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September 24, 1972

Anthropologist Margaret Mead spoke in the Chapel to an audience of more than 1,500 as part of a lecture series, “The Role of the Sexes in a Changing Society,” sponsored by the Trustee Committee on Women. “While the lecture was officially entitled ‘A Cross Cultural View of Human Sexuality,’” observed Margaret Sanborn ’73 in The Miscellany News, “Dr. Mead centered many of her remarks on Vassar College. She spoke of the experiment in coequal coeducation that Vassar has embarked upon, stressing that we now have the opportunity to experiment with means of improving coequal living in today’s world. Dr. Mead charged her listeners to ‘do something worthy of the tradition of this college, which has a great tradition.’ She warned, however, that we have a very few years in which to do something ‘terribly important’ in developing an alternate life style, perhaps only four of five years.”

A student of Columbia University antropologist Ruth Benedict ’09 and a close colleague of early Vassar Professor of Sociology Joseph Folsom, Dr. Mead was, from the late 1930s on, a frequent visitor to Vassar, having been a visiting lecturer in anthropology, child study and economics at the college between 1940 and 1942.

The Years