Five members of the Vassar debate team competed in the Worlds’ Universities Debating Championships in Athens, Greece.  Vassar’s A Team, Katie Kimpel ’00, president of the debating society, and Amar Reganti ’99, was one of four American teams to compete in the top 32.   

President Frances Fergusson returned from her semester sabbatical traveling in Africa and Asia on behalf of the Ford Foundation.  During her travels, Fergusson prepared reports for the president of the foundation on Ford programs and projects she had visited.

Professor of Political Science M. Glen Johnson acted as interim-President in Fergusson’s absence.  Fergusson applauded Johnson’s work as interim-President: “I thought Glen Johnson did an excellent job.  He was not only able to keep momentum going behind important projects, but he was also able to really stay in touch with students, faculty, administrators and the Vassar community at large, which for an interim president is especially hard to do.”     The Miscellany News

A collectivist discussion group, the student publication Womanspeak and a new chapter of the national organization Feminist Majority Alliance merged under the umbrella of the existing Feminist Alliance.  Each group maintained its specific focus and approach to feminist issues but merged the budgets allocated to them by the Vassar Students Association. “We want to give people as many choices as possible,” said Feminist Alliance co-chair Rimma Razhba ’99.      The Miscellany News

The United States Supreme Court declined to review the Second Circuit of Court of Appeals ruling that the college had not discriminated against Assistant Professor of Biology Cynthia Fisher in its denial of tenure in 1985. Dr. Fisher had returned to Vassar briefly after a U.S. District Court ruled in her favor. That decision, however, was overturned by the Second Circuit decision.

“We at Vassar College feel completely vindicated by this decision,” said President Fergusson.     The Miscellany News, The New York Times

The Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, John Perry, spoke in Taylor Hall on "Language and the Flow of Information," as part of the annual Philosopher's Holiday lecture series.  A scholar of the philosophy of language, logic, information and metaphysics, Perry frequently drew attention to the strengths and limitations of language to inform. Among his numerous works were his 1978 dialog between a mortally wounded university professor and her two friends, A Dialog on Personal Identity and Immortality (1978), his humorous online essay Structured Procrastination (1995) and the collection of essays The Problem of the Essential Indexical (1993), the title essay of which begins with Perry’s discovery in a supermarket that the trail of spilled sugar he has been following is coming from his own cart.

“I believed at the outset that the shopper with a torn sack was making a mess.  And I was right.  But I did not believe that I was making a mess.  That seems to be something I came to believe.  And when I came to believe that, I stopped following a trail around the counter and rearranged the torn sack in my cart.  My change in beliefs seems to explain my change in behavior….

“At first, characterizing the change seems easy.  My beliefs changed, didn’t they, in that I cam to have a new one, namely, that I am making a mess.  But things are not so simple.

“The reason they are not is the importance of the word ‘I’ in my expression of what I came to believe.  When we replace it with other designations of me, we no longer have an explanation of my behavior and so, it seems, no longer an attribution of the same belief.  It seems to be an essential indexical.”     John Perry, The Problem of the Essential Indexical

John Perry and his Stanford colleague, Professor of Philosophy Ken Taylor, founded the hour-long weekly radio program, “Philosophy Talk”—“The program that questions everything…except your intelligence.”—in the fall of 2003. 

Security discovered two persons stuck knee-deep in mud in the middle of Sunset Lake, which had been drained for the winter.  The Arlington Fire Department helped rescue the non-students from the mud.

The student-run Listening Center (TLC) broadened its services, creating a 24-hour helpline.  “We felt that office hours were no longer sufficient to meet students needs and that people should have someone to talk to, no matter what time of day or night,” explained TLC counselor Michelle Moor ’99. Students calling the Campus Response Center (CRC) were transferred upon request to the Helpline, where they could anonymously speak with a peer counselor.     The Miscellany News

Dean of Students D.B. Brown, the Health and Counseling Committee and the Committee on College Life, clarified the protocols on student emergency leaves of absence.  “The formal process for emergency leaves of absence wasn’t very well known among students and faculty,” explained Chair of the Health and Counseling Committee and Professor of Psychology Randy Cornelius.  “The procedures are clearly articulated now, and will be printed in various places.”     The Miscellany News

Flyers posted around campus advertising a lecture by former Clinton presidential intern Monica Lewinsky sponsored by the Feminist Majority Alliance were determined to be a hoax. 

