The Miscellany News reported that former Vassar professor and coach Betty Richey had been named to Lacrosse Magazine’s All-Century team.  A member of the Vassar faculty from 1937 until her retirement in 1978, Richey held the record of 21 consecutive years as an All-American lacrosse player and was once cited as the country’s greatest lacrosse player.  She was a member of the U. S. Field Hockey Association Reserve and All-America teams for 20 years, and she was a co-founder in 1965 of the Intercollegiate Women’s Squash Championship.

 In 1995, when Katherine Allabough ’69 was among the first woman players named to the College Squash Association’s Hall of Fame, Richey, who died in 1988, was among the first woman coaches to be so honored. 

 The college established the annual Betty Richey Field Hockey Tournament at the time of her retirement.

Dutch-born architect, urbanist and architectural theorist Rem Koolhaas delivered an illustrated lecture, “Another Profession,” before a standing-room only audience in Taylor Hall.  The first lecturer in the Agnes Rindge Claflin Lecture Series, Koolhaas was founder of the architectural firm Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and the author of two influential studies of contemporary urban design, Delirious New York: A Retrospective Manifesto of Manhattan (1978) and S.M.L.XL (1998). Wrting in The Miscellany News, Lauren Arana praised the architect's "liberal use of visual schemes, which were essentially high-tech teaching aids. The combined photography, text, charts, symbols and distorted images to explain in literal terms the point he was making.... The slides became works of art themselves, combining top quality photographs and technology with ingenious symbols and captions. Koolhaas presented his work and his diagrams with an enthusiasm that was both confident and modest.... It required a suspension of disbelief on more than one occasion when he described his sometimes far-fetched urban proposals, but there was that was ultimately convincing and trustworthy about his personality that made the audience obliged to do so."

The distinguished art historian and director of the Vassar Art Gallery Agnes Rindge Claflin first taught at Vassar 1921. Returning after masters and doctoral studies at Radcliffe, she taught at Vassar from 1923 until her retirement in 1965.  Her extensive and influential association with modernist artists and collectors and with the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) was reflected in both the teaching and curriculum of the art department and the gallery’s acquisitions and programming during her time at the college.

Peter Kwong, professor of Asian American studies and urban affairs and planning at Hunter College, spoke in Sanders Auditorium on illegal Chinese immigrants in the United States.  Professor Kwong’s research in Forbidden Workers:  Illegal Chinese Immigrants and American Labor (1999)—interviews with immigrant workers, their families in China, activists, Chinese-American bosses and human smugglers—was regarded as a most reliable guide to a startling instance of “modern slavery” in America.

Bernard McGinn, Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity at the University of Chicago, lectured in Sanders Auditorium on "Apocalypticism and Mysticism."  A preeminent scholar of mysticism in Western Christian thought, Professor McGinn published Visions of the End: Apocalyptic Traditions in the Middle Ages in 1979, and he was co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism (1999).  His The Flowering of Mysticism: Men and Women in the New Mysticism, 1200-1350, the third of a projected five-volume study of Christian mysticism in the West, appeared in 1990.

Promoting Equality and Community Everywhere (P.E.A.C.E) sponsored its annual Equal Rights Awareness Week, offering workshops and events, including an exhibition of children’s art in the College Center—pictures from elementary school student participants in the P.E.A.C.E. mentoring program.  The young artists were entertained at a cookies and juice reception by the Barefoot Monkeys, Vassar’s interactive juggling, fire-dancing, free-from acrobatic troupe.  Some 175 local high school students also joined in workshops led by such groups as Boston’s United for a Fair Economy, Poughkeepsie’s Children’s Media Project and Battered Women’s Services during the week.

The event’s keynote, on February 24, was an address by social activist and revisionist American historian Howard Zinn, who spoke on "Bringing Democracy Alive" in the Chapel.  The concluding event, a dinner in the Aula sponsored by the Black Students Union, the African Students Union and the Caribbean Students Alliance honored Black History Month.

Professor of history James Merrell was one of three American historians to receive the prestigious Bancroft Prize, an annual award established at Columbia University in 1948 by historian Frederic Bancroft.  Professor Merrell was awarded the prize for Into the Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier (1999), a groundbreaking study of 17th century negotiators in Pennsylvania—diverse colonists and Native Americans—of “the Long Peace” among the several antagonists.  The Bancroft Prize for 1990 was awarded to his earlier book, The Indians’ New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal (1989) along with both the annual Frederick Jackson Turner Award and the annual Merle Curti Award of the Organization of American Historians.

One of only five historians to win two Bancroft Prizes, Professor Merrell told The Miscellany News, “Many better historians than I have not won this prize,” adding, “It was humbling to win the first time.  [Winning it] twice makes me even more humble.”  Of her colleague’s achievement, Professor of History Miriam Cohen noted, “He teaches American [history], and it is his deep-seated commitment that Native American history be intertwined with the history of colonial America.”

Drag historian Joe E. Jeffries lectured in Taylor Hall on "High Octane: The Life and Times of Drag Theater Queen Ethyl Eichelberger."  An American drag performer, actor and playwright, Eichelberger—born James Roy Eichelberger—performed in the 1970s and 1980s in New York with Charles Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company and in original “mini epics” in which he played famous and courageous women in history.  He committed suicide in 1990.

Radio recordist and producer Jim Metzner spoke in Sanders Auditorium on "The Magic of Sound —a Journey to the Mind's Ear.”  The founder, narrator and producer of the popular “Pulse of the Planet” radio series on National Public Radio, Metzner taught for several years in Vassar’s American Culture program.  He was also associated with the college’s “Hudson Valley Radio” project, a weekly radio series produced under a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and directed by Professor of Psychology Randy Cornelius. The 16 half-hour program in the series, broadcast between May and September 2003, celebrated “the nature and culture of the Hudson River from it source in the Adirondacks to its mouth in New York City.”

The theme of the second Vassar College Asian American Conference (VAACON), sponsored by the Asian Students Alliance (ASA) was “Movement Without Direction: The Refocusing of the Asian American Vision.”  The conference speakers included Gary Okihiro, director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University; Shirley Hune, associate dean and professor of urban planning at the School of Public Policy and Social Research at the University of California at Los Angeles and urban sociologist Karin Aguilar San Juan, editor of the anthology The State of Asian America; Activism and Resistance in the 1990s (1994). Workshops were led by New York City civil rights activist  Rocky Chin; Elena Tajima Creef, professor of women’s studies at Wellesley College and Joy Lei, minority scholar in residence at Vassar.  The group of Asian American turntablists who performed at the first VAACON in April 1998, 5th Platoon, entertained at a party to conclude the conference.

