As part of a $1 million program to strengthen original sources available to student and faculty researchers, the college announced a $100,000 grant from the Pew Memorial Trust of Philadelphia to aid the Vassar manuscript and archival collections, one of the program's four goals. President Smith identified the other goals as hiring a manuscript curator, faculty development of courses focusing on archival and manuscript materials and promoting a program of related symposia, lectures and research activities by visiting scholars and Vassar faculty. The Miscellany News
A Marine Midland MoneyMatic automated teller maching (ATM) was installed in the College Center over winter break, raising some controversy about the college's link to the bank and its nearby Vassar branch. In a column, "Cashcard Blues," in the alternative campus paper Unscrewed, Tom Doskow '83 pointed out the ATM "located one full block from the Vassar campus.... The predilection for convenience here seems extreme. The barrier between these two machines is not distance: it is the border of Vassar College.... With the College Center MoneyMatic, there is no longer any reason for a student to leave the Vassar grounds—except to take a cab to the train station.... Finally, there is the matter of restraint of trade. An institution of education cohabiting with a single institute of finance is not fair to other banks in the Poughkeepsie area, most of which exceed Marine Midland in service, accuracy and courtesy."
Hailing, however, the "long-awaited Marine Midland MoneyMatic"—while pointing out that it was inoperative and "just lacking some electrical parts"—Elenita Ravicz '84 wrote in The Miscellany News, "Once it becomes operable the MoneyMatic machine will save students a short but chilly walk to Marine Midland when they need cash."
Described in The Miscellany News as "the core of the computer literacy program recently launched" at Vassar, a new course, "Computing as a Resource," taught in two sections of 30 students each, was nearly filled during preregistration for the spring term. Under the direction of William Pritchard from the academic computing office of the computer center, the course was intended to "show faculty and students from diverse disciiplines how to use computing as a tool in the support of their own interests."
Joining Pritchard in the new course were faculty members Marlene Palmer from biology, Curt Beck from chemistry, Robert DeMaria from English and Amy Halberstadt from psychology, who, he said, would lead students in "investigating the potential application of computers to a research problem in their specifc fields.... As we head into the electronics revolution we will need to learn more about computers in order to function in society." The microcomputers used by students in the course, which was funded by a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), were tied into 23 major computer centers around the country "via communications networks."
Vassar pianist Todd Crow's made his New York solo debut in Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center. His program included Beethoven’s Sonata in A Major, Op. 101, and former Vassar professor Ernst Krenek’s Piano Sonata No. 4. Other works in the program were: Liszt’s "Nuages Gris" and "Les Jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este"; Debussy’s La terrace d’audiences du clair de lune, Ondine and Feux d’artifice and Bartók’s suite, Out of Doors.
Writing in The New York Times, music critic Bernard Holland called the recital “unusually serious, intelligent and thought-provoking,” observing, the “program was chosen with care, and Mr. Crow’s playing was at all times equal to his taste in music.” Of Crow's handling of "two of Debussy's most mysterious Preludes—'La terrace d’audiences du clair de lune,' and the neglected 'Ondine'—plus the more extroverted and more popular 'Feux d'artifice,'" Holland observed, "here Mr. Crow observed Debussy's rhythmic delicacies with Mozartean care. The first two preludes were magical."
The Vassar ski team inaugurated their second year when 189 skiers from nine colleges and universities—the largest field in National Collegiate Ski Association division III history—attended the first annual Vassar Ski Meet at Catamount, NY.
Although the home team was "trounced in their own tournament," as "Downhill Dan" put it in The Miscellany News, there were promising highlights for Vassar. Freshman Debbie Daigle ’85 placed third in the giant slalom, winning the first-ever trophy for the Vassar ski team, and Fritzi Horstman '84, "ignoring her wounds" from a "brutal fall at the top of the [giant slalom] course," finished "a mere minute behinde the leader. 'I'm not sure if my skis were waxed,' she said as she crossed the finish line."
A week later, "Dan" was able to report a resounding rebound when the Vassar team captured second place among the nine competing schools at Marist College's "ski extravaganza at Highmount, NY." The Miscellany News
A new, computerized Rolm telephone system replaced what Vice President for Student and Administrative Services Natalie Marshall '51 called the "outmoded" manual switchboard. The new system, designed by the Rolm company in California, would send a beep when a second party wished to reach a busy extension and with "double the nuimber of lines to the outside world," Marshall observed, "you won't get the busy signal so much."
Professor Robert Abramson of the Manhattan School of Music held three eurhythmics workshops in the Kenyon Dance Studio, in which students skipped in circles according to the mood of the music being played, stood on one foot in rhythm and bounced a ball in time to the music. Eurhythmics, developed by Swiss composer and music education theorist Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, explored the relationship between musical expression and movement. As Carol Duncan '83 explained in The Miscellany News, "Dalcroze became interested in this subject when he saw that musical training too often excluded instruction in expression, emphasizing technique instead.... Participants...were instructed to, among other things, bounce a tennis ball and pass it in a circle to the beat of music; form patterns and shapes with a group of people without speaking; walk, run or skip in a circle at varying tempos while imitating the music's mood; do exercises in balance, conducting, clapping various rhythms and imitating an orchestra using one's voice... Participants seemed enthusiastic and ready to apply what they had learned in their dancing, singing or playing of an instrument."
Acting Vassar Chaplain Sandra Wilson ’75 was ordained as an Episcopal priest, the first African-American female Episcopal priest in the Diocese of New York and the fourth in the United States.
On January 24, Wilson led her first mass as a priest in the Chapel. Madeleine L’Engle, author of the science fantasy novel, A Wrinkle in Time (1962), gave the sermon, focusing on the concept of time. During her address, L’Engle also spoke of Wilson’s ordination, saying “Sandye is called to be a ‘midwife’ to the rest of us. So are the male preachers.” The Miscellany News
Lecturer in English, poet and children’s author Nancy Willard spoke on “The Rutubaga Lamp: The Reading and Writing of Fairy Tales.” Willard quoted the claim of Hans Christian Andersen that fairy tales were "as necessary as dictionaries for both children and adults." "Lindbloom," wrote Peggy Hayes '83 in The Miscellany News, "compared fairy tales, then, to parables, and called them one of the 'highest forms of truth.' Fairy tales are written to amuse both children and adults. But Lindbloom assured the audience that fairy tales will only be successful if they are 'moral, but not moralistic, and instructive, but not didactic.'"
Just before the evening’s lecture, it was announced that Willard’s children’s book A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers (1981) had won the 1981 Newbery Award, the first award in the honor's 60-year history that the prestigious medal was awarded to a book of poetry. The book was also cited as a Caldecott honors recipient for its illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen.
Willard signed her book at an autograph party at the Alumane House on March 4th.
Defining a "race" as "a breeding population with a characteristic frequency of inherited traits," Molecular biologist and immunologist Richard A. Goldsby from the University of Maryland disparaged the linking of race and intelligence. "One could not have come away," wrote Gordon Shepherd in The Miscellany News, "without an opinion," adding that Dr. Goldsby "explored the controversial topic of race and IQ by presenting current and historical scientific research in a very understandable and humorous manner."
