing awareness that "the problems of matching man's civilization to the earth's ecology are conquerable in the 'myth of growth' is exploded."
Dr. Dubos’s So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Surroundings and Events (1968) won the Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction in 1969. He also spoke at Vassar in March 1951, April 1953, October and December 1956, February 1959 and April 1968.
Dr. Bernard R. Gelbaum, professor of mathematics and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Buffalo, lectured on "Logic, Linguistics, Decidability and Computers." A specialist in the field of functional analysis, Dr. Gelbaum was spoke under the auspices of the Mathematical Association of America, with the financial support of the National Science Foundation.
Country singer Rita Coolidge—the “Delta Lady” in Joe Cocker’s 1969 song—performed in the Vassar Chapel. Writing in The Miscellany News, Wendy F. Lawrance '74 and Mark McKenna '75 said Coolidge's "black leather pants, black body sweater and...silver and turquois jewelry" made her "the picture of southern Rock & Roll sensuality." "The majority of the audience," they said, "came to see Rita...expecting the mellowness of Carol King or the raucousness of the late Joplin, but they were treated instead to an evening with Rita Coolidge, a solid southern rhythm and blues performer.
The singer and her husband, Kris Kristofferson, won a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group in 1974 for “From the Bottle to the Bottom.”
Linguist Dr. Beverly Hong Fincher from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies gave a lecture on contemporary Chinese language entitled "A Trip to China." With support from the Social Science Research Council and Johns Hopkins, Dr. Fincher visited her native country for a month in the fall of 1971 for the purpose of studying how and in what ways the social leveling and social elevation goals of the People’s Republic had affected Chinese speech.
"Ms. Fincher," The Miscellany News reported, "said tha tht behavior exemplified by Chinese children in their interactions with one another was evidence enough that individualism does exist in China. The folk songs she heard sung by Chinese children and teh books she saw in many homes led Ms. Fincher to believe that China is not as 'regimented and austere as we think.'"
Urban historian Sam Bass Warner, Jr. from the University of Michigan gave the second C. Mildred Thompson Lecture of the academic year, on "The Loss of Purpose in Urban Landscape Architecture: Andrew Jackson Downing to Lawrence Halprin." Warner’s historical study of the growth of Philadephia, The Private City (1968) won the Albert J. Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association, and his comprehensive study of cities, The Urban Wilderness: A History of the American City, was published in 1972.
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.
The music department presented a concert in Skinner Hall of 14th century vocal and instrumental music, featuring a preeminent authority on the bass viola da gamba, Grace Feldman from the New England Conservatory. Ms. Feldman, who performed on the vielle, viola da gamba and recorded, was joined by: Adriene Harzell, director of viol studies at Wellesley College, who played the vielle and viola da gamba; Paul Jordan, director of the music program at United Church on the Green in New Haven, CT, who played the recorder and krummhorn; and Quentin Quereau, tenor, a PhD candidate in musicology at Yale University.
In the afternoon Ms. Feldman, a member of the New York Trio de Camera and the New York Pro Musica Viol Consort, gave a lecture-demonstration in Thekla Hall on "Medieval Instruments."
Two exhibitions, Selections from the Asian Collections of Vassar College and “The White, Marmorean Flock”: Nineteenth-Century Women Neoclassical Sculptors, ran simultaneously at the Art Gallery. Curated by Annete Juliano, instructor in Oriental art, the Asian exhibit featured Chinese bronze age pottery, Japanese raku tea bowls and jars, Korean celadons and an Indian sculpture from the Pala period, all displayed, according to The Miscellany News, "for the first time in a way befitting their quality and importance."
The second exhibition, curated by Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., director of the Vassar College Art Gallery, and Professor William H. Gerdts, from Brooklyn College, took its title from Henry James's evocation, in William Wetmore Story and His Friends (1903) of "that strange sisterhood of American 'lady sculptors' who at one time settled upon the seven hills [of Rome] in a white, marmorean flock." The American sculptors represented were Margaret Foley (1820-1908), Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908), Vinnie Ream Hoxie (1847-1914), Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907), Emma Stebbins (1815-1882) and Anne Whitney (1821-1915), all of whom lived and worked Rome in the 1850s and 1860s and all of whom but Lewis were white.