“The conference took an in depth look at where Asian America has been, as well as where it is going,” said Delia Chung Hom ’00, who co-chaired the conference with Ken Wong ’00.     Vassar: The Alumnae/i Quarterly

In recognition of Earth Day and sponsored by the Vassar Greens, environmental activist and lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. lectured in the Chapel on "Our Environmental Destiny.”  The chief prosecuting attorney since 1984 for Riverkeeper—formerly the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association (HRFA)—Kennedy co-authored The Riverkeepers: Two Activists Fight to Reclaim Our Environment as a Basic Human Right (1999) with John Cronin, a former commercial fisherman and since 1983 the HRFA’s first official Riverkeeper.  In 1999, Kennedy became head of The National Alliance of River, Sound and Baykeepers, subsequently the Waterkeepers Alliance.  He also served as clinical professor and supervising attorney at the Environmental Litigation Clinic at the Pace University School of Law.

 “I love my job,” Kennedy told his large audience of students, visitors and (as the event was part of Parents Weekend) Vassar parents.  “I love going out on the river with the fishermen, fighting the bad guys, working with the students.”  Praising recent protests at the meeting in Seattle of the World Trade Organization, Kennedy rejected the alleged conflict between environmental and commercial concerns.  “If you ask people on Capitol Hill why are you doing this,” he said, “they say the time has come to choose between economic prosperity and environmental protection.  That is a false choice.”

"Kennedy talked about the role of nature in American idealism, literature, art and religion," Kate Eickmeyer ‘03 reported in The Miscellany News.  "He emphasized the importance of protecting the environment for the sake of future generations.”  Greens member Kate Bedient ’01 appreciated the range of Kennedy’s remarks.  “What impressed me most about RFK, Jr.,” she said, “was that during his talk he managed to mention a handful of the world’s most famous authors, list off prestigious poets, describe the works of numerous painters and recall the history of the world’s largest religions, while never losing his place or even glancing at a notecard.”     The Miscellany News

Several thousand protestors gathered in Washington, DC, under an umbrella organization known as Mobilization for Global Justice in an attempt to disrupt the annual spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  Six Vassar students were among the 600 activists arrested by police in a preemptive move on April 15.  Detained for varying periods in several sites, many of the protestors were released after paying $50 fines for parading without a permit.  One of the Vassar protestors, a junior, told The Miscellany News, “All my pins were taken off and put in a bag.  I guess they thought I could use them as weapons.  They put plastic handcuffs on us and loaded us onto buses.” He paid the fine, he said, because he didn’t want to go to court.  Another of the Vassar protestors, a senior, said she was not fined and was released for no clear reason.  “It was random as far as I know,” she said.  “They told me that they didn’t have any papers on me and let me go.  The people who waited in jail longer were more likely to have their charges dropped.” 

Three of the students, held overnight at a police training academy, had the restraints behind their backs removed and instead spent the night with their arms and legs cuffed together.  “It was kind of dehumanizing,” said one of the students, “but it was actually more comfortable because we got to change the positions that we’d been in for the previous several hours.”  “ I do feel,” she added, “that being in handcuffs all night was a minor form of torture…. The arrests were a way to infringe on our constitutional right to protest.”  The students planned to join a class-action lawsuit being brought, charging infringement of their rights of freedom of assembly.     The Miscellany News

Judith K. Major, professor of architectural and landscape history from the University of Kansas, lectured in Taylor Hall on "To Live in the New World: A.J. Downing and American Landscape Gardening."  Professor Major’s book To Live in the New World: A. J. Downing and American Landscape Gardening (1997) traced the evolution of the work and thought of the first American landscape architect, Andrew Jackson Downing, emphasizing his contribution to the definition of a distinctly American cultural landscape.

A native of Newburgh, NY, Downing published A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, Adapted to North America in 1841, and the following year he collaborated with Alexander Jackson Davis, the pioneer of American Gothic Revival and Hudson River Bracketed architecture, on Cottage Residences.   In 1850, Downing accepted a commission from Matthew Vassar to design the buildings and the setting for his country home “Springside,” the design and construction of which were underway when Downing and his family died in the fire and explosion of the steamer Henry Clay on the Hudson River on July 28, 1852.

John B. Taylor, the Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University, gave the annual Martin H. Crego lecture, “What Should We Do With the Big Budget Surplus?” in Sanders Hall.  In anticipation of the Clinton administration’s announcement of a budget surplus and asking his audience to choose among four uses for the money—debt reduction, increased government spending, tax reduction and “all of the above”— Professor Taylor told them that the last option was the correct answer.  Proposing that the first three options be exercised in a 2-1-1 ratio and forecasting that surpluses would continue into the future “as far as the eye can see,” he allowed that “discretionary spending depends on what Congress does and on who the next president is.”  He said however that “based on pretty sound assumptions” the federal surplus over the next ten years would aggregate to $4 trillion.

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

Phil Brown, professor of sociology and environmental studies at Brown University, spoke in Sanders Auditorium on "A Summer Eden: The Jewish Experience in the Catskills."  Professor Brown’s Catskill Culture: A Mountain Rat’s Memories of the Great Jewish Resort Area was published by Temple University Press in 1998, and he edited In the Catskills: A Century of Jewish Experience in “The Mountains,” an anthology of fiction and non-fiction in 2002.

President Fergusson conferred the bachelor’s degree on 528 members of the Class of 2000 at Vassar’s 134th Commencement.  The day’s main speaker, Geraldine Laybourne ’69, former president of Disney/ABC Cable Networks and, in 1998, founder of Oxygen Media, presented the graduates with three principles for success: belief that good ideas compensated for lack of experience; recognition that passion for one’s work sustained long effort; conviction that “no” was never an acceptable answer.  Matthew Vassar, she said, exemplified this last verity in his determination against all odds to found a genuine college for women.  As to the first principle, Laybourne asked, “Do you know who has the best ideas?”  Her answer: “Twenty-year-olds.”     The New York Times

The college received the first installment of a five-year $1.3 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  The grant, intended to enrich the work of the biology department and to extend the department’s influence into the Poughkeepsie community.  Specifically, it funded: student research and fellowships, both in Vassar’s Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) and through travelling grants; four high-quality fluorescent microscopes with computer imaging and faculty training in fluorescent microscopy, computer imaging and laser optics; three community outreach programs—teaching internships for Vassar students in local high schools and summer science programs on campus for both high school science teachers and local community college science students—and a new tenure track in biology to accommodate curricular development in both the biology department and the interdisciplinary program in science, technology and society of bioinformatics—a developing field combining biology, chemistry, computer science and mathematics.  Associate Professor Bill Strauss, the principal writer of the grant explained that the new field was “developing computing resources to deal with the massive amount of information that is generated by genomic projects and proteomics, which is the study of protein structure and function and their relation to genetics.”

