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Heavy rains leaked through the library roof and damaged nearly 1,000 books—including some “irreplaceable” large classics editions and science books.

The year of the Ram supplanted the year of the Horse as The Second Annual Asian Festival—featuring martial arts demonstrations, plays, food and music—celebrated lunar year 4677. Organized by the Asian Student Association, the three-day event began with a martial arts demonstration by the Chinese Kung Fu Wu-Su Association, a key group in the introduction of Chinese martial arts to the United States. The following day, the four year-old Yueh Lung Shadow Theatre performed two short plays, “The White Snake Legend” and “The Mountain of Fiery Tongues,” in the 2000 year-old tradition of projecting the shadows of giant animal-hide puppets on a backlit translucent screen. Later, an all-campus “New Year Fete” in the Main Lounge of the College Center, featuring a professional DJ and a cash bar, ended the day. On Sunday, the dance music was replaced the sounds of Japanese and Chinese instruments when two Wesleyan students, Alan Thrasher, an advanced Shakuhachi player, and Lynn Wakabayashi, a Koto player, played a series of duets and solos. The day—and the festival—concluded with a series of Asian cooking workshops.

The Miscellany News

Jamaican-American poet, journalist and activist June Jordan from the State University of New York at Stony Brook read her works to approximately 100 students.

A faculty forum consisting of Associate Professor of Chinese Yin-Lien C. Chin, Professor of Political Science Glen Johnson and Professor of History and Director of East Asian Studies Donald Gillin discussed modern China.

Dean of the Faculty H. Patrick Sullivan granted the Student Advisory Committee permission to evaluate Dean of Studies Colton Johnson and Advisor to Sophomores Lynn Bartlett.

The Vassar Night Owls performed at the Citicorp Center in New York City as part of the month-long “Tribute to Informal Singing Groups.”

The Vassar Journalism Forum and the American Culture Program sponsored a panel on the disposal of PCBs in the Hudson Valley.

Religion major alumnae/i held the panel discussion “Where Do We Go From Here?” concerning post-graduate plans.

American Ballet Theater dancer Michael Maule, former instructor of Vassar dance teacher Jeanne Periolat-Czula, taught a master class at Vassar.

The College Center Gallery exhibited prints and paintings, intended to “reflect accurately the concerns and aspirations of people in the coal fields,” by Andy Willis and David “Blue” Lamm, members of the Miner’s Art Group of West Virginia.

Psychologist Mary Brown Parlee of Barnard lectured on “Menstruation, Birth, and Menopause,” focusing on the physiology and psychology of women.

The Urban Center screened and discussed Babies Making Babies, a film about teenage pregnancy.

The Harvard-Radcliffe Colloquium Musicum, directed by former Vassar choir director James Marvin, performed in the Chapel.

Hunger Action sponsored a talk by Tony Jackson on “Charity Bureaucracy vs. The People: Food Aid in Central America and the Caribbean.”

Biochemist John Gerlt from Yale University lectured on “Why Cyclic AMP is a High Energy Phosphate.”

Valerie Rochester ’80 directed the musical Purlie (1970), based on Ossie Davis’s play Purlie Victorious (1961), in the Green & Grey Room.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Yithzak Rabin lectured on “The Prospects of Peace in the Middle East” in the Chapel. Speaking about ongoing peace negotiations between Egypt and Israel, he said, “We must translate the peace from the piece of paper which the reader signs into the realities of the lives of the people. Peace that will remain peace between diplomats, that will not be translated into the life of the average Egyptian in Cairo, in Alexandria, to the life of the average Israeli in Tel Aviv, in Bersheeba, will not be a good peace.”

The Miscellany News

Peace between Israel and Egypt came in September 17, 1978 with the signing of the Camp David Accords. Rabin’s views on peace prompted an ultra-nationalist Israeli, displeased with the 1993 Oslo Accords, to assassinate him in 1995.

An African-American student’s room was vandalized and racist words were written on her walls. The college hired a private investigator to investigate the incident and the Student Afro-American Society rallied in response, charging that the administration did not show sufficient commitment to affirmative action.

After a six-hour meeting with President Smith, the SAS issued a statement saying that racial tensions on campus “are manifestations of institutional racism and are, therefore, treatable. The lack of commitment by the administration to solve problems on their level is directly related to the security and interpersonal problems which the college prefers to address.”

The Miscellany News

The Feminist Union sponsored a performance by feminist singer and songwriter Holly Near at the Bardavon Theatre.

