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Civil rights activist and sociologist Joyce Ladner, Howard University, lectured on “Getting it Together—The Black Man, The Black Woman.”

Vassar set a new admission goal, calling for a student body increase of 50%, from 1,600 in 1971 to 2,400 in 1975.

Vassar’s new radio station, WVKR, began full operation, broadcasting at 620 on the AM dial from 6 until 11 in the evening Monday through Thursday and from 11 AM until the early morning hours on Saturday and Sunday.

Vassar College terminated its plans for a Mid-Hudson Graduate Center of Science.

Dr. Joseph Raben, professor of English at Queens College of the City University of New York and founder of the journal Computers and the Humanities, lectured in Rockefeller Hall on current developments in the uses of computers in literary studies.

Elections analyst and founder, in 1955, of the Elections Research Center Richard M. Scammon lectured on “Presidential Politics—1972.” The author of America At the Polls: A Handbook of American Presidential Election Statistics, 1920-1964 (1965) and, with Ben Wattenberg, The Real Majority (1970) told his audience that there weren’t for 1972 the sort of “cutting issues” that had characterized the presidential elections of 1964 and 1968 and that, in President Nixon’s re-election bid, “the murky economy will cause murky election results.” Social concerns—crime ecology, busing, student unrest—he said, “as always will be issues…. But in the absence of observable fact, i.e. demonstrations and street riots, those issues will fall by the wayside. Ecology—well good God, who wants dirty water? The only major social issue is busing, and it is a definite, abrasive conflict.”

The Miscellany News

In the election, President Nixon defeated his Democratic opponent, South Dakota Senator George McGovern with 60.67 percent of the popular vote and 96.7 percent of the electoral vote.

President Simpson broke ground for the construction of 44 terrace apartments to house students near Sunset Hill.

Microbiologist, experimental pathologist and pioneer environmentalist René Dubos lectured on “From Industrial Society to Humane Environment.” Recognizing much contemporary environmental commentary about a “gloomy sunset for the human race,” the man often credited with coining the admonition to “think globally and act locally” found reasons, according to The Miscellany News, for a more hopeful future in both the astounding new evidences of “the resiliency of nature” and a growing awareness that “the problems of matching man’s civilization to the earth’s ecology are conquerable in the ‘myth of growth’ is exploded.”

Dr. Dubos’s So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Surroundings and Events (1968) won the Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction in 1969. He also spoke at Vassar in March 1951, April 1953, October and December 1956, February 1959 and April 1968.

Dr. Bernard R. Gelbaum, professor of mathematics and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Buffalo, lectured on “Logic, Linguistics, Decidability and Computers.” A specialist in the field of functional analysis, Dr. Gelbaum was spoke under the auspices of the Mathematical Association of America, with the financial support of the National Science Foundation.

Country singer Rita Coolidge—the “Delta Lady” in Joe Cocker’s 1969 song—performed in the Vassar Chapel. Writing in The Miscellany News, Wendy F. Lawrance ’74 and Mark McKenna ’75 said Coolidge’s “black leather pants, black body sweater and…silver and turquois jewelry” made her “the picture of southern Rock & Roll sensuality.” “The majority of the audience,” they said, “came to see Rita…expecting the mellowness of Carol King or the raucousness of the late Joplin, but they were treated instead to an evening with Rita Coolidge, a solid southern rhythm and blues performer.

The singer and her husband, Kris Kristofferson, won a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group in 1974 for “From the Bottle to the Bottom.”

Linguist Dr. Beverly Hong Fincher from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies gave a lecture on contemporary Chinese language entitled “A Trip to China.” With support from the Social Science Research Council and Johns Hopkins, Dr. Fincher visited her native country for a month in the fall of 1971 for the purpose of studying how and in what ways the social leveling and social elevation goals of the People’s Republic had affected Chinese speech.

“Ms. Fincher,” The Miscellany News reported, “said tha tht behavior exemplified by Chinese children in their interactions with one another was evidence enough that individualism does exist in China. The folk songs she heard sung by Chinese children and teh books she saw in many homes led Ms. Fincher to believe that China is not as ‘regimented and austere as we think.’”

