American historian and historiographer J. H. Hexter, founder and director of the Yale Center for Parliamentary History, gave the C. Mildred Thompson Lecture on "The Rhetoric of History."   A combative theorist on the methods of history, Hexter was characterized in verse at his retirement from Yale in 1978 by his colleague Edmund Morgan:

“Oh, some speak very softly, and some are most polite,

And some will make concessions, and admit you may be right,

But I’m for disputation, and a good old fashioned fight,

Says that rough, tough wreckster, J. H. Hexter.”

 Quoted in “Historian J. H. Hexter dies at the age of 86,”

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.