Carolyn Forché, winner of the 1976 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for her collection Gathering the Tribes (1976), read her poetry in the Josselyn Living Room.

Poet and human rights advocate Carolyn Forché, poet-in-residence Philip Levine and poet and children’s author Nancy Willard, a member of the English department since 1965, participated in a panel discussion about the writing of poetry.

The Vassar Club of New York held its 57th Annual Scholarship Benefit featuring Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.

The College Luncheonette, a traditional haunt Vassar students since 1933, closed after its lease expired.

In a memo to the campus community, President Smith identified a group of capital priorities for the college that would cost between $46.5 and $74 million.

Students picked the name “Matthew Vassar’s Brewers” to represent Vassar’s athletic teams, replacing various other nicknames including “The Big Pink.”

In a panel discussion in Taylor Hall, Associate Professor Peter Stillman of the political science department, Professor of Physics Robert Stearns, Ken Stevens of the People’s Power Alliance and Peter Brown of the Mid-Hudson Nuclear Opponents spoke about the nuclear accident on March 29 at Three Mile Island, a civilian nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. One of the reactor cores at partially melted down, releasing radioactive krypton and iodine-131 into the atmosphere.

The panel was followed by a procession from Taylor to Main and a vigil in front of the Retreat.

Vassar violist Stephanie Fricker, violinist Emily Gallo, percussionist Charles Barbour, and pianist Robert Middleton, professor of music, performed works by Bach, Bruch, Colgrass and Weber in Skinner Hall.

Vassar’s writer-in-residence for the month of April, Native American poet and novelist Leslie Silko, author of the novel Ceremony (1970) and Laguna Women: Poems (1974) read from her works in the Josselyn living room.

A Square Dance and Country Hoedown was held in Chicago Hall, with the music provided by the student-faculty-alumni band, the Raymond Avenue Ramblers.

Over 1,500 marchers, including 30 Vassar students, protested against nuclear energy at the Indian Point plant in Buchanan, New York.

The Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools conducted Vassar’s decennial accreditation review.

Vassar’s baseball team played its first ever game, losing 10-2 to SUNY New Paltz.

Dr. Neil Sloane of the Bell Telephone Laboratories presented a lecture entitled “How to Pack Spheres” in Rockefeller Hall.

Art historian Margarite Licht spoke on “The Revival of the Classical Theatre—Rome and Ferrara,” followed by her husband, Goya specialist and director of Princeton’s art museum Professor Fred Licht’s lecture on “Goya: Modulating to a Modern Key” in Taylor Hall.

The Lichts, along with Brown University art historian Bates Lowry, were the founders in 1966 of the Committee to Rescue Italian Art (CRIA) that raised $1.75 million to help save priceless Renaissance works damaged by the flooding of the Arno in Florence that year.

Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies Patricia Kenworthy replaced Assistant Professor of Education and Africana Studies Patricia Kaurouma as Dean of Freshman for the 1979-1980 academic year, during Kaurouma’s yearlong leave.

The Coalition for Social Responsibility began daily pickets condemning apartheid in South Africa and what they felt was Vassar’s financial support of the régime of President Balthazar Johannes Vorster.

Flamboyant national affairs editor of Rolling Stone Hunter S. Thompson spoke on “Fear, Loathing, and Gonzo Journalism” in Avery Hall, drawing his title from two of his books. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1971), which established Thompson as a new and powerful voice, was followed by Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail (1973), an account of the defeat of Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern by President Richard Nixon—Thompson’s nemesis.

Gonzo journalism, a term first coined by Thompson in a 1970 article, referred to reporting in a highly personal and confrontational manner. Thompson spoke again at Vassar in 1984.

Dr. Luciano Rebay, professor of modern Italian literature at Columbia, lectured on Eugenio Montale’s poetry.

SGA President Ross Goodman ’79 asked students to stop using the name “White Angels” to refer to dorm desk attendants after some complained that the title was racist.

The Vassar Karate Club competed in its first competition at the Mid-Hudson Valley Tae Kwon Do tournament.

Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949-1950 and winner of the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for Poems: North & South/ A Cold Spring (1955) Elizabeth Bishop ‘34 read from her work in the College Center.

While at Vassar, Bishop—along with Margaret Miller ‘34, Eunice Clark ’33, Eleanor Clark ‘34, and Mary McCarthy ’33were responsible for the alternative literary magazine Con Spirito. Bishop died on October 6, 1979.