Urban historian Sam Bass Warner, Jr. from the University of Michigan gave the second C. Mildred Thompson Lecture of the academic year, on “The Loss of Purpose in Urban Landscape Architecture: Andrew Jackson Downing to Lawrence Halprin.” Warner’s historical study of the growth of Philadephia, The Private City (1968) won the Albert J. Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association, and his comprehensive study of cities, The Urban Wilderness: A History of the American City, was published in 1972.

The Thompson lectureship, given by an anonymous donor, honored American historian C. Mildred Thompson ’03, who taught in the history department from 1910 until 1923, when she became Vassar’s dean, a position she held until her retirement in 1948. Dean Thompson died in 1975.

John P. Gilbert from the Harvard Computing Center lectured on “The Geometry of Two by Two Tables and Computer Simulation of Kinship and Social Structures.”

British classical scholar Dr. Peter Green from the University of Texas lectured on “The Shadow of the Parthenon.”

The music department presented a concert in Skinner Hall of 14th century vocal and instrumental music, featuring a preeminent authority on the bass viola da gamba, Grace Feldman from the New England Conservatory. Ms. Feldman, who performed on the vielle, viola da gamba and recorded, was joined by: Adriene Harzell, director of viol studies at Wellesley College, who played the vielle and viola da gamba; Paul Jordan, director of the music program at United Church on the Green in New Haven, CT, who played the recorder and krummhorn; and Quentin Quereau, tenor, a PhD candidate in musicology at Yale University.

In the afternoon Ms. Feldman, a member of the New York Trio de Camera and the New York Pro Musica Viol Consort, gave a lecture-demonstration in Thekla Hall on “Medieval Instruments.”

Heavy and sustained attacks on sites in South Vietnam by the North Vietnam army, designed to cut the country in two, provoked escalating responses from U. S. airplanes and the U.S. 7th Fleet.

Two exhibitions, Selections from the Asian Collections of Vassar College and “The White, Marmorean Flock”: Nineteenth-Century Women Neoclassical Sculptors, ran simultaneously at the Art Gallery. Curated by Annete Juliano, instructor in Oriental art, the Asian exhibit featured Chinese bronze age pottery, Japanese raku tea bowls and jars, Korean celadons and an Indian sculpture from the Pala period, all displayed, according to The Miscellany News, “for the first time in a way befitting their quality and importance.”

The second exhibition, curated by Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., director of the Vassar College Art Gallery, and Professor William H. Gerdts, from Brooklyn College, took its title from Henry James’s evocation, in William Wetmore Story and His Friends (1903) of “that strange sisterhood of American ‘lady sculptors’ who at one time settled upon the seven hills [of Rome] in a white, marmorean flock.” The American sculptors represented were Margaret Foley (1820-1908), Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908), Vinnie Ream Hoxie (1847-1914), Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907), Emma Stebbins (1815-1882) and Anne Whitney (1821-1915), all of whom lived and worked Rome in the 1850s and 1860s and all of whom but Lewis were white.

Vassar students held a weeklong program of protest against IBM’s military contracts with the United States government.

Under the auspices of the multidisciplinary program on Man and the Human Community, Austrian-born American sociologist Dr. Peter Berger from Rutgers University spoke on “Modernists as Fall Guys: Basic Script for a Sociological Harlequinade.” Dr. Berger, wrote Nancy Borland ’74 in The Miscellany News, “feels that technical rationality, or modernity, has produced an ‘abstract society’ in which human interactions are frustratingly shallow and lonely. As the abstract factors further expand, they tend to ‘infringe upon privacy in terms of offering weak social supports to the individual.’”

