Heavy rains leaked through the library roof and damaged nearly 1,000 books—including some “irreplaceable” large classics editions and science books. The rains damaged the same parts of the building that were flooded on Feb. 2, 1978.

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

The Miscellany News reported that Associate Professor of Biology M.R.C. Greenwood ‘68 had been awarded a $180,000 grant by the National Institute of Health for research of “metabolic and behavioral correlates of genetic obesity.”
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. Her New Days: Poems of Exile and Return was published in 1974, and Things That I Do in the Dark appeared in 1977.
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.
The Urban Center held a Black Film Series to celebrate Black History Month. Among the movies shown were A Raisin in the Sun (1961), adapted from her play by Lorraine Hansberry and directed by Daniel Petrie, and Black Girl (1972), adapted from her play by J. E. Franklin and directed by Ossie Davis.

Lathrop residents voted 59-48 against allowing the Intercultural Center space in their basement. Locating a site for the center had proved very difficult since it was originally proposed by the student/faculty Race Relations Committee in February 1977. At that time, the committee had looked,it reported in a letter to The Miscellany News, "to Murphy Farm House, the Observatory, the old Post Office, and a host of other places." More recently, a proposed space for the center on the second floor of New England Building, unoccupied since the biology department had moved in the Olmsted Hall, had been given instead to the art department for studio art space.

President Smith overruled the Lathrop residents and the Intercultural Center moved into its new home in September 1979 after two years of debate. Over time, as other student organizations found space in Lathrop and as the student organizations utilizing the Intercultural Center grew in number and membership, the Lathrop location became unsuitable.  In the spring of 1992, plans were approved for the conversion of the "vehicles building," originally a storage facilty for coal for the steam plant, into a permanent site for the center.  In February 1993 The Intercultural Center: A Center for Asian, Black and Latino Students—later the ALANA Center—opened, along with a new student theater space, in this location.

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. However, in May, the SAC announced that they had stopped plans for the evaluations.
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. Speakers included environmental reporter Jim Detjen of the Louisville Courier-Journal, General Electric’s Manager of State and Community Relations William Hart, Editorial Director for MBA Communications Steven Ross and environmental lawyer Rosemary Nichols.
Director of Admissions Dick Moll spent a night in Davison house in order to experience “typical dorm life.” Davison house president Joan Moynagh ‘81 said this residence hall was chosen for Moll to visit because “Davison has always been the ‘experimental’ dorm, so we thought Dick Moll would make a good experiment.”     The Miscellany News

Poet-in-residence Philip Levine read his work in Josselyn living room.  The Detroit native’s collection, 7 Years from Somewhere (1979) won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1979, and Ashes: Poems New and Old (1979) won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1979 and the American Book Award for Poetry in 1979.

Mr. Levine read at Vassar in 1974.

The Miscellany News reported that talk show host and two time Emmy winner Dick Cavett was to speak at the 115th Commencement on May 27, 1979.

President Smith said of Cavett, “I am pleased that Mr. Cavett was selected. Television has an enormous influence on American thought, morals, and manners. The Dick Cavett Show on the Public Broadcasting System is an instructive program which, while it is very entertaining, still appeals to the viewer’s intellect and ethical instincts.

“The merit of that program is demonstrated by the quality of the guests who have appeared with Mr. Cavett—guests such as John Cheever and John Updike in the field of literature; Aaron Copland and Isaac Stern in music; Rudolph Nureyev in the dance; Henry Steele Commager and Richard Leakey in the social sciences; Woody Allen, Ingrid Bergman and Neil Simon in theater and film, and such panels as those dealing with sociobiology, the English language and drugs. I am sure Mr. Cavett will have a message of considerable value to our graduating class.”     News from Vassar