Goldsby’s research indicated that IQ differences were largely socially, not genetically, based, a position he advanced in a much-publicized debate at the University of Virginia with Nobel Prize winning physicist William B. Shockley—the co-inventor of the transistor—on February 5, 1975. In his later years, Dr. Shockley, concerned with race, intelligence and eugenics, embraced the notions that intelligence was largely hereditary, that the intelligence of blacks was statistically in decline and that individuals with lower intelligence quotients (IQ) should be paid to voluntarily undergo sterilization. Goldsby said of Shockley: “He’s a racist because he thinks he can make statistical prediction of behavior by population. He’s not a bigot because he apparently does not despise blacks…. I like to debate Bill, because I always win.” Joel N. Shurkin, Broken Genius: The Rise and Fall of William Shockley
Dr. Goldsby examined this question in detail in Race and Races (1971) and in his articles, “Human Races: Their Reality and Significance” in Science Teacher in 1973 and “The Reality and Significance of Human Races: A Biological Perspective” in Biological Differences and Social Equality (1983), edited by Masako N. Darrough and Robert H. Blank.
The trustees chose the former site of the Vassar Brothers Laboratory (1880-1938) for the new chemistry building, which required a Southern exposure for its proposed solar heating feature. An alternative site behind and below Sanders Physics Building was also considered.
The Board of Trustees voted to set tuition, room and board at $10,500 for the 1982-1983 academic year—a $1,300 and 14 percent increase. In a letter to the college community, President Virginia Smith said that the increase was largely due to inflation and reductions in federal student aid. "We have been borrowing," she said, "from [the] future....We can't do that to an extreme." Despite the increase, she noted, Vassar was "in the middle of the pack" among comparable colleges. The Miscellany News
The Africana Studies Program held the second annual Festival of Third World Arts and Culture, a month-long celebration featuring lectures, readings, a panel discussion and performances.
Broadcast news executive Fred W. Friendly, former executive producer of Edward R. Murrow’s See It Now, directed a seminar on the relationship between media and the law, entitled "The Agony of Decision Making in the Newsroom."
Thirty invited participants included ABC Nightline’s Carla DeLandri ‘78, local attorney Susanna Bedell ‘40, The Poughkeepsie Journal’s Pamela Golinski ‘76 and George Bernstein, as well as fourteen students and seven professors—including Lecturer in English Lucinda Franks ’68, a former New York Times reporter.
An individual, calling himself “Timon of Athens,” broke into the library reserve room and removed nearly all of the books—some 6,000 volumes—to protest the administration’s neglect of the Shakespeare Garden. A note was posted on the door to the reserve room—“If you ever want to see these reserve books again, you will begin planning the complete restoration of the Shakespeare Garden immediately.” The note went on to request, “Please make sure there are plenty of pansies for Lisa” and that a copy of the note be given to “SKS.” The Miscellany News
The missing books were discovered in the Library, and a student admitted to the prank before the Academic Panel, paid a fine and posted a public apology. The garden had not been maintained because it was thought it would have to be moved to the Blodgett lawn to make way for the new chemistry building. When an alternate site was chosen, the garden was restored.
A capacity crowd filled the Cushing Living Room as students and faculty celebrated the 100th birthday of James Joyce with readings from his works and music from Finnegan’s Wake (1939) and Ulysses (1922). "Students Tracy Byrne '84 and David Pfarrer '83 read poetry," reported David Zakon '85 in The Miscellany News, English department members George O'Brien, Eamon Grennan and Jerry Badanes, "the organizers of the evening, read portions of Ulysses playing the parts of the Citizen, a town wise guy and Leopold Bloom, respectively. Following the reading and performance students Greta Olson '86 and Matt Bialer '85 read letters written by Joyce to his wife-to-be, Nora, and portiions of hers to him."
During February, a display of Joyean materials, "Scenes and Scribblings," including first editions of Joyce's works, photographs and personal memorabilia was on view in the Library. "Librarian Joan Murphy," Zakon concluded, "called the display 'Scenes and Scribblings' after Joyce's term for his various writings." The Miscellany News
Performing Bach’s English Suite in D Minor, Jean Philippe Rameau’s Premier Concert and Francois Couperin’s Onzieme Ordre de Pieces de Clavecin, Chilean harpsichordist Lionel Party dedicated a new harpsichord, modeled on an 18th century instrument by accalimed American builder Willard Martin, in a concert in Skinner Hall.
Co-captain Alison Muyskens '82 and number 4 player Amy Anthony '83 were undefeated as the Women’s squash team came in second in the Howe Cup Tournament at Yale, ranking ninth in the United States. "After handily defeating California-Berkeley, Smith and Bowdoin 6-1," wrote Pamela Thomson '82 in The Miscellany News, "Vassar had to try harder against Williams and Tufts." Finishing second to Williams in the 22-team tournament, "By working together, "Muyskens said, "we rose to every occasion competitively." Co-captain Diane Tobia '82 agreed. "This," she said, "is the best showing Vassar has had since 1974." The Miscellany News
Mary McCarthy ’33, author of Cannibals and Missionaries (1979), Memories of a Catholic Girlhood (1957, and The Group (1963), lectured on "Some Narrative Techniques and Their Implications" in the Chapel, as the first President’s Distinguished Visitor.
The President’s Distinguished Visitor Program was intended to “honor distinguished alumnae/i, and to offer students the example and inspiration of persons of genuine achievement.” Each year the President invited three prominent alumnae/i to visit campus for a week or more in order to lecture and mentor. This was McCarthy’s first visit to campus since she served as the 1976 commencement speaker.
While on campus, McCarthy also lectured about political theorist Hannah Arendt, spoke to English classes, and held a tea—during which she read from her book The Mask of State: Watergate Portraits (1974).
On February 12th, McCarthy, along with Professor of History Donald J. Olsen, author of The Growth of Victorian London (1976), Associate Professor of English Beth Darlington, editor of The Love Letters of William and Mary Wordsworth (1981) and Professor of Anthropology Walter Fairservis, author of Asia: Treasures and Tradition (1981), held a book signing in the Vassar Cooperative Bookstore.
“The Big Man,” saxophonist Clarence Clemons from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, performed with the Red Bank Rockers in the Chapel. "When the great Clarence Clemons hit the stage with his band," Karen Masiello '84 wrote in The Miscellany News, "the Chapel suddenly swelled with some of the best R&B the audience had ever heard. Clarence has a style and a finesse so independent of the E Street Band that we have to wonder what he is doing touring as the second name on billboard. The man is incredible."
Bassoonist and director of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble Arthur Weisberg, accompanied by Aleck Karis on the piano and harpsichord, performed William Osborne’s Rhapsody (1958), Allan Blank’s Introduction and Rondo Fantastico (1979), Georg Philipp Telemann’s Sonata in F Minor, Professor of Music Richard Wilson’s Profound Utterances (1980) and Bach’s Sonata no. 3 in D minor.
Weisberg also led a master class during his visit to campus.
