Acting Dean of Faculty Elizabeth Daniels ‘41 cancelled classes after three snowstorms buffeted the campus, making transportation to campus difficult and dangerous. Daniels, who was a Vassar student between 1937 and 1941 and who had been on the faculty since 1947, said that classes had never before been cancelled during her time at Vassar.

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

In its first report, the Ad Hoc Committee on Sports, Athletics and Physical Education found Vassar “gravely inadequate in the physical education opportunities it provides its present and prospective students.”     The Miscellany News

Professor of Chemistry Curt Beck, Professor of Religion John Glasse, Associate Professor of Psychology Anne Constantinople, Associate Professor of Sociology James Farganis and Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Feroe were elected to serve on the search committee for a permanent replacement for former Dean of the Faculty Barbara Wells.  Two student members, Carol Belkin ‘79 and Rick Lazio ’80, were also elected:

The music department presented “New Music from the Mid-Hudson Area,” a concert featuring the work of composers from Bard, Vassar, and SUNY New Paltz. Vassar The program included the première performance of Professor Richard Wilson’s ‘The Ballad of Longwood Glen,” a setting for tenor and harp of the poem by Vladimir Nabokov.

Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, the American Jewish Committee, and the National Law Guild participated in a panel discussion on affirmative action and the ongoing Supreme Court case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.

Allan Bakke, rejected twice from the University of California at Davis Medical School, contended that since his credentials were stronger than any minority candidates admitted under the school’s affirmative action plan he was discriminated against because he was white. On June 28, 1978, the Supreme Court took two positions, with Justice Lewis Powell as the swing vote in each. Finding the medical school’s use of a quota for minorities unconstitutional, it ordered Bakke admitted.  It held, however, that consideration of race was permissible as one of several admission criteria, thus upholding the concept of affirmative action.

Heavy rainstorms caused two floods in Thompson Memorial Library, damaging more than 1,500 books.

The Science, Technology and Society program held a conference on Sociobiology. Speakers included: bioethicist Dr. Arthur L. Caplan from the Institute of Society, Ethics, and Life Science at the Hastings Center in Garrison, NY; Professor Robert Trivers, a sociobiologist from the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard and Professor George Williams, an evolutionary biologist from the State University of New York at Stonybrook.

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

Chanting “Vassar College, take a stand. Don’t support this racist land,” 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. Organized by the newly formed Coalition for Social Responsibility, the rally was held outside a meeting of the board of trustees.

The next day, 300 students met with President Smith and 18 members of the board of trustees in the Chapel to discuss the situation, and a four-member Trustee Committee on Investor Responsibility was created.

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. In April, Natalie Marshall ‘51, Vice President for Student Affairs, announced that Dr. Jerome Kaufman had been selected for the position.

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.  Chairman from 1963 to 1966 of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and a keynote speaker at the March on Washington in August 1963, on March 7, 1965, Lewis was leading the protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL, when they were attached by Alabama state troopers.

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. Madelon Talley, director of the American Women’s Economic Development Organization; Connie Cox, manager  of corporate planning at General Foods; Judy Monson, financial officer at Seagram International and Margit Pearson, consultant to multinational corporations from McKinsey & Company spoke.

Talley was one of the first female Wall Street executives. In February of 1979, she became director of the division of investments for New York State, responsible for the state’s common retirement fund.  At the time of her death in 1997 former New York State comptroller Edward V. Regan said “Madelon Talley set the procedures and processes for the retirement funds, so when the markets started to rise in 1982, when the Dow Jones industrial average was at 800, we were set.”      The New York Times

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

The Student-faculty South Africa Study Group, formed to scrutinize Vassar’s investments in South Africa and to advise members of the Investor Responsibility Committee, met for the first time.

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.”

Elizabeth Eisenstein ’45/4, Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of History at the University of Michigan, lectured on “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change” in a program dedicated to the late C. Mildred Thompson ‘03, Eisenstein’s former dean and history professor. Eisenstein’s two-volume The Printing Press As An Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Europe (1979) established the parameters of modern print culture studies. 