Arguing that attempting to reverse “technical rationality” was futile and materially destructive, Berger proposed instead, according to Borland, that the role of “demodernizers” was “to help us recognize that some parts of your life should be led by technical rationality while others shouldn’t.” Berger cited the “counter culture” identified in The Greening of America (1970) by the lawyer and social scholar Charles Reich as “Consciousness III” as “an example of why technical reality has to continue: ‘Nine out of ten members of the counter culture who are able to aspire to Consciousness III can do so only becaue their daily needs are taken care of. The counter culture can flourish here—it is a luxury…. Technology allows people to drop out—usually from the upper classes—and make sandals to their heart’s content because they don’t have to worry about starving. So long as a counter culture is allowed to exist and can exist, I will be convinced that modernization has not totally invaded all our lives.’”

Berger’s studies of the relation of the individual to social constructs appeared in The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (1966), written with Thomas Luckman, and they were extended in The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (1967) and A Rumor of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural (1969).

The Vassar Gay Liberation Front, the College’s first acknowledged gay student organization, held an organizational meeting in the Gold Parlor.

British architect, critic and historian Kenneth Frampton, professor at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and fellow at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York City, lectured on “The Impact of Glass on Modern Architecture, 1800 to 1971.”

Dean of Residence Elizabeth Drouilhet ’30 announced that all residence halls, except for Strong House, would be co-ed in 1972-73.

The College announced that it would replace the traditional Sophomore Fathers Weekend and the more recent Junior Mothers Weekend with a new Sophomore Parents Weekend.

Wellesley College announced that economist Barbara Warne Newell ’51 would become the College’s 10th president.

Ross Terrill, research associate at the Fairbanks Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University, lectured on “China Today: A First-Hand Impression.”

Anne Armstrong ’49, co-chairman of the Republican National Committee, lectured on “The Youth Vote and the Election of 1972.”

A day-long festival celebrated all things medieval, from miracles and visions to pasties and alchemists. The 12th-century French mystery play, Le Jeu d’Adam, was presented in the Chapel at 10:30 AM, and from noon until 5 PM minstrels and alchemists wandered the center of the campus amid pasties and other medieval tasties. Also in the afternoon, John Plummer, senior reseach fellow at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, delivered a Matthew Vassar lecture, “Vision and Visions in Some Early Gothic Manuscripts,” in Taylor Hall. Plummer was responsible for reuniting, in 1964, the long-separated halves of the 15th-century Hours of Catherine de Cleves. At 4 PM in the Aula, medieval scholar Madeleine Cosman, founder of the Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the City University of New York (CUNY), lectured and gave a concert on the lute, and at 6 PM, costumes were required for the banquet in the Main Dining Room that featured a medieval menu, complete with wine and mead.

Esther Friesner ’72 included the merriment in “Le Chateau de Main,” in her account of the day’s events in The Miscellany News: “The solemnities commenced after the saying of Grace (in Latin, of course) by the venerable Lord of the Manor, Sir Simpson. Between the courses a selection of refined and delicate entertainment was offered, including medieval songs, madrigals, further dancing and scenes from the classic manuscript of Sir Gawain the the Green Knight…. The spirits of the dance troupe (your humble servant this time taking part) were understandably high as they danced their final number, the ‘Farandole,’ which is a simple skipping dance whose only complexity lieth in the patterns made by the interweaving dancers. Of a sudden, the dancers chose to draw into their merry-making certain noble guests at the board, and ere long more joined the festivities of their own accord. In very truth, there were few who did not participate in the rollicking dance….”

The day ended at 9:30 PM in the Chapel with a performance of the 14th-century Messe de Nostre Dame of Guillaume de Machaut, “and from thence did the feasters and gentlefolk return each to his honeyste abode to partake of much-deserved rest.”

Sponsored by the Vassar Urban Center for Black Studies, Linda Kinsey ‘72 expanded her senior biology project into the first sickle-cell anemia program for black Poughkeepsie residents, recruiting area hematologists, the New York State Health Department, Poughkeepsie media, ministers, housing project managers and Vassar faculty and friends in an effort to inform, identify and test Poughkeepsie residents who were vulnerable to the disease, the first genetic disorder whose molecular basis was known.