“We’re all quite excited about the influence that this grant can have on our academic lives and the curriculum,” Professor of Biology Robert Suter said, adding, “I am particularly delighted that the grant will support another of Vassar’s efforts to interact fruitfully with people in our surrounding community.”      The Miscellany News

Chartered in 1953, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was the realization of the aircraft pioneer’s longstanding interest in philanthropy serving society through biomedical research and science education.

Students in geology and archeology returned to the campus to discover a unique opportunity awaiting them: helping unearth the 14,000-year-old skeleton of a mastodon discovered in nearby Hyde Park.  First mistaken for a log when a pond behind the Hyde Park home of Larry Lozier was dredged in 1999, the mastodon humerus was identified by scientists from the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) in Ithaca, NY.  Despite disappointing results from excavations in the drained pond in June 2000, a second PRI expedition located the skeleton on August 21, and calls went out for volunteers.  Working for six weeks, students and experts from Vassar, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Mount Holyoke College, the State University of New York at New Paltz and the Boston Museum of Science recovered 95 percent of the prehistoric animals bones, teeth and tusks, making the Hyde Park Mastodon one of the three most valuable specimens of Mammut americanum in the world.  In addition, it was hoped that paleocologists, researching the site’s microscopic traces of plant material, pollens, wood and snails would find a record of the vegetation at the site during its re-colonization by vegetation.

One of the student volunteers, Jonas Dibiec ’02, told The Miscellany News that students were told by the anthropology department to “develop their own independent study or field study” in conjunction with their site work.  “In order to dig,” he added, “you have to go into the pit barefoot, and you can only dig with your hands so that the bones don’t get damaged.”   “This is an opportunity,” said Associate Professor of Geology Jill Schneiderman, “for students to do original research on the glacial age history of the Hudson River Valley.”

After some construction delays, the new Health and Fitness Center and the reconfigured and renovated Walker Field House opened.  “Hold on to your stationary bike seats,” announced Leticia Ivins ’03 in The Miscellany News, “because the much-anticipated, not to mention hyped-to-the-max, Fitness Center is fully erected and in effect.”  Noting “the gym and the unbelievable suspended track (when I first laid eyes on it, I was like ‘Time Out: am I going to a Division I college?’ because the facility knocks my little Champion socks off!).... The weight/workout room is functional.  The gym-aholics, hardcore weight pumpers and vintage AYSO [American Youth Soccer Organization] T-shirt wearing Vassarites alike have made a dash to this majestic fortress on the mount.”     The Miscellany News

Harvard University Professor of Astronomy Robert Kirschner, head of the Optical and Infrared Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, delivered the keynote address, “Taking the Measure of the Universe: How Big? How Old? How Do We Know?” at the annual Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) Symposium in the Villard Room.  Student researchers spoke about their work, and poster sessions on the summer research were presented in the second floor gallery of the College Center.

Professor of medicine, bioethics and the history of medicine and clinical professor of surgery at Yale University School of Medicine Sherwin B. Nuland, MD, lectured in Taylor Hall on "The Mystical Origin of Medicine."  A prolific writer whose work appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books and TIME, Nuland published The Mysteries Within: A Surgeon Explores Myth, Medicine and the Human Body in 2000.

Vassar’s newest multidisciplinary program, Environmental Studies, presented its first speaker as David Kline spoke about "An Amish Farmer's Essays."  The author of Great Possessions: An Amish Farmer’s Journal (1990) and Scratching the Woodchuck: Nature on an Amish Farm (1997), Kline crafted “his discussion from moment to moment,” wrote Michael Centore ’02 in The Miscellany News, “allowing his visionary impulse to eclipse all else, letting the instant dictate his subject and cadence.  A thought extolling the virtues of butter would be buttressed against homage to family life and the duties of parenthood, without any feeling of disjunction.  The unity was in the calm transition from topic to topic.”  Centore concluded, "[Kline's] interactions with questioners was like the course of his life itself: marked out with a special care, candor and piety that few of us have mastered. The college is fortunate he chose to share."

Five years in development, the environmental studies program was first proposed by a small faculty group in the 1994-95 academic year.  With aid from conservationist and philanthropist Priscilla Bullitt Collins ’42, the multidisciplinary curriculum developed and was approved by the college in December 1999.   Professor of English Daniel Peck, the new program’s first director called it “the most fully interdisciplinary environmental studies program in the U.S.”   Peck’s colleague Associate Professor of Chemistry Stuart Belli agreed, “What we’re doing with environmental studies,” he said, “is bridging the gap between the social sciences, the natural sciences and the humanities.”  Meleah Houseknecht ’01, the first Vassar graduate in environmental studies, said the program reflected “the fact that environmental studies, by nature, includes every discipline.”     The Miscellany News

The residential life office released the results of an anonymous survey of 800 residents of the nine residence houses taken at the end of the 1999-2000 academic year.  Less than 300 of the students surveyed responded, and “although over 40 percent of the respondents said that they keep their doors unlocked when they are out of their rooms or sleeping and 51 percent stated that they let strangers into their houses, 90 percent claimed that they feel safe in their residence halls.”  Director of Residential Life Faith Nichols suggested that this result reflected a false sense of security, and Dean of the College Colton Johnson commented, “personal responsibility is the final piece of any security system.”  He suggested that “secure” in this case “means ‘no bodily harm or great loss of property.’ Low level breaches of security occur when people decide that is it not important to take the final step of locking their doors.”     The Miscellany News

Sponsored by the Vassar Democrats and the Dutchess County Democratic party, former Texas governor Ann Richards led a political rally in the Chapel supporting the senatorial candidacy of Hillary Clinton.  Reminding her audience that she was “an unrepentant civil rights, feminist, labor union, working people Democrat,” Richards reassured the enthusiastic audience that “Hillary feels very strongly about involving college campuses all over the state of New York and making sure they participate on Election Day.”  Speaking of Clinton’s Republican opponent, she said, “I know that Rick Lazio [‘80] is a graduate of Vassar, and I’m happy for him.  A good education is a real asset when you’re looking for work in the private sector.”     The Miscellany News

On November 7 Clinton won the senate seat being vacated by Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan with 55.27 percent of the vote to Lazio’s 43.01 percent.