Professor Thompson died on February 17, 1975, at the age of 93.  Dr. Eisenstein visited Vassar again in 1981 and 1988.

The SGA Senate formed a Vassar Investment Research Committee (VIRC) to create an alternative, socially-conscious stock portfolio. In April, VIRC released a report advocating total divestment from South Africa. It also recommended actions pressuring General Electric to stop dumping polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the Hudson River.

VIRC further concluded that the current endowment had a “shockingly low” rate of return and that new investments should be made.

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.

Art Professor Christine Havelock was appointed the new director of Women’s Studies.

Vassar radio WVKR raised $4,200 in order to begin stereo broadcasting.

Deborah Elias ’77, chosen to fill the new AAVC position, assistant for young classes, assumed responsibility for “bringing recent alumni in contact with the college today” and for organizing activities of particular interest to the Classes of 1970 –‘81.    The Miscellany News

Elizabeth Eisenstein ’45/4, Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of History at the University of Michigan, lectured on “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change” in a program dedicated to the late C. Mildred Thompson ‘03, Eisenstein’s former dean and history professor. Eisenstein’s two-volume The Printing Press As An Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Europe (1979) established the parameters of modern print culture studies.

Dr. Eisenstein visited Vassar again in 1981 and 1988.

The administration rejected CHOICE’s proposal of making birth control available in the College Store. Vice President of Administration James Ritterskamp told The Miscellany News, “We don’t think it is an appropriate thing to carry in the store.”

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 and appointed to the committee three students: Beverly Carney ‘79, E. Douglas Kramer ‘81, and Ivor Muroff ’80; two faculty members: Professor Joseph Mucci of the chemistry department and Joyce Riley of education and Africana studies; two administrators: Winifred Earl, director of halls and Harold Kristjansen, registrar and two staff members: college engineer Otis Waterman and Doris Oetjen-Gerdes, secretary to the vice president of development.

The Miscellany News reported that Ross Goodman ‘79 was elected Student Government Association president for 1978-1979, but there was controversy over the results of the vice presidential election.

Literary scholar and historian Florence Howe, founding director in 1972 of the Feminist Press, spoke on “The Future of Women’s Studies” in the College Center as part of Women’s Weekend.  Howe chaired the Modern Language Association’s commission on the status of women in the profession in 1970.

The Senior Auction, attended by President Smith, Chaplain George Williamson, and Dean of Studies Colton Johnson, was held to raise money for Commencement weekend.

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. Because of government regulations, the group traveled to Canada first, in order to fly to Cuba.

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.

The student conference committee met with the trustee executive committee to discuss the possibility of placing student observer on the board of trustees. SGA President- elect Ross Goodman ‘79 reported, “the Trustees were very open, informal, and even funny. They were very candid and there was an open, honest air.”     The Miscellany News

 In the 1978-79 academic year, Goodman served as a trial student observer and, subsequently the student government president was invited as an observer to all full meeting of the board.    

Leon Kamin, psychology professor at Princeton, lectured on “Science and Politics of IQ.” Kamin deplored studies in the early 1900s that concluded that the poor were genetically less intelligent, positing that IQ was influenced much more by environment than by heredity.

Vassar Hillel presented a movie on Soviet Jewry, followed by a discussion on the subject on March 30. Guest speakers included Israel Frideman of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry and Sandy Goodman of the Greater New York Council on Soviet Jewry.

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

President Smith responded to the Ad Hoc Committee on Sports, Athletics and Physical Education’s February report. Calling it “not a very thoughtful analysis of a specific need,” she admitted that athletics at Vassar had to be improved, adding, “now we must get more specific and create concrete proposals.”
1,400 students signed a petition supporting changes and improvements in Vassar’s athletics.

The work of painters Susan Rothenberg, Lois Lane and Neil Jenney and sculptors Bryan Hunt and Joel Shapiro were shown at the Vassar College Art Gallery in an exhibit intended to “define in an antidogmatic manner the aesthetic sensibility unique to the 1970s.”     The Miscellany News
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.” The four created a meal of “Yogurt Salad, Beef Asadorian, TA-14 Quiche, Mushrooms, Ouzo, and Peanut-Butter-Chocolate Fudge Cake.”

