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Acting Dean of Faculty Elizabeth Daniels ’41 cancelled classes after three snowstorms buffeted the campus, making transportation to campus difficult and dangerous.

The College Center Programming Committee discussed security upgrades to protect the College Center Art Gallery from theft and vandalism.

Professor of Music Richard Wilson’s setting of Vladimir Nabokov’s poem, “The Ballad of Longwood Glen” was premièred in a concert of “New Music from the Mid-Hudson Area,” featuring works by composers from Bard, Vassar and SUNY New Paltz.

Representatives participated in a panel discussion on affirmative action and the ongoing Supreme Court case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.

The Science, Technology and Society program held a conference on Sociobiology.

The Proxy Review Committee held an open meeting to discuss guidelines for investing in companies related to apartheid in South Africa.

Some 400 students and faculty gathered on the second floor of Main Building to protest Vassar’s investments in corporations doing business with the apartheid government in South Africa.

The East Asian Club sponsored the first East Asian Festival to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

President Virginia Smith announced that a part-time gynecologist would be added to Baldwin’s staff, subsidized by a $10 increase in the student health services fee.

The Student Afro-American Society held a “Cultural Weekend.” Events included the February 16th lecture “They Came Before Columbus” and a lunch with Civil Rights leader John Lewis.

Assistant Professor of Psychology Jeffrey Cartwright-Smith spoke on “the Control of Pain Through Self-Deception.”

A fire broke out in Cushing, causing smoke damage in several students’ rooms.

The Max Weber professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis, Alvin Gouldner, author of The Coming Crisis in Western Sociology (1970), delivered two lectures on the power of the intellectual elite. A guest of the multidisciplinary program on Science, Society and Technology (STS), Gouldner questioned the possibility of an objective social science, urging instead accommodation of the subjective nature of sociology and of knowledge in general.

Professor Gouldner, wrote Bill Hebner ’78 in The Miscellany News, “began the [first] evening’s lecture by introducing himself as a ‘Marxist Outlaw,’ and proceeded to accuse Marx and Engels of being unable to account for their role, the role of the elite, in revolution.” Gouldner’s lectures, Hebner continued, dealt “with the nature of the power phenomena involved in the emergence of what he terms ‘the new class,’ consisting of both technical intelligensia and intellectuals…. Professor Gouldner addressed himself to the nature of the terror that followed the October Bolshevik Revolution that took over 13 million lives. Other social theorists and philosophers…explain the terror as an attempt by the Soviet Elite to preserve the Marxist historical truth. Gouldner suggests that…the terror represented simply an attempt by the elite to shore up their own position of power.”

“Gouildner’s analysis did no solely rest in the Soviet sphere,” Hebner explained. In modern times, “the power of the knowledgable elite is found in the third world in the military and technical projects, in the capitalist societies in the form of democratic liberalism and technical and professional expertise…. The basic paradigm is that the educated possess what he termed ‘cultural capital,’ or knowledge of ‘the good’ for the whole; and it is in the conviction of bearing truths for all that the intellectual and professionals feel legitimated in imposing their values on others. Knowledge is power; the battle over nuclear energy ranges between those who know on the left and those who know on the right. Those who are not privy to knowledge are left, usually, without power.”

Professor Gouldner’s The Dialectic of Ideology and Technology (1976) was followed, in 1979, by The Future of Intellectuals and the Rise of the New Class.

NOW (The National Organization for Women) held a panel discussion in the Main Lounge on occupational distribution and gender segregation.

Women’s Weekend was held at Vassar, featuring the Little Flags Theatre Company production of “The Furies of Mother Jones.”

Joining 45 colleges and universities, including Barnard, Stanford and Princeton, the Vassar chapter of the American Thum Wrasslin Association (ATWA) invited the college community to enter its thumbs in the “Two Fingers Tequila Collegiate Thum Wrasslin Tournament” in the College Center. “The ATWA,” reported the Miscellany News, “is a division of General Fun Corp., an advertising and marketing association. The tournament is a promotional device for Hiram Walker’s Two Fingers Tequila,” which “is quite popular on college campuses.”