The Urban Center held a lecture and discussion on the “Black Roots of King Tut.”
Religion major alumnae/i held the panel discussion “Where Do We Go From Here?” concerning post-graduate plans.
Jazz musician Lionel Hampton played at the Winter Formal.
The Duncan-Holsberg Report, with commentators David Duncan ’80 and Aaron Holsberg ’81, premiered on WVKR, discussing campus drug enforcement and interviewing Senator Bob Dole.
American Ballet Theater dancer Michael Maule, former instructor of Vassar dance teacher Jeanne Periolat-Czula, taught a master class at Vassar. “It’s a tremendous privilege,” Periolat-Czula said, “to have him come here and teach non-professional students.”
President Smith announced that tuition would increase by $500 in the 1979-1980 academic year, bringing the total to $6650.
The College Center Gallery presented an exhibit of the prints and paintings of Andy Willis and David “Blue” Lamm, members of the Miner’s Art Group of West Virginia. "The group," wrote Sarah Sedgwick '79 in The Miscellany News, "states that their art is not 'art for art's sake but rather art which tries to reflect accurately the concerns and aspirations of people in the coal fields.... We take our art show to the people to test its validity and to inspire native artists to produce art reflecting their past and present.'" A miner and self-taught painter and the founder of Coal Field Defender, an independent United Mine Workers Association newspaper, Lamm spoke about his art, his group and the situation of miners and their communities in the Faculty Parlor on February 21.

Professor Anne Barstow of SUNY College at Old Westbury and Professor Naomi Goldenberg of the University of Ottawa spoke on “Witchcraft, Then and Now. A Quest for Women’s Spirituality.”  In her Changing of the Gods: Feminism & the End of Traditional Religions (1979), a cornerstone of the “Goddess movement,” Professor Goldenberg observed, “In addition to elevating the image of woman in religious symbology, witchcraft also improves the idea of woman in secular culture.  Because each witch is taught to see herself as the Goddess in all activities, she makes no separation between her religious ideals and her worldly behavior.”

Professor Barstow and her husband, theologian Tom Driver from the Union Theological Seminary, lectured at Vassar on “Sexism, Its Religious Origins and What to Do About It” in 1972.  Her Married Priests and the Reforming Papacy: The Eleventh-Century Debates was published in 1982, and Joan of Arc: Heretic, Mystic, Shaman appeared in 1986.

Psychologist Mary Brown Parlee of Barnard lectured on “Menstruation, Birth, and Menopause,” focusing on the physiology and psychology of women.
The college refused to allow CHOICE to sell contraceptives in the College Center on Valentine’s Day.  Director of Campus Activities Peggy Streit said, “The overall idea of selling condoms in the college center didn’t seem appropriate to me…it’s a public place, and outsiders are thinking ‘What do those Vassar people do in that island of theirs?’ It’s the overall reaction I’m concerned with.’”
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.” Jackson had worked with Oxfam-World Neighbors after the 1976 earthquake in Guatemala.
Biochemist John Gerlt from Yale University lectured on “Why Cyclic AMP is a High Energy Phosphate.”

Welcoming a capacity audience in Skinner Hall to the world of novelist and short story writer John Cheever, Associate Professor of English Everett Weedin portrayed it as one in which "cocktail parties and prehistoric turtles mingle on suburban lawns." Writing in The Miscellany News, Athena Vrettos '81 said the man called by critic John Leonard "the Chekov of the suburbs" fulfilled Weedin's promise. Reading from three short stories, "The Death of Justina," "The Swimmer" and an unpublished work, Cheever, she said, "shared the world with his audience as he read about spirits smiling up from suburbanites' English muffins and zoning regulations prohibiting death in certain parts of town." The author, Vrettos reported, explained two common Freudian interpretations of "The Swimmer" to the audience "in amused disgust," and, she concluded, "in his straight-faced nonchalance and his appealing sincerity, Cheever conveyed in his characters a convincing sense of realism, even though the situations in which they found themselves were at times incredible."

Winner of the 1958 National Book Award for The Wapshot Chronicle (1957), Cheever was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in April 1979 for The Stories of John Cheever (1978).