Despite receiving death threats the evening before his appearance, Bill Baird, reproductive rights activist and founder of the Pro-Choice League, gave a lecture in the Villard Room sponsored by The Feminist Majority Alliance. “You have every right to be free," he told the audience, "you have every right to make your own decisions. I am a fighter.”    The Miscellany News

Three non-students protested Baird’s lecture, picketing in front of Main Gate and carrying signs, one showing a 21-week old aborted fetus and another declaring “Abortion is today’s Holocaust.”  One of the protestors, Joe Marinaccio, declared "[Baird] believes in killing babies; he believes women have free choice," and the protest’s organizer, Poughkeepsie resident Helen Westover, the director of Mid-Hudson Stop Planned Parenthood, called Baird an “opportunist,” claiming that he “made millions [by] hurting women.” Baird responded that his only income was a $13,200 Social Security check.

Security officer Kane Zavatsky reported that "extra personnel" and been stationed "in and around Main Building" while Baird spoke and while he met with members of the Feminist Majority Leadship Alliance. Concurrently, members of the student group Respect Life held a meeting in the Gold Parlor of Main Building with Ms. Westover.     The Miscellany News

Baird spoke at Vassar again in 2000.

The AIDS Education Committee sponsored two lectures to mark National Condom Week.  Rosalyne Blumenstein, director of the Gender Identity Project at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York City, spoke at Alumnae House on "A Transgender Experience.”  Later that day, the author and host of the nationally broadcast radio talk show “Love Phone,” Dr. Judy [Kuriansky], spoke in the Chapel.  

Dr. Judy is an “expert in relations, trends, creativity and sexuality,” said the chair of the AIDS Education Committee, Wendy Fabricant ’98.  “Her focus is on making intelligent sexual choices, which translates into decreasing relationship violence and encouraging safer sex.  Anyone who has ever been in love, has had sex, or hopes to, should definitely come hear Dr. Judy.”     The Miscellany News

The Miscellany News reported contentious student reactions to an art exhibit in The College Center Gallery called “Art, History or Stereotype: A Controversial Look at Black Memorabilia,” which showed racist commercial images from the 19th and 20th centuries.  “It’s a tough collection,” said Dutchess County Legislator Mario Johnson, who owned the collection.  “These images are not nice.  You have to put it in the context of the time.  It’s stuff that actually happened.  It’s real history.” 

The exhibit coincided with President Bill Clinton’s national Initiative on Race as well as a series of discussions led by the Student Coalition and various concerned students about issues of race at Vassar. “It’s disturbing, but I thought it would be a good opportunity for students to begin a dialogue about race,” explained Terry Quinn, the director of the College Center. 

The college announced that at the end of the semesters students would be able to access their grades online using their Vassar ID numbers and passwords. Registrar Dan Giannini noted that, despite online accessibility, grades would still be sent to students’ homes. 


The Lesbian and Gay Alumnae/i Association of Vassar College held its annual meeting at the college.  A highlight was a workshop, “The Gender Spectrum,” led by Jason Fleetwood Bolt ’01 and the director of the Gender Identity Project at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York City, Rosalyne Blumenstein, who spoke on campus for National Condom Week the day before. 

Delivering the Alex Krieger ’95 Memorial Lecture in Skinner Hall, New Yorker writer and social critic Calvin Trillin admitted “I’m actually glad to be at any college where I’m not paying tuition.” “Trillin’s hour-and-15-minute-long talk,” said Sally-Anne Moringello '99 in The Miscellany News, “was captivating from beginning to end—and not because he gave some lofty talk with a long, fancy title…. The ‘social commentator’ did just that—he commentated on random aspects of society and of his own life.” 

 Three of Trillin’s books on regional American food—American Fried: Adventures of a Happy Eater (1974), Alice, Let’s Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater (1978) and Third Helpings (1983)—appeared in 1994 as The Tummy Triology, as did Deadline Poet: My Life as a Doggerelist, a collection of comic verse with commentary. Family Man, reflections on his daughters, and Travels with Alice, essays on family travel, appeared in1999

The Alex Krieger Memorial Fund was started by his parents in memory of Alex Krieger ’95 who died in his freshman year in an automobile accident while driving to Pennsylvania for an ultimate Frisbee match.  The annual lectures brought eminent American humorists and cultural critics to Vassar in recognition of Krieger’s keen appreciation of the genres. 