Sponsored by the Feminist Alliance and the Women’s Center, veteran pro-choice activist Bill Baird urged students to consider the likely consequences of a victory by former Texas Governor George W. Bush in the upcoming presidential election.  A pioneer, in 1964, of the pro-choice movement and often called its “father,” Baird, a key participant in the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, called the election, “possibly the most important you will face in the next decades.”  “Common sense has to tell you,” he added, “if Bush gets in, he will end the concept of freedom as we know it today.  What he is doing now is, I think, unconscionable.”

Baird warned against the danger that consumer advocate Ralph Nader, also on the presidential ballot, might deprive Democratic candidate Vice President Al Gore of victory.  “If this vote gets as close as it’s expected to,” he said, “and Nader gets 5 percent of the vote, it could very well sweep the vote to Bush.”   "What [Baird] says is really powerful and affects everybody—young, old male, female," said Lindsay Andrews '04.    The Miscellany News

In spite of a death threat and met by local protestors, Baird spoke at Vassar in February 1998.

In the presidential election on November 7, Al Gore won 48.4 percent of the popular vote, George W. Bush gathered 47.9 percent and Ralph Nader drew 2.74 percent.  In the Electoral College tally—ended by a controversial decision in The Supreme Court—Bush won 271 electoral votes to Gore’s 266. 

On November 10, The Miscellany News reported that a pre-election poll of 264 Vassar students—slightly more than 10 percent—showed that 57.6 percent chose Gore, 15.5 percent supported Nader and 3.4 percent favored Bush. The article also stated that 82 percent of the student body voted in this election by absentee ballots, locally in Arlington or by travelling to their home towns.

At Waryas Park on the Hudson River waterfront in Poughkeepsie, the Vassar Greens hosted one of 41 simultaneous vigils urging the removal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) from the river.  Banned in the United States in 1977, the carcinogenic chemical had been allowed to enter the Hudson since 1947 by General Electric (GE) plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, NY, and in 1983 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared some 200 miles of the river between Hudson Falls and New York City eligible for “Superfund” remediation under the 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). 

The vigils were prompted by the imminent release of an EPA report determining the degree of PCB contamination in the site and recommending a remediation process.   Vassar Greens co-founder and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater environmental intern Michelle Sargent ’01 told The Miscellany News,  “A vigil is a place to contemplate or mourn something, and the fact that we have waited 20 years for the EPA to come out with a report including recommendation for action to clean up the river is a tragedy.”

The EPA report, released on December 7, ordered GE to develop and undertake a cleanup plan for the site.  The resulting project—of which Phase One was completed in October 2009—was expected to cost the company nearly $500 million.

Sponsored by the Student Activist Union (SAU) 28 Vassar students joined some 10,000 protestors at Fort Benning in Georgia to protest the School of the Americas (SOA), a training program for soldiers from the armies of several Latin America countries.  Founded in 1990 after a Congressional inquiry determined that the massacre in El Salvador in 1989 of six Jesuit priests along with a co-worker and her teenage daughter had been carried out by troops trained at the SOA, an organization called SOA Watch staged annual protests, drawing participants from across the country.  “These priests,” protestor Peter Owens ’03 told The Miscellany News, “stood up against military tyranny, as we do, and their martyrdom is what the protest is shaped around.”

“For me,” Owens said, “the most amazing thing about the SOA protest is the diversity and sheer numbers of people who attend.... I felt like is was most important to be there, make my voice heard, and add one more person to the already massive resistance.”  “I think everyone who went,” added Evan White ’03, one of the trip’s organizers, “felt that is was a very valuable experience.  Although this happens every year it is a really powerful experience….  There were old nuns and younger protesters that came together to say that the SOA can’t be allowed in their names, fund by their tax dollars.”     The Miscellany News

British-American realist painter Rackstraw Downes gave a two-part lecture, “Turning the Head in the Empirical Space,” in Taylor Hall.  His first presentation, examining the history of visual theories of perspective and perspectival painting, starting with Dutch 16th-century painters, led to his second, an interactive history and demonstration of his unique perspectival technique.  Noting that Downes had turned from abstract art to embrace representational en pleine aire work in the 1970s, Lauren Arana ’01 wrote in The Miscellany News, “Downes describe this realization with giddy enthusiasm, abandoning the podium to demonstrate with his pointer the perspectival ellipsis that he achieved by turning his head from right to left as he painted the landscape before him.  This method creates a stretched panorama that includes pictorial space beyond the limits of the canvas or page.  Downes showed several drawings and paintings to which he had to attach extra pages or canvases to accommodate the breath of the landscape as he viewed it.”  “The distorted effect,” she observed, “of Downes’s 100 to 180 degree elliptical perspective reduced to a two-dimensional canvas affords the viewer a more sweeping expanse than the average landscape painting, giving his work a more [dramatic] effect.”

“Later,” Arana concluded, “when explaining his exaggerated perspective, he stretched his neck and explained that you would have to be in a yoga pose! in order to fully capture his view.  His lecture easily could have been translated into a fascinating…NPR or BBC program that I would be happy to stumble upon…any day.”

In response to increasing internet use by both students and faculty, the Computing and Information Services department (CIS) upgraded the campus network connection, increasing the available bandwidth while instituting a monitoring and allocation function—"bandwith shaping"—to the campus system. “We feel that bandwidth shaping is important to ensure access for crucial academic and administrative applications,” said associate director for network services Frank Archambeault.

In anticipation of the construction of a long-planned center for drama and film, the film and drama departments moved from Avery Hall to the former Poughkeepsie Day School building on New Hackensack Road. “It will be a wonderful facility for the departments of drama and film, bringing them together in one building with state-of-the-art facilities for the first time,” said President Fergusson. During the transition period, the drama department planned to use the Powerhouse Theatre for most performances.