In late March, members from the South Africa Study Group met with members of the Trustee Investor Responsibility Committee to discuss divestment from companies supporting South African apartheid.

British scholar Professor Michael Nicholson from Lancaster University gave a lecture entitled “Samizdat: Life and Death of a Literature” in Chicago Hall. Samizdat, the practice of “publishing” suppressed or forbidden material through clandestine circulation, came into being in the Soviet Union in the late 1960s.

Professor Nicholson contributed an article “Solzhenitsyn and Samizdat,” to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: Critical Essays and Documentary Materials (1973) co-edited by Vassar Professor of Russian Alexis Klimoff, and Professors Nicholson and Klimoff were the translators in 1980 of Solzhenitsyn’s The Mortal Danger: Misconceptions about Soviet Russia and the Threat to America.

President Virginia Smith formed the Committee on the Handicapped.

The Miscellany News reported that Ross Goodman ’79 was elected Student Government Association president for 1978-1979.

Bob Lawson ’77 and Jerry Prell, a mime duo, performed in the College Center. They held a workshop on March 4 in Kenyon Hall.

President Smith created the “Committee for a Coeducation for Tomorrow” to study Vassar’s present coeducational circumstances.

Twenty-one students, three faculty members and one staff member went on a ten-day study tour to Cuba, the first Vassar student-trip to a socialist country.

Ancient music specialist Dorothy Parker performed a concert in the College Center on instruments that were used in biblical times, the dulcimer and the psaltery.

Leon Kamin, psychology professor at Princeton, lectured on “Science and Politics of IQ.”

The Miscellany News reported that Professor of English, Beth Darlington had been chosen by Cornell University Press to edit the love letters of William Wordsworth and his wife Mary. The 31 Wordsworth love letters were discovered in 1977 at an auction of family papers.

When the book appeared in 1981, the Library Journal called the work “a major addition to Wordsworth scholarship.” Library Journal

1,400 students signed a petition supporting changes and improvements in Vassar’s athletics.

Vassar filmmaker Ralph Arlyck won a 1978 Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.

On the tenth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Vassar students joined People United for Justice in a march in downtown Poughkeepsie, protesting the city’s dilapidated lower-income housing and police violence.

Terrace Apartment housemates Evan Jacobs ’78, Paul Moskowitz ’78, Lee Weiner ’78, and Samuel Goldberg ’78 appeared on Cablevision’s “The Sophia Show.”

Former nun and anti-war activist, Elizabeth McAlister, a member of the Harrisburg Seven—charged in 1971with planning to kidnap Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and to blow up Washington D.C. heating tunnels—lectured on “The American Experience—Is Change Possible, Is Destruction Inevitable.”

In her lecture, McAlister spoke against nuclear proliferation, maintaining, “America has a responsibility to put an end to the proliferation of nuclear arms.” McAlister also posited if this was not done, “nuclear destruction is possible in the next fifteen years.”

McAlister spoke at Vassar in October 1971.

Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, called the “Maharaja of the keyboard” by Duke Ellington, performed in Skinner Hall.

The Kings and Couriers Theatre Company, led by Teviot Fairservis ’77, performed The Golden Bough in the Green and Grey Room.

Dorothy Soelle, a West German political theologian, gave a lecture on “Class and Class Struggle: Biblican Imperatives in Industrial Society.”

Tom Sherman ’81, Pat Toner ’81 and Steve Miller’ 81 founded the Committee for Athletic Reform.

Virginia B. Smith was inaugurated as Vassar’s eighth president at the Chapel. The ceremony began with an academic procession from Main Building to the Chapel. Members of the procession included representatives of other colleges, Presidents Emeriti Sarah G. Blanding and Alan Simpson, the faculty, speakers, the Inauguration Committee, and both former and current trustees. Seniors in academic robes lined the march.