As part of the Festival of Third World Arts and Culture, a two-part symposium on “Imperialism: Its Implications for Race and Culture in the 19th and 20th Centuries,” featured African history specialist Philip D. Curtin of Johns Hopkins, Professor Herbert Klein of Columbia—who spoke on Latin America—and Professor Chang-tu Hu of Columbia—who spoke on Asia. The president of the American Historical Association, Professor Curtin, said Julie Kaufman '85, cited "three major ideas which concur with the development of imperialism...capitalism and its impact on lesser developed countries, development of European technology...during the Industrial Revolution and the notion of European countries as conquerors.... Once Europeans had conquered a country, they created a set of idea as to how they should regulate the country. 'This theory of empire,' Curtin said, 'included racism as a fundamental attitude.'"
Declaring imperialism as "a historically modern phenomenon, which can be manifested in racial prejudices," Professor Hu opened the symposium's second session, explaining that "'there were three Gs which drew Europeans to Asia during this period of industrialization....' These are: 1) the lure of Gold, 20 the increased flocking of missionaries to Asia in order to bring God to these poor souls and 3) the idea of National Glory, which was incorporated in the conquering of...underdeveloped countries." Imperialism in Latin America, said Professor Klein, took a unique form, drawn from "Latin American Indian cultures...based of class ranking." White conquerors "would set up an indirect rule over the group of Indians. Racism was very pervasive during the nineteenth century. The elite, white Creoles began to destroy the autonomy of local Indian communities.... In conclusion, Klein hypothesized that one reason for the prevalance of racsim was the human need for definition in society." The Miscellany News
The Afro-American Society held Black Weekend, featuring a cabaret in the Villard room, a poetry reading—also part of the Festival of Third World Arts and Culture—and a lecture by black activist Kwame Toure—previously known as Stokely Carmichael.
Toure discussed the relationship between capitalism and race, uses for violence in the civil rights struggle and whether his militant political beliefs reconciled with his Christian religious beliefs. "According to Toure," wrote Wesleyan exchange student Cameron Gordon in The Miscellany News, "Africa is the richest continent on the face of the earth. But, under capitalism, Africans are starving. African culture is rich its people are strong, but under capitalism, it is an object of ridicule." On the issue of violence, "Toure maintained that King was a great man but that he made an error of taking the tactic of non-violence and making it into a principle. Toure said that when non-violence is effective it should be used. When it is not...'I'm going to start chucking hand grenades."
Questioned about the compatibility of violence with his Christian beliefs, "Toure asked facetiously, 'Who sent the floods?' and maintained that just as God punished evil, his followers were out to defeat and punish oppression, using violence when necessary." The Miscellany News
Moorhead Kennedy, one of the 52 American hostages released from Iran in January of 1981, spoke on “World Religions and World Peace” during the Sunday chapel service. Afterwards, Kennedy and his wife Louisa lectured on “How to Cope with Personal Stress” in the Rose Parlor.
The Honorable Paul Rupia, Tanzanian permanent representative to the United Nations and the Honorable David. W. Steward, South African ambassador to the United Nations participated in a panel on “South Africa: The Reality” in Taylor Hall, as part of the Festival of Third World Arts and Culture.
The Students Afro-American Society and the Vassar Jewish Students Union sponsored a panel discussion on “The Mindset of Intolerance: Racism and Anti-Semitism in America” in the Villard Room. Vice-president of the Mid-Hudson Coalition Against Racism and Anti-Semitism Charles Dumas moderated a panel that included: Acting Chaplain Sandra A. Wilson ‘75, who discussed the historical and biblical basis of intolerance; lawyer for students at SUNY-New Paltz Daniel Meyers, who spoke about racism and anti-semitism in Dutchess County; Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion Betsy Amaru, who talked about educational strategies to prevent intolerance; and Assistant Professor of Psychology Ben Harris, who examined the psychology behind bigotry.
The panel was part of the Festival of Third World Arts and Culture.
Professor of English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook Thomas Flanagan lectured on “Joyce and the Imagination of Irish History” in the Villard Room. Flanagan’s essay, “Yeats, Joyce, and the Matter of Ireland,” in the University of Chicago journal, Critical Inquiry, in 1975 was a seminal study of this interrelationship. His novel, The Year of the French (1979), was the first of a trilogy— with The Tenants of Time (1988), The End of the Hunt (1994)— that traced Irish politics and identity from the failed uprising of 1798 to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. The Year of the French, Flanagan’s first attempt at fiction, won the National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction in 1979.
Northern Irish poet Seamus Heaney, poet-in-residence at Harvard University, gave a poetry reading in the Villard Room. Heaney’s Selected Poems 1965-75 appeared in 1980, and the collection Station Island was published by Faber & Faber in 1984. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.
The "winged putti and amorini in a chariot race" on a newly-acquired panel from a 3rd century CE Roman sarcophagus, said Professor of Art Christine Havelock, are "mimicking a chariot race of adult males…pointing fun at an adult preoccupation." Havelock said, reported Brooke J. Kamin '84 in The Miscellany News, the art department, wanted "to go all out for something beautiful and something extraordinary.... Let's put up something smashing that the students will see...not a second rate painting or 'from the school of'.... It is just so beautiful and it's fairly complete. It's meaty—you can get at it."
Purchased from a London art dealer with funds from the Friends of the Art Gallery and a private donor, the piece, said gallery director William Hennessey, "an unusually valuable piece for us...one of the most major things we've gotten in years." The Miscellany News
"Croquet, the game of genteel…sportsmen," wrote The Miscellany News, " brought together eight schools to crown yet another collegiate championship." Vassar defeated teams from Columbia, Harvard, Florida and USC, losing two games in the round robin tournament—to Yale and Brandies—finishing second. John Osborn '82, who had played the game since he was five, won the singles title.
The New York Times published an interview with President Virginia Smith in which she warned that President Reagan’s cuts to federal student aid would make it “hard to maintain the kind of diversity that we have had in the last 10 years. This will affect poor students and, to the extent that it is related to socioeconomic status, our ethnic mix. Even our geographic diversity will be undermined.” The New York Times
Associate Chemist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Api Charola spoke about the use of X-ray fluorescence to the determine originality of pieces of art. "X-ray fluorescence is particularly valuable," wrote Gordon Shepherd in The Miscellany News, "because it doesn't require touching or damaging the surface of the art piece, as other forms of investigation do.... Showing slides of ornate sixteenth century brass clocks, Charola said that brasses differ in their concentrations of zinc and copper.... Charola's talk revealed not only much about the workings of the famous museum in New York, but also described a technique that bridges what many people consider to be a wide gap between science and art."
Ms. Charola taught chemical analysis at Vassar in 1977-78.
The self-styled “Queen of the Muckrakers,” British-born journalist Jessica Mitford lectured on her writings—including The American Way of Death (1963) and Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking (1979)—to a near-capacity audience in the Villard Room. One of seven famous and often controversial daughters of an English peer, Mitford told her listeners that she'd turned to investigative journalism when her second husband, a trade union attorney, had uncovered the larcenous collusion between California union officials and undertakers. "Mitford stated," wrote Bonnie Stollowitz '84 in The Miscellany News, "that she didn't approve of this form of operation, which through...'collective bargaining' would set up a 'contract with the undertaker.' She began to tease this group of "Quakers and University eggheads" about their 'layaway plan'.... Poison Penmanship, Mitford's collection of magazine articles, includes three articles describing and mocking the funeral racket.
