Matthew’s Mug raised the cost of beer and liquor from 10 to 40 cents because of a first-semester deficit.

The Miscellany News reported that library thefts had significantly dropped since the installation of an electronic security system in July of 1974.

Department chairmen protested the January 14th vote by the board of trustees freezing salaries and wages for all college employees for the 1976-77 academic year. Twenty-eight out of 29 department chairmen signed a letter to President Simpson, the administration and the trustees which asserted that the vote breached The Governance. The Faculty Compensation Committee (FCC) also reacted to the vote, drafting a letter to the faculty in which they declared the board made “its decision unilaterally without regard to the FCC’s position.”   

At a faculty meeting on January 28, President Simpson defended the action, saying, “The Dean [Dean of Faculty Barbara Wells] and I reject the suggestion that The Governance was violated in either the letter or the spirit by the procedure through which the compensation decision was reached.”  The faculty endorsed the department heads’ January 20th statement, and biology professor Patricia Johnson observed that she “had never seen the faculty so united on an issue.”

The issue was resolved on April 16, when the trustee Committee on Budget recommended a five percent increase in faculty wages for the coming academic year.     The Miscellany News    



Pop-rock band Orleans, known for “Dance for Me” and “Still the One,” performed a concert in the Chapel.

The Vassar Library presented an exhibit of samplers from the Martha Reed Collection, collected in Europe around the years 1910-11. The collection was given to the college in 1920 by Emmeline Reed Bedell in honor of her niece Martha Clawson Reed ’10.

The Vassar house fellows released a report protesting the administration's proposal to eliminate eight house fellow apartments in order to create 32 new student rooms.  Dean of the Faculty Barbara Wells observed that reducing the number of house fellows would save the college $27,000. Furthermore, she said, the additional students would bring in $110,000.

Main house fellow and mathematics professor Donald Spicer responded that the benefits of the house fellow program were “subjective and difficult to measure in dollars and cents. I feel very keenly, however, that the house fellow program is not a frill, but that it typifies the unique aspects of the Vassar educational experience.”

No further action was taken on the proposal.     The Miscellany News

The Vassar economics department released its annual salary and compensation analysis, showing that faculty average real salaries had decreased in the previous three years. Thus, economics professor Stephen Rousseas concluded, “A wage freeze next year would, in effect, cut real salaries for the fourth year in a row.”

Roger Wilkins and Charlayne Hunter of The New York Times and William J. Raspberry of The Washington Post participated in a panel on “The Press and the Black Community” in Chicago Auditorium.  The nephew of civil rights leader Roy Wilkins, Roger Wilkins was Assistant United States Attorney General in the Lyndon Johnson administration and briefly an officer of the Ford Foundation before joining The Times.  After two years of litigation Hunter was one of two students who desegregated the University of Georgia in January 1961.  Raspberry was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1982 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1994.

Wilkins, Hunter, and Raspberry were the first African-American journalists brought to campus by the Poynter Committee, which supervised the five-year $50,000 gift to the college by Nelson and Marion Knauss Poynter ‘46, publishers of The St. Petersburg Times.  The grant was intended to increase students’ appreciation for and exposure to the media.  The panel discussion was also sponsored by the Africana Studies Program.

Coordinator for Women's Courses Teresa Vilardi and the biology department sponsored a lecture in the College Center on "New Research on Feminine Bio-psychology and Sexuality. "Speakers included Dr. Elizabeth McCauley from the departments of psychiatry and pediatrics at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Dr. Marcy Greenwood ’68, assistant professor at the Institute of Human Nutrition of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

Dr. Greenwood was a visiting assistant professor of biology at Vassar in 1976, and she served on the faculty until 1989, becoming a full professor in 1981.

Mary Johnson Lowe, acting Supreme Court justice for the New York County Supreme Court, spoke at the Black Benefit Weekend held in Chicago Hall. In 1978, Lowe was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the second African-American woman to be appointed to the Federal judiciary.

In honor of retiring Professor of Classics Marion Tait, New York City Comptroller Harrison J. Goldin lectured in Taylor Hall on "The Fiscal Reform of New York City" for the annual Helen Kenyon Lecture.

Feminist journalist Deirdre English lectured on “Ideology and Child-Rearing Practices” in the College Center.  Her books Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness and Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers appeared in 1973, and For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts’ Advice to Women was published by Anchor Press in 1978.

