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October 12, 1915

The third day of the 50th anniversary celebration again featured student sessions concurrent with those for faculty, alumnae and other invited guests. At the “Academic Commemoration” in the Chapel, President Emeritus Taylor spoke on “Vassar’s Contribution to Educational Theory and Practice,” Former Dean and Barnard Associate in History Emily Jane Putnam spoke on “Women and Democracy,” and Lillian D. Wald, founder of New York’s Henry Street Settlement, presented “New Aspects of Old Social Responsibilities.” Taylor urged his auditors to treasure the earlier ideals of the college and to remember “the Ten Commandments and the spirit of Christ were as truly education as the preface of Livy or the charm of Chaucer.” Expressing what The New York Times called “radical feminist views,” Putnam saw modern women as plagued by weak physique, economic inferiority and emotional instability, which should be overcome by “Individual effort and character…the only ways open for a woman to become a free-footed human being, and each woman must finally achieve these for herself.” “Upon the educated woman,” Wald told her audience, “devolves the task of readapting the social interests of her sex to a changed physical and spiritual environment…. The task of organizing human happiness needs the active co-operation of man and woman; it cannot be relegated to one-half the world….”

Concurrently, in the Students’ Building, student delegates turned their attention to “The Function of Non-Academic Activities,” discussing questions of professional and semi-professional coaching, membership criteria for student organizations and academic credit for non-curricular work.

In the afternoon, Harriet Ballintine, Vassar’s director of physical training, gave a “Historical Exhibition of Physical Training at Vassar,” which was followed by a concert for students by the Russian Symphony Orchestra of New York while the other delegates moved among nine college locations, visiting the several college departments. That evening representatives of Vassar’s undergraduate organizations entertained the student delegates in Taylor Hall, while the other participants attended a concert by the Russian Symphony Orchestra.

Constance Mayfield Rourke, ed., The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Opening of Vassar College: October 10 to13, 1915

The Years