Security offices were also permanently moved from Avery to New Hackensack.    The Miscellany News

The college launched a new website through which students could access reading lists and order books for upcoming classes. Separately, the Student Activist Union (SAU) created a separate website containing students’ reading lists. The websites were in response to many students’ interest in supporting local bookstores as well as student concerns that there were not enough price options at the college bookstore. “For me, it’s worth the effort to get books somewhere else, because I know I will be supporting more independent sellers,” said SAU action coordinator Pulin Modi ’02.    The Miscellany News

Nearly 100 Vassar students protested George W. Bush’s inauguration in Washington D.C. Many students traveled with a group organized by the Student Activist’s Union. “I’m here primarily so my voice is heard about how upset I am about the Bush presidency,” said David Rossini ’04. “I came to document history in the making,” said Jacob Blumenfeld ’04, who carried a video camera at the protest.

On campus, students, members of the faculty and community members attended a teach-in to discuss electoral reform and to question the legitimacy of the stopping of the recount of presidential election votes in Florida. “The key questions are, why did this happen, where did it leave us, [and] could this happen again?” declared Nancy Kassop, professor of political science at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz.  

“This is such an important day. The events in Florida may have been very disturbing for many of us, but it was very important that they happened, because it brought to light faults in the voting process that have been going on for years in this country,” said Dr. Kristen Jemiolo of the League of Women Voters and Dutchess Unite. The teach-in was co-sponsored by the department of political science, the office of religious and spiritual life, the office of field work, Bard College, the Marist College Praxis Program and the Poughkeepsie Institute.      The Miscellany News

Cushing House and Noyes House encouraged their guests to wear 1950s-style clothing to a Bi-Dormal Formal celebrating “The Fabulous 50’s.”

Victorian men and women crowded the halls and buses carrying bowler-hatted and fancily-coiffed passengers drove from Kenyon Hall to Rockefeller Hall and the New England Building as three scenes from a new production by Dreamworks and Warner Brothers of H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine (1895) were filmed at the college. The scenes involved the search by the dean of Columbia University, played by Jeremy Irons, for Professor Alexander Hartdigan, played by Guy Pearce, and the buildings—completed in 1901 and 1898—were chosen for their late Victorian style.   

Several students and a few faculty members were chosen to act as extras.  “I’m totally thrilled to have been a part of it, completely thrilled,” said James Schenk ’01 who served as an extra and a stand-in for Guy Pearce. “It was a good experience to see how things are done. You don’t realize the amount of work that goes into it” he added. Film major Pat Johnson ’01, another extra, said “It’s going to be fun….  We’re wearing the costumes from Titanic, we can see how a movie set works and it’ll be a really great experience.”  Johnson praised the college’s willingness to allow the production to film on campus.  “It’s no big deal for the studio,” he said, “they could pay anyone to be in it, but it’s a great opportunity for the students.”  

Professor of Economics David Kennett played the non-speaking part of Dr. Thomas Post, “a rather irritable professor who is trying to get away from a pesky demanding student.”  He said of the role, “It’s a real stretch for me.”  Also appearing in the scenes at Vassar was Will Carlough ’99, a former film major currently pursuing a career in film in New York City, who had a speaking part as “student number two.”

The production limited access to certain paths throughout campus and occasionally interfered with the work of students and professors in New England Building and Rockefeller Hall.    The Miscellany News

Developmental geneticist and theoretical biologist Stuart A. Kauffman MD lectured in the Villard Room on "Investigations: The Physical Nature of Autonomous Agents May Answer the Question 'What is the Meaning of Life?'"  A former professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania and a MacArthur Fellow from 1987 until 1993, Dr. Kauffman gained prominence for his work in evolutionary biology on the origins of life. He was the author of Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution (1993) and At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity (1995).  His Investigations appeared from Oxford University Press in 2000.

Dr. Vladimir Papov from the international pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim lectured on "Proteomics—The Flip-Side of Genomics” in Mudd Chemistry. Dr. Papov’s research in proteomics—the study of the structure and function of proteins—involved the use of mass spectrometry to sequence particular organisms’ entire repertoire of proteins in order to further understand their structure.

Working with Assitant to the Dean of the College Andrew Meade and Christine White, the director of the card office, seven local businesses agreed to accept charges to the Vassar ID Card, or V-Card, as payment for their goods and services. "Topics we, along with Christine and folks who work with her, will be tackling," said Meade, "are how to make this program user friendly and as attractive to students and possible as well as how to best get word of this program out to parents."

Business owners and the college hoped the new system would make their restaurants and stores more accessible to students.  The Miscellany News

Celebrating Black History Month, the Africana Studies Program, the American Culture Program, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, the history department, the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Council of Black Seniors (CBS) presented a month-long series of events.  A film series included Armistad (1997), Carmen Jones (1954) and Rosewood (1997), a gospel concert was held in the Chapel and “Midnight Love,” a formal dance open to the entire campus community, featured classic soul and R&B music. 

Highlights of the month included a campus residency on February 7th and 8th by journalist Wallace Terry, a former war correspondent for TIME magazine, reporter for The Washington Post and the author of Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War (1984) and—in conjunction with the Dutchess County Arts Council—two performances by Raymond Jackson, a concert pianist and professor of music at Howard University.  Terry spoke on “Battle Hearts: How the Dream of Martin Luther King Came True on the Battlefields” and opened an exhibition in the James W. Palmer II ’90 Gallery entitled “The Way We War.”  Professor Jackson gave two performances on March 1, a morning program for young people and “Piano Music of Black Composers,” a lecture-performance, in the evening.     The Miscellany News

Sponsored by the Vassar Student Association (VSA) and Davison House, Robert L.E. Egger lectured on “Hunger Isn't About Food: Using Food as a Tool to Support Those Moving From Welfare to Work.” Egger was the founder and president of the DC Central Kitchen, where unemployed men and women learned marketable culinary skills, and the founding chairperson of the Washington, DC, Mayor’s Commission on Nutrition.

Along with four students from Barnard College and New York University, the co-chair of Vassar Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) was arrested in New York City at a pro-Tibet protest after, dressed in corporate attire, infiltrating the British Petroleum Amoco offices in New York City.  The action was part of an "International Day of Action Against BP Amoco" that involved similar protests in Denver, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Beijing.  The protesters’ complaints against BP Amoco centered on the company’s investments in a Chinese oil company that planned to build an oil pipeline through Tibet, against the wishes of the Tibetan people.