"Regarding her profession, Mitford responded to one audience member by stating that she has never had to pay an informant for information.... 'I have received an occasional death threat,' she chuckled." The Miscellany News
Phillip Euling ‘84 directed Harold Pinter’s The Lover (1963), a play first written for television, in Rockefeller Hall. Reviewing the production in The Miscellany News, Mark Bennett '85, praised its comic "understatement," although, he noted, "there is a very clever sequence at the beginning, parodying the life of a boring marriage, that allows Euling's comic sense to be readily seen and appreciated." The reviewer also praised the performances of Margareta Olson '86 as Sarah and Steve Rockwell '84 as Richard, the principals in a play about "domestic tranquility with a twist."
Women’s Weekend 1982—“Women’s Work, Women’s Play”— presented lectures, performances and films. Former congresswoman Bella Abzug, founder of Women Strike for Peace and the National Women’s Political Caucus, gave the keynote address on “Women and Politics: Political Action.”
Other events included a “Voice Festival”— featuring literature and music by Vassar faculty and students, a concert by folk singers Betsy Rose and Cathy Winter and a lecture by activist Selma James, founder in 1972 of the International Wages for Housework Campaign, on “The Economics of Feminism Today.” Two films were shown, To Be a Woman Soldier (1981), Shuli Eshel’s study of the strains and contradictions for women of egalitarian military service in Israel and Union Maids (1976)—film clips and cross-cut interviews with three Chicago women active in union organizing in the 1920s and 1930s—directed by Julia Reichert, Jim Klein and Miles Mogulescu. Julia Reichert discussed her film at Vassar in September 1977 with three other documentarians.
A planned April 2nd women’s dance was cancelled because VSA funds could not be used to subsidize an event that wasn't opened to all members of the Vassar community.
Speakers at an environmental conference sponsored by the Vassar Environmental Society included the executive director of the New York State Environmental Planning Lobby, Bernard Melewski, who described “The Second Environmental Revolution;” the toxics program director of the New York State Sierra Club, Bonnie MacLeod, who discussed the film In Our Water (1982); Assistant Professor of Economics Alexander Thompson whose lecture was called “Adding Insult to Injury: The Case of Working Environments;” Assistant Professor of Chemistry Paul C. Chrostowski, who spoke on “Technological Solutions to Environmental Problems;” Professor of Physics Morton A. Tavel, who discussed “Energy Resources;” Associate Professor of Geography Harvey K. Flad, who described “The Role of Aesthetics in Environmental Planning” and Assistant Professor of Political Science Sidney Plotkin, who spoke on “New Direction in Land Use Control: Up.”
Economist and diplomat John Kenneth Galbraith—author of American Capitalism (1952), The Affluent Society (1958) and Annals of an Abiding Liberal (1979)—lectured on "The Great Conservative Revolt" in the Villard Room. In his speech, Galbraith criticized conservatives' actions and policies in the post-World War II period that destroyed an "economic and social consensus" about the role of government. According to Gordon Shepherd, writing in The Miscellany News, Galbraith found conservatives' "simplistic" position—"liberty is measured by the depth of the uncollected garbage in the slums"—"deeply questionable," and he said their "romantic" critique—"auto, steel and interstate trucking trades want no regulation, except, of course, when the competition gets rough—"ignores the historical forces which make a pure market...virtually impossible."
The conservatives' "real" attack, Shepherd continued, "has three facets—expenditure on social services is too great, the quality of public administration is deficient and the consensus no longer works—and is justified on all counts." Suggesting that these three elements raised by the "conservative revolt" might be addressed systemically, Galbraith told his large and enthusiastic audience that the Reagan Administration "incorporates all the old elements of failure, although it has to be said in its favor, in a somewhat more imagiinative way."
Matthew Cartsonis ‘84, Bebe Smith ’84 and “Uncle Normie” Plankey performed at the recently refurbished Noyes West End coffee house. "Instrumentals were great," wrote Karen Masiello '84 in The Miscellany News, "but the most stunning aspect of the show was Smith's vocal performance. Her voice has a sweetness that could quiet the multitudes." Masiello found the "pins from their radio show" that Cartsonic and “Uncle Normie”—the persona of local resident Norman Plankey, co-host with Cartsonis on WVKR—"ridiculous, but lots of fun." Also performing that night were Mike Dilanni ‘83 and Matt Witten ‘83, playing "music of some soft-rock bands and original pieces."
Speaking at the Coalition for Social Responsibility’s Peace Week, retired Rear Admiral Gene R. LaRocque had "no doubt," reported Richard Lynch '85 in The Miscellany News, "that the United States will have a nuclear war unless it changes the course it is on." After a distinguished career in World War II and with the Joints Chief of Staff, LaRocque retired in 1972 after 32 years in the Navy, disillusioned by the Vietnam War. He founded the Center for Defense Information in 1974.
"We are all planning, arming, training, equipping and practicing for a nuclear war, a war which will probably kill at least 100 million people.... Twenty years ago, we had about 6,000 nuclear weapons between ourselves and the Soviets. Who feels more secure today when we have a lot more of them?” Of primary importance in LaRoque's ten-point summary of the nuclear situation were recognition that most of the world's problems are not military problems, that national security depended "on social, political and economic areas of our society, not just on the military, and that the United States should abandon it's policy of "first use" of nuclear weapons in a crisis. "There is hope," he concluded. "The interest and enthusiasm in the nuclear question emerging both here and in Europe is encouraging. People need to get as much information as possible and decide what they think they should do." The Miscellany News
A team from Vassar played in the National College Bowl Tournament finals, held in New York City. Originally a popular radio program, the College Bowl—"The Varsity Sport of the Mind"—was broadcast between October 1953 and December 1955. Two four-person teams competed in each 30-minute program, answering questions on topics ranging from literature, history and philosophy to science, the arts and religion. Revived for televison in 1959 by the General Electric Company, the games appeared on Saturdays and Sundays through June of 1970. A team from Vassar defeated Vanderbilt University in the televised GE College Bowl in 1960 and, subsequently defeated by Boston College, finished in second place.
The competition resumed in 1977 under the sponsorship of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), continuing until 2008. Vassar's 1982 team consisted of co-captians Steve Storman '82 and Dave Morris '82, Charles Sperling '84, Brian Schick '83 and David Thaler' 84. In the finals, Vassar defeated Davidson College, but was beaten by the the eventual winner, Rice University, giving the a tie for third plance with the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The Vassar team earned a trophy for reaching the semifinals and $2,500 in scholarship money from TIME Incorporated, the sponsor of the tournament.
Vassar teams reached the national championship round in 1981—finishing in last place with 8 other teams—and again in 1984, when they tied with Princeton for 3th place. The Miscellany News
German-born art historian Julius Held, professor emeritus of art history at Barnard College, lectured on "Rembrandt's Earliest and Latest Works" in Taylor Hall. An émigré from Nazi Germany, Dr. Held, who taught at Barnard from 1937 until his retirement in 1971, was one of the world’s leading authorities on the work of Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyke. His Rembrandt’s ‘Aristotle’ and Other Rembrandt Studies (1969), published by Princeton University Press was highly influential, as was The Oil Sketches of Peter Paul Rubens (1980).