In 1981, English was the first editor-in-chief of the liberal investigative journal Mother Jones, a position she held until 1986.

The Library reported that many woodcut prints by American landscape painter and printmaker Winslow Homer had been torn out of old issues of Harper’s Weekly.  The libraries at Bowdoin, Colby, Harvard, Cornell, and Mount Holyoke described similar thefts.

A disagreement over autonomy in appointments led seven of the 12 members of the  Poynter Committee—including all five faculty representatives— to resign. Eventually Dean of the Faculty Barbara Wells disbanded the Committee and appointed English department chairman Elizabeth Daniels ’41 to oversee the grant from Nelson and Marion Knauss Poynter ‘46, publishers of The St. Petersburg Times, intended to inform students about the media.

WVKR, Vassar’s student-run radio station, became an FM station and was assigned FM band 91.3 by the Federal Communications Commission. The station began its FM broadcasts in the fall of 1976.

The Vassar men’s basketball team, dubbed “one big, tough, pink ball club” by The Miscellany News, won the North Eastern Atlantic Conference, ending the season with 12 wins and 5 losses, the best record in its history.

Rosalyn Carter, wife of presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, spoke at Pratt House in support of her husband’s candidacy.

Taiwanese philosopher Dr. Chung-Ying Cheng of the University of Hawai’i lectured on Ch’an Buddism in the “Language of Ch’an.”

The eminent English economist Joan Robinson spoke on "Ideology and Analysis: Kalecki and Keynes" in the College Center for the annual Martin H. Crego Lecture. Professor Emeritus of Economics at Cambridge University, Robinson worked with John Maynard Keynes on his development of his general theory of employment, interest and money. During a question-and-answer session, Robinson asserted, “the future of capitalism is not rosy.”

The Crego lecture, part of the Crego Endowment established in 1956 by Jean Crego ’32 in honor of her father was an annual lecture in the general field of economics, under the auspices of the economics department.

The board of trustees and the Associate Alumnae/i of Vassar College (AAVC) board of directors adopted the recommendations of a report on fundraising prepared in September of 1974 by the consulting firm of Robert E. Nelson Associates.  Urging greater coordination between the AAVC and the Vassar board, the report also recommended that the college take administrative responsibility for the Alumnae House and the AAVC operating budget.

Former Undersecretary of State George Ball spoke in Taylor Hall as part of the two-day symposium “Bicentennial Reflections on American Foreign Policy.” Other speakers included Professor Robert Tucker, professor of American foreign policy at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins; Cornell University Professor of History Walter LaFeber and Kempton Jenkins, deputy assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations.

Professor Robert Klech of Dartmouth College, a researcher in non-verbal communication and interpersonal attraction, gave the psychology department’s  Matthew Vassar lecture in Taylor Hall auditorium.
Gus Hall, chairman of the American Communist Party and frequent party presidential candidate, spoke on "Capitalism in Crisis and the Role of Racism" in Blodgett Auditorium.
As President Simpson had announced his intention to retire at the end of the 1975-77 academic year, the search for his successor began.  The Miscellany News reported that five faculty members had been elected to the Presidential Search Committee: Elizabeth Daniels ‘41, professor of English and chairman of the English department; Glen Johnson, associate professor of political science and chairman of the political science department; Patricia Johnson, professor of biology and chairman of the biology department; Barbara Page, associate professor of English and Peter Stillman, assistant professor of political science and chairman of the Independent Program.
Vassar held its first Senior Prom since 1966. The 1976 prom was the also first since 1952 to feature a Grand March, under the instruction of Dean of Residence Elizabeth Douilhet ’30.
The Student Afro-American Society (SAS) issued a statement opposing the relocation of the Urban Center for Africana Studies from downtown Poughkeepsie to Arlington, insisting that moving the center away from Poughkeepsie’s black community undermined its objectives.  The Urban Center had been established after the 1969 takeover of Main Building.
The joint student-faculty Committee on Curricular Policies recommended that the faculty set the passing grade at a “D” for a pass-fail class. In 1975, the faculty had voted to make the passing grade a “C.”
The Miscellany News announced that Sally Griffen ‘58 would be the new director of residence, succeeding Dean of Residence Elizabeth Drouilhet ‘30, who was retiring after a 26-year tenure.
The Miscellany News reported that the November 12th Student Faculty Coalition had issued a statement advocating increased use of the endowment to combat Vassar’s deficit woes, in place of the faculty wage freeze and the tuition increase.