Kinsey’s testing program was supported on campus by, among other events, a “Sickle Cell Benefit Weekend,” sponsored by the Student Activities Committee (SAC), May 5-7, featuring the new rythym and blues group Earth, Wind and Fire in the Chapel on May 5 and a dance on May 6 in Kenyon Hall, with music by Blacklite, a black jazz and rock group from Princeton University.

The United States and South Vietnam withdrew indefinitely from the peace talks in Paris, and 125 additional United States warplanes were sent to Vietnam.

Earth, Wind and Fire, the rhythm and blues group founded in 1971 that incorporated African, Latin, jazz and soul elements in their repertoire, performed in the Chapel. The group’s first album, Earth, Wind, Fire (1971) was an instant success as was the second album, In Need of Love, released later the same year. “Earth, Wind and Fire is reported,” said The Miscellany News, “to have ‘an original musical style that encompasses all the elements of the universe, and then some: African drumbeats are fused with funky Southside Chicago blues, then jumbled together with highspirited Southern gospel, raucous rock and relevant message lyrics.’”

The group’s appearance was part of “Sickle Cell Benefit Weekend,” sponsored by the Student Activities Committee (SAC) in support of the Vassar Sickle Cell Anemia Testing and Education Program, an extension into the black communities of Poughkeepsie of the senior research in biology done by Linda Kinsey ’72.

President Nixon announced “Operation Linebacker I,” the intense bombing of roads, bridges, rail lines and oil facilities in North Vietnam.

The Vassar College Committee to End the War organized a march from the Vassar Chapel to the Poughkeepsie City Armory to protest recent actions taken by President Nixon.

A preliminary statement released by Vassar, Connecticut College, Manhattanville College and Bard announced the formation for a trial year in 1972-73 of an as yet unnamed athletic conference.

In an article in The New York Times, “Colleges Aid Rejected Students in Filing at 115 Other Schools,” Gene Maeroff reported on the formation of the Association of Black Admissions and Financial Aid Officers of the Ivy League and Seven Sisters, which hoped to aid black and Hispanic applicants rejected at their institutions in finding out about appropriate alternative colleges and universities and applying to them. The project included representation from the seven Ivies, the Seven Sisters and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The cochairman of the organization, Franklin Moore from Princeton told Maeroff, “as many as one-third of the minority students we are trying to help have not filed applications anywhere else or perhaps have made a community college their only choice. There are many four-year colleges the should be considering.”

Edgar Munhall, curator of the Frick Collection in New York City, lectured on “The Unusual Art of J. B. Greuze.”

Forty-one men, all transfer students to Vassar, were among the 427 graduates in the Class of 1972 at the 107th Commencement. Eleven masters degrees were awarded, and 249 members of ’72 received honors at graduation. In her commencement address, Dr. Hanna Holburn Gray, associate professor of history at the University of Chicago, told the graduates and the audience of more than 3,000 that women’s colleges “have represented a women’s movement tied to the highest regard of women’s capabilities. They have produced,” she said, “excellent people. They were able to change. The tradition they represented has meaning for all, not only for women.”

Joanne Gates ’72, president of the class, read an open letter to President Nixon disavowing “allegiance to a nation that has raped a whole people, to a society that discriminates against age, race and sex.”

Five burglars were arrested while attempting to plant hidden microphones in the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington, DC, and the events that would force President Nixon from office began.

Vassar offered 32 courses in two summer sessions to area residents, ranging from creative writing to the psychology of humor.

The $1,000,000 lawsuit brought against the College in 1971 by Nancy Graber, who alleged that her freshman roommate’s “marijuana parties” had caused her to fail her freshman year, was settled out of court for $2,100. The settlement was, according to a College spokesman, a tuition refund and “by no means an admission of guilt.”

The New York Times

Ms. Graber continued her studies at Adelphi and at Wellesley.

The peace talks involving the United States, South Vietnam, the Viet Cong and North Vietnam resumed in Paris.

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.