The British band Squeeze began its United States tour with a performance in the Vassar Chapel, preceded by another band from Britain, Flock of Seagulls. "Well," wrote Karen Masiello '84 in The Miscellany News, "the concert of the semester happened on Thursday, April 22, when Flock of Seagulls and Squeeze appeared in the Chapel. It was quite an evening." Although both bands were relatively new to American audiences, Squeeze, a London band, had four albums to its credit, while Flock of Seagulls, from Liverpool, had just released its first, eponmymic collection.
"Flock of Seagulls," Masiello noted, "has talented musicians playing in a lively, danceable style.... Tunes like "Modern Love," "Telecommunication" and their new single "I Ran"were very well received. About Squeeze, well, there isn't enough good that I can say. The show combined songs from their already-released albums with songs from the new album, Sweets From a Stranger, to be released on May 11. Squeeze was just what I expected.... I hate to say this, but it looks like...I'm not a critic..... My notes from the show are covered with words like 'Superb!' 'Stunning!' 'Wow!' and 'Excellent.'"
Dancer, choreographer, director and composer John Wilson lectured on Dada in the Rose Parlor. A founding member in 1956 of The Joffrey Ballet, Wilson was a scholar of the Dada and Surrealist movements, and was at Vassar to do a Dada performance for a class in German expressionism. "A barrage of music, erratic both in content and style filled the room," wrote Kirsten Gantzel '90 in The Miscellany News. "French, German, and gibberish twittered and twirled, tumbling from his elastic lips. Like a happy insane bird he sat, perched upon his stool, shouting and whispering letters and punctuation.
"Suddenly he was up and running about and peeking under my dress. I indignantly slapped him away, whereupon he promptly grabbed a poster and held it up. Mixing and matching words such as NUN, MUFF, BLACK and others from the poster, he proceeded to recite in a sweet bright tone a concoction of obscenity.
"I looked around me. This was the Rose Parlor. And this shocking man was my cousin."
A student and theoretician of Dada since his 1975 musical setting, choreography and performance of The Gas Heart (Le Coeur à gaz, 1921) by the Romanian-born French author and performance artist Tristan Tzara, Wilson traced for his Vassar audience the development of Dada from its birth in Swiss cabarets during World War I, describing the art form as "a state of mind. It was NOT a movement.... Dada was a protest of war...of everything—any closed system that existed at that time, political or religious." His performance was "not a reconstruction of the cabaret," Wilson declared, "I am performing the original work of the Dadists, one could call it a 'cabaret collage' in the spirit of the cabaret." The Miscellany News
Wilson performed his Dada program at Performance Space 122 and The Knitting Factory in New York and in theaters in France and Germany. In 1986 he formed the New York-based company DaDaNewYork.
The Vassar Gallery displayed designs for medals by Chief Sculptor-Engraver of the U.S. Mint Elizabeth Jones ‘57 as part of the Class of 1957’s twenty-fifth reunion celebration.
Former Dutchess County prosecutor G. Gordon Liddy, a Nixon administration official who served four and a half years in prison for his role as the head of the 1972 Watergate break-in, spoke in the Chapel. The address, "Government: Public Perception versus Reality," one he gave frequently on college campuses between 1981 and 1984, contained severe criticism of "Operation Eagle Claw," the Carter administration's failed attempt in 1980 to rescue American hostages in Iran, and reiterated Liddy's insistence that the Watergate break-in, while illegal, was not immoral.
A vocal group of students and faculty declared it wasn’t right or ethical to pay Liddy's $4,000 fee for speaking at the college.
Former Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, professor at the Harvard Law School, legal scholar and chairman of Common Cause, spoke at Vassar’s 116th Commencement on “The Worst of Times: The Best of Times.” Fired from his post an special prosecutor by President Richard Nixon in the "Saturday Night Massacre" in 1973, Cox told the graduates, “I hope you will never become patient about the gap between what is and what ought to be, yet I hope you will have acquired from your years at Vassar a sense of perspective and an awareness that the one indestructible human quality is the ability of men and women to do things for the first time, to do what has never been done before.”
Speaking in a cold and steady rain, Cox challenged the graduating class, saying, “1983 will be a critical year. Will you help to muster the public pressure to excise this cancer, or will you acknowledge that the dream has died, that government of, by and for the people is to become government of money, by and for money?” The New York Times, Vassar Views
As part of a major strengthening and extension of its computing resources, Vassar purchased a Digital Equipment Corporation VAX II/780 computer, which featured a network of video terminals, messaging between terminals and a self-repair function. The substitution of 25 new terminals—in the computer center, science departments and Blodgett and Rockefeller Hall "clusters"—for the previous punch-card system made the new system, according to Keith Welch '83 in The Miscellany News, "better suited for academic use.... Beside these there are approximately 15 other micro-computers on campus which can also be hooked into the VAX, making them useable as terminals."
"A useful service of the Vax," Welch added, "is its ability to send electronic messages between terminals. If the recipient of the message is currently using the terminal, it is possible to 'phone' that person through the computer. Two-way communication is then set up through the terminals between the two locations. If the recipient is not 'on line' a message may be left for that person. The next time he uses that computer, it will inform him that he has a message. There is even a special 'GRIPE' location where complaint messages can be sent."
To accommodate the new equipment and terminal "clusters," all administrative offices in the Old Laundry Building were moved to Baldwin House or Main Building. Although there was not yet a computer science major, the main floor of the building was devoted to a computer science department with offices for faculty members in the field a terminal room and a smaller room for various micro-computers. Computer scientists Lilo De Campo, Martin Ringle, David Guichard and Nancy Ide were joined in the program by Michael Duffy and Frederic Chromey from the physics department, along with Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Vassar College Observatory Henry Albers. As acting chairman of the computer science department, Albers was assisted by Mark Resmer '85, an undergraduate British transfer student from the University of York with extensive computer training, who served as computer center manager.
"I'm very optimistic about the system," Resmer told the Misc. reporter. "It's very neat, very friendly, and I'd be glad if others who had bad experiences with the old machine would brave the new one." "The new computer," Albers added, "is for use by the entire campus."
Aided by a grant from the Pew Memorial Trust, Vassar purchased the journals of naturalist John Burroughs. Burroughs was a frequent visitor to the campus in the later 19th and early 20th centuries, and student groups visited him frequently at his Catskill retreat, Slabsides. Vassar’s first nature club, the Wake Robin Club, took its name from Burroughs’s “invitation to study Ornithology,” his book Wake-Robin (1871).
The 53 notebooks covered the period from May 13, 1876 until February 4, 1921, seven weeks before Burroughs's death at the age of 84. Although the notebooks were devoted principally to Burroughs's observations of nature, they also contained a wealth of literary comment. During his long life he was a friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Thomas Carlyle, Oscar Wilde and Theodore Dreiser.
His notebooks also contained comments, sometimes caustic, on the political scene. In 1920, expressing his disappointment at the Senate's vote to keep the United States out of the League of Nations, Mr. Burroughs wrote in his daily log, "I am so intolerant of that gang of reactionaries in the Senate, led by Borah and Lodge, that more than ever I would like to see the Senate abolished. Let the House make the laws." The Vassar Encyclopedia
After passing both houses of Congress, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) granting women rights equal to men under the law failed to be ratified by enough states by the June 30, 1982, deadline.