The coalition began with a organized for November 12, 1975, by Lenny Steinhorn ‘77 and Jed Mark ‘76 to discuss “political apathy on campus.”
Ed Crain, Libertarian Party national chairman, lectured on ‘The Libertarian Alternative” in Rockefeller Hall.  In 1977, with funding from Charles Koch, Crane founded the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.
T.N. Kaul, the Indian Ambassador to the United States, gave a lecture on the “State of Emergency and Current Political Developments in India” in Taylor Hall.
Michael Specter ’77 and Lenny Steinhorn ’77 were elected as student representatives to the Presidential Search Committee.
The Rondo Dance Theater, an acclaimed modern dance group, performed in the College Center.
Poet, essayist and novelist May Sarton read from her poetry in Taylor Hall.  The first of several volumes of Sarton’s memoirs, Journal of a Solitude, appeared in 1973.
American folk singer Jean Ritchie performed in the Main Lounge and Matthew’s Mug.

The board of trustees financial planning committee proposed closing the Skinner Greenhouses in July as part of economic cut-backs.

Retiring Dean of Residence Elizabeth Moffat Drouilhet ’30 spoke at Spring Convocation.  “Rarely,” she said, “have you had so reluctant a speaker.  Having carefully avoided making a speech for the past 35 years, I now succumb in the last 35 days….  I could think of many reasons for refusing, but only one for accepting: Cornelia Raymond and I span the entire history of Vassar College.  She came to the campus in 1865 as a child of four with her father, the President.  I came as a freshman in 1926.  Miss Raymond was here as Director of Publications, a job she still held when I returned in 1940 as Warden, the original title of my present job.  I shall say something about the 50 years of Vassar I have seen and let each of you go back to the sources to learn of Miss Raymond’s 60 years.

“This College was founded in a period of change and of great strife for the nation.  The courage to pursue the goal against such odds and to accept change as desirable—and possibly also to accept internal strife—are Vassar’s heritage and woven into its very fabric.”

Approaching her conclusion, Drouilhet turned to the move to coeducation, noting, “During the controversy in recent years, I have felt strongly but spoken rarely on this subject.”  She then told of private research she had done, studying admission records, interviewing alumnae who were educators “in some of the superior schools from which Vassar had previously had many good applicants.  They confirmed the published reports.  Suddenly, I realized that to continue Matthew Vassar’s goal to provide the best education for women, his college must become coeducational.  These facts made me realize just how women have progressed in this century…women no longer wanted an education equal to men’s; they wanted to share equally with men the same educational experience.”  


Some 400 students demonstrated outside the All Campus Dining Center against plans to raise tuition, cut programs and freeze faculty wages. Vice President for Student Affairs Natalie Marshall ’51 responded to the rally, sponsored by the student-faculty November 12th Coalition, saying, “In an ideal world I would support all of the coalition’s suggestions, but we do not live in Utopia. We must live within the constraints imposed by an inflationary economy. In addition, we must maintain the same quality education for this and future generations of students which we have offered for generations of Vassar graduates.”     The Miscellany News

The Poynter Program director, Elizabeth Daniels ’41, announced that the annual $10,000 Poynter grant would be used to bring both Hudson Valley and recent alumnae/i reporters to Vassar, a departure from the past, when the grant was used to bring nationally prominent journalists to campus.  Daniels also mentioned the possibility of using the fund to bring New Yorker writers to speak on campus.  The Poynter grant was the gift of Nelson and Marion Knauss Poynter ‘46, publishers of The St. Petersburg Times, and was intended to inform students about the media.



The author of The Group, Mary McCarthy ’33, delivered the 1976 Commencement address, entitled “Proper Studies.” McCarthy discussed the use and utility of a liberal arts education and dismissed the American desire for college to provide vocational training.  Instead, McCarthy embraced “love of learning for its own sake” and concluded, “I believe that a capacity for pleasure in learning is inherent in everybody.”     Mary McCarthy, “Proper Studies”



Main Building residents submitted a petition protesting the new AAVC Annual Fund offices located in the north wing of Main Building, as well as the closing of the Main gold parlor to residents, contending that it the residence hall was being turned into “an office building.”

