Skip to content Skip to navigation
Skip to global navigation Menu

March 3, 1968

Former Harvard lecturer in psychology and founder of the League for Spiritual Discovery Dr. Timothy Leary lectured in the Students’ Building on the “Conflict of Men and the Use of Drugs in Modern Society.” The advocate of spiritual discovery through the use of psychedelic drugs had expressed interest in speaking at Vassar during an earlier interview with The Miscellany News, and he reportedly waived his customary $1,500 fee. “No drug is either ‘bad’ or ‘good,’” Leary told his audience, “but using makes it so.”

Leary’s league, founded in 1963, was for several years housed at a 2,500 acre estate near Millbrook, NY, owned by heirs to the Mellon banking fortune. On February 19, lawyers for the estate’s owners had announced that the League for Spiritual Discovery and two other groups, the Neo-American Church—headed by Chief Boo Hoo—and the Sri Ram Ashrama, had been ordered to leave the premises.

Writing to The Vassar Alumnae/i Quarterly in 2007, two members of the Class of 1971 reflected on the event. “…one thing I recall with perfect clarity” said one, “he gave his lecture sitting on the floor of the stage (no podium, no chair) with his legs crossed, barefoot—and the bottoms of his feet were filthy!” “I do not know,” said the other, “who invited him or why, but even then I knew he was a drugged-out jackass with nothing to impart to me. I stayed away in droves.” The Vassar Alumnae/i Quarterly

The Years