Sociologist Dr. James V. Fenellon from John Carroll University spoke on “Chief Wahoo and the Cleveland Indians: Global Icons and Symbolic Racism” for Equal Rights Awareness Day sponsored by the student organization, Promoting Equality And Community Everywhere (P.E.A.C.E.).   Descended from the Lakota/Dakota Sioux, Professor Fenelon examined the evolution and perceived significance of the team logo of the Cleveland Indians baseball team, “Chief Wahoo”—adopted by the team in 1915 and developed into its current form in 1952.  Protests against the design as “racist” began with the opening of the team’s stadium, Jacobs Field, in 1994, and they intensified, spreading to college campuses, during the Indians’ unsuccessful 1995 World Series contest against another “Indian” team, the Atlanta Braves.

 Some of Dr. Fenelon’s remarks were drawn from a paper he presented to the American Sociological Association at its August 1997 meeting in Toronto.  “Wahoo: Window into the World of Racism” reported on an extensive multi-generational and on a multi-ethnic survey, a study of media coverage of the protests against “the Wahoo” and on interviews.  One of the study’s conclusions was that “institutionalized ‘white racism’ is clearly evidenced in [the] display, distribution and defense of the racial icon Chief Wahoo.”

 For its event, P.E.A.C.E. invited 100 local high school students to campus to participate in workshops and discussions around issues of symbolism and race. 


The college announced that Cesar Pelli, architect of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, was commissioned to design a new center for drama and film, to be constructed on the site of Avery Hall, originally the Calisthenium and Riding Academy.  The combination of drama and film in one building was intended to encourage collaboration between disciplines, an idea that would be reflected in Pelli’s design. 

Elaine Pagels, professor of religion at Princeton University, gave the Frederic C. Wood, Jr. Memorial Lecture, speaking on "Jesus in the Gnostic Gospels: Alternative Views" in the Villard Room.  A former MacArthur Fellow (1980-85), Professor Pagels worked at Harvard as a graduate student in the translation of the Nag Hammadi library, 52 papyrus texts discovered in 1945 in Egypt and dating from the first century of Christianity, which became known as the Gnostic Gospels—an alternative/supplement to the New Testament gospels. Her exposition of the alternative view of early Christianity in the writings, The Gnostic Gospels (1979), won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1979 and the National Book Award in 1980.  Her The Origin of Satan (1995) argued that these early texts suggested that Christians throughout history “taught—and acted upon—the belief that their enemies are evil and beyond redemption.”

Frederic C. Wood, Jr., was chaplain and associate professor of religion at Vassar. Pastoral Psychology magazine’s “The Man of the Month” in October of 1969, Wood was described as “in a Gilbert and Sullivan phrase, the ‘very model’ for a modern university minister.”  He had, the journal added, “set the standard for campus clergy.”  His Sex and the New Morality appeared in 1968 and Living in the Now: Spirit-Centered Faith for 20th Century Man was published in 1970, the year of his death at the age of 38.

The Jewish Studies program cancelled the spring break study group to Jerusalem for its course “Jerusalem Above, Jerusalem Below.” Dean of the Faculty Norman Fainstein and the senior officers cited concerns for students’ safety in light of violence in the region and President Bill Clinton’s recent accusation that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was hiding chemical and biological weapons, thereby breaking with United Nations resolutions. 

Lesbian-feminist activist and performance artist Holly Hughes performed in Avery Hall.  Hughes was one of the NEA Four, four performance artists whose peer-reviewed grants from the National Endowment for the Arts were vetoed in 1990 by the endowment’s chairman on the basis of “obscene” content.  The artists sued, and despite reinstated grants to two of the Four—Ms. Hughes and Tim Miller—the following year, the suit continued.  In 1994, the endowment settled the suit for $252,000, of which Ms. Hughes received $9,375.

In June 1998 the Supreme Court, in an eight to one decision, upheld a Congressional “decency test” initiated by the case of Hughes and her colleagues that obliged the endowment to consider “decency” and “respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public” in considering grants. 

In Leaving Town Alive (1993), a reflection on his two-and-a-half years as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon attorney John Frohnmayer wrote, “I couldn’t have handled it worse with a rehearsed script….  Congress was in a depression of courage, and I didn’t want to be the one to take the endowment down in flames.”

