Irish poet William Butler Yeats spoke and read from his poems in the Students' Building.  After reading "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," Yeats noted the early influences on him of Henry David Thoreau and the natural world.  One learned to imagine, he said, from nature, while one learned to "observe" (which he defined as making "unnecessary observations") from schools and colleges.  Five-sixths of the world, he declared, saw apparitions, "only you don't, when you get to college."  

A writer in The Miscellany News pondered the poetic presence of Ireland's long social turmoil in light of Yeats's remarks. "It is the visionary, impractical quality that the Irish possess and their passionate love of tradition that lead them to revolt constantly against England's authority.  A stranger manifestation of this traditional character of their thought is the existing mingling of the ideas of the pagan and Chrisitan Paradise, vividly brought out in the poems 'The Happy Townland' and 'Running to Paradise.'"    The Miscellany News

Yeats lectured at Vassar on "The Intellectual Revival in Ireland" in December 1903.