Antiwar activist and Christian socialist David Dellinger, a leader of the group that brought three American airmen imprisoned in North Vietnam back to the United States on September 28, delivered a sermon in the Chapel. “Don’t worry,” he said, “about the Vietnamese; they are doing better than you and I—they know why they’re living and why they’re dying…. They will save themselves. The struggle now is to save America.”

A defendant in the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial arising from riots during the 1968 Democratic Party convention and co-chair of the antiwar Committee of Liaison responsible for the pilots’ release, Dellinger told his audience that it exemplified what North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh told him in 1966. Ho made, he said, a “distincition between pilots in the air and the ex-pilots on the ground; the pilot who has been shot down, as a prisioner, is deserving of the ‘highest compassion…. Nobody must minimize the [war] crimes they have committed: [but] we understand that [Americans] were brought up in that way.” Ho, Dellinger said, told him that the North Vienamese felt compassion for American prisoners of war and “hope that they will go back as better citizens than when they came.”

“Dellinger concluded,” wrote Rochelle Flumenbaum ’75 in The Miscellany News, “that it is the American people and not the Vienamese who should be pitied and must be saved…. Americans lack ‘the love of community,’ ‘the relatedness,’ ‘the vitality,’ ‘the will to live—the will to survive’ of the Vietnamese.”

Robert B. Semple, White House correspondent for The New York Times, lectured on the “1972 Presidential Campaign.”

The Bill Evans Trio—Evans on piano, Marty Morell on drums and Eddie Gomez on bass—performed a program of Evans’s compositions and jazz standards before a packed house in Skinner Hall. Briefly, the only white member of Miles Davis’s famous sextette before moving on to his own, usually smaller, groups, Evens returned to the Davis sextette for the legendary Kind of Blue (1959). Among the several albums released featuring the trio that performed at Vassar was The Bill Evans Album (1971), the winner of two Grammies.

“Bill Evans knows what he’s doing,” wrote Roger Trilling ’76 in The Miscellany News, “if he puts a trio together in a certain way, I’d rather understand it than criticize it. So…. In a sense, it was ensemble jazz at its best. There was no lead instrumental voice throughout the evening, but rather a sharing of melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and solo parts, with each of the instruments now fading up, now out, now two together.”

Belgian ecumenist, educator and diplomat Professor Andrew Felix Morlion O.P., president of the International University of Social Studies in Rome, lectured on “Human Relations for Peace.” The founder in 1932 of the International Movement for Promotion of Democracy under God (Pro Deo), Morlion served as intermediary between Pope John XXIII and President John Kennedy in their dealings with Nikita Kruschev in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Speaking of this to his Vassar audience, he pointed to “how peace was made in the past,” Ricki Ryland ’75 wrote in The Miscellany News, “and how it will be made in the future. The peace of the past has been ‘peace by politics of power—the peace of obedience, the peace of fear…. The peace of power was finished in 1943, for peace cannot be made by an uneasy balance of terror.’”

“Fr. Morlion,” Ryland concluded, “is a charming man. Perhaps there is no other way that he could have delivered as vulnerably optimistic a message and still held such a captivated audience…. The Aula emptied slowly after the lecture…. Morlion had offered his listeners the age-old dream: ‘Bombs and power politics can be gone by 2070—start now so the children of your children may see it.’ Outside waited nothing but the cold night.”

The Miscellany News

Pierre Salinger, author and former press secretary to John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, spoke at Vassar on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Senator George McGovern. Predicting a McGovern victory stemming from “effort and hard work” that had enrolled a record eight million new voters, Salinger attacked President Richard M. Nixon for failures to bring the war in Vietnam to an end, to curb inflation and to stem the growth of unemployment. And, he said, “Nixon must take full responsibility” for the Watergate scandal, which he called “a conspiracy by one political party to destroy another.”

In the election on November 7, 1972, President Nixon carried 49 of the 50 states, with a total of votes in the Electoral College of 520 to Senator McGovern’s 17 and 60.7% of the popular vote. Plagued by scandal, President Nixon resigned the presidency on August 8, 1974.