The Vassar Students Association authorized Students for a Free Tibet as a student organization, one of many chapters on college campuses around the country.  “They have obviously been very active and vocal and they were well represented at the meeting,” said VSA Secretary Makeda Smith ’98.  Earlier in the year the group raised over $1,000 from a benefit concert. 

The AIDS Education Committee gathered over 400 signatures supporting free and confidential AIDS testing services at Baldwin Health Center.  “The matter now is not ‘should we [test] on campus,’ but how quickly can we do it,” said Dean of Students D. B. Brown.     The Miscellany News

The health service discussed offering free, confidential AIDS testing at Baldwin in 1991

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lucinda Franks ’68, writer in residence on William Gifford Fund for Visiting Writers, spoke in Sanders Auditorium on “The War for Baby Clausen."  Professor Emeritus of English Gifford was happy with Franks’ talk, telling The Miscellany News, “she’s a wonderful writer, she studied here, she taught here, she understands reporting, she understands what students need to know, and to me, she makes what she writes about—the problems and possibilities—exciting.”

A staff writer for The New York Times, Franks shared the 1971 Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for “Diana: the Making of a Terrorist,” an account the life and death of Weatherwoman Diana Oughton.  She taught Vassar’s Contemporary Press class in 1981.

Eighty-six-year-old Himalayan sage and yogi Shri Swami Divyananda Saraswati Maharaj spoke for over two hours in Sanders Auditorium on “Health, Happiness and Long Life.”  “Most people are so focused on making a living that they have no time to live,” the master, who had spent 40 years in a Himalayan hut at 12,000 feet.  He urged his listeners to put “more life into their years, rather than more years into their lives,” encouraging students to seek both spiritual and academic knowledge with “a heart of love, the mind of a thinker, the eyes of a seeker, the voice of a singer and the hands of a worker.”     The Miscellany News

A recurring dispute over the difference between club (non-varsity) sports and varsity teams was addressed when club sport athletes were invited to the annual athletics banquet for the first time. “It was important that all athletes were recognized on this campus for the work they do,” said Peter Krasny ’99, the VSA representative to the Student Athletes Advisory Committee. But, as VSA President Jason Baumgarten ’98 pointed out, “It is hard to figure out exactly what the club sports athletes are supposed to get from the banquet” since they received no awards and were not included in the annual video montage.     The Miscellany New

The film and drama departments held a reunion weekend, welcoming 156 alumni and all current film and drama majors.  The reunion marked the dedication of the former Coal Bin Theatre, renovated in memory of Susan Stein Shiva ’57. The black box theater exclusively for student productions in the former vehicles building—earlier the “coal pocket” for the college boilers—was part of the adaptive reuse of the former site behind Main Building of the branches of the buildings and grounds department.  Designed by Vassar’s architecture professor, Jeh V. Johnson, in consultation with Philaletheis and its aggregate dramatic organizations, the facility was under the direction of Philaletheis.  It later became the Susan Stein Shiva Theater, in honor of Ms. Shiva, who was active in New York dramatic circles and an original trustee of the New York Shakespeare Festival.

Students and alumni attended a panel on “Television in the Third Millenium” featuring the president of New Line Television, Robert Friedman ’78, the president of Disney/ABC Cable Television, Geraldine Laybourne ’69 and Milbrey Rennie Taylor ’68, an executive producer at CBS News.  “The event gave us a perspective on what is happening in theatre, film and television today,” said drama major Jennifer Holmes ’00.  “It also provided the groundwork for a connection between the academic and professional worlds.”      The Miscellany News

Alice Kaplan ex-‘75, author of French Lessons: A Memoir (1993) and Lehrman Professor of Romance Studies and Literature at Duke University, gave the Dr. Maurice Sitomer Lecture, "France on Trial," in the Villard Room.  Dr. Kaplan’s The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach (2000), a study of the pro-Vichy and anti-semitic French intellectual executed in 1945 for “intellectual crimes” by the Gaullist government, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Award in History. 

