"A commitment for the future. In 1961 Vassar College will celebrate her 100th anniversary not by extolling past achievements but with a commitment for the future. When we talk about the highest standards in education, what we really mean can be described simply enough: the best students, the best teachers, and the finest relationships between them. We believe that independent liberal arts colleges have a continuing responsibility to improve the education given to young people, to pose new educational questions, and to develop an educational program that meets their needs. Vassar's primary concern is and will continue to be improvement of its curriculum and its teaching. No college or university today can afford to rest on laurels of past accomplishments, however distinguished these may have been. Higher education has suddenly come face to face with a demanding present and an even more demanding future. To meet them both simultaneously requires bold planning and action." Sarah Gibson Blanding.

1961, Jan. 10

The Centennial Photographic Exhibition, "The Magnificent Enterprise: Education Opens the Door," was opened at the IBM Gallery, New York City. Nationwide circulation is under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution.

1961, Jan. 18

The one hundredth anniversary of the granting of the Vassar College Charter was celebrated by a Charter Day Party at which President Blanding and the Board of Trustees honored the employees and staff. President Emeritus Henry Noble MacCracken gave the Salute to Employees and citations were given to those with more than twentyfive years of service A special exhibition, "The Body Corporate," was shown in the Library.

1961, Jan. 18

Secretary of Vassar College, Theodore H. Erck, gave a speech entitled "Vassar College and Poughkeepsie" at the January Chamber of Commerce Contact Club breakfast. At the breakfast, chairman of the Contact Club Breakfast Committee, Paul D. Tower, presented Dr. Sarah Gibson Blanding the Chamber's Achievement Award. The award honored Vassar for its 100 years of high standards and excellence in education.

1961, Jan. 22

Pianist David Goldberg gave a concert at Skinner Hall.

1961, Jan. 27

The Department of Music presented a concert by the Paganini Quartet of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

1961, Jan. 29

Gwendolyn Hamilton, a member of the department of music, gave a piano recital at Skinner Hall.

1961, Jan. 30

The Philharmonic Chamber Music Concerts gave a performance at Skinner hall, featuring soloist Karen Ranung McComb.

1961, Feb. 1

Mrs. Martha McChesney Wyman, '18, and Mrs. Mabel Victoria Ross welcomed the Class of 1961 to the 100th Birthday Party, directed by George B. Dowell and Jane Alexander, '61. The program included a Musical Cavalcade of the Century with students in costume and the premiere of the proposed new Alma Mater with music and lyrics by Jane Alexander, '61.

1961, Feb. 3

Marian Anderson, operatic star, lectured on "A Step Towards Peace."

1961, Feb. 3

The senior class paid tribute to Matthew Vassar and the college's Centennial year. Many dressed in costumes of the period and the event was celebrated with a cake designed to look like Main building of 1865.

1961, Feb. 12

Sterling Hunkins, Robert Middleton, Claude Monteux, and Donald Pearson, members of Vassar's music department, presented a concert at Skinner Hall.

1961, Feb.

An igloo was secretly carved out of the snow piles in the Main parking lot by Lylas H. Good '61 and Joan B. Page '61. President Blanding was invited to tea and a housewarming in the igloo, which she accepted. The president was accompanied by Professor C. Gordon Post. They were later joined in the festivities by Gwendolyn L. Hamilton of the Music Department, Jean D. Fay, Curator of the Art Museum, and Martha M. Wyman, Head Resident of Main Building.

1961, Feb. 16-17

Thirteen Vassar students participated in the "Student Turn Towards Peace" demonstration in Washington D.C. The demands were to cease atmospheric testing, and to persuade the government to find alternatives to the arms race, and a call for disarmament. The students picketed the White House, conducted a peace March, and met with Senate members, congressmen, labor leaders, and foreign emissaries. Thirty "Young Americans for Freedom" counter-picketed.

1961, Feb. 17

Dr. W. Barry Wood Jr., professor of microbiology at Johns Hopkins University, lectured on "Cellular Mechanisms in Anti-Bacterial Defense."

1961, Feb. 17

Dr. Gladys Hobby '31, chair of the Department of Infectious Diseases of the Veterans Administration Hospital in East Orange, New Jersey, and influential in the discovery of terramycin and biomycin, spoke on antibiotic research as part of the Plant Science Series.

1961, Feb. 18

Folksinger Joan Baez performed at the freshman dance.