Executive officer for the inauguration committee Elizabeth Drouilhet ‘30, former dean of residence, noted that Smith’s inauguration involved far more members of the Vassar community than President Simpson’s had. Student invitees, for the first time, were seated on the main floor of the Chapel. SGA President Kathy Smith ‘78 made history as the first student to speak at an inauguration.

While President Smith was inaugurated inside the Chapel, 350 students on the Chapel Lawn protested Vassar’s investments in corporations supporting South African apartheid. The Coalition for Social Responsibility, the rally’s sponsor, said that the time and location of the demonstration was not meant to disrespect the new President, but to capitalize on the presence of the trustees and press. Johnstone Mfanafuthi Makatini of the African National Congress, Mzomke Xuza of the Pan-African Congress and Rhodes Gzoyiya of the American Committee on Africa spoke at the rally.

Dr. Betty Kamen, founder of Nutrition Encounter, taught several workshops on nutrition.

Canadian Poet and novelist Margaret Atwood, author of The Edible Woman (1969), Selected Poems (1976) and The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), read her work in Josselyn living room.

The Twyla Tharp Dance Company presented a lecture demonstration in Kenyon Hall.

Many Vassar students wore yellow Stars of David as part of a Vassar Hillel-organized protest of a Nazi group marching in Skokie, Illinois.

Perri Fitterman ’79 was awarded Best Speaker of the First International Women’s Debate Championship.

Vassar hosted its first-ever “Open House” for accepted students.

Donald Ross, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) spoke in Main about the possibility of Vassar becoming a member school.

Vassar hosted a three-day commemoration of Venetian polymath Elena Lucrezia Cornaro-Piscopia (1646-1684), the first woman to receive a doctorate. Fluent in seven languages including Latin, Greek and Arabic, she was also an expert musician—playing the harpsichord, clavichord, harp and violin and composing in several forms. She also lectured in mathematics.

Denied examination for the doctorate in theology by church authorities because of her sex, she received the doctorate in philosophy from the University of Padua on June 25, 1678. The Cornaro window, installed in the Thompson Library in 1906, depicted Elena Lucrezia, dressed in the Vassar colors, rose and gray, answering the examination questions of scholars from the principal Italian universities.

The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra and The Widespread Depression performed at the Vassar Spring Formal.

Shirley Chisholm, member of the United States House of Representatives from New York, spoke at Vassar’s 114th Commencement.

The first African-American woman elected to Congress, in 1968, Chisholm ran in 1972 in the Democratic presidential primary, making history as the first black major-party presidential aspirant and the first female Democrat to seek the nomination.

Professor of Religion H. Patrick Sullivan became the new dean of the faculty, succeeding Acting Dean of the Faculty Elizabeth Daniels ’41.

The Library began to switch from the Dewey Decimal system to the library of Congress system.

Helen Kenyon ’05, the first female chair of the board of trustees (1928-1939), died in Pomona, CA.

Due to overenrollment, 19 new students were placed in the Alumnae House and 35 transfer students were asked to find their own housing in Poughkeepsie. On September 22nd, the Miscellany News reported that all freshmen had been moved on campus, while four upperclassmen remained in the Alumnae House.

By January 1979 all students were housed on campus.

The Miscellany News reported that a study by Diana Zuckerman, former assistant professor of psychology, found that female Vassar students generally wished to work in non-traditional professions.

The new Hunger Action Committee held its first program on world hunger, showing the film Water from Stones about an irrigation program in the Sahel region of Africa.

Vassar pianist Todd Crow performed a program of music Brahms, Mozart and Schubert in Skinner Hall.

The Vassar College Art Gallery presented an exhibition of 100 contemporary Latin American drawings.