Under the auspices of the multidisciplinary program on Man and the Human Community, Austrian-born American sociologist Dr. Peter Berger from Rutgers University spoke on "Modernists as Fall Guys: Basic Script for a Sociological Harlequinade." Dr. Berger, wrote Nancy Borland '74 in The Miscellany News, "feels that technical rationality, or modernity, has produced an 'abstract society' in which human interactions are frustratingly shallow and lonely. As the abstract factors further expand, they tend to 'infringe upon privacy in terms of offering weak social supports to the individual.'"
Arguing that attempting to reverse "technical rationality" was futile and materially destructive, Berger proposed instead, according to Borland, that the role of "demodernizers" was "to help us recognize that some parts of your life should be led by technical rationality while others shouldn't." Berger cited the "counter culture" identified in The Greening of America (1970) by the lawyer and social scholar Charles Reich as "Consciousness III" as "an example of why technical reality has to continue: 'Nine out of ten members of the counter culture who are able to aspire to Consciousness III can do so only becaue their daily needs are taken care of. The counter culture can flourish here—it is a luxury.... Technology allows people to drop out—usually from the upper classes—and make sandals to their heart's content because they don't have to worry about starving. So long as a counter culture is allowed to exist and can exist, I will be convinced that modernization has not totally invaded all our lives.'"
Berger’s studies of the relation of the individual to social constructs appeared in The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (1966), written with Thomas Luckman, and they were extended in The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (1967) and A Rumor of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural (1969).
British architect, critic and historian Kenneth Frampton, professor at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and fellow at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York City, lectured on "The Impact of Glass on Modern Architecture, 1800 to 1971."
A day-long festival celebrated all things medieval, from miracles and visions to pasties and alchemists. The 12th-century French mystery play, Le Jeu d'Adam, was presented in the Chapel at 10:30 AM, and from noon until 5 PM minstrels and alchemists wandered the center of the campus amid pasties and other medieval tasties. Also in the afternoon, John Plummer, senior reseach fellow at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, delivered a Matthew Vassar lecture, "Vision and Visions in Some Early Gothic Manuscripts," in Taylor Hall. Plummer was responsible for reuniting, in 1964, the long-separated halves of the 15th-century Hours of Catherine de Cleves. At 4 PM in the Aula, medieval scholar Madeleine Cosman, founder of the Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the City University of New York (CUNY), lectured and gave a concert on the lute, and at 6 PM, costumes were required for the banquet in the Main Dining Room that featured a medieval menu, complete with wine and mead.
Esther Friesner '72 included the merriment in "Le Chateau de Main," in her account of the day's events in The Miscellany News: "The solemnities commenced after the saying of Grace (in Latin, of course) by the venerable Lord of the Manor, Sir Simpson. Between the courses a selection of refined and delicate entertainment was offered, including medieval songs, madrigals, further dancing and scenes from the classic manuscript of Sir Gawain the the Green Knight.... The spirits of the dance troupe (your humble servant this time taking part) were understandably high as they danced their final number, the 'Farandole,' which is a simple skipping dance whose only complexity lieth in the patterns made by the interweaving dancers. Of a sudden, the dancers chose to draw into their merry-making certain noble guests at the board, and ere long more joined the festivities of their own accord. In very truth, there were few who did not participate in the rollicking dance...."
The day ended at 9:30 PM in the Chapel with a performance of the 14th-century Messe de Nostre Dame of Guillaume de Machaut, "and from thence did the feasters and gentlefolk return each to his honeyste abode to partake of much-deserved rest."
Sponsored by the Vassar Urban Center for Black Studies, Linda Kinsey ‘72 expanded her senior biology project into the first sickle-cell anemia program for black Poughkeepsie residents, recruiting area hematologists, the New York State Health Department, Poughkeepsie media, ministers, housing project managers and Vassar faculty and friends in an effort to inform, identify and test Poughkeepsie residents who were vulnerable to the disease, the first genetic disorder whose molecular basis was known.
Kinsey's testing program was supported on campus by, among other events, a "Sickle Cell Benefit Weekend," sponsored by the Student Activities Committee (SAC), May 5-7, featuring the new rythym and blues group Earth, Wind and Fire in the Chapel on May 5 and a dance on May 6 in Kenyon Hall, with music by Blacklite, a black jazz and rock group from Princeton University.
Earth, Wind and Fire, the rhythm and blues group founded in 1971 that incorporated African, Latin, jazz and soul elements in their repertoire, performed in the Chapel. The group's first album, Earth, Wind, Fire (1971) was an instant success as was the second album, In Need of Love, released later the same year. "Earth, Wind and Fire is reported," said The Miscellany News, "to have 'an original musical style that encompasses all the elements of the universe, and then some: African drumbeats are fused with funky Southside Chicago blues, then jumbled together with highspirited Southern gospel, raucous rock and relevant message lyrics.'"