John Wade Professor of Romance Languages Seymour O. Simches of Tufts University lectured on characters in Moliere in Chicago Hall.

The faculty rejected a recommendation made by the Committee on Curricular Policy (CCP) in March to extend the pass-fail deadline from the 6th week to the 11th week of classes. Instead, the faculty shortened the deadline from six weeks to two weeks. Dean of Studies Colton Johnson, the CCP chair, said, “My major disappointment was that the spirit of the recommendation of the CCP was reversed by faculty action. A refinement of our proposal would have been more tolerable.”

The deadline period was eventually returned to six weeks.

The Miscellany News

Professors participated in a panel on “Current Research and Teaching Methods in Women’s Studies” in the College Center.

PBS talk show host Dick Cavett delivered the 1979 commencement address, his first ever.

Marika Handakas ’81, a summer intern for the Better Business Bureau, went undercover as a model to investigate fraudulent practices in New York City modeling companies.

Professor of Italian Mario Domandi, faculty member for 23 years, died. Domandi had just begun a sabbatical in order to translate Giovanni Cavalcanti’s Florentine Histories.

During his tenure at Vassar, Mario Domandi, Professor on the Dante Antolini Chair since 1969, served as dean of freshmen and chairman of the Italian department. After his death, his family established a Mario Domandi Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Although it had accomplished its original task, preparation for the decennial Middle States accreditation review, President Smith instructed the Overview Committee to continue to evaluate Vassar’s future mission.

Vice President for Administration James Ritterskamp told The Miscellany News that the college had requested that the Town of Poughkeepsie patrol the campus more regularly in an effort to “beef up security.”

The Hudson Valley Philharmonic Scott Joplin Band played in the College Center.

The punch-card meal card system in ACDC was replaced by “Vali-Dine,” a system that read magnetic strip meal cards.

Professor of Physics Maurice J. Cotter from Queens College of the City University of New York lectured on “Neutron Activation Analysis of Paintings, Illuminated Manuscripts, and Documents.” Using the medical research reactor at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island Cotter was involved over a six-year period in the study of some 45 paintings by the American romanticist Ralph Albert Blakelock and related artists. The autoradiographic analysis he developed allowed scholars to understand in much more and in much greater detail the techniques and material used in the works.

Cotter and his colleague Charles H. Olin reported this work in A Study of the Materials and Techniques Used By Some XIX Century Oil Painters (1972). He was subsequently part of a team that used the Brookhaven facility to study works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Vermeer.

Cliff Berck ’80 won the ECAC Division II tennis singles championship.

Over 200,000 protestors demonstrated against nuclear power at the Battery Park landfill in New York.

The previous four nights had featured anti-nuclear concerts by Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) at Madison Square Garden. Featured performers had included Bruce Springsteen, Graham Nash, and Jackson Browne.

Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Greater Poughkeepsie, Dr. Barry Schneider, foreign affairs specialist at the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and Charles Kupperman, defense analyst for the conservative Committee on the Present Danger debated in the Chapel the merits of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II Treaty (SALT II), signed by President Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1979.

Calling the treaty “not only the most important current defense and foreign issue, but the most important treaty since NATO,” Schneider granted Kupperman’s point that “most of the concessions in the SALT II treaty have come from the U.S., not the Soviet Union.” While “SALT II is not ideal,” he countered, “you have to stop before you go back. That’s what SALT II is all about; it’s a benchmark…it’s a groping attempt to get a grip on the strategic arms situation.”

The Soviet invasion of Afganistan shorty after the treaty’s signing and the subsequent revelation that a Soviet combat brigade had been deployed to Cuba doomed its chances for Senate ratification, and although its provisions were honored by both signatories without ratification, President Reagan withdrew from the treaty in 1986.

American ballet dancer Mary Ellen Moylan, former soloist with the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo and one of George Balanchine’s first American ballerinas, spoke about her life and dancing in the Green and Grey Room.

“We are destroying ourselves with our own destructiveness,” Professor of Physics Morton Tavel said, lecturing on “Food and Energy: Their Interrelationship” as part of the interdepartmental course, “World Hunger and Moral Obligation,” to which faculty from biology, anthropology, economics, history, and political science also contributed. The interdepartmental course, according to Chaplain George Williamson, “is not a typical classroom situation and it gets people thinking, it generates discussion.”