Reaching a vice president's office, said Ashley Spicer '01, "We took off our suits, revealing our Students for a Free Tibet t-shirts and told the secretary we wanted to speak to the vice president about BP Amoco's investments in China.... We declared we would not leave willingly until they left Tibet."  After blocking a doorway and chanting for two hours, the women were arrested. "Honestly," said Spicer, "I've never heard five girls chant so loudly."

Writing about the experience in The Miscellany News, she said that, being alone in a cell "encouaged deeper relflection about what had happened and why I had done what I had done....  Overall, because of our race, our age, our crime and the prestige of the colleges we attended, we were given a relatively cushy experience in jail compared to the majority of people who go to jail in our country, let alone those who are thrown in jail in Tibet and other countries under oppresive régimes....  As we were leaving, a sargeant ask us, 'so was it worth it, girls?'  We looked him square in the eye and answered resolutely and honestly: 'yes.'"     The Miscellany News

As part of Equal Rights Awareness Week the Feminist Alliance, the Women’s Center, the Student Activist Union (SAU) and the Queer Coalition of Vassar College (QCVC) sponsored CUNTFEST. The event was based on the book Cunt: A Declaration of Independence (1998) by Inga Musico and included self-defense workshops, a reading by Musico from her book and performance art by lesbian-feminist Jess Dobkin.    The Miscellany News

The college held its first All-College Day, a day of community-related events and discussion for faculty, staff, students, and administrators.

A pioneer in environmental studies, Dr. Wes Jackson, president of The Land Institute, lectured on “Natural Systems Agriculture: A Necessarily Radical Paradigm.” Much of Jackson’s work with the institute focused on sustainable agriculture, particularly the use of perennial plants in agriculture, to maintain soil integrity and prevent erosion. Jackson referred to this type of agriculture as using “nature as model.”

The Vassar College Unitarian Universalists held an intercollegiate conference, “Rhythms: Harmonizing the Unique and the Universal,"at the Chapel. The first Unitarian conference hosted by the college, the event was attended by students from Wesleyan, Columbia, Cornell, Bryn Mawr, Penn State and Middlebury.

Jane Marcus, professor of English at the City University of New York, lectured in the Villard Room on "A Very Fine Negress: Race in a Room of One's Own." Professor Marcus’s work focused on feminist critiques of modernist literature, particularly that of Virginia Wolff. She helped found women’s studies departments at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Texas. The author of Virginia Woolf and the Languages of Patriarchy (1987), Professor Marcus published Hearts of Darkness: White Women Write Race in 2004.

The Vassar men’s volleyball team finished fourth in the nation in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III, becoming the college’s first varsity team to reach the NCAA National Championship Tournament.

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, author of Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Other Antidepressents with Safe, Effective Alternates (2000), lectured in Rockefeller Hall on alternatives to anti-depressants. Dr. Glenmullen, a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School was a noted voice in the growing discussion of the side-effects of anti-depressants.

Sociologist of religion and morality Robert Bellah from the University of California at Berkeley spoke in the Villard Room on "Habits of the Heart Revisited."  The author of Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (1985), Professor Bellah reexamined the original tracing of these two elements in American democracy from their discovery by Alexis de Tocqueville in revisions of his work in 1996—when he drew attention to decline of “social capital” and the persistence and growth of “neocapitalism”—and again in 2008—expressing grave concern about the mounting economic and social inequalities in American society.

Choreographer Deborah Jowitt, dance critic since 1967 for The Village Voice, lectured in the Kenyon Dance Studio on "Screaming Fits, Walking on Walls and Men in Tutus: Postmodern Dance 1960-2000."  A member of the dance department faculty at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts since 1975, Jowitt was honored in 2001 by the Congress on Research in Dance for her “Outstanding Contribution to Dance Research.”

Under the sponsorship of the Women’s Center, some 65 registered participants joined a conference on practical feminist politics addressing the assertion, “Feminism is Stupid.”  Organized by three seniors and sophomore, the conference included workshops, discussions and a keynote address by African-American feminist writer Barbara Smith, author of Writings on Race, Gender and Freedom: The Truth Never Hurts (1998) and editor of Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (1983).

A panel discussion included Professor of Political Science Mary L. Shanley, Professor of Art Lisa Collins, Professor of Sociology Diane Harriford, Rachel Simmons ’96 and the founder of Brooklyn’s Black Girl Revolution, Brigette M. Moore.  Tracing the history of feminism and observing “in 1971, it seemed like things would change quickly, and they didn’t so much,” Professor Shanley underscored a major theme of the conference: the importance of “intersectionality” in addressing discrimination.  Professor Harriford agreed, observing that “people talk about feminism as if it is joining a sorority” and that students still asked her “what does racism have to do with feminism?”  She asserted that the mainstreaming of feminism weakened the recognition of social inequality as a function of structures of oppression in favor of personalizing feminism as many middle-class feminists had done.

Proceeds from the conference went to the Manuela Ramos Movement, a Peruvian organization funding counseling centers battered women shelters and family planning centers throughout Peru.  The group’s funding was recently cut off by President Bush’s reinstatement of the “Mexico City Policy,” a strategy formulated by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, effectively banning all international aid to groups providing advice, counsel or information regarding abortion.    The Miscellany News

The Vassar Volunteers, HungerAction and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life sponsored “Faces of Homelessness,” a panel of three members of the Poughkeepsie community and two members of the college community who shared their stories about homelessness and poverty.  Organized by Sari Toplin ’03 with the help of Sam Speers, director of religious and spiritual life, the event was intended to be, as Speers put it, “a reminder that people who have spent time on the streets are people and that their situations are not necessarily all that different [from ours] as we imagine they might be.”  Toplin agreed, adding that she hoped such panels would continue into the future.  “This event,” she said, “is about connecting people to people as human beings and not constantly throwing around this concept of the ‘other’ who live on the street and is dirty and stupid….  My hope it that through sharing stories…it will trigger something in their hearts, and they’ll think about the issues.”     The Miscellany News

Kadiatou Diallo lectured on "The Legacy of Amadou Diallo" in the Chapel. Her unarmed son Amadou, a 23-year old Guinean immigrant, was shot and killed on February 4, 1999, by four New York City plain-clothes officers who thought him a possible rape suspect. Forty-one shots were fired, of which 19 struck Diallo.  The incident was widely denounced as gross police brutality, and, indicted by a grand jury, the police officers were acquitted on February 25, 2000.