The group's appearance was part of "Sickle Cell Benefit Weekend," sponsored by the Student Activities Committee (SAC) in support of the Vassar Sickle Cell Anemia Testing and Education Program, an extension into the black communities of Poughkeepsie of the senior research in biology done by Linda Kinsey '72.
In an article in The New York Times, “Colleges Aid Rejected Students in Filing at 115 Other Schools,” Gene Maeroff reported on the formation of the Association of Black Admissions and Financial Aid Officers of the Ivy League and Seven Sisters, which hoped to aid black and Hispanic applicants rejected at their institutions in finding out about appropriate alternative colleges and universities and applying to them. The project included representation from the seven Ivies, the Seven Sisters and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The cochairman of the organization, Franklin Moore from Princeton told Maeroff, “as many as one-third of the minority students we are trying to help have not filed applications anywhere else or perhaps have made a community college their only choice. There are many four-year colleges the should be considering.”
Forty-one men, all transfer students to Vassar, were among the 427 graduates in the Class of 1972 at the 107th Commencement. Eleven masters degrees were awarded, and 249 members of ’72 received honors at graduation. In her commencement address, Dr. Hanna Holburn Gray, associate professor of history at the University of Chicago, told the graduates and the audience of more than 3,000 that women’s colleges “have represented a women’s movement tied to the highest regard of women’s capabilities. They have produced,” she said, “excellent people. They were able to change. The tradition they represented has meaning for all, not only for women.”
Joanne Gates ’72, president of the class, read an open letter to President Nixon disavowing “allegiance to a nation that has raped a whole people, to a society that discriminates against age, race and sex.”
The $1,000,000 lawsuit brought against the college in 1971 by Nancy Graber, who alleged that her freshman roommate’s “marijuana parties” had caused her to fail her freshman year, was settled out of court for $2,100. The settlement was, according to a college spokesman, a tuition refund and "by no means an admission of guilt." The New York Times
Ms. Graber continued her studies at Adelphi and at Wellesley.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead spoke in the Chapel to an audience of more than 1,500 as part of a lecture series, "The Role of the Sexes in a Changing Society," sponsored by the Trustee Committee on Women. "While the lecture was officially entitled 'A Cross Cultural View of Human Sexuality,'" observed Margaret Sanborn '73 in The Miscellany News, "Dr. Mead centered many of her remarks on Vassar College. She spoke of the experiment in coequal coeducation that Vassar has embarked upon, stressing that we now have the opportunity to experiment with means of improving coequal living in today's world. Dr. Mead charged her listeners to 'do something worthy of the tradition of this college, which has a great tradition.' She warned, however, that we have a very few years in which to do something 'terribly important' in developing an alternate life style, perhaps only four of five years."
A student of Columbia University antropologist Ruth Benedict '09 and a close colleague of early Vassar Professor of Sociology Joseph Folsom, Dr. Mead was, from the late 1930s on, a frequent visitor to Vassar, having been a visiting lecturer in anthropology, child study and economics at the college between 1940 and 1942.
Antiwar activist and Christian socialist David Dellinger, a leader of the group that brought three American airmen imprisoned in North Vietnam back to the United States on September 28, delivered a sermon in the Chapel. "Don't worry," he said, "about the Vietnamese; they are doing better than you and I—they know why they're living and why they're dying.... They will save themselves. The struggle now is to save America."
A defendant in the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial arising from riots during the 1968 Democratic Party convention and co-chair of the antiwar Committee of Liaison responsible for the pilots' release, Dellinger told his audience that it exemplified what North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh told him in 1966. Ho made, he said, a "distincition between pilots in the air and the ex-pilots on the ground; the pilot who has been shot down, as a prisioner, is deserving of the 'highest compassion.... Nobody must minimize the [war] crimes they have committed: [but] we understand that [Americans] were brought up in that way." Ho, Dellinger said, told him that the North Vienamese felt compassion for American prisoners of war and "hope that they will go back as better citizens than when they came."
"Dellinger concluded," wrote Rochelle Flumenbaum '75 in The Miscellany News, "that it is the American people and not the Vienamese who should be pitied and must be saved.... Americans lack 'the love of community,' 'the relatedness,' 'the vitality,' 'the will to live—the will to survive' of the Vietnamese."