The new administrative space remained, eventually becoming the offices of the Communications office, and the Gold Parlor returned to residential use.
The Helen Lockwood Library, an extension of Thompson Memorial Library, opened at the beginning of the 1976-1977 academic year. The new library included a rare books room, faculty carrels, expanded shelf space and a 24-hour reading room.

Helen Drusilla Lockwood ’12 taught English at Vassar from 1927-1956 and chaired the English department from 1950-1956.  At her death in 1971, she bequeathed $6 million to Vassar, some of which was used to construct the Lockwood library. 
Suzanne Bordelon ed. Feminist Legacy: the Rhetoric and Pedagogy of Gertrude Buck




Students from four colleges attended the annual Seven College Student Conference at Bryn Mawr: Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Barnard and Vassar.  Delegates considered such topics as co-education and health-services.
Two hundred students rallied outside the Admissions office protesting the admissions brochure called “Vassar for men?” The protest was followed by a town hall meeting on September 19th, attended by 600 students. Admissions director Richard Moll described the pamphlet as “an attempt to reassure counselors and parents as well as college candidates.” It endeavored to demonstrate that men were present at Vassar and performing at levels commensurate with their female classmates—at times even above them. The pamphlet noted that “Vassar’s graduating class of 1976 included 31% men. But 47% named to Phi Beta Kappa were men.”

Protestors claimed that the leaflet was “sexist,” claiming it “portrays an inaccurate picture of the male students presently at Vassar and discriminates against the female students presently at Vassar.”       The Miscellany News 
Dr. Rita Jaeger ‘54, the college physician, recommended that eligible students receive the swine-flu vaccine.  Months earlier, after a soldier at Fort Dix in New Jersey had died of the flu, a brief panic caused the Ford administration to prepare a $135 million emergency plan to immunize all Americans against swine flu.  As time passed, no evidence of the predicted epidemic appeared.
The college received a $75,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to partially fund energy-saving improvements in eight residence halls.
The Poynter Program presented a symposium on “Selling the News or Informing the Public?” featuring three alumnae journalists: Lucinda Franks ‘68, a New York Times reporter and 1971 Pulitzer Prize winner; Gaylen Moore ‘66, a freelance writer; and Ruth Brine ‘41, senior editor of Time.  The Poynter Program was supported by a grant from Nelson and Marion Knauss Poynter ‘46, publishers of The St. Petersburg Times, and was intended to inform students about the media.
Visiting Professor Michael Benedikt, poetry editor of The Paris Review between 1975 and 1978 and author of four books of poetry, read his work in Josselyn Living Room
AAVC celebrated its 100th anniversary with an open house at the Vassar Club of New York.
Moliere’s Tartuffe, directed by the director of the Experimental Theater, Professor William Rothwell, was performed in Avery Hall.
John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful performed in the Chapel.
The Miscellany News reported that the administration had rejected the Student Government Association (SGA) admissions referendum concerning both Vassar’s use of gender as a determining factor in admissions and the “Vassar for Men?” pamphlet. Students were angered by the dismissal.
Elizabeth Daniels ‘41, chairman of the English department, was named acting dean of the faculty, succeeding Barbara Wells, who retired because of failing health.
Phillip Bennett, assistant professor of philosophy at SUNY Cortland, spoke on “Wilhelm Reich and the Sexual Revolution” in the West Cushing Lounge.  Bennett was a prominent advocate and interpreter of the controversial Austrian-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957), whose Die Sexualität im Kulturkampf (1936) appeared in English in 1945 as The Sexual Revolution: Toward a Self-Regulating Character Structure.
Former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter and his running mate, Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale, defeated President Gerald Ford and Kansas Senator Bob Dole by a narrow margin in the presidential election.  Ford assumed the presidency upon the resignation of Richard Nixon on August 4, 1974.


Dick Gregory, political activist and comedian, lectured on America's "white racist sexist system" for two hours and 20 minutes to an audience of 900 in the Chapel. Finding little cause for hope in the outcome of the recent election, Gregory said, "It didn't make too much damn' difference which of those two cats got in.... I knew Ford was gonna lose when he watied until after people were dying from the flu shots before he got his."  Gregory "saved his most scathing barbs," wrote Leo Crowley '77 in The Miscellany News, "for Earl Butz," the former secretary of agriculture who has resigned a month earlier after, after a salacious racist joke of his was reported in the media.  Butz was, said Gregory, the "kind of guy who writes dirty words on bathroom walls—in his own house."  Gregory urged students to get involved in protest movements, inviting them to join a Thanksgiving day rally in front of the White House in protest of conditions in South Africa.