The college announced a grant of $250,000 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to further educational programs in technology, mathematics and “analytic reasoning.” The foundation was concerned that “many students reach the end of their formal education poorly equipped with the kind of knowledge and skills they will need throughout their lives in a high-technology society.” New York Times
With a change in the state drinking age from 18 to 19, Vassar mandated that only beer and wine were permitted at parties and that the college’s liquor license be confined to the College Center. A new policy of hand-stamping students of legal age at any event where alcohol was served was also put into effect.
Eminent Indian playwright-director Balwant Gargi taught a four-week course on Indian drama. “The West leans heavily on verbal theater,” Gargi observed. “Indian tradition emphasizes body, rhythms and gestures which are distilled from life…Our actors and actresses know 36 types of glances and nine basic emotions like primary colors which are mixed to create any complex emotion or color.” The Miscellany News
"Its sort of funny bringing preppy to Vassar," said Lisa Birnbach, co-author of The Official Preppy Handbook (1980), lecturing in the Chapel on “Prep 101: The Original Preppy Program." "I've always thought Vassar brought preppy to the world." "Apparently," wrote Emily Whiting '85, in The Miscellany News, "Vassar students are preppier than we would like to admit.... And didn't Jackie Onassis and the brother of Lisa Birnbach...choose Vassar as their alma mater? Says Lisa Birbach, 'the fact that Jackie went here means a lot to me.' No comment regarding her brother."
Wesleyan University Professor of Philosophy Louis Mink gave a Philosopher's Holiday lecture on "Modes of Comprehension" in the Josselyn House living room. In an article in The Miscellany News, "Comprehending Mink," Glenn Edelman '87 said, "Mink introduced comprehension, 'the ubiquitous phenomenon,' by outlining its three modes: theoretical, configurative and categoreal (not categorical).... Mink believes a person should have an intellectual personality largely characterized by one mode. A liberal education allows a student to experiment with all three. This is what makes college an 'ivory tower of Babel.'"
Professor Mink wrote on theories of perception in Mind, History and Dialect: The Philosophy of R. G. Collingwood (1968), and as a Joycean he published A Finnegans Wake Gazetteer in 1978.
Walker Field House was completed after almost a year and a half of construction. Called "a super baby which had a gestationi period of ten years" by self-identified "trustee jock" Frances Prindle Taft, the 42,250 square foot facility, according to Dean of the Faculty Patrick Sullivan, embodied Matthew Vassar's ideal of "pure air and joyous, unrestrained activity." The Miscellany News
Jane Walker McKinney ’24, Margaret Walker Spofford ’26, Nancy Spofford Yerkes ’52 and Margaret Spofford ’61, through the Walker Foundation, gave $1.7 million for the construction of the facility. President Virginia Smith expressed the college’s gratitude: “This is the most important individual gift Vassar has received since I came here, and it, in effect, signals success for the building project. We are thrilled to have it and are deeply grateful to the Walkers.” New York Times
Classicist Marion Tait, dean of the faculty from 1948 until 1965, holder for many years of the Sarah Gibson Blanding Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences and leader of several curricular initiatives, died after a long illness. During Tait’s tenure as dean she oversaw the return to the four-year bachelor's degree—shortened to three years during World War II. Instituting a new collegial relationship between the dean’s office and the faculty, Tait supported Vassar's participation in the "Five-College Project," a collaborative study of problems and prospects for teacher training within the liberal arts curriculum involving Vassar, Colgate, Cornell, Brooklyn College and the State University of New York at Fredonia that led to the creation of Vassar's innovative department of education in 1971.
Professor Tait returned to the dean's office in 1970-72 after the resignation in January 1970 of Dean Nell Eurich. She retired from teaching in 1977.
Professor of Drama William Rothwell directed Marika Blades '83 and Jon Tenney '84 in the opening production of the Vassar College theatre's season, a revival of Stage Door (1936) by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber in Avery Hall. Writing in The Miscellany News, Lori Mason '85 said "The acting was enhanced by an elaborate set and functional lighting. The huge cast of Stage Door, along with numerous technical workers obvously put much time and effort into producing an overall exuberant and pleasing performance."
Psychologist and former drug cult leader Timothy Leary lectured on "futurism" in the Chapel, maintaining that the upcoming baby boomer generation would change the course of the future. In his talk, Leary promoted drug use, maintaining that drugs “enable us to have access to circuits of our brains that have never before been understood.”
Owing to his own extensive drug use, Leary confessed to thinking, “I’m the most intelligent person my age alive today.” The Miscellany News
Leary spoke at the college in March 1968.
Guests of the department of English, Eleanor Clark '34 and her husband Robert Penn Warren read from their works in Skinner Hall. A poet, novelist and literary critic, Warren won the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novel All the King’s Men (1946), and his poetry won Pulitzer Prizes in 1958 and 1979. Named a MacArthur fellow in 1981, he was the first United States Poet Laureate, in 1986. Clark’s The Oysters of Locmariaquer (1964) won the National Book Award in Arts and Letters in 1965.
Philosopher's Holiday lecturer Harry Frankfurt from Yale University spoke on the "Importance of What to Care About" in the Josselyn House living room. A student of moral philosophy, rationalism and free will Professor Frankfurt became a celebrity when his 1986 essay “On Bullshit,” published in book form by Princeton University Press in 2005, spent 27 weeks on the bestseller list of The New York Times.
"Peace is not our inheritance," said the Reverend Paul Rutgers from Poughkeepsie's First Presbyterian Church in his sermon in the Chapel on “The Things that Make for Peace.” "It is not our right, nor can we buy it on the cheap.... We pay for war with our dollars, with our cities, with our lives. We think that peace is free. We should found peace academies, pay retribution to victims of violence, bribe armies not to fight. At least we must try. A dollar for the Pentagon, a dollar for peace.”
"The nature of those people who truly work for peace," reported Christopher Ortiz '86 in The Miscellany News, "was the focal point of Rutgers's talk.... 'Peace does not begin with those who despair, but with those who hope. It does not begin with the wishers, but with the workers.'" The Miscellany News
The Office of the Dean of the College sponsored an all-college symposium on “Issues of Nuclear War.” “My purpose in establishing the all-college symposium,” said Dean of the College H. Patrick Sullivan, “is to provide an annual occasion when the Vassar College community--- and through it, a larger community—can focus upon widely shared concerns. For this first year of the symposium I chose the issues of nuclear war as the focus.” The Miscellany News
The keynote speaker, Yale psychohistorian Dr. Robert J. Lifton, speaking to a near-capacity audience in Walker Field House on “Beyond Nuclear Numbing—The Call to Awareness,” drew on his extensive study in 1962 of survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima to descrbe the four stages of their "lifelong immersion in death." Discussing the "psychic numbing" of the present age towards the horrors of nuclear war, Lifton "observed," wrote Seth Mandell '84 in The Miscellany News, "that a 'worship of nuclear weapons,' borne out of the arms race is not uncommon. The 'agent of our destruction becomes the object of our worship.' The awesome capacity of the weapons becomes romanticized to the point of delusion."