In Vietnam, operation Linebacker I, begun in early May, concluded.

Dr. P. Chike Onwuachi lectured on “Black Consciousness and the Liberation Struggles” as part of the second annual Angela Davis lecture series of the Urban Center for Black Studies.

Sponsored by the McGovern for President Committee, movie actress Piper Laurie performed in Skinner Hall in Once to Every Man and Nation, a play by Howard Koch, the author of the scripts for the movies Casablanca (1942) and The Hustler (1961) and of Orson Welles’s 1938 “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast. Taking its title from the patriotic hymn written by James Russell Lowell in 1845 to protest American annexation of Texas and the looming war with Mexico, Koch’s play used news clips and current songs, in the “living newspaper” style pioneered by Hallie Flanagan, to portray the horror of the war in Vietnam.

Ms. Laurie performed the play at the State University of New York at Albany, again sponsored by the McGovern committee, on November 3.

Christian pacifists Tom Driver and Anne Barstow Driver from Union Theological Seminary lectured on “Sexism: Its Religious Origins and What to Do About It.” Driver was a visiting professor at Vassar in 1978, and his wife spoke at the College on “Witchcraft, Then and Now: A Quest for Women’s Spirituality” in 1979.

Under the auspices of the Political Science Department, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. delivered an informal lecture on “The Current Campaign and the Future of the Democratic Party.” A former United States Congressman from New York’s 20th district and an Undersecretary of Commerce in the Kennedy administration, Roosevelt was highly critical of the performance to date of President Nixon, and he urged all members of the College community to make sure all registered Democrats got to the polls on November 7. “Mr. Roosevelt,” Susan Hassler ’76 observed in The Miscellany News, “exhibiting much of the Roosevelt rapport made famous by his father, gave a good talk to a small, interested audience, on a subject which at this point in time evokes only a sigh or a shudder from many.”

Educator and activist Jonathan Kozol lectured on “Political Indoctrination in the Public Schools,” as part of the Classroom ’72 program. Kozol’s Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools (1967), based on his experience as a public school teacher, won the National Book Award for Science, Philosophy and Religion in 1968. His Free Schools, both a support and a critique of alternative schools where students participated equally in governance, appeared in 1972.

Kozol spoke at Vassar on “Ghetto Schools and Thanksgiving, 1973” in November 1973, and he lectured at the College on “Savage Inequalities: Urban Schools in America” in November 1991.

Jack Valenti, former special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson and president of the Motion Picture Association of America, lectured on films.

Dr. Willard L. Miranker, research mathematician at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, lectured on “Parallelism in Computation.”

President Nixon defeated his Democratic opponent South Dakota Senator George McGovern in the largest landslide in American presidential election history.

Architectural and cultural historian Helen Searing, Smith College, lectured on “Workers’ Housing in Red Amsterdam.”

Pauline Kael, film critic for The New Yorker, gave the Helen Kenyon Lecture entitled “The Alchemy of Movies.” “Her lecture began,” said David Low ’75, writing in The Miscellany News, “with the problems of being a critic. She emphasized how movie criticism can become corrupted…. But by being merely ‘nice people,’ by not offending anyone, critics become mediocre and do nothing to help the improvement of movies. She said that sometimes movies have such a major selling job, like Love Story [1970] that there’s no fighting against it. Such films are, she says, ‘like a national catastrophe—you have to look at it.’”

Pauline Kael’s collection of New Yorker movie reviews, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was published in 1969.

The Helen Kenyon Lectureship Fund was established June 7, 1939 by the Associate Alumnae, the Class of 1905 and other friends of Helen Kenyon, ’05, as a contribution to the 75th anniversary fund. Miss Kenyon was an alumnae trustee from 1923 until 1928 and Chairman of the Board from 1929 until 1939.

