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May 20, 2000

President Fergusson conferred the bachelor’s degree on 528 members of the Class of 2000 at Vassar’s 134th Commencement. The day’s main speaker, Geraldine Laybourne ’69, former president of Disney/ABC Cable Networks and, in 1998, founder of Oxygen Media, presented the graduates with three principles for success: belief that good ideas compensated for lack of experience; recognition that passion for one’s work sustained long effort; conviction that “no” was never an acceptable answer. Matthew Vassar, she said, exemplified this last verity in his determination against all odds to found a genuine college for women. As to the first principle, Laybourne asked, “Do you know who has the best ideas?” Her answer: “Twenty-year-olds.”

The New York Times

The Years