Ms. Dialo’s lecture focused on her son’s life, the injustice of his death and her work to bring about racial harmony in New York City through the Amadou Diallo Foundation.    The Miscellany News

A $61 million lawsuit brought by the Diallo family for wrongful death, filed on April 18, 2000, was settled in March 2004 for $3 million.  Diallo's family established the Amadou Diallo Foundation in 2001.

New Zealand-born South African Anglican priest and social justice activist Michael Lapsley lectured in the New England Building on "Memory, Healing and Justice: Creating a New South Africa.” Expelled from South Africa in the 1970’s by the apartheid regime for his activist work, Father Lapsley was later seriously injured in a letter bomb explosion, sent by the apartheid government.

In conjunction with Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley and LGBT and Friends from Newburgh, the Queer Coalition of Vassar College (QCVC) sponsored a high school prom, “Over the Rainbow.”  Held in the Aula, the event welcomed over 60 area students to the dance and after-party.  “One of the things that’s really important to understand about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgendered) youth,” said Matt Kavanagh ’01, one of the event’s organizers, “is that they don’t really have a safe space in the Hudson Valley.  They often are in the closet in high school, their schools and communities are often places where they face harassment and abuse….  We wanted to have one night where these kids could be themselves, enjoy each others’ company, have same sex dates, dress in drag is they want to, be whoever they are without being threatened.”

Additional support for the prom came from the Vassar Student Association (VSA), the Gill Foundation in Colorado and several community members.  Its organizers hoped that the prom would become an annual event.     The Miscellany News

“It is a good thing and will be accepted,” an anonymous participant in the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia wrote on Vassar’s copy of the final draft of the United States Constitution.  The document—one of two in existence—was among 70 rare historical documents on display in the Library’s exhibition, “Treasures of Americana, 1760-1830.”   Other documents on display included “a letter from a Revolutionary War soldier to his wife, a 54-page diatribe by Alexander Hamilton against President John Adams’s ‘unfortunate character’ and an 1818 petition to President James Monroe from several Indian chiefs.”     The New York Times

Harvard University Professor of Psychology Howard Gardner, the American developmental psychologist whose Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983) introduced the theory of multiple intelligences, spoke about how recognition of different kinds of intelligence could lead to new methods of teaching and of evaluating learning.  Specifically, his remarks explored eight distinct kinds of intellectual ability or forms of intelligence: spatial; mathematical; linguistic; naturalist; kinesthetic; musical; interpersonal and intrapersonal.

During his visit to the college, Gardner, who spoke at a Vassar symposium on cognitive language comprehension in 1980, also conducted several experiments with students and faculty on the Library lawn, illustrating different forms of intelligence.  His visit was supported by the new Carolyn Grant ’36 Endowment, which, reflecting Carolyn Grant Fay’s accomplishments in expressive arts therapies, engaged students and faculty members in exploring “pedagogical methodologies that engage the imagination in a hands-on way.”     The Miscellany News

Novelist Stephen King delivered the commencement address to the graduating Class of 2001. Focusing his speech on the fleeting nature of life and the 624 graduates' mortality, Mr. King acknowledged that he was “casting gloom, even the pall of death, on what should be a joyous and wonderful day.”

“A couple of years ago,” he said, “I found out what ‘you can’t take it with you’ means.  I found out while I was lying in a ditch at the side of a country road, covered with mud and blood and with the tibia of my right leg poking out the side of my jeans like the branch of a tree taken down in a thunderstorm.  I had a MasterCard in my wallet, but when you’re lying in the ditch with broken glass in your hair, no one accepts MasterCard.”

Then King, whose sons Joe and Owen were Vassar graduates, evoked—according to The New York Times—“a characteristically creepy picture of a happy family eating fried chicken and cake in their backyard as hungry men, women and children watch silently from behind a fence. The backyard, Mr. King said, was America, and the starving people were the rest of the world.”  King announced that he was donating $20,000 in the class’s name to a local charity serving the homeless, the hungry and those with H.I.V. “He asked the graduates and their families to remember this vision as they sat down to celebratory luncheons, and to contribute to the same local charity that he was giving to.” At the conclusion of the ceremony, “$20 bills and personal checks for Dutchess Outreach were piling up in a cardboard box.”    The New York Times

In an interview with Vassar: The Alumnae/i Quarterly, President Frances Fergusson reflected on her first 15 years at the college. “When I arrived,” she said, “there were three major issues that needed to be addressed.  As an architectural historian, I believe that spaces have a very large effect on behavior.  The campus felt rather alienating and unfriendly because it was congested and unkempt.  The morale of the faculty was quite low.  Salaries had slipped, teaching conditions were not as good as they had been; there was a perception that we were in danger of losing the quality of students that they had been used to teaching.  We also needed to work on the issue of community.  People felt themselves to be individuals with no larger concept or commitment to community.  It’s not something that you ever fully achieve, but the conversation’s always there.

 “And certainly we’ve been able to improve everything from faculty salaries to the teaching and research facilities, which are now quite phenomenal and getting even better.  We are without a doubt a very desirable school right now.”

 “I’m proud,” Fergusson continued, “of the fact that if you were to come to Vassar during the course of the year, you wouldn’t feel that any of the old traditions or commitments to liberal education have been lost….  This year we probably had a total of seven different Shakespeare plays performed on campus.  We had our annual Beowulf marathon in old English, we had the opera workshop, we had the marathon reading of the Iliad and the Odyssey—one or the other each year—and so on.  So you see that our students aren’t just present-minded by any means, but at the same time they’re thinking in very advanced intellectual terms.  There’s a wonderful balance between the traditional and the new.”     Vassar: The Alumnae/i Quarterly

As part of the its efforts to revitalize the Arlington area, the college purchased the building at the corner of Raymond and College Avenues housing the Juliet Café for $925,000.  Opened as a cinema in 1935, the Juliet, later converted to a multiplex format, closed in September 1990.  The building subsequently housed a patisserie and billiards parlor, which closed in 2010.

Commandeered by Islamic terrorists, three American airliners crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon near Washington, DC.  A fourth plane, presumably targeting either the Capitol or The White House, crashed into a hillside in Pennsylvania.  In all, 2,996 people—including the 19 terrorists—died in the attacks.

