The Charles Griffin Memorial Lecture was given in Sanders Lecture Hall by American historian Edward Ayers from the University of Virginia, who spoke on "The American Civil War as a Moral Problem.”  Professor Ayers published The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction (1992) and he edited, with Bradley Mittendorf, The Oxford Book of the American South: Testimony, Memory and Fiction (1997), both from Oxford University Press.  With William G. Thomas III, he was responsible for the groundbreaking digital study of the Civil War, The Valley of the Shadow.

The Charles Griffin Memorial Lecture honored the former dean of the faculty and professor of history Charles Caroll Griffin, a distinguished Latin Americanist, who taught at Vassar from 1934 until his retirement in 1967.  Professor Griffin died in 1976.