To celebrate Black History Month, the Student Afro-American Society (SAS) held a cultural weekend.  A keynoted address by Professor of History Yosef A.A. Ben-jochannan, an Egyptologist from of Cornell University was accompanied by a jazz concert by American cornetist, guitarist and singer Olu Dara, a cabaret and a recital by the Hudson Valley Dance Theatre.

Dr. Ben-jochannan’s Black Man of the Nile and His Family (1969) set forth his thesis that the ancient high culture of Egypt was traceable to African origins.

Valerie Rochester ‘80 directed the musical Purlie (1970), based on Ossie Davis’s play Purlie Victorious (1961), in the Green & Grey Room.
A student was attacked by an unidentified man while practicing in Skinner Hall. Despite increased security—a member of Campus Patrol was assigned to Skinner Hall and all but one of the external doors were locked during the evening hours—on April 19th, a female student was molested outside of Skinner Hall.

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.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s 18th century etchings of Rome and Herschel Levit’s contemporary photography of the same city were exhibited in Views of Rome: Then and Now at the Vassar College Art Gallery.
The American Culture Program sponsored a series of lectures on “The American Labor Movement: Leadership in Transition.” Speakers included Sol Chick Chaikin, president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and vice president of the AFL-CIO, Glen E. Watts, president of the Communications Workers of America and Douglas Soutar, vice president for industrial relations with the American Smelting and Refining Company.
Kevin Brynan ’79, Todd Shapera ’79 and Michael Rees ’81 presented the art show United Works in the College Center Gallery.

After United States recognition of the People’s Republic of China in December 1978 formal relations between the two nations began, and Vassar was invited to send some students to the Peking Language Institute for the coming year.  Associate Professor of Chinese Yin-lien Chin, meeting in New York City with visiting Chinese Vice Minister of Education Li-Qi, described the college’s Chinese program and discussed with him a planned exchange of students between the two countries. This first exchange involved 65 American graduate students. In gratitude for her help with lowering the costs of the exchange program, the vice minister invited her to send some Vassar students—although undergraduates—to the Peking institute.

The Vassar students, Teresa Colwell ’79, Linda Harris ’79, Leda Petrov ’79 and Lynn Sampsell ‘79 were the only non-graduate students invited and no Chinese students exchanged with them. “Five years ago,” Mrs. Chin said, “I wouldn’t have dared to think of sending our students to China…. During the Cultural Revolution there was hatred of Americans. It’s different now, they want to be friendly with Americans.”

Little was known about curricula, texts or academic documentation in the PRC, and even the dialect used in modern Chinese higher education was uncertain.  The college assured the students that participation would not endanger their certification for graduation, and most of their costs were met by funding from the Maguire endowment, given by Helen Maguire Muller ‘45/44, in honor of her father.

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

Vassar received a $250,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “This significant gift,” said President Smith, “will enable us over the next four years or so to enhance the breadth and professional skills of our faculty.”     The Miscellany News
President Smith created the Energy Conservation Committee to determine whether Vassar’s increasing energy consumption was due to additional buildings or to waste.
The Feminist Union sponsored a performance by feminist singer and songwriter Holly Near at the Bardavon Theatre. Active in civil rights, gay rights and anti-war causes, Near founded Redwood Records in 1973, which released B’lieve I’ll Run On…(1979) by Sweet Honey in the Rock and won a Bay Area Music Award—a “Bammie”—for Imagine my Surprise (1979), an “out lesbian” album.
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. The self-described “poet of witness” devoted a year’s Guggenheim fellowship to civil rights work in Central America, an experience reflected in The Country Between Us (1981).
Dr. Rosalyn Yalow lectured on “The Role of Radio Immunoassay in Biomedical Investigation” in Avery Hall. The discoverer, with Solomon Berson, of a method of quantifying minute amounts of biological substances in the body using radioactive-labeled material, the radioimmunoassay, Yalow received the 1975 American Medical Association Scientific Achievement Award in 1975, the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1976 and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1978.

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.

