President, Alumnae and Alumni of Vassar College

Sunday, May 27, 2018
By Missie Rennie Taylor ’68

Good morning. If I happen to look vaguely familiar to you, that may be because this past September, I introduced myself to you at the final Convocation of your Vassar career. I told you then that when you walked across the stage to receive your diploma in May, you would officially become part of the AAVC, and that Vassar would be a part of you for the rest of your lives.

Well, guess what, Class of 2018? You made it! Today is your day.

And I want to add that your day is very special to me, personally.

You see, I am a member of the Class of 1968. That’s right: I was sitting among your very same seats fifty years ago. OK, so it was raining … which meant that technically, my seat was in the Chapel. We were not lucky enough to be sitting here overlooking Sunset Lake.

never thought, when I was sitting where you are now, that I ever would get old enough to be at my 50th reunion, let alone that I would be the one to officially welcome you to the tightly knit Vassar community outside these gates.

We have history in common, you and I—more than you might think. The times in which you are graduating, and in which we graduated, are not all that different.

I know you must feel that you are facing a world of unprecedented turbulence. The Class of 1968 graduated into a world shaken to its core by the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the assassinations of beloved national leaders.

Even so, we all walked out of here with our wonderful Vassar education, our deep connections to faculty, and our friends for a lifetime. And since we, like you, were leaving campus in a year that ended in 8, that means that you and I will forever be bonded by Vassar, because we will forever be at reunions together!

You all sitting in front of me are amazing, and your Vassar story will become your life story. With nearly 600 of you graduating today, our total number of Vassar alums is 39,566. That is a lot of Vassar power!

Half a century from now — I know you can’t imagine it; I couldn’t either, but my classmates and I are approaching our 50th reunion in two weeks, I hope that you will be saying something similar to what my classmate Sheila Kennedy said:

Hopefully I have honored Vassar’s tradition of nurturing intelligent, competent, resourceful alums committed to service. I think that’s what makes Vassar so unique — the expectation that we graduates will do our best to do the best for others.

Vassar has launched you for a lifetime. There are graduates from eight different decades, from all around the globe, who want to get to know you as fellow members of this family that is continually making history. We take great pride in you, and in what lies ahead for you — and we stand ready to support you on your own journey.

Thank you, and congratulations!