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February 1, 1961

The class of 1961 celebrated Vassar’s 100th Birthday Party, hosted by Martha McChesney Wyman ’18, assistant to the warden and head resident of Main, and Mabel Victoria Ross, assistant to the warden, and directed by Centennial Coordinator George B. Dowell and Jane Alexander ’61. Alexander wrote the lyrics for both the festivities and the proposed new Alma Mater which was premiéred, causing President Blanding to exclaim, “I’ve waited fifteen years for this!”

Matthew Vassar (Dowell) attended, along with his niece Lydia Booth (Ross) and Vassar’s first Lady Principal Hannah Lyman (Wyman), who sang “Matthew Vassar, we thank you for the dough/ Were it not for you, we intellects would have no place to go.” A “Musical Cavalcade of the Century” presented “Vassar Girls” from different periods in history, including a Southern belle from the 1860s, a suffragette from the ‘teens and, according to The Miscellany News, a “Bette Davis type” from the ’30s who took her tune from Gershwin: “It ain’t necessarily right/ For every young girl to be bright./ It may be her teacher’s unable to reach her/ ‘Cause she’s taking courses at night!”

The event concluded with a cake replicating the original Main Building. “At first, no one wanted to eat the cake, for fear of destroying its beauty. Finally, however, it was cut, every senior trying to eat her own room.” The Miscellany News

The Years