Professor of Hispanic and Italian Studies German Bleiberg of SUNY Albany spoke on “The Birth of American Hispanism” in Chicago Hall.
The Vassar Club of New York held its 57th Annual Scholarship Benefit featuring Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.  Nureyev defected to the West in 1961 and, while formally principal guest artist at the British Royal Ballet until he joined the Paris Opera Ballet in the 1980s, he toured internationally.
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. The priorities included a new building for chemistry, improved sports facilities and curriculum improvements in both general education and emerging fields.
Students picked the name “Matthew Vassar’s Brewers” to represent Vassar’s athletic teams, replacing various other nicknames including “The Big Pink.”
The Forever Green Committee, as part of a program to keep people off the campus’s grass, posted signs on campus that said “The shortest distance between two points kills grass” and “Stay Off! You were short once too!”
George Britton, musician and founder of the Philadelphia Folk Song Society, gave a concert entitled “Compassion, Acceptance and Love” in the Chapel.
More than 500 students petitioned the city of Poughkeepsie to install a carbon filter at the water plant.
The administration planned to tighten security after several terrace apartment residents reported being harassed by “The Flashlight Man,” an intruder who shined a flashlight into the first floor bedrooms of terrace apartments. In some instances “The Flashlight Man” attempted to enter students’ apartments.

Students organized to oppose possible legislation reinstating the draft.  President Carter asked Congress in February for $5 million to build up the standby draft system, in decline since the draft ended in 1972.  He discussed congressional pressure to reinstate the draft at a news conference on April 10, saying that he saw no immediate reason to reinstate the draft, but adding, “ah, we do have the authority as you know to register persons for a draft in the future if it’s needed.  I would like to say that if we do ever institute a draft I would like to make it universal in its scope.  I don’t think that just because someone is wealthy enough or influential enough to go to college that they ought to be excused from being susceptible to the draft.”     The New York Times

On July 2, 1980, Carter reinstated draft registration for “male citizens…and other males residing in the United States…born on or after January 1, 1960, and who have attained their eighteenth birthday.”

Lecturer in history Donald J. Olsen received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for 1980; Olsen, who had also received the fellowship in 1967, used the grant to expand his project on “A Comparative Study of London, Paris and Vienna Since Late 18th Century.”

Olsen’s research culminated in his highly acclaimed The City as Work of Art: London, Paris, Vienna (1986) which won the 1987 British Council Prize in the Humanities. In her essay on Olsen in the online Vassar Encyclopedia, Riane Harper ’09 wrote, “The prize pronounced his work as the best book in British studies in the humanities published anywhere by a North American scholar. A fellow historian, David Cannadine, wrote, ‘A marvelous book, which brilliantly relates the form and functions of these three great cities to the political cultures and social values which moulded and created them.’"

Director of Admissions Dick Moll published the book Playing the Private College Admissions Game.

“Who hasn't wondered,” wondered the Kirkus Book Review, “about the crazy-quilt pattern of college acceptances and rejections? Richard Moll, Admissions Director at Vassar, shows us how the admissions process works, and advises prospective students on every aspect of the application ordeal, with numerous examples from specific colleges…. Private colleges are facing a declining market, Moll says, forcing them to recruit more actively than ever, and meaning that most are not ‘highly selective’ today—a clear promotional gambit whose message is, ‘Apply!’”

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.
Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies Peter Furst from the State University of New York at Albany lectured on “The Peyote Cult Among the Huichol Indians of Mexico” in Josselyn living room.  Furst began studying the Huichol, an ancient Indian population of some 15,000 in the mountains of the Mexican Sierra Madre Occidental Range, in 1964.  Inspired by the psychoactive peyote cactus, the tribal shamans communicated through “peyote pilgrimages” with their ancestors and deities and experienced visions of their myths.  Furst encouraged the expression of these visions in the ethnic yarn paintings unique to this population. Writing in American Anthropologist in 1970, a reviewer of Furst’s film, To Find Our Life: The Peyote Hunt of the Huichols of Mexico (1969) called it “one of the most successful ethnographic movies in color ever made.”