Democratic socialist and activist Michael Harrington, author of The Other America: Poverty in the United States (1962) and professor of political science at Queens College, delivered the Barbara Bailey Brown Lecture, “The Future of the Left in America and the World.” Harrington attributed President Nixon’s crushing defeat of Democratic presidential candidate Senator George McGovern to the electorate’s endorsement of the “myth” that the liberal Kennedy and Johnson administrations had squandered a great amount of public money on social programs in the 1960s that had not only failed but also had led to rising welfare rolls, increased crime and—most radically damaging—a crisis of religion. Attempting to refute these charges, Harrington noted that “it is an enormous change in society when people stop believing in Heaven and Hell, in their own mortality…. The Church and the flag are not what they used to be. And it was the tragedy of this election that McGovern appeared as one of the agents of the erosion of these old values.”

To recover, he said “The Left would begin with humility by defining its limits.” Admitting that it couldn’t end the religious crisis in America, he said the democratic Left “could provide the economic and social security to allow people to find their own way out of the spiritual crisis.”

The Miscellany News

Professor Harrington published Socialism in 1972 and Fragments of a Century: A Social Autobiography in 1973.

The Barbara Bailey Brown Fund, was established in 1966 by the Class of 1932 in memory of their classmate Barbara Bailey ’32 in support of programs and lectures fostering international understanding.

Future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the first woman hired with tenure—in 1972—at Columbia University Law School, lectured on “Women, Men and the Law.”

Spanish-born exiled Cuban author Lino Novás-Calvo, professor of Latin American literature at Syracuse University, read and discussed some of his short stories.

The eminent British critic and authority on Shakespeare, Derek Traversi, lectured on “Macbeth.”

Under sponsorship of the Urban Center for Black Studies and the Dutchess County Black Assembly, Imamu Amiri Baraka, formerly known as LeRoi Jones, poet, playwright, and chairman of the National Black Assembly, delivered the third lecture in the Angela Davis Lecture Series, in the Chapel. Calling for “unity without uniformity” among African Americans, he asserted that some blacks “couldn’t relate to the idea of coming together,” while “in the meantime, everybody’s enemy, the white boy, was getting ahead.” In conclusion, he appealed to “so-called hip black revolutionaries” to reduce their rhetoric and to work hard instead within the black communities in America, who were, after all, “the wealthiest African group in the world.”

The Miscellany News

Baraka visited Vassar again in 1983.

A collection of Chinese paintings and calligraphy by Chu Ta (1626–1705) was exhibited at the Vassar College Art Gallery.

Dr. Philip Schmidt-Schlegel, German Consul-General in New York, lectured in Rockefeller Hall on “East-West Relations in the 1970s.” “European unity,” wrote Daniel O’Keefe ’75 in The Miscellany News, “an idea which has shaped the actions of men since the time of Julius Caesar two millennia ago will most likely be achieved within our lifetime….” The West German diplomat assured the group that there remains ‘quite a struggle to bring this about,’ but that Europeans had ‘reached a point of no return’ regarding eventual unification of the non-communist European nations.

Poet and activist Nikki Giovanni, author of Black Feeling, Black Talk (1967) and My House (1972), read from her work. Her visit was part of a a trustee-sponsored seminar series on “The Role of the Sexes in a Changing Society.” The reading included both “her personal favorite… works [celebrating] life, happiness, and love” and “light-hearted-serious raps that generally focused on black people, students, and social activism.” She urged the students to focus on their “inner light” and to embrace their promise, but also to think critically about their participation in the larger community.

Giovanni visited the campus again in 1981.

The Miscellany News

Dr. Donald R. Griffin, professor of animal behavior at Rockefeller University and a pioneer in the field of cognitive ethology, lectured on “Orientation of Behavior of Animals.”

When the final phase of peace negotiations in Paris broke down, President Nixon ordered the start of Operation Linebacker II, the maximum force bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, the two major North Vietnamese population centers.

After 11 days, during which 100,000 bombs were dropped, five American bombers were brought down by surface-to-air (SAM) missiles and an estimated 1,320 civilians died, both sides agreed to a cease-fire. All American prisoners of war were to be released within two months, and some 150,000 North Vietnamese troops remaining in the South were allowed to stay.

The Years