“Tavel’s lecture,” wrote Louis Kowitch ’81 in The Miscellany News, “did just that. He dramatized the world food situation by applying the concept of entropy to the unsolvable condition of the earth’s rapidly vanishing natural resources.”

In accordance with federal regulations and as a result of the increased cost of heating—due to the 1979 Iranian Revolution’s disruption of oil exports—Vassar lowered the temperature of all publicly accessible buildings.

Actor Michael Tolaydo starred in the solo performance of “St. Mark’s Gospel” in the Chapel. The entertainment, created and first performed by the veteran British actor Alec McCowen in January 1978, was a reading of the complete text of the Gospel According to Mark in the King James version. McCowen’s performance of it in several venues in New York City earned a Tony nomination. Moving on to other projects, he passed to work along to Tolaydo, who toured with it for two years.

Reviving the piece in 2008 for a two week run in Washington, DC, Tolaydo told Washington Post writer Jane Horwitz how McCowen had instructed him to perform the work:

“‘The way that Alec McCowen described it to me,’ recalls Tolaydo, ‘imagine you spent all night in a pub and you hear this great story…and you come out and want to tell your friends.’ The life of Jesus as told by St. Mark contains less ’religious dictum’ and more ‘reportage’ than the other Gospels, the actor says.

“‘When you read it, it’s very much like a historical journey—it doesn’t proselytize,’ Tolaydo says. ‘The show is the telling of this wonderful story. It’s not an attempt to convert anyone. It’s got a lot of humor in it…It humanizes everyone.’” Jane Horwitz, “28 Years Later, A ‘Gospel’ Revival,” The Washington Post

Co-founder of the first underground newspaper of the women’s liberation movement It Ain’t Me, Babe and founder of the Women’s History Research Center Laura X ex-’62 lectured on “An Historical Review: The Second Wave of the Women’s Movement” in the faculty parlor. Laura Rand Orthwein when she attended Vassar, Laura X changed her name to reflect the anonymity of women’s history, “because it was stolen from us,” and because women “have to carry their slave owners’ names, as Malcolm X pointed out for African Americans.” She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

The founder and director of the National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape ( ), in 1979 she led the successful drive to make marital rape illegal in California. Subsequently she virgorouosly pursued this issue over the next 13 years in some 20 countries, including the United States. She compiled and published on microfilm—as Herstory, Women and Law and Women’s Health/Mental Health the records of the activities of the women’s movement in 40 countries between 1968 and 1974,.

The drama department presented Tom Stoppard’s one-act play The Real Inspector Hound (1968) at the Powerhouse Theater.

Actor and activist Jane Fonda ex-’59 and her husband activist Tom Hayden, lectured on “Critical Issues of the 80s” to rally support for the Campaign for Economic Democracy (CED), a California-based effort—growing eventually to some 25 national chapters—seeking to turn elections at every level toward local concerns and control. Her life as an actress and activist, Fonda told a capacity crowd in the Chapel, “has a lot more meaning than when I was an empty-headed, superficial student at Vassar.” Describing her organization as “a grass roots political organization to generate discussion and controversy about the energy crisis, inflation and the economic problems before us,” Fonda called on students and faculty to get involved in the policy decisions of the college. “Economic demorcracy,” she said, “means citizen (or student) involvement over decisions that effect them.”

Fonda and Hayden were joined by John Hall, founder of the band Orleans, who performed. In 1977 Hall co-founded Musicians United for Safe Energy, and from 2007 until 2011 he represented New York’s 19th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.

The Miscellany News

VASAR was intended to create a quiet and relaxing Sunday evening environment.

Religion department visiting lecturer Rev. Dr. Paul Leggett spoke on “Terrorism and the Churches of Central America.” Leggett taught for four years at the Latin American Biblical Institute in Coast Rica, after which he continued missionary work in the region.

His doctoral dissertation at Union Theological Seminary dealt with Nazi film propaganda and the Confessing Church movement.

The drama department presented Tennessee Williams’s “Orpheus Descending” (1957).

The Coalition for Social Responsibility presented Nana Mahomo’s acclaimed exposé of poverty in South Africa, The Last Grave at Dimbaza (1974), followed by a discussion of apartheid in South Africa.

Vassar students participated in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the largest gathering of homosexual people in history.

Professor Henri Dorra, art historian at the University of California at Santa Barbara, gave a Helen Forster Novy ’28 Lecture on “Cezanne and Post-Impressionism” in Taylor Hall.