Four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader spoke in the Chapel on "Government, Corporations, and the Environment in the 21st Century,” as part of the Vassar Greens’ Earth Day observation.  Nader is one of the most influential organizers of our time,” said Greens Co-Chair Pamela Garfield ’98, “and he addresses the interests of everyone and anyone who is a consumer in this society....  He talks about solutions and real ways students can organize for change and make a difference.”      The Miscellany News

Lesléa Newman, author of Heather Has Two Mommies (1989), gave a lecture of the same name as part the “GAYpril” events of the Queer Coalition of Vassar College (QCVC).  Newman’s book about a lesbian couple raising a daughter raised protests in 1992 when it was included in the New York City school system’s multicultural “Rainbow Curriculum.”   “This lecture will be important because it forces people to rethink the necessity and the benefits of the traditional, nuclear family and our fears and biases surrounding this particular subject,” said QCVC co-chair Jessica Jenkins ’00.  “It will also be very informative about homophobia in New York outside the walls of Vassar, and especially in the public school system.”     The Miscellany News

Vassar hosted a New York State Democratic primary election debate, which included candidate for Attorney General Catherine Abate ’69.  The College Democrats and the Dutchess County Democrats organized the event, and students Evan Greenstein ’99 and Stephanie Litos ’99 sat on the questioning panel.

Ms. Abate lost the Democratic primary to attorney and former organized crime prosecutor Eliot Spitzer, who defeated the Republican incumbent, Dennis Vacco, in the general election.

Speaking at Vassar’s 132nd Commencement, Tony Award-winning actress Jane Alexander advised the 500 graduates in the Class of 1998 to “follow your gut and don’t take any guff from anyone.”  The former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts in the Clinton administration admitted, “Many of us older people are stuck in the status quo since we are all invested in keeping things pretty much the same as they are, in order to hold on to what we’ve got.”  “There is,” she told the class, “always a better mousetrap to be built, and it is your generation that is going to build it.”     The New York Times

Alexander’s memoir, Command Performance: An Actress in the Theater of Politics (2000) recounted Alexander’s struggle to defend the National Endowment against attempts to abolish it by conservative congressmen and the Christian right.  At the time of her resignation in December 1997 Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, quoted in Dance magazine, praised her “skillfully running the gauntlet of hostile ideological attacks from Congress and brilliantly defending a strong federal role in the arts for communities across the country.”

The Cooperative Bookshop merged with the College Bookstore.  The Co-op, an independent operation for 65 years selling texts for the Departments of Drama, English, Women’s Studies, Art and History, had faced financial difficulties in recent years, making “the merger more of a necessity than a choice,” according to Co-op Board Secretary Milton Welch ’99.   “The principle of the merger is a concern,” said Welch, “…However, the state of the situation has made it a question between maintaining what the Co-op stands for and [going out of business].”

Nominated by Lia McCabe, a disabled resident of Dutchess County, Vassar received an Access Dutchess County Award as one of the “businesses and other public accommodations that have made exceptional efforts to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.”  For some 14 years, the student/faculty Committee on Disability Issues (CODI) had advised the college, which had most recently improved accessibility through a renovation of Blodgett Hall, the installation of wheelchair lifts in Thompson Library and the completion of a ramp providing disability access to the front of Main building

Truck bombs exploded almost simultaneously outside United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  Members of the Islamic militant group al-Qaeda were held responsible for the explosions, which killed 224 people and injured some 4,500 others. Osama bin Laden was among the 22 men indicted by a federal grand jury for the attacks.

TIME magazine and The Princeton Review’s Best College For you named Vassar “College of the Year,” focusing largely on the Exploring Transfer program, a collaborative effort between Vassar and several community colleges that provided promising community college students a credit-bearing, summer residential college experience.  Started in 1984 under the direction of Dean of Studies Colton Johnson in collaboration with Dr. Janet Lieberman from LaGuardia Community College in Queens, the program was the focus of the National Conference on Community College Transfer held at Vassar in 1988, and in the program was replicated at fie sites across the country in summer of 1990 under the sponsorship of the Ford Foundation, AT&T Foundation and Chase Manhattan Bank.

Johnson and Lieberman received a Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievement in Higher Education in 1989.

Police arrested a resident of 99 Fulton Avenue, just a few blocks away from the College, after discovering the bodies of eight women who had been reported missing from the Poughkeepsie area over the previous 22 months.  The 27-year-old man lived in the house with his parents and a teenage sister. 



The lieutenant governor of New York, Betsy McCaughey Ross ’70, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, and Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, spoke in the Jade Parlor on women and politics.