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.

our faculty members were chosen as members of an overview committee charged with preparing for the decennial accreditation review by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, called the “Maharaja of the keyboard" by Duke Ellington, performed in Skinner Hall.

Philosophers Brand Blanshard of Yale and Robert Solomon of the University of Texas spoke at a conference on “Reason and Passions,” sponsored by the philosophy department, the Matthew Vassar Lecture Fund, and the Student Entertainment Committee.  A noted rationalist philosopher, Blanshard published Reason and Analysis in 1962, The Uses of a Liberal Education in 1973 and Reason and Belief in 1974.

The Quincy Lee Centennial Professor of Philosophy and Business at Texas, Professor Solomon published The Passions in 1976 and History and Human Nature: A Philosophical Review of European Philosophy and Culture, 1750-1850 in 1979.  Vassar Professor David Kelley said the conference originated with the “belief that Philosophy should not lose touch with the broad fundamental issues which have always defined it.”

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

CHOICE held the first of three “Bodies Classes” in the College Center. The first class discussed male and female anatomy and was taught by Vassar’s midwife Angela Colclough and Richard Saulga from Planned Parenthood.

The next class, held April 19 and taught by CHOICE member Susan Lee ‘78, focused on natural birth control.

In the April 26th class, instructor Carol Ann Pavacic ‘78, CHOICE member and EMT, discussed DES exposure. DES was a hormone prescribed to many pregnant women in the 1940s and 1950s; research suggested that children of DES mothers might have a higher risk of cancer.

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.

Stanley M. Swinton, general manager, vice-president and director of world services for the Associated Press, Alvin Perlumtter, head of the independent TV production company that produced the political satire PBS series The Great American Dream Machine (1971-73) and Editor of The Boston Globe Thomas Winship spoke at a Poynter Program discussion, “Television News vs. the Newspapers.”

The Poynter Program, given to the college by Nelson and Marion Knauss Poynter ‘46, publishers of The St. Petersburg Times, was intended to increase students’ appreciation for and exposure to the media.

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.  The choreographer for director Milos Forman’s film version of Hair (1978), Tharp came to critical attention with Deuce Coupe (1973), featuring the music of The Beach Boys, for the Joffrey Ballet and Push Comes to Shove (1976) with Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Feminist historian Gerda Lerner, a pioneer in the field of women’s history, lectured on “Research Issues and Open Questions in Women’s History” in New England 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. The gesture was apparently modeled on a persistent legend that, during the Nazi occupation of Denmark, King Christian X countered an order that all Jews wear yellow Stars of David by ordering all Danes to wear the symbols.
Perri Fitterman ’79 was awarded Best Speaker of the First International Women’s Debate Championship. Vassar’s Debate Society came in sixth of over twenty teams.
Vassar hosted its first-ever “Open House” for accepted students. The goal was “to let students see Vassar as it is, while at the same time making it a fun experience as well as an education one,” said Doug Cooney, assistant director of admission.     The Miscellany News
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. NYPIRG allowed student-members to do fieldwork, while furthering the larger organizations’ goal of social change. The college eventually joined the organization.

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. Daniels became director of the Vassar Self-Study, responsible for preparing the college for its upcoming evaluation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
Chaired by Elizabeth Daniels ’41, the Overview Committee in charge of Vassar’s self-study in preparation for the accreditation review identified five areas to investigate and report on by spring of 1979: the identity of the student body; breadth of education; student support services; coeducation and “financial and budgetary matters.” The Self-Study report was released in early February of 1979.    The Miscellany News