Director of the Program for International Affairs of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies Harlan Cleveland, Assistant Secretary of State in the Kennedy administration and U.S. Ambassador to NATO under President Johnson, spoke on “U.S. Foreign Policy in the 1980s” in the faculty parlor and Aula.

The Vassar Journalism Forum and the American Culture program held a panel discussion on Western views of African issues.

Anti-war activist Daniel Ellsberg lectured against nuclear weaponry in the Green and Grey room. Confessing, “I was a hawk until I realized there was a possibility [nuclear weapons] will kill all life on earth,” Ellsberg advocated civil disobedience as a means to oppose them.

In 1971 Ellsberg, a former CIA officer and advisor to then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, leaked “The Pentagon Papers,” the defense department’s secret history of United States involvement in Vietnam, to The New York Times.

Edward Villella, called by Dance Magazine “for at least a decade, the best known and most admired danseur in America,” taught a master class at Vassar.

Legendary blues singer Alberta Hunter performed in Skinner Hall.

On the 50th anniversary of the 1929 stock market crash, seven Vassar students took part in “The Wall Street Action,” during which several thousand protestors blocked employees’ entrance to the New York Stock Exchange. Police arrested 1,045 of the protestors, giving “conditional releases” to those who would give their names, with the promise that their cases would be dropped after six months if they committed no further offenses.

“This was an effort,” said Grace Hedemann, press secretary of “The Wall Street Action,” “to show people who think they have no control over multinational companies that they can do something. We targeted 61 companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange most heavily invested in the nuclear industry.” The exchange opened on time, and the director of the police operation, Deputy Chief Michael V. J. Willis, said “90 percent of the kids didn’t cooperate with their arrests, but there wasn’t a nasty one in the bunch.”

The New York Times

Professor of English Michael Goldman from Princeton University lectured on “Acting and Feeling in King Lear” in Josselyn living room.

Poughkeespie’s Environmental Advisory Council announced that, for over two years, the Dutchess County Sanitation Department had been illegally disposing of waste into a stream that fed into Sunset Lake.

Poughkeespie’s Environmental Advisory Council announced that, for over two years, the Dutchess County Sanitation Department had been illegally disposing of waste into a stream that fed into Sunset Lake.

A group of Iranian citizens seized the United States embassy in Tehran and took 66 Americans hostages, beginning the Iran hostage crisis. Fifty-two of the hostages remained in captivity until January 20, 1981.

Multimillionaire philanthropist and active supporter of liberal causes Stewart R. Mott lectured on “Should the Rich Run Elections?”

Catherine Miller ’81 lectured on “A Spiritual Influence on Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship” in Taylor Hall as part of a student lecture series.

Organist Donald S. Sutherland of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore performed in the Chapel.

To eliminate long queues outside Kenyon Hall and long waits inside, a random draw system was used for course preregistration.

The drama department performed Flaminio Scala’s commedia dell’arte drama The Portrait in Avery Hall.

Author and lecturer at Vassar from 1979-1980 Brett Singer ’74 read from her novel The Petting Zoo (1979) in Josselyn Living room.

Dr. Doris Schattschneider, professor of mathematics at Moravian College, spoke on “Extending the Art of M.C. Escher.”

Students Margaret Beck ’80 and Laurie Kalb ’80 spoke about their experiences in Greece in a talk sponsored by the Anthropology Club and anthropology department.

Poet Howard Winn ’50, head of the English and humanities department at Dutchess County Community College spoke in the Faculty Parlor of Main Building.

Local-born Winn, one Vassar’s first male students, was one of the men who attended Vassar on the GI Bill® (Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944) after returning from service in World War II. While its charter didn’t allow the college to grant degrees to men at the time, arrangements were made to credit the work through the University of the State of New York.

International women’s rights activist Stephanie Urdang spoke on “Women in the Guinea-Bissau Revolution” as part of Black Arts Week in Taylor Hall.

The drama department presented William Inge’s Picnic (1953) in Avery Hall.

A senior, who worked for the Vassar Post Office in Main, was arrested on the charge of stealing mail after a two-month investigation by postal inspectors, as tampering with U.S. mail is a federal offense. The student was “discovered rifling letters by United States postal inspectors after several students had complained of ‘difficulties with their mail” and letters had been found bound by a rubber band at the bottom of a trashcan.

The student alleged mistreatment and deprivation of due process by the four federal officers after his arrest.

The Miscellany News

The Soviet Union deployed troops in Afghanistan, beginning a ten-year military presence.

The Years