Artist Joe Amrhein, co-founder of the Pierogi Gallery and curator of the Pierogi 2000 exhibit in the College Center Gallery, lectured in Taylor Hall on the curatorial process and on the primary inspiration for the exhibit—new artists’ struggle to show work in Manhattan.  Pierogi 2000 displayed work by over 200 artists, both well- and lesser- known and including Vassar’s own Professor of Art Harry Roseman, in portfolios held in two large open cabinets.  The exhibit’s name was a nod to the traditionally Polish population of the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, where the project started. 

Blythe Dillon ‘99, who covered the lecture for The Miscellany News, reported that Amrhein “spoke of his personal frustration with the situation of galleries within Manhattan and how it has become increasingly difficult for unknown artists to show their work. He therefore converted his own studio, “Four Walls,” into a gallery.” 

Edward Pittman ‘82 assumed the newly created position of associate dean of the college for campus community.  Formerly the assistant dean of the college and director of the Intercultural Center, Pittman expressed hoped that this change would “make for an integration of different services across campus.”     The Miscellany News

After a successful three-year pilot program initiated by Jewett House President Julia-Sara Mobley ’98 in 1996 which placed printers in Jewett and Cushing Houses, each residence hall computer cluster was supplied with a printer.  Students needed only supply their own paper.

Speaking at the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, President Frances D. Fergusson received the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal for her humanitarian efforts.  Professor of Political Science and former Acting President M. Glen Johnson noted Fergusson’s accomplishment as the first woman to be elected Chair of the Board at the Mayo Foundation, and her active role as a trustee of the Ford Foundation.  Other honorees were actor Earl Jones, United States Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and Anne Dyson, M.D.

Rev. Richard C. Witt, Director of the Rural Migrant Ministry, lectures on "The Plight of Migrant Workers in the Hudson Valley" as a part of the Spirituality, Culture, and Justice Series in the Faculty Parlor.  Executive director since 1981 of the organization, whose mission was to “overcome the prejudices and poverty that degrade and debilitate all members of our society,” Witt also provided chaplaincy counsel to the Vassar community.

Singer and jazz pianist Bobby Short performed in Skinner Hall.  “Short’s bubbling personality and expressive gestures colored the entire performance,” wrote The Miscellany News.  “The bright, upbeat tunes seemed to flow from his fingers as he played, and his constantly tapping foot soon became contagious.”

The South Asian Students’ Alliance sponsored Indiafest, an all-afternoon event on the residential quad to “promote peace between South Asian countries and to mark the 50th anniversary of Gandhi’s death.”  Events included cultural dancing and a fashion show put on by members of SASA and the Poughkeepsie community.

Self-proclaimed “radical historian” Ellen Carol Dubois, professor of history at the University of California at Los Angeles, lectured on "Harriot Stanton Blatch at Vassar: Women's Rights Goes to College" in the Villard Room.  Dubois’s study of early feminist Harriot Stanton Blatch ’78, Harriot Stanton Blatch and the Winning of Woman Suffrage appeared from Yale University Press in 1997. 

The daughter of pioneer feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Blatch assisted her mother, Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gag on the second volume of History of Woman Suffrage (1881) before her marriage to William Blatch in 1882.

The Miscellany News praised the atmosphere of the new Cubby Hole Coffeehouse on Raymond Avenue, citing the comfortable couches, the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling and “…a cozy, yet exotic and colorful décor with creatively-themed seating areas and dramatic purple walls featuring the art and photography of local and Vassar artists.”  “I’m here for the Vassar students…I feel like this is my living room, and I’m inviting all my friends over for coffee,” owner Reisa Conde said.

A small stage at the front of the coffeehouse encourged student and local live-music performances. 

Mayan Indian playwrights and actresses Isabel Juarez Espinos and Petrona de la Cruz gave a lecture-demonstration in Sanders Auditorium on “Empowerment of Mayan Women.”  Founders in 1993 of La FOMMA, a theater troupe and community center in the Chiapas region of southern Mexico, the two women toured internationally, speaking about their work, which focused on the struggle of indigenous women in rural Mexico.  The troupe’s name was an acronym for la Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya (the strength of the Mayan woman).