The dean of the faculty impanelled a third world studies committee to facilitate “greater coordination and integration among third-world oriented programs,” according to the committee’s chair Professor of Political Science Fred Bunnell.     The Miscellany News
The Library began to switch from the Dewey Decimal system to the library of Congress system.
The Student Government Association amended its constitution, changing its name to the Vassar Student Association. The preamble of the new constitution stated, “Recognizing that the student body is a separate entity in the corporate body of Vassar College, and that each student has the responsibility to conduct his/her life with consideration for others in the college community, and with regard for the promotion of the educational process, we hereby establish the Vassar Student Association; to provide means for responsible and effective student participation in the appropriate decision making processes of the College and to further student welfare and interests.”
The Vassar Ecological Field Station, located on the Vassar farm, was inaugurated.
Helen Kenyon ‘05, the first female chair of the board of trustees (1928-1939), died in Pomona, CA.  Kenyon spent much of her life in service to the college. As president of the Associate Alumnae of College Vassar (AAVC), she oversaw the successful completion of the 75th Anniversary Fund. Kenyon served as one of three alumnae trustees on the Board of Trustees from 1923-1939. Kenyon Hall, named in her honor, was dedicated in 1935.

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 Religion department offered “Religious Themes in Modern Literature,” a course taught by Visiting Professor Tom F. Driver of the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, whom The Miscellany News described as “a leading interpreter of the religious dimension of modern literature.”

Driver and his wife, Anne Barstow Driver, lectured at Vassar on “Sexism, Its Religious Origins and What to Do About It” in 1972.

The Vassar Childcare Cooperative opened at 1 Orchard Lane, across Raymond Avenue from the campus.
  A new journal Syllabus, discussed academic issues and events at Vassar.
Vassar’s Jewish chaplain, Rabbi Rick Spiegel, agreed to stay at Vassar on a volunteer basis after the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation discontinued his salary.

Carried out in the summer, Sanders Chemistry Building’s $100,000 renovation program was completed.  Firewalls and exits, safety showers and a handicap ramp were all added.  Changes were also made to the ventilation system and the storage space for flammable compounds.

Some students and professors remained concerned that the building was still not fireproof.  Professor of Chemistry Curt Beck explained, “the large problem is that the innards of the building—the floor, and the stairs—are wood” and thus combustible. The renovations focused on making the building “people-safe,” not “building-safe.”     The Miscellany News

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—38% wished to work in neutral fields while 53 percent wished occupation in areas not previously open to women. Vassar men, in contrast overwhelmingly (72.5 percent) wanted to work in traditionally male fields.
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, including work by Julio Alpuy, Marcelo Bonevardi, Luis Caballero, Jose Luis Cuevas, Helen (Elena) Escobedo, Maria Luisa Pacheco and Enrique Tabara.
Popular uprising broke out in Iran against the régime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, gradually paralyzing the country and severely affecting oil supplies to the West.  A second energy crisis like that provoked by Western responses to the Yom Kippur war in 1973 loomed.

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."

An ensemble from the Aston Magna Foundation for Music, Great Barrington, MA, performed using original 17th and 18th century instruments or exact replicas.  Founded in 1972, Aston Magna’s mission was “to enrich the appreciation of music of the past and the understanding of the cultural, political and social contexts in which it was composed and experiences.”     Aston Magna, “Mission Statement: Opening the Mind Through the Doors to the Past”
The Miscellany News reported that the SGA would no longer hire college janitors to work as overtime firemen at student events. Student ushers would instead assume the duties of firemen at events. Vassar’s union contested this decision in front of the New York State Mediation Board, the first time in Vassar’s history that a dispute had to be decided by a government third-party. In the fall of 1979, the court ruled that the college could substitute student students for union workers.

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.

Dr. Nat Tzodikov from the Texaco Research Center in Fishkill spoke on “The Chemistry of Methoxyvinyl Lithium” in Sanders Chemistry lecture hall.

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 Composers String Quartet—the quartet-in-residence at Columbia, co-founded by former Vassar music instructor Matthew Raimondi—performed Beethoven’s String Quartet in A Minor, Op.132, and Elliot Carter’s First String Quartet, in Skinner Hall.

Barbara Hodgen ’79 directed Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour.
The Hunger Action Committee showed the film 3,900 One Million and One, illustrating women’s role in Southern Indian families. Professor of Political Science M. Glen Johnson and Sipra Johnson, anthropology professor at SUNY New Paltz, led a discussion afterwards.
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.