The Bill Evans Trio—Evans on piano, Marty Morell on drums and Eddie Gomez on bass—performed a program of Evans's compositions and jazz standards before a packed house in Skinner Hall. Briefly, the only white member of Miles Davis's famous sextette before moving on to his own, usually smaller, groups, Evens returned to the Davis sextette for the legendary Kind of Blue (1959). Among the several albums released featuring the trio that performed at Vassar was The Bill Evans Album (1971), the winner of two Grammies.
"Bill Evans knows what he's doing," wrote Roger Trilling '76 in The Miscellany News, "if he puts a trio together in a certain way, I'd rather understand it than criticize it. So.... In a sense, it was ensemble jazz at its best. There was no lead instrumental voice throughout the evening, but rather a sharing of melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and solo parts, with each of the instruments now fading up, now out, now two together."
Belgian ecumenist, educator and diplomat Professor Andrew Felix Morlion O.P., president of the International University of Social Studies in Rome, lectured on "Human Relations for Peace." The founder in 1932 of the International Movement for Promotion of Democracy under God (Pro Deo), Morlion served as intermediary between Pope John XXIII and President John Kennedy in their dealings with Nikita Kruschev in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Speaking of this to his Vassar audience, he pointed to "how peace was made in the past," Ricki Ryland '75 wrote in The Miscellany News, "and how it will be made in the future. The peace of the past has been 'peace by politics of power—the peace of obedience, the peace of fear.... The peace of power was finished in 1943, for peace cannot be made by an uneasy balance of terror.'"
"Fr. Morlion," Ryland concluded, "is a charming man. Perhaps there is no other way that he could have delivered as vulnerably optimistic a message and still held such a captivated audience.... The Aula emptied slowly after the lecture.... Morlion had offered his listeners the age-old dream: 'Bombs and power politics can be gone by 2070—start now so the children of your children may see it.' Outside waited nothing but the cold night." The Miscellany News
Pierre Salinger, author and former press secretary to John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, spoke at Vassar on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Senator George McGovern. Predicting a McGovern victory stemming from "effort and hard work" that had enrolled a record eight million new voters, Salinger attacked President Richard M. Nixon for failures to bring the war in Vietnam to an end, to curb inflation and to stem the growth of unemployment. And, he said, "Nixon must take full responsibility" for the Watergate scandal, which he called "a conspiracy by one political party to destroy another."
In the election on November 7, 1972, President Nixon carried 49 of the 50 states, with a total of votes in the Electoral College of 520 to Senator McGovern's 17 and 60.7% of the popular vote. Plagued by scandal, President Nixon resigned the presidency on August 8, 1974.
Sponsored by the McGovern for President Committee, movie actress Piper Laurie performed in Skinner Hall in Once to Every Man and Nation, a play by Howard Koch, the author of the scripts for the movies Casablanca (1942) and The Hustler (1961) and of Orson Welles’s 1938 "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast. Taking its title from the patriotic hymn written by James Russell Lowell in 1845 to protest American annexation of Texas and the looming war with Mexico, Koch’s play used news clips and current songs, in the “living newspaper” style pioneered by Hallie Flanagan, to portray the horror of the war in Vietnam.
Ms. Laurie performed the play at the State University of New York at Albany, again sponsored by the McGovern committee, on November 3.
Christian pacifists Tom Driver and Anne Barstow Driver from Union Theological Seminary lectured on "Sexism: Its Religious Origins and What to Do About It." Driver was a visiting professor at Vassar in 1978, and his wife spoke at the college on “Witchcraft, Then and Now: A Quest for Women’s Spirituality” in 1979.
Under the auspices of the Political Science Department, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. delivered an informal lecture on "The Current Campaign and the Future of the Democratic Party." A former United States Congressman from New York's 20th district and an Undersecretary of Commerce in the Kennedy administration, Roosevelt was highly critical of the performance to date of President Nixon, and he urged all members of the college community to make sure all registered Democrats got to the polls on November 7. "Mr. Roosevelt," Susan Hassler '76 observed in The Miscellany News, "exhibiting much of the Roosevelt rapport made famous by his father, gave a good talk to a small, interested audience, on a subject which at this point in time evokes only a sigh or a shudder from many."
Educator and activist Jonathan Kozol lectured on "Political Indoctrination in the Public Schools," as part of the Classroom '72 program. Kozol’s Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools (1967), based on his experience as a public school teacher, won the National Book Award for Science, Philosophy and Religion in 1968. His Free Schools, both a support and a critique of alternative schools where students participated equally in governance, appeared in 1972.