Woodie King Jr. spoke about his work after a showing of his film, The Black Theatre Movement: “Raisin in the Sun” to the Present (1978). Author, director, producer, actor and filmmaker King, the “renaissance man of black theater,” founded the New Federal Theatre, a highly successful neighborhood-based professional theater, in 1970. Writers for the theater included Ron Milner, Amiri Baraka, Ntozake Shange, Laurence Holder and Alexis DeVeauz, and its actors included Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Laurence Fishburne, Lynn Whitfield, Ruby Dee, Leslie Uggams and Ella Joyce.

King visited Vassar again in 1986, showing films by independent black filmmakers and speaking on “The Relevance of Art in Politics and Society.”

The Miscellany News reported that the SGA would no longer hire college janitors to work as overtime firemen at student events.

Dr. J. Allen Hynek, director of the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), spoke on “UFOs and Other Supernatural Phenomena” in the Main Lounge. Former chairman of the astronomy department at Northwestern University and former associate director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Laboratory, Hynek was consultant in the 1950s and 1960s to the Air Force’s “Project Blue Book,” an attempt to scientifically track and investigate sightings of unidentified flying objects.

Hynek’s book, The UFO Experience: A Scientific Study (1972) coined the term “close encounter,” for sightings where a person witnesses a UFO within 500 feet and classified such encounter into three “kinds,” later expanded by other researchers into seven. He founded CUFOS in 1973.

Vice President for Student Affairs Natalie Marshall ’51 released a report from the South African Study Group proposing the immediate divestment of Vassar bonds from six banks that conducted business in apartheid South Africa. The Study Group targeted Bank of America, Charter, Citicorp, First National Banks of Chicago, Manufacturers Hanover, and the Export-Import Bank.

On Oct. 21, Vassar trustees voted unanimously to divest college funds from five of these six banks.

Dr. Joachim Wolfgang von Moltke, German art historian and director of the Kunsthalle Bielefeld in Bielefeld, Germany, lectured on “Caspar David Friedrich and Philip Otto Runge: Two Exponents of the German Romantic Age.”

The Hunger Action Committee showed the film 3,900 One Million and One, illustrating women’s role in Southern Indian families.

The Coalition for Social Responsibility picketed IBM’s Fishkill branch, protesting the company’s support of apartheid South Africa.

Fifty students demanding a trustee statement about divestment from corporations involved in South Africa barricaded exits of the Students’ Building while the board of trustees were meeting inside.

On Dec. 6, the College Court found ten of the students who participated in the October 21 protest guilty of interfering with college business and sentenced them to suspended probation; eight of the ten students were also fined $25 for failing to notify college officials of the rally.

San Francisco drummer and vocalist Linda Tillery and her band performed as part of “The Varied Voices of Black Women” in the Chapel.

Author of Witchcraft: The Old Religion (1973) Dr. Leo Louis Martello, director of the Continental Congress of Covens and Churches, spoke about witchcraft as a religion in Josselyn Living Room.

The Vassar Journalism Forum sponsored a panel discussion on “Congress and the Press.” The discussants were John J. Curley, director of the Gannett News Service’s Washington, DC, office; former executive editor of The New Republic and national news commentator for The Washington Post Walter Pincus and veteran political and Congressional writer for The New York Times Martin Tolchin. Curley was the founding editor, in 1980, of USA Today, and in 2007 Tolchin was founding senior publisher and editor of the multimedia journal Politico.

The Vassar Journalism Forum, funded by grants from the New York Times and Gannett foundations, assumed the role of the former Poynter Program in bringing journalists to campus.

“South Africa: Evolution or Revolution,” a forum discussion including Associate Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies Clement Cottingham; the vice chairman of the North American Branch of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU); Paul Irish, associate director of the American Committee on Africa; Poughkeepsie political activist Earnestine Boone ‘73 and Vassar senior Eric Vega ’79, was held at the Urban Center.

The English department faculty approved a new women’s studies course entitled “Literary Perspectives on Women” for the 1979-1980 school year.

President Virginia Smith announced a new Campus Committee on Investor Responsibility composed of alumnae, administrators, faculty and students, replacing the faculty-student South Africa Study group and the Proxy Review Committee.