Within hours of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a large-screen television was set up in the Villard Room, along with a bank of long distance phones for students to contact their loved ones. Counseling services provided counseling staff until midnight, and the Chapel remained open all night.  On September 12 President Fergusson led the college in a service of grief and remembrance under the great tree on the Library lawn, where members of the college community placed flowers and messages.

 In the following days and weeks, the College responded with relief efforts and support services.  In a letter to President Bush, students, faculty members, administrators and staff urged him “to use the channels of diplomacy and law to bring the terrorist criminals to justice, and counsel all possible restraint in the use of force.”  “The war on terrorism,” the letter said, “must be a war on poverty and ignorance at home and abroad as well as a war on those who perpetrated the crimes of September 11.  It must not be a war on foreign cultures or foreign populations.”  Vassar Student Association President Adrienn Lanczos ’02 said, “Not all students were united in their broader political stance, but it seems as if most Vassar students have expressed a sense of frustration with those who would allow misinformed prejudices and impulsive reactionary politics to guide the domestic response of our wounded nation.”

Two members of the immediate Vassar family, Ruth Ketler ’80 and John Schwartz ’75, died in the destruction of the trade center.    The Miscellany News, Vassar; The Alumnae/i Quarterly

After protracted negotiations, the college discontinued its longstanding support of the annual fundraising campaign of United Way of Dutchess County, citing United Way's continued support of the Boy Scouts of America despite that organization’s discrimination against gays.  In 2000, United Way president and CEO James Williamson offered to allow a special opt-out for Vassar participants which would disallow their contributions from supporting the Boy Scouts. “We didn’t want anything,” he said, “to get in the way of people’s honest desire to help people.”

Mixed campus response to this compromise and the philanthropy’s continued support of the Boy Scouts led to the college’s decision.  President Fran Fergusson—a past chair of the annual campaign—stated that, “Just as I would not expect us to want to give to any agency that would discriminate on the basis of race or religion, we should not want to give to agencies that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. That is a firm principle in my mind, and a simple matter of human dignity.”

Under President Fergusson’s leadership, for 2001 the college established its own philanthropic campaign, Community Works, raising $70,000 from the campus constituencies, 100 percent of which went to support local organizations and agencies chosen by a campus committee of students, administrators, faculty and staff.     In 2004, the total raised for Community Works was $88,500.     The Miscellany News

Novelist Jane Smiley ‘71, the winner of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her best-selling novel, A Thousand Acres (1991), spoke about her work in the Villard Room. Smiley was elected in 2001 to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Plans were announced for a new student entertainment space on the second floor of the Students’ Building.  Originally the upper level of the main auditorium of the building—given anonymously to the Students Association in 1913 by a former Students' Association president—the space had housed a bakery, a dishwashing room, changing rooms and offices when the building was modified in 1972 to accommodate central dining. 

Funding for the new facility, intended to return the building to some of its original purposes, had been sought for several years.  An alumna trustee, moved by the events of September 11, offered $5 million to realize it. “Students can use it for large events, but also informal gatherings,” said dean of the college Colton Johnson. The project, he said, was to be completed in the fall of 2002.    The Miscellany News

The college approved plans for a memorial garden—to be completed in April or May—for the victims of the September 11th attacks on New York City and Washington. A triangular area between the Aula and Noyes Circle, formerly the site of a Japanese garden, was chosen for the Peace Garden, which featured a stone fountain.    The Miscellany News

The American Culture and International Studies programs announced, in light of the September 11th attacks, a new multidisciplinary class in Middle East foreign policy and terrorism. “We thought a course would be another mode of helping to come to grips with the events of September 11 and their larger context,” said Peter Stillman, professor of political science.    The Miscellany News

John Richetti, A. M. Rosenthal Professor of English at Columbia University, spoke in the Library’s new Class of ’51 Reading Room on "The Sex/Gender System and the Woman's Novel in the English 18th Century."  The editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel (1996), Professor Richetti published The English Novel in History, 1700-1789 in 1999.

Felipe Agüero, a professor of political science at the University of Miami, spoke about his torture by the Chilean government under General Augusto Pinochet and his recent identification of his torturer.  Shortly after the Pinochet coup in 1973, Agüero, a 21 year-old Chilean student, was arrested, detained and tortured.  At an academic conference in 1988, he recognized his torturer—by then a professor at the Catholic University in Santiago— but remained silent, out of shame and lingering fear, until he named the man in February 2001.

Professor Agüero stressed the importance of open discussion of experiences with torture in the larger discussion of military repression. “People’s narratives need to be heard badly, more than anything else,” said Agüero, stressing that people have a “responsibility” to tell their stories.     The Miscellany New

President Fergusson led a service of recollection in the Chapel for victims of the September 11 attacks.

Director, screenwriter and actor Spike Lee and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Budd Schulberg spoke in the Chapel on their respective careers and their collaboration on a film about American boxer Joe Louis and his two championship bouts with German boxer Max Schmeling in 1936 and 1938.  Widely credited for creating the modern prototype of the young schemer who schemes, lies and cheats his way to success in the character of Sammy Glick in What Makes Sammy Run (1941), Schulberg won Academy Awards for best story and best screenplay for On the Waterfront (1954).  Over 40 years younger than his collaborator, Lee was first acclaimed for his film She’s Gotta Have It (1986) and was nominated for a screenwriting Oscar for Do the Right Thing (1989).  His film 4 Little Girls was nominated for Best Documentary Feature in 1997.

“Spike is a fanatic for accuracy,” Schulberg told his Vassar audience.  “He’s not the easiest director I’ve ever worked with, but he really respects the writer in a way I didn’t always find in Hollywood….  I can’t just sit down and write entertainment.  That’s one thing that drew Spike and me together.”  “To me,” Lee said, “it’s been an honor, and more than an honor, a great learning experience, learning from one of the great screenwriters of all time.”

“The young director and the elderly screenwriter,” wrote Claudia Rowe in The New York Times, “made a tender pair onstage.  Mr. Lee took notes as Mr. Schulberg spoke.  He fussed with the older man’s microphone, refilled the writer’s water glass before his own, and gently helped him from the stage when their talk was over.”

The project—tentatively called “The War to Come” and later named “Save Us Joe Louis”—was suspended at the time of Schulberg’s death, at the age of 95, on August 5, 2009.