The Vassar Inclusive History initiative, launched in February of 2023, is dedicated to evaluating, reflecting on, and unearthing the College’s history with respect to justice, equity, and fairness.

Focused on stories, lives, and questions that have been neglected in the telling of the history of Vassar College, the Inclusive History initiative represents a promise and an invitation to the entire Vassar community.

The promise: The promise of the Vassar Inclusive History Initiative is its public history approach, which envisions contributions from an infinite number of voices. Public histories require radical self-reflection and shared projects of inquiry. Crucial to this notion of public history is what it is not: neither a top-down approach in which scholars possess the authority of knowledge, nor the pursuit of a single authoritative account. Instead, public history demands multiple perspectives, interdisciplinary research, and hearing a wide range of stories and experiences in order to build new narratives and new knowledge about Vassar College.

The invitation: Vassar Inclusive History Initiative invites anyone for whom Vassar’s history matters to research, document, explore, and evaluate the College’s past with respect to questions about justice, equity, and fairness. and equity. These efforts will unfold over time and will require multiple paths of inquiry. All students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, and members of the broader Poughkeepsie community are invited to take up a topic or question that is meaningful to them. The Inclusive History initiative envisions many forms of contributions: essays, oral histories, film, photography, music, poetry are just some of the genres that the initiative encourages.

How to Participate or Submit to the Vassar Inclusive History Initiative

The Vassar Inclusive History Initiative invites submissions from all members of the Vassar community. All submissions should explore, examine, or illuminate aspects of Vassar’s history with respect to questions of justice, equity, and inclusion. Submissions will be reviewed by the Steering Committee according to their originality, clarity, accuracy of citations, and the broader way they help Vassar understand and evaluate its institutional history.

To submit project ideas or contact the Vassar Inclusive History team, please email

An aerial view of several classical brick buildings, trees, and green quads.

Land Acknowledgment

We acknowledge that Vassar stands upon the homelands of the Munsee Lenape, Indigenous peoples who have an enduring connection to this place despite being forcibly displaced by European colonization.