Feminist and social democrat Barbara Ehrenreich, co-author with Deirdre English of Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness (1973), Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (1973) and For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts’ Advice to Women (1976), spoke on “Feminism in the 80s: Women’s Lib or 'Making It'” in the Main Lounge.

Ehrenreich’s co-author, Deirdre English, lectured at Vassar in February of 1976.

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.
A student production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It was presented in Rockefeller Hall.
Over 1,500 marchers, including 30 Vassar students, protested against nuclear energy at the Indian Point plant in Buchanan, New York. The protesters were joined by folksinger Pete Seeger.
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools conducted Vassar’s decennial accreditation review.
Carol Riechert from the Mid-Hudson League to Preserve the Right to Abortion lectured on “The Legal Struggle over the Right to Abortion and the Pro-Choice Activities of the Mid-Hudson Area.”
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.

Associate Professor of Biology M.R.C. Greenwood ’68; New York Times health columnist Jane Brody; the editor of the Community Nutrition Information Weekly Report, Stephen Clapp and the publisher and editor of In Business, Compost Science-Land Utilization, Jerome Goldstein, participated in a panel discussion on “Nutrition: What is the Truth about Food?”

CHOICE sponsored a lecture by Poughkeepsie doctor Vincent Beltrani on “Sexually Transmitted Diseases.”

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.

Irene Bloom of Columbia University’s department of Asian and Middle Eastern cultures and Janice Willis of the department of religion at Wesleyan University spoke at a philosophy department symposium on “Chinese and Indian Thought.

”Willis’s The Diamond Light of the Eastern Dawn: A Collection of Tibetan Budhhit Mediations appeared in 1972, and Bloom’s translation and edition of The K’un Chih Chi by the 15th century Chinese thinker Lo Ch’in-sShun, Knowledge Painfully Acquired: The K’un Chih Chi by Lo Ch’in-Shun was published by Columbia University Press in 1987.

The president of New York City’s largest municipal union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 37, Victor Gotbaum lectured in Chicago Hall.
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.

Economic historian Douglass C. North, professor of economics at the University of Washington, spoke on “The Prospects and Limitations of Applying Neo-classical Theory to History.”  Professor North’s Structure and Change in Economic History was published in 1981.

In 1991, Professor North was the first economic historian to be honored with the John R. Commons Award, established in 1965 by the International Honors Society for Economics. He and Harvard University Professor Robert Fogel shared the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1993 “for having” in the words of the Nobel committee, “renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change.”

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.

The drama department presented The Great God Brown (1926) by Eugene O’Neill, directed by lecturer in drama Elizabeth White.
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. Lisa Hancock ‘80 won first place in woman’s green belt forms and freestyle-sparring. Paul Cristello ‘81 won third place in the men’s green belt competition. Shanlon Wu ‘80 won the men’s purple belt competition.

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.
Vassar students were among the 65,000 marchers at a rally in Washington D.C. against the use of nuclear power. The following fall, students formed an anti-nuclear group that planned to attend anti-nuclear rallies throughout the East.

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

Assistant Professor of Political Science Mary Shanley, Assistant Professor of History Miriam Cohen, Assistant Professor of English Judith Saunders and Instructor in Economics Ann Davis 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. Cavett considered the question “Is English a Dying Language?” and stressed a college graduate’s need to be able to utilize the English language properly and in its richness.
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. The modeling agencies enticed women to buy portfolios from them and gave them exaggerated hopes of modeling careers that were sometime even fraudulent. Handakas said “They make you think there is a very good possibility of doing well if you give them money for certain services [photography]. Then you can make money through modeling.”      The Miscellany News

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.

The Miscellany News reported that a Vassar alumna invoking the 1966 Freedom of Information Act received 332 pages from the FBI documenting surveillance at Vassar from 1939 to 1975. One event that had been under scrutiny was the 1969 takeover of Main Building. The FBI had collected the names and photographs of those involved in the takeover and the sit-in.