Student Government Association (SGA) President Steve Nelson '77 reported being approached by "two neatly dressed, middle-aged men" after Gregory's talk who, according to Jack Nadler '77 in The Miscellany News, wanted "to talk to you about the future of our country."  Noting that Gregory had identified the men as FBI agents, Nelson said he'd been "non-commital" in response to questions about "the extent of radical activities on campus by both students and faculty" and about whether he planned to join the Thanksgiving demonstrators. But, Nadler added "he did tell them that, for the most part, 'student opinion in closer to Dick Gregory than to the Ford administration.'"

Some 30 Vassar students joined the Thanksgiving protest.  Dick Gregory, who had first come to Vassar to entertain during Christmas House Party weekend in 1964, appeared on campus again in 1981, 1990 and 1999.


The College Center Gallery exhibited the works of Seven Women Artists: Sandy Galleher, Jean Johnson, Mary Langston, Carole Reichgut, Lorraine Reiley, Elayne Seaman, and Sheila Tankard.


Speaking on campus, Judge William H. Booth, president of the American Committee on Africa, criticized US policy in South Africa—labeling it exploitation.

A devoted and effective foe of racial discrimination, Judge Booth served as chairman of New York City’s Commission on Human Rights from 1966-1969.


The department of psychology and the coordinator of women’s studies held a conference on “Women and Work” in Josselyn living room.  The speakers included Constantina Safilios-Rothschild, professor of sociology and director of the Family Research Center at Wayne State University and Assistant Professor of Sociology Myra Marx from the University of Connecticut.   Safilios-Rothschild’s Toward a Sociology of Women appeared in 1972, and her Women and Social Policy was published by Prentice-Hall in 1974.  Marx’s article “Working-Class Jobs: Paid Work and Housework as Sources of Satisfaction,” appeared in the journal Social Problems in 1976, and “Working Class Feminism: A Consideration of the Consequences of Employment,” was published in The Sociological Quarterly in 1980.



The student Committee on South Africa released a statement to the Miscellany News condemning South African apartheid

Associate Professor of History and Director of the Africana Studies Program Norman Hodges attended the Seventh Africa-America Institute Lesotho conference in South Africa.  Hodges reported that the meeting was intended “to deal with the options available for the reconstruction of southern African countries when they achieve independence.” Hodges’s journey required that he pass through South Africa under apartheid.

In an article in the Miscellany News, he characterized apartheid as “expensive, wasteful, tragic and absurd.”





Mime Bob Berky presented a solo performance of Foolsfire, mime and song, in the Main Lounge.  New York Times reviewer Mel Gussow described Berky’s performance of the piece a few years later:
“In bulbous nose and jackanapes costume, he draws two volunteers from the audience, enticing them into a syncopated song and dance for left feet and twin kazoos.  It is a dangerous exercise to depend on the buffoonery of strangers, but Mr. Berky has blind faith in his ability to make someone else seem funny.  At the performance I attended, he won his loudest laugh with the simple act of peeking at one volunteer’s ankles and discovering that the man’s socks did not match.”






Thirty Vassar students participated in a 150-person march in Washington D.C. to protest apartheid in South Africa. The demonstration was organized by Dick Gregory, who had lectured at the college on November 4th.






Curator at the Whitney Museum, Marcia Tucker lectured on “Issues in Contemporary Art.”  The innovative Tucker had presented the first major exhibit of conceptual art in 1969, and she was the founding director in 1977 of the New Museum of Contemporary Art. 

The Miscellany News reported that two students were charged by the College Court for breaking into the College Store during the Thanksgiving vacation.





The Student Entertainment Committee hosted its third annual Christmas Formal in the College Center, featuring the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.





Maura J. Abeln ’77 won a Rhodes scholarship in the first year that the competition was open to women applicants. Thirty-two Rhodes Scholars were chosen—thirteen women and nineteen men.





The National Science Foundation awarded the biology department a $17,500 grant to fund summer undergraduate research.  This first experiment in summer undergraduate research in science led to the founding in 1986 of the Undergraduate Summer Research Institute (URSI).



Vassar’s board of trustees purchased a $125,000 house and five acres behind the Vassar golf course, possibly for the next president of the college.