Another highlight of the symposium was a faculty panel on “The Contribution of the Academic Disciplines to an Understanding of the Issues,” featuring Michael Brown of the political science department, Professor of Biology Patricia Johnson, Stephen Rousseas of the economics department and Professor of Physics Morton Tavel. Other conference events included a performance by the Bread and Puppet Theatre troupe, film screenings, as well as talks by Professor of History Henry Steele Commager of Amherst on “Chaos and Catastrophe: The Limits of Nuclear War” and by Katherine D. Seelman, a specialist on technology and public policy from New York University, who addressed the moral dimension of nuclear weapons in remarks entitled “New Perils, New Challenges, New Ethics.”
Associate Professor of English Frank Bergon, director of the American Culture Program, spoke on “Issues for the Eighties: American Values in the Nuclear Age,” the first of seven lectures in a multidisciplinary course on "the nuclear crisis" that also included faculty from political science, psychology and economics. "The wrong values, ideals and attitudes," he said, "are evoked by contmeporary references to the West in the Nuclear Age."
Bergon, reported Walter Hamilton II '86 in The Miscellany News, "said Americans have a false ideal about [the] military superiority of this nation.... Bergon beiieves America sees itself as a legendary western cowboy much like the 'strong, silent and self-reliant' John Wayne type, who always emerges the victor in every battle. Because America sees itself as the invincible cowboy, it might prove quick to prove its continuing power with the assistance of nuclear weapons."
Other open lectures for the course included "The Economic Impact of the Arms Race" by economist Stephen Rousseas, “Women in Politics and Nuclear Arms” by Associate Professor of Political Science Mary Shanley and "The Social Psychology of the Nuclear Threat," given by Randolph Cornelius of the psychology department.
Peter Davison, professor of English and American Literature at the University of Kent in Canterbury, lectured on the process of creating a complete edition of George Orwell’s works. "Professor Davison is no amateur in the editing game," wrote Kerstin J. Warner '86 in The Miscellany News. "His interests and past publications include analytical bibliography, medieval literature, Shakespeare and now Orwell.... He shared with the audience some of the questions he had to face while editing his 15-volume [edition]. 'How do we know what Orwell wrote?' (Editors and typesetters interfered.) Do we print what he intended or what he intended to have printed?"
Davison explained how he attempted to bring Orwell’s original thoughts and work to the forefront. "Would Orwell have trusted me? What would he want?.... The editor is always in danger of becoming a co-author."
Professor Davison—whose edition of Orwell ran eventually to 20 volumes—spoke previously at Vassar in 1980 and 1981.
Discussing fraud and fabrication of scientific scholarship, Professor Harriet Zuckerman ’58 from Columbia University, a scholar of the social aspects of scientific research, lectured on “Deviant Behavior in Science.” "Time and effort is wasted," she said, "but there's not much damage done to science...it's trivial as compared to the damage done to the public opinion." For Zuckerman, reported Beth Gabler '84 in The Miscellany News, "deviant behavior" was "any behavior that goes against the norms of science:cognitive norms as well as moral and social norms which entail intentional sloppiness and self-deception."
Asking "what kind of control can be used to prevent these fraudulent acts...Zuckerman noted that there is nothing similar to the Bar Assocation for scientists that would disbar a scientist for disreputable acts. She maintained that the only type of control is the test of reproducibility." Finally, Zuckerman "examined what the consequences are of these acts. Zuckerman believes that public opinion is being damaged, as more Americans are becoming attracted to the various types of research currently being conducted."
The Vassar Art Gallery exhibited Degas and His Contemporaries, including etchings, lithographs and small sculptures by Degas, Manet, Cézanne , Toulouse-Lautrec and others. "The viewer," wrote Kerstin Warner '86 in The Miscellany News, "should remember that these pieces are basically sketches and studies by the artists, and not necessarily finished works. Through these sketches we get a clearer idea of how the artists arrived at their styles, techniques and artistic concepts."
Lecturing on “Eating Disorders in the 80’s,” Professor of Biology M.R.C. Greenwood ‘68 said, "Most people believe anorexia and obesity are caused by voluntary emotions, but there are often genetic problems behind these diseases." "Greenwood began," wrote Walter N. Hamilton '86 in The Miscellany News, "by defining eating disorders as obesity, anorexia and bolemia.... The diseases are genetic and familial, and are often caused [by] an excessiiveness of deficiency in sex hormones. This causes victims of obesity to either think they should constantly eat of makes them become hungry too frequently. The opposite is true for anorexia and bolemia." The Miscellany News
Thai princess Her Serene Highness Vudhichalerm Vudhijaya spoke in the Chapel about the 200-year-old Chakri Dynasty, of which she was a member. After discussing the history of the dynasty, the princess concluded by saying, “I hope Thailand will always be happy and free. We are happy because of our religion—Buddhism. We were taught that we were born to be happy. Day by day I think about what I have done to make people happy and myself. You mustn’t hate. You must love. Love brings happiness to others.” The Miscellany News
Philaletheis presented Arthur Miller’s seriocomic examination of humanity's beginning, The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972). Director Jonathan Tenney ‘84 added both music and dance, the latter choreographed by Lorellen Green '86, to Miller's fantasy, intending, wrote Catherine Lee '83 in The Miscellany News, "to present, through the use of many elements of the theatre, an examiination of the many facets of human nature and the relation of human nature to the dynamics of nuclear arms issues." The production, she said, "conveys with evocative vividness the complexity of the human situation now and in the beginning.... The mixture of frustration, pride, laughter, tenderness, jealousy and truth confuse as much as they illuminate the audience. The ending is therefore desperate or hopeful in different degrees in each member of the audience. Whether or not you laugh or cry more or become involved in the story or its characters, you will leave the theatre with your thoughts stimulated in many directions." The Miscellany News
Historian Dr. Robert Butow of the University of Washington at Seattle spoke in Josselyn House living room on his recent discovery— tapes made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Oval Office. During a break in his work at the Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, NY, Professor Butow, a scholar of Japanese history, jokingly said to the library’s director and the head of the audio-visual department—thinking of the revelation in 1973 of the tapes of President Nixon—“I’m tired of reading, now can I hear the Roosevelt tapes?” To his surprise, the answer was “Oh sure, I’ll bring you a list of what’s available.”
Apparently to avoid being misquoted about private conversations, Roosevelt installed an experimental recording system in the Oval Office. The system, tested during press conferences, was difficult to turn off and therefore it made some very poor quality recordings of the President’s private remarks. Butow said that there were no great revelations on the tapes—Roosevelt spoke disparagingly about the Japanese and once told Secretary of State Cordell Hull that he intended to lie if reporters asked him if he had knowledge of a statement by Japan’s premier—but that the scratchy recordings did confirm Roosevelt’s easy and reassuring manner in his “fireside chats” as his normal manner when speaking informally to friends and close associates. Barry Fox, “Now the Roosevelt tapes…,” New Scientist, Feb. 4, 1982.