Kozol spoke at Vassar on "Ghetto Schools and Thanksgiving, 1973" in November 1973, and he lectured at the college on "Savage Inequalities: Urban Schools in America" in November 1991.
Pauline Kael, film critic for The New Yorker, gave the Helen Kenyon Lecture entitled "The Alchemy of Movies." "Her lecture began," said David Low '75, writing in The Miscellany News, "with the problems of being a critic. She emphasized how movie criticism can become corrupted.... But by being merely 'nice people,' by not offending anyone, critics become mediocre and do nothing to help the improvement of movies. She said that sometimes movies have such a major selling job, like Love Story  that there's no fighting against it. Such films are, she says, 'like a national catastrophe—you have to look at it.'"
Pauline Kael’s collection of New Yorker movie reviews, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was published in 1969.
The Helen Kenyon Lectureship Fund was established June 7, 1939 by the Associate Alumnae, the Class of 1905 and other friends of Helen Kenyon, '05, as a contribution to the 75th anniversary fund. Miss Kenyon was an alumnae trustee from 1923 until 1928 and Chairman of the Board from 1929 until 1939.
Democratic socialist and activist Michael Harrington, author of The Other America: Poverty in the United States (1962) and professor of political science at Queens College, delivered the Barbara Bailey Brown Lecture, "The Future of the Left in America and the World." Harrington attributed President Nixon's crushing defeat of Democratic presidential candidate Senator George McGovern to the electorate's endorsement of the "myth" that the liberal Kennedy and Johnson administrations had squandered a great amount of public money on social programs in the 1960s that had not only failed but also had led to rising welfare rolls, increased crime and—most radically damaging—a crisis of religion. Attempting to refute these charges, Harrington noted that "it is an enormous change in society when people stop believing in Heaven and Hell, in their own mortality.... The Church and the flag are not what they used to be. And it was the tragedy of this election that McGovern appeared as one of the agents of the erosion of these old values."
To recover, he said "The Left would begin with humility by defining its limits." Admitting that it couldn't end the religious crisis in America, he said the democratic Left "could provide the economic and social security to allow people to find their own way out of the spiritual crisis." The Miscellany News
Professor Harrington published Socialism in 1972 and Fragments of a Century: A Social Autobiography in 1973.
The Barbara Bailey Brown Fund, was established in 1966 by the Class of 1932 in memory of their classmate Barbara Bailey '32 in support of programs and lectures fostering international understanding.
Helen Boatwright, soprano, performed a concert of Renaissance and Baroque music. She was assisted by her husband, Howard Boatwright, violin and trebel viol and Virginia Pleasants, harpsichord, in a program that included works by Telelmann, Bach and Purcell, a selection of English lute songs and a cantata by Louis-Nicolas Clérambault.
Noted for the range of her musical tastes, she recorded the first album of vocal music by American composer Charles Ives, “24 Songs,” in 1954. Boatwright sang with conductors such as Leopold Stokowski, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta and Leonard Bernstein, and with her husband, dean of the Syracuse University School of Music, she founded L’École Hindemith, a summer program in Vevey, Switzerland.
Ms. Boatwright performed with other soloists and the Vassar College Choir in 1964.
Under sponsorship of the Urban Center for Black Studies and the Dutchess County Black Assembly, Imamu Amiri Baraka, formerly known as LeRoi Jones, poet, playwright, and chairman of the National Black Assembly, delivered the third lecture in the Angela Davis Lecture Series, in the Chapel. Calling for "unity without uniformity" among African Americans, he asserted that some blacks "couldn't relate to the idea of coming together," while "in the meantime, everybody's enemy, the white boy, was getting ahead." In conclusion, he appealed to "so-called hip black revolutionaries" to reduce their rhetoric and to work hard instead within the black communities in America, who were, after all, "the wealthiest African group in the world." The Miscellany News
Baraka visited Vassar again in 1983.