1961, Feb. 24-26

As part of the centennial celebration faculty and students joined in a Festival of the Mid-Nineteenth Century. The program began with the opening of a special exhibition on Samuel F.B. Morse in the Art Gallery with the reading of a poem commissioned for the occasion, S.F.B. Morse Sits for His Portrait at Locust Grove, by Samuel French Morse, Professor of English, Mount Holyoke College. Other speakers were Jacques Barzun, Dean of Faculties and Provost, Columbia University, on "The Cultural Revolution and Its Victims;" George Gaylord Simpson, Professor of Vertebrate Paleontology, Harvard University, "Lamarck, Darwin and Butler Three Approaches to Evolution in the Nineteenth Century;" Bruce Catton, Senior Editor of American Heritage, "A Time of Crisis;" The Reverend H. Richard Niebuhr, Sterling Professor of Theology and Christian Ethics, Yale Divinity School, "The Radiance of the Infinite." Students presented tableaux and skits before each event, and a Soiree de Gala was held for the college community. A special exhibition was arranged in the Library. The Experimental Theatre presented Ibsen's A Doll's House.

1961, Feb. 27

Harold Taylor, president of Sarah Lawrence College debated with William Buckley, editor of the conservative National Review. The debate, sponsored by the Student Lecture Series, was held in the Chapel and "soon developed into a more general squabble."

1961, Feb. 27

The first Centennial Mathematics Lecture was given by Grace Murray Hopper, '28, of RemingtonRand Univac. The subject was "New Languages."

1961, Mar. 1

James Thomas Flexner spoke about Samuel F. B. Morse, who was a founding member of the Vassar board of trustees, in a lecture entitled "Samuel F. B. Morse and the American Aesthetic Dilemma."

1961, Mar. 10-12

"A Doll's House", a play by Henrik Ibsen, was performed by the Vassar Experimental Theater.

1961, Mar. 12

Dorothy Stickney in A Lovely Light, a portrait of Edna St. Vincent Millay as seen through her poems and letters, directed by Howard Lindsay.

1961, Mar. 12

Bruckner's Mass in E Minor, sung by the Vassar Choir and the Harvard Glee Club in Emmanuel Church, Boston, Massachusetts. The concert was repeated at the college April 18th.

1961, Mar. 14

Six women from Vassar College were awarded 1961-62 Woodrow Wilson National Fellowships: Carlene Hughs '59, Maire Jaanus'61, Janet Kichle '59, Carole Lomax '61, Louise Newman '61, and Linda Pearlman '61.

1961, Mar. 18

Gala luncheon to honor Sarah Gibson Blanding, Starlight Roof of the WaldorfAstoria, New York City. Sponsored by the Vassar Club of New York in cooperation with Vassar Clubs of the vicinity. Dorothy Stickney will give excerpts from A Lovely Light.

1961, Mar. 18

Gala benefit performance of Il Trovatore, Metropolitan Opera House, under the auspices of the Vassar Club of New York.

1961, Mar. 19-24

International Conference. Thirty outstanding women consider world problems and their implications for education. Major speakers: Barbara Ward, British economist, writer and lecturer; Alva Myrdal, Swedish Ambassador to India, and noted sociologist, author and teacher; Lakshmi Menon, outstanding figure in Indian government and politics; Susanne K. Langer, author and Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College; Vera Micheles Dean, distinguished American author and lecturer, and editor of Foreign Policy Association publications. Discussion leaders: Ralph Bunche, Mabel Newcomer, Dorothy Fosdick, Germaine Bree and Rosemary Park. The panelists include Zahia Marzouk, Egypt; J. Aduke Moore, Nigeria; David Owen, United Kingdom; Anwar Ahmed, Pakistan; Amrit Kaur, India; Elba Gomez del Rey de Kybal, Argentina; Ketty Stassinopoulou, Greece; Helga Pedersen, Denmark; Elisabeth Schwarzhaupt, Germany; Hurustiati Subandrio, Indonesia; Helen Kim, Korea; Margaret Ballinger, South Africa; Irma Salas de Silva, Chile; Salwa Nassar, Lebanon; Lala Spajic, Yugoslavia; Alina Szumlewicz, Brazil; Parvin Birjandi, Iran; Jeantine Hefting, Netherlands; and Amalia de Castillo Ledon, Mexico. Eleanor Roosevelt will offer greetings. President Blanding will give the inaugural.

1961, Mar. 30-31

One hundred and ten alumnae gathered at Vassar for an update on the college's recent events.

1961, Apr. 3

edward e. cummings, writer and painter, gave a reading of his poetry as part of the Student Lecture Series.

1961, Apr. 4-24

Twenty sculptures by Professor Concetta Scaravaglione, were displayed in the Vassar College art gallery.

1961, Apr. 5

Former teacher and president of Sarah Lawrence College, Harold Taylor, lectured on "Education and the Dangers of Conservatism."

1961, Apr. 5

Celebration Dinner to mark the Centenary of Vassar College sponsored by the London Vassar Club, in the Harcourt Room of the House of Commons. Guest of honor and chief speaker, Professor Arthur L. Goodhart, international jurist and master of University College, Oxford.

1961, Apr. 7

Artist and