Leonor A. Huper, Consul General of Nicaragua, lectured on "Turmoil in Central America: A Post-Revolution View" in the Josselyn Living Room. Huper began by speaking about United States-Nicaragua relations: “From 1799 to 1942 the U.S. has invaded Latin American 92 times,” he said. “Nicaragua has been intervened in 10 times out of the 92.”
Tracing a series of invasions dating back to the middle of the 19th century, she said, "In 1912 a Marine force entered Nicaragua and remained for 20 years.... The last Marine left Nicaragua in 1932, but the U.S. decided to leave Nicaragua with an aarmy. The man chosen as general of the army was a friend of the American minister. In 1934 he ousted the president of Nacaragua and became president for life."
"In 1979," Huper declared, "that was the beginning of revolution. Revolution means change. We wanted a change that would come from the people up." Much good, she claimed, had come from the Sandinista overthrow of the U.S. supported Somoza dictatorship, saying, “Do you think a revolution that does something for its people is bad? We have had a taste of freedom. Everybody, men and women, know what to do to defend their country, and they are willing to do it.” The Miscellany News
Irish philosopher, theologian and translator John Joseph O'Meara from University College Dublin, the Blegen Visiting Distinguished Research Professor, lectured on "St. Augustine’s Understanding of the Creation and Fall," focusing on books eleven through thirteen of Confessions, in Taylor Hall. "Augustine's text," reported Catherine Lee '83, "speaks of man, homo, or human beings as genus, rather than man, vir, the male sex.... O'Meara stressed Augustine's sympathy for women, which made him exceptional in the context of his Roman upbringing.
"Professor O’Meara’s The Creation of Man in St. Augustine’s De Genesi Ad Literam was published by the Augustinian Institute in 1980.
The Blegen visiting professorship was established in 1975 in honor of Elizabeth Pierce Blegen ’10 and association with Vassar College by a bequest from her husband, classicist and archeologist Carl Blegen.
Professor Michael Witter of the University of the West Indies, former Cabinet Advisor to Prime Minister of Jamaica Michael Manley, spoke about 20th century political thought “From Garvey to Ras Tafari” as part of an Africana Studies Lecture Series on “Black Political Thought.” Witter described Ras Tafarian nationalism—so named in honor of Ras Tafari who, as Halie Silasse, became the King of Ethiopa in 1930—as a second movement in Jamaican nationalism, following on "Bourgeois nationalism." "In the 1960s," he explained, "the Jamaican economy grew through foreign investment; the kind of growth that brought an unequal distribution of income."
The Rastafari movement proclaimed the Pan-Africanism of early 20th century Jamaican leader Marcus Garvey as its guiding principle. "The Ras Tarfari," wrote Christopher Ortiz '86 in The Miscellany News, "sought repatriation to the African homeland. 'Rastafara is the embodiment of this repatriation,' he said. The importance of the Ras Tafarian movement is that its philosophy articulated the true feelings of political thought as the masses saw it.... In Jamaica you have a history of an independent peasantry. Its primary articulation has been through Reggae music." The Miscellany News
Professor of Economics Stephen W. Rousseas lectured on “The Economic Impact of the Arms Race” in Rockefeller Hall as part of the American Culture lecture series “Issues for the Eighties.” Rousseas asserted that the increasing amount of money needed for the arms race against the USSR had resulted in the dismantling of parts of the social safety net. Reagonomics, said Rousseas, would consolidate the wealth in the hands of the rich, "repoliticizing" the distribution of income.
"Rousseas half-jokingly," wrote Philip Boroff '85 in The Miscellany News, "asserted: 'A war would get us out of this mess.' But those in power seem to realize that 'wars are getting too dangerous.' So the logical conclusion is just to have an arms race. In real terms, the government is spending 200 billion dollars per year, or 1.6 trillion dollars in the next six years for arms."
German-American pianist, composer and conductor Lukas Foss provided "live program notes" for his program in Skinner Hall, presented by the music department in observance of his sixtieth birthday. After a performance of J.S. Bach’s Concerto in D minor BWV 1052 by Mr. Foss and a student quartet drawn from the Vassar Orchestra, the evening turned to Foss's own compositions, for which, reported Joanne Holiday '84 in The Miscellany News, "the composer delivered live program notes. Following the March and Andante, performed by Todd Crow and Richard Wilson, Foss said these were the first pieces for which he ever got paid. 'I got fifty dollars,' he said.
"Foss composed the March and Andante at age 16. Foss said “Music for Six” was[n't] a typical work since he usually writes for specific instruments 'It should be a weird array of instruments,' he said, 'any six' Each part alternates between two notes at close intervals, or repeats a pattern of four notes." The six performers were: Carl Gutowski '83, flute; Gordon Green '83, vibraphone; Diane Roberts '86, mirimba; Todd Crow, piano, College Organist Merellyn Gallagher, piano; and Brian Mann, electric piano.
Foss said his inspiration for “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," the poem of the same name by American poet Wallace Stevens, was a "combination of the humorous and the mysterious that interested him. 'You can't explain it in rational, logical terms.'" With Blanca Uribe at the keyboard, Charles Barbour struck the strings of the piano wth mallots, rubbed them with the bottoms of two pyrex bowls or dropped the bowls onto them and scraped the flat side of a metal bell along the the coiled strings. Soprano Carol Wilson closed the piece by singing into a delayed-replay tape recorder, which created a duet with her own echo.... The concert received a standing ovation." The Miscellany News
Lukas Foss's daughter, Eliza, was a member of the Class of 1984.
Ursuline nun and Professor of Chemistry Mary Virginia Orna from the College of New Rochelle lectured on “Pigment Analysis of Medieval Armenian Manuscripts” in Sanders Chemistry.
The European historian and founding history editor of Feminist Studies, Judith Walkowitz of Rutgers University, lectured on “Jack the Ripper: Reaction to Violence and Sexuality in Victorian England” in Rockefeller Hall. Walkowitz held that men were pleased when the five Jack the Ripper murders frightened Victorian women who were beginning to assert themselves.
Bernard Kalb, State Department television news correspondent for NBC, well-known for his coverage of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s “shuttle diplomacy,” lectured in the Chapel on "Israel and the Middle-East: New Approaches to an Old Dilemma.” Kalb said the "question is central," reported Bonnie Stollowicz '84, in The Miscellany News, "At present , 700,000 Palestinians and 25,000 Israelis live on the West Bank. Kalb used these figures to make the point that the West Bank conflict in a 'question chiseled in the conscience of the Israelis.'"
Sociologist Stephen Steinberg from Queens College of the City University of New York, the author of The Ethnic Myth: Race, Ethnicity and Class in America (1981), lectured on “Ethnic Heroes and Villains in American Social Science” in the Villard Room. Professor Steinberg asserted, “It’s not the culture but rather the cultural condition by social-class which provides an explanation for why some groups ‘make it’ and others do not.” The Miscellany News
Jane Calloman Arkus ’50 and Leon Arkus donated a sculpture entitled Swirl (1979) by New York artist Jack Youngerman to the Vassar Art Gallery. When the lobby of Main Building was redesigned by Cesar Pelli in 1996, this work was placed at the new entrance to the College Center.
New York State changed the drinking age from 18 to 19, prompting the college to bar all students under the age of 19 from entering Matthew’s Mug.