The files also revealed that when a Vassar administrator requested 1,700 copies of the state publication ‘Your Rights if Arrested” in 1969, the New York Bar Association sent a copy of the request to the FBI because “they felt such a request could be a possible indication of planned radical activity on that campus (Vassar) for the forthcoming academic year.”

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. The committee's chair, Professor of English Elizabeth Daniels, said all five areas to be studied arose from the Comprehensive Plan, developed at the time of the college's decision to become coeducational: identity of the student body; breadth of education; student support services; coeducation; financial and budgetary matters.     The Miscellany News
Full-time physician’s assistant Barbara Senftleben replaced retiring Dr. Jean Stevenson ’40, whose appointment had been part-time, at Baldwin Health Center. Dr. Rita Jaeger, Director of Health Services, said the move would increase availability of medical assistance.
WVKR general manager David Boris ‘82 announced that the station planned to increase its wattage from 10 to 1,000 watts, in compliance with Federal Communications Commission regulations; the station thus expanded its range and audience from 150,000 to 2.5 million people as of November 5.
A new committee was formed to discuss security protocols aimed at preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault.
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.”   Demands for increased security came after two Poughkeepsie Day School students were sexually assaulted by the Vassar golf course in May of 1979. However, despite the increased security, on September 23, a 16 year-old girl was attacked on campus.
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.

In an article in The New York Times, “Whatever Happened to Vassar?” Pulitzer Prize journalist Lucinda Franks ’68 considered the changes wrought on the college by the past decade from the viewpoint of an alumna returning as professor.  Recalling her class’s restlessness—“Brush fires of war resistance were crackling on campuses across the country…. While Columbia burned, we continued to read Roethke over demitasse in the Rose Parlor”—she reflected on the quirky outcome of the “revolution,” disclosed in “my old dorm, Cushing, a Tudor manor house,” where “at the piano where we used to sing madrigals of an evening was a near-naked fellow whose Adam’s apple moved up and down in time with his sledgehammer hands as he pounded away at the keys.”

As she met her classes, wondering “who would be learning more from whom in this New Vassar”, she was struck by the urgent openness of the new coeducation—“late 60s alumnae…would have faced expulsion had they harbored a man in their rooms” but now “Vassar men and women were living right next door to one another, mixing up toothbrushes, scribbling invitations to stop by and make love.

“Self-reliance, self-discipline, self-motivation,” she concluded, “is what characterizes the students I teach.  They are complicated mixtures of cynicism and eagerness who listen to their own voices, who refuse to follow anyone else’s call to the wild…. You won’t find an upsurge of mass protest.  You won’t find a hundred people chanting one slogan.  But you just might find one person chanting a hundred slogans.”

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. Men’s tennis coach Roman Czula said, “The importance of Cliff’s victory can’t be understated. I think his feat at least equals anything that’s been done in the athletic history of Vassar.”     The Miscellany News

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."

Acting Chaplain Frank Morales circulated a pamphlet “Divest Now: A Critique of the Vassar College Trustees’ Statement on South Africa,” funded and endorsed by the Coalition for Social Responsibility. Morales asserted that the trustees’ October 21, 1978, decision to divest from five banks which invested in South Africa was intended “to divide and blunt the campus movement for immediate total divestment” by only dealing with “‘direct funding’ of apartheid via loans.”     The Miscellany News
Jazz dancer Phillip Wright, who danced with both the Bernice Johnson Dance Company and with the Jubilation! Dance Company, taught a master class.
Abram Feuerstein ’84 founded a chapter of the pro-nuclear Young Americans for Nuclear Energy in campus. Feuerstein planned to “seek formal (VSA) recognition and bring a more balanced view of the nuclear issue” to Vassar.
Natalie Marshall ‘51, vice president for student affairs, announced a new self-defense class for women.
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 ( http://NCMDR.org ), 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

Vassar Art Symposium at the Retreat (VASAR) presented its first program, featuring the Raymond Avenue Ramblers.