Under the auspices of the multidisciplinary program in Science, Technology and Society, Vassar hosted a symposium on "Mysticism vs. Science: A Modern Encounter." Introduced to the college community by Professor of Philosophy Frank Tillman and Professor of Physics Morton Tavel in "Mysticism and Science: a Modern Encounter" and "Mysticism and Science: a Modern Confrontation," two essays in The Miscellany News, the symposium featured physicist David Finkelstein from Yeshiva University; philosopher Jacob Needleman from San Francisco State College and philosopher of religion Huston Smith from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"In the past," Tillman and Tavel said, "western science has clarified or explained many processes and events that were considered mystical. It has often done so at the expense of not only overturning its own firmly held concepts and theories, but of revising the logical structure of its foundations.... We hope we can deal in depth with some of the following questions. The reports of Eastern and Western Mystics appear to be at great variance with ordinary experience and science. They seem to contradict reports of common experience, violate the principles of logic and presuppose a framework of thought radically unlike our ordinary one.... How are these reports to be interpreted? Can they be explained, and not merely explained away? Is there any way of getting rid of the apparent contradiction between the claims of the mystic and those of scientific rationality? Do science and mysticism attempt to explain the same world?... Have any phenomena been absorbed into science which were previously considered mystical?... Is there only one logic?... Are the limiting principles of science the only guide to existing things?"
Reporting on the well-attended sessions, Melissa Nussbaum '75 observed, "Both Smith and Needleman basically agreed that science was aimed at understanding nature, lifting out laws of nature to be used for prediction and control and that this knowledge was public and precise. Finkelstein, however, was hesitant to make any commitment because 'defining things creates the illusion that words have meaning.' 'The only sense we can make of science is that it is a particularly human activity,' he concluded. All three were in agreement with the definition of mysticism as 'a mode of awareness' and a 'struggle to become one's self.'" The Miscellany News
Dr. Philip Schmidt-Schlegel, German Consul-General in New York, lectured in Rockefeller Hall on "East-West Relations in the 1970s." "European unity," wrote Daniel O'Keefe '75 in The Miscellany News, "an idea which has shaped the actions of men since the time of Julius Caesar two millennia ago will most likely be achieved within our lifetime.... The West German diplomat assured the group that there remains 'quite a struggle to bring this about,' but that Europeans had 'reached a point of no return' regarding eventual unification of the non-communist European nations.
British-born art historian Ann Sutherland Harris, assistant professor at Hunter College and president of the Women’s Caucus for Art, lectured on "The Image of Women in Art."
In 1972, Harris and Vassar art historian Linda Nochlin ’51 were commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to mount a show of significant women artists. The result—an exhibition, “Women Artists, 1550-1950” (1975) and a book, Women Artists, 1550-1950 (1976)—was called by the online Dictionary of Art Historians “the cornerstone for feminist research in art history.”
Poet and activist Nikki Giovanni, author of Black Feeling, Black Talk (1967) and My House (1972), read from her work. Her visit was part of a a trustee-sponsored seminar series on "The Role of the Sexes in a Changing Society." The reading included both "her personal favorite... works [celebrating] life, happiness, and love" and "light-hearted-serious raps that generally focused on black people, students, and social activism." She urged the students to focus on their "inner light" and to embrace their promise, but also to think critically about their participation in the larger community.
Giovanni visited the campus again in 1981.
The Miscellany News
The college lecture series "The Role of the Sexes in a Changing Society" resumed with four events. Dancer Barbara Ann Teer, founder of the National Black Theater, lectured in the Aula on "Political Consciousness-Raising Through Arts," and poet and activist Nikki Giovanni author of Black Feeling, Black Talk (1967) and My House (1972), read and commented on her poems in the Chapel. The following evening in Skinner Hall British-born art historian Ann Sutherland Harris, assistant professor of art history at Hunter College, lectured on "The Image of Women in Art," and feminist scholar and editor Catherine R. Stimpson from Barnard College lectured on "Women in Modern Literature."
In 1972, Harris, the president of the Women’s Caucus for Art, and Vassar art historian Linda Nochlin ’51 were commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to mount a show of significant women artists. The result—an exhibition, “Women Artists, 1550-1950” (1975) and a book, Women Artists, 1550-1950 (1976)—was called by the online Dictionary of Art Historians “the cornerstone for feminist research in art history.”
Nikki Giovanni visited the campus again in 1981, and Catherine Stimpson, whose Where the Meanings Are: Feminism in Cultural Spaces appeared in 1988, spoke at the college on "Woolf's Room, Our Project: Feminist Criticism Today" in 1986.
When the final phase of peace negotiations in Paris broke down, President Nixon ordered the start of Operation Linebacker II, the maximum force bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, the two major North Vietnamese population centers.
After 11 days, during which 100,000 bombs were dropped, five American bombers were brought down by surface-to-air (SAM) missiles and an estimated 1,320 civilians died, both sides agreed to a cease-fire. All American prisoners of war were to be released within two months, and some 150,000 North Vietnamese troops remaining in the South were allowed to stay.