Speaking to playwright Robert Myers in The New York Times in 1997, former Vassar professor of drama Denny Partridge, who worked with the project, praised La FOMMA’s unique “women-centered perspective.”  “It’s not anti-male,” Partridge continued, ''but these women urgently need to communicate the stories of their lives, and this is a safe haven.''     New York Times

The Queer Coalition held a vigil in front of the library for Matthew Shepard, the 21-year old gay college student killed recently in Laramie, Wyoming.  Over 170 students joined in services.  “I was surprised at the turnout…from what I saw, it was a big cross-section of the Vassar community,” said Queer Coalition contact and vigil organizer T.C. Morrow ’99.     The Miscellany News

At their fall meeting the board of trustees pledged that the college would “never knowingly purchase apparel from vendors or manufacturers that use sweatshop labor,” adopting the code of conduct presented by the Vassar Students Association earlier that year.  

Dr. Vladimir Strelnitski, the director of the Maria Mitchell Observatory in Nantucket lectured on "MWC349: The Unique Star-Laser" in Sanders Physics.   While associated with the Astrophysics Laboratory at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, in 1995, Dr. Strelnitsky was the principle investigator in the team that detected Radio Star MWC 349, the first “natural” laser to be found in space.

The Maria Mitchell Observatory was a key part of the program of the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association.  Founded in 1902 by former students, family members and admirers of Vassar’s first professor of astronomy, Maria Mitchell, the association’s goals were preservation of Mitchell’s legacy at the native site of her work.

Dr. James G. Blight, professor of international relations at Brown University, delivered the Charles Griffin Memorial Lecture in Sanders Auditorium, speaking on "The Door We Never Opened: How the Vietnam War Could Have Been Avoided, 1962-1963."  Along with Vassar Professor of History Robert K. Brigham, Professor Blight participated with former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and Vietnamese scholars and former military and civilian officials in six extended discussions between November 1995 and February 1998 of the Vietnamese War.  Brigham, Blight and McNamara published Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy in 1999. 

The Charles Griffin Memorial Lecture honored the former dean of the faculty and professor of history Charles Caroll Griffin, a distinguished Latin Americanist, who taught at Vassar from 1934 until his retirement in 1967.  Professor Griffin died in 1976.

Professor Blight spoke again at Vassar on this topic in March 1999.

 The Intercultural Center changed its name to the ALANA Center (Asian, Latino, African American/Black and Native American Center).  “The name change will not alter anything in the Center’s purpose, attention or mission to students of color, the only difference will be adjusting to the name change,” ALANA Manager Marivel Oropeza ’99 told The Miscellany News.

President Frances Fergusson was recognized in Vanity Fair’s article “America’s Most Influential Women: 200 Legends, Leaders and Trailblazers.” Also recognized in the article were Katherine Graham  ex-’38, former publisher of The Washington Post and chairman of the The Washington Post Company board; Susan Peterson ’66, chairman and publisher of Viking Penguin and publisher of Riverhead Books and Geraldine Laybourne ’69, former president of Nickelodeon and president of Disney-ABC Cable Network.

The director of Vassar’s study abroad program in Morocco, Dr. Mohamed Ezroura, vice dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Mohammed al Khamis University in Rabat, lectured on "Readjusting Cultural Differences and Visions" in Sanders Auditorium. 

The president of the Ford Foundation, Susan V. Berresford ex-’65, Vassar’s executive in residence, spoke in the Villard Room on "Foundations and Social Change."  During her recent sabbatical semester President Fergusson, a member of the Ford board, traveled throughout Africa and Asia evaluating Ford programs.

The Executive in Residence program was established in 1983 by President Virginia Smith.

The College received a $3.6 million gift from the Marian and Speros Martel Foundation, enabling the addition of a baroque organ and air conditioning system to the Belle Skinner Hall of Music and the construction of a new theater in Avery. “It is most appropriate that a new theater behind that historic façade will bear Mrs. Martel’s name. We are delighted the foundation has made this generous contribution in her memory,” President Ferguson told The Miscellany News.

David Kelley, founder and executive director of the Institute for Objectivist Studies, an organization devoted to the philosophy of Ayn Rand, lectured in Sanders Hall on "Economic Rights: Welfare Rights."

Dr. Kelley taught in the philosophy department and the cognitive science program at Vassar between 1977 and 1984.

The Republican majority in the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach President Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in the inquiry into his alleged sexual relationship with a White House intern.

 On February 12, 1999, the Senate, the majority of which were Democrats, acquitted him of the charges.