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.  Mahomo’s documentary, shot by an anonymous British team posing as home movie makers, entered and recorded realms of South African life—both the worst ghettos and the grand homes of white farmers—not seen before on film.
Vassar students participated in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the largest gathering of homosexual people in history. Said activist Betty Santoro, “What a thrill to see 250,000 gays when 30 years ago I thought I was the only gay in the world!”
Dorchen Leidholdt of New York’s Women Against Pornography gave a presentation on violence against women in pornography.
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 first in a series of student lectures was presented by history major Jorge Hevia ’80, who spoke on “The Early Victorian Bureaucratic Revolution.”
The Vassar Journalism Forum and the American Culture program held a panel discussion on Western views of African issues.  Speakers included Kenyan journalist Dorothy Kweyu of The Nairobi Daily Nation, South African journalist Sejamothopo Motau of The Pretoria News and veteran African correspondent Charles Mohr ofThe New York Times. Associate Professor of Political Science Clement Cottingham moderated.

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

Dr. William Carlson of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Department of Medicine lectured on “Subcellular Fractionation of Renin Granules.”
Professor of English Michael Goldman from Princeton University lectured on “Acting and Feeling in King Lear” in Josselyn living room.  The Princeton University Press published Professor Goldman’s Shakespeare and the Energies of Drama (1972) and Acting and Action in Shakespearian Tragedy (1985).
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.
The Vassar men’s cross-country team won the North Eastern Athletic Conference Championship for the second year in a row.
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.
Vassar faculty member Blanca Uribe performed a concert, playing works by Beethoven and Chopin.
Organist Donald S. Sutherland of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore performed in the Chapel. His program included two works by composers who were also noted organists: French composer Louis Vierne’s Organ Symphony No. 2 in E minor and “The King of Instruments: a parade of music and verse” for organ and narrator by American composer William Albright.
To eliminate long queues outside Kenyon Hall and long waits inside, a random draw system was used for course preregistration. Dean of Studies Colton Johnson noted that a parent had asked him if it were really necessary for his daughter to risk pneumonia in order to enroll in a dance class.
English musicologist Winton Dean lectured on “Handel’s Operas Today” in Skinner Hall. His Handel's Dramatic Oratorios and Masques (1959) was both a definitive study of its subject and a defining model of musicological technique.  Handel’s Operas: 1704-1726 (1987) was followed by Handel’s Operas: 1726-1741 in 2008.

Carol Bellamy, New York City Council President, spoke in Rockefeller Hall about urban problems. Bellamy said that city dwellers were moving from New York City to the suburbs and the South, leaving the elderly and the poor behind. She also asserted that the city’s financial problems were due to official negligence.

Bellamy later served as director of the Peace Corps from 1993-1995 and executive director of UNICEF from 1995-2005.

Chichelle Professor of Economic History at the University of Oxford Peter Mathias lectured on “Finances of Freedom: The War for Independence.”

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

Dr. Frederick Doyle, a scientist from the Topographical Division of the U.S. Geological Survey, spoke on “The Next Decade: Remote Sensing by Satellite” in Ely Hall.
Hypnotist Ken Weber performed in the Green and Grey Room.  Weber, who performed about 60 shows a year, had visited some 500 campuses and appeared regularly at freshman orientation at Columbia University, spoke to Lawrence Van Gelder from The New York Times about his performances.  “The people do funny things,” he said, “and I make it funny.  They use their imagination in creative ways.  For example, one person will become a Martian.  One person will become a Martian interpreter…Students enjoy seeing people they know on stage…And if you can make it fun, it’s a unique experience.  Nothing else in the entertainment world is like it.”     The New York Times
International women’s rights activist Stephanie Urdang spoke on “Women in the Guinea-Bissau Revolution” as part of Black Arts Week in Taylor Hall.  A member of the Southern Africa Committee, Urdang traveled with the rebel Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC) in spring 1974, during the group’s struggle for independence from Portugal.  Her Fighting Two Colonialisms: Women in Guinea-Bissau was published in 1979.
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.