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January 18, 1961

Vassar’s centennial celebration began on “Charter Day,” the day on which, 100 years earlier, the regents of the State University of New York granted a charter to Vassar Female College. An editorial in The New York Times recognized the day, saying, in part: “Vassar College is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding today. There is good reason also for the nation to honor the date because Vassar was the first adequately endowed college in the United States to offer women an education equal to that generally available to men.

“This is an occasion to look backward: to review the long struggle, now all by won, to gain for women equal rights and opportunities in every field, a struggle in which Vassar and its graduates have played so conspicuous a part….

“This is good time also to look ahead: to explore the way in which education, especially that of women, can best keep pace with, and furnish leadership for, the profound changes of the future, so many of them upon us even now.

“For Vassar, the year’s events will help those who control its destiny to evaluate the college in the light of its first 100 years’ experience and to set new goals toward which the college will steer in the next 100 years. These President Sarah Gibson Blanding has well characterized as comprising ‘the best possible education for young women in a rapidly changing world.’ May the year’s events amply serve such aims.”

In Poughkeepsie, Secretary of the College Theodore H. Erck spoke on “Vassar College and Poughkeepsie” at the January Chamber of Commerce Contact Club breakfast. At the breakfast, the chairman of the Contact Club Breakfast Committee, Paul D. Tower, presented President Blanding with the Chamber’s Achievement Award, honoring Vassar for its 100 years of high standards and excellence in education.

On campus, the 100th anniversary of the granting of the charter was celebrated with a Charter Day party at which President Blanding and the board of trustees honored the employees and staff. President Emeritus Henry Noble MacCracken gave the Salute to Employees, and those with more than 25 years of service received citations.

A special exhibition, “The Body Corporate,” was shown in the Library.

The Years