Vassar hosted an ethics conference for professors teaching introductory science courses. Professor of Physics Morton Tavel and Professor of Biology Elbert Tokay organized the conference, attended by approximately 100 professors.
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 holder of a doctorate from the National Congress of Spiritual Consultants, Dr. Martello founded the Witches Liberation Movement and the Witches International Craft Association (WICA) in the early 1970s.  As part of his effort to make witches publicly known and accepted, he founded the Witches Anti-Defamation League (WADL)—later the Witches Anti-Defamation Lobby—and staged the “Witch-In” in Central Park on Halloween (Samhain) 1970, drawing some 1,000 attendees.

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.
CHOICE sponsored a talk on abortion by Vassar obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Jerome Kaufman in the Gold Parlor.
Chilean-nationalized Spanish art historian Leopoldo Castedo from the State University of New York at Stony Brook gave a lecture entitled “What is Latin American about Latin American Art?” in Taylor Hall.  Professor Castedo’s A History of Latin American Art and Architecture From Pre-Columbian Times to the Present was published in English in 1969.
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.  Participants in the conference included Dr. Peter Meir, manager of the Regional Studies Program at Brookhaven National Laboratory; Dr. Martin Becker from the department of nuclear engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and John J. Mavretich from Mid-Hudson Nuclear Opponents, who advocated the development of solar power.
Singer and scholar of the 19th century American popular song Caroline Moseley lectured on and performed “Popular Songs in Mid-Nineteenth Century America.”   Ms. Moseley’s “’The Old Arm Chair’: A Study in Popular Musical Taste,” a study of an 1840 “parlor song” by Eliza Cook set to the music of Henry Russell, appeared in The Journal of American Culture in 1981.
New York’s first college cash gambling casino was held at Vassar in the Students’ Building. 
The Night Owls performed with the Cornell Cayuga's Waiters in the College Center.
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, featuring Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Suite No. 2 in B minor, Charles Gounod’s “Little Symphony for Winds” and Ruth Gipps’s “Seascape for Winds.
U.S. Senator Dick Clark of Iowa, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Rural Development and African Affairs, lectured on “U.S. Policy in Southern Africa.”
English-born musicologist and conductor Philip Brett from the University of California, Berkeley, lectured on setting English poetry to music. His book, Benjamin Britten, Peter Grimes, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1983.
Singer Don McLean, of “American Pie” fame, performed at the Vassar Chapel. Asked about the meaning of his famous tune, McLean said, “It’s a kind of lyric I invented. It’s too deep to explain in words and I can’t really boil it down. I mean—I could, but it would be bullshit.”     The Miscellany News
Greek journalist, lawyer and poet Vassilis Vassilikos lectured on “Politics and Literature in Modern Greece” in the Josselyn Living Room.  Because of his political views and his writings, Vassilikos spent seven years in exile from Greece after the military coup in 1967.
Several Vassar students attended a conference at New York University that discussed student opposition to United States support of the white government in Southern Africa.
The Feminist Union showed the film “Bottle Babies,” discussing controversial formula use in developing countries. Patricia Kaurouma, dean of freshman, led a discussion afterwards.
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.
Introduction to Women’s Studies, a course consisting of a weekly two-hour lecture and a weekly conference group, was offered for the first time.
The British Academy awarded one of the two annual Rose Mary Crawshay Prizes for English Literature to Professor of English Harriet Hawkins for her book Poetic Freedom and Poetic Truth: Chaucer to Milton (1976).  The Crawshay Prize, the only British book prize specifically honoring women scholars, was funded by a gift from Mrs. Crawshay in 1888 and was awarded to “a woman of any nationality who, in the judgement of the Council of the British Academy, has written or published within three years next preceding the year of the award an historical or critical work of sufficient value on any subject connected with English Literature, preference being given to a work regarding one of the poets Byron, Shelley and Keats.”     The British Academy

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.
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.”