The Student Afro-American Committee protested the college’s failure to renew the contract of Professor Barbara Paul-Emile, chairperson of the Africana Studies Program.

A conference to explore the economic and political sources of the energy crisis was held in the Main Lounge.

Singer and scholar of the 19th century American popular song Caroline Moseley lectured on and performed “Popular Songs in Mid-Nineteenth Century America.”

New York’s first college cash gambling casino was held at Vassar in the Students’ Building.

Choral director Graydon Beeks conducted a concert by Vassar College Chorus, in which the all-female group performed pieces by Ralph Vaughn Williams and other composers.

The Student Defense Committee held a meeting on “How the administration, Board of Trustees, and Student Government have frustrated the South African issue.”

Luis Garcia Renart conducted a performance by the Vassar College Orchestra.

English-born musicologist and conductor Philip Brett from the University of California, Berkeley, lectured on setting English poetry to music.

Singer Don McLean, of “American Pie” fame, performed at the Vassar Chapel.

Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, directed by Elizabeth St. John Villard ’67, was performed at the Powerhouse Theater.

Over 900 Americans at the People’s Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana, an American cult community known as Jonestown, committed mass-suicide at the urging of their leader, the Rev. Jim Jones, who also died.

In the Spring of 1979, Peter Stillman, assistant professor of political science, and George Williamson, Vassar chaplain and associate professor of religion, co-taught a course on the tragedy.

The Vassar Chapter of NYPIRG held a forum entitled “Where have all the 60’s gone? Activism in the 60’s and strategies for the 70’s” in the Main Lounge.

American artist Nora Jaffe’s works were exhibited in the College Center Gallery.

Students formed an Association for the Handicapped in response to perceived administrative insensitivity to the needs of the physically disabled.

The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Theater Institute performed a musical revue entitled Fulltime Pastimes in the Powerhouse Theater. Vassar students enrolled in intensive drama semesters at the O’Neill Center’s institute in Waterford, CT, through the 12-College Exchange, and the show was a culminating project. It “revolved around the various types of relationships and sex games within a contemporary singles bar.”

The Miscellany News

President Smith formed a committee of outside examiners to assess the role of the chaplaincy at Vassar.

In an article, “A College Where Education Ends Inside the Classroom,” in The New York Times David Hart ’80 deplored his college’s commitment to sports. In his concluding paragraph, he wrote, “I guess you never understand how valuable something can be until you have to do without it. Basketball to me is much more than a leather ball spinning through a hoop. It is a symbol of mental and physical awareness, an alternative but not a substitute for high academic achievement. Oh, by the way, I attend Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N. Y.”

Barbara Brooks ’77 and Steven Kluger’80, a basketball teammate of Hart, addressed Hart’s charges in the January 14, 1979, New York Times. Ms. Brooks observed that, along with an ”accomplished soccer team” and “active tennis and rugby teams,” Vassar had “a nine-hole golf course…numerous tennis courts, a track and a dance theater. The educational goal of Vassar has always been growth in mind and body.” A graduate student at the University of Minnesota, she admitted, “for cheerleaders, field-houses, football stadiums…and crowds of thousands, one should attend a Big Ten university…. But an infinite number of the same trimmings can be found…at a college such as Vassar, and I would not trade the 3½ years I spent there for anything.”

Mr. Kluger, proclaiming “I, too, am a member of the ‘Big Pink,’ the Vassar basketball team,” said he didn’t yearn for a “multimillion dollar sports complex.” “I do not want,” he continued, “the music department to compose a Vassar fight song; I have never been in a fight before, and besides, I cannot picture Denise dragging her bass cello or Wendy rolling her piano over to the gym to play a baroque pep chant.” A sports complex, he concluded, “with marble floors, and a huge crowd would be nice—but unnecessary….Big Dave and I still cheer for each other, and we are learning what there is for an intercollegiate sportsman to learn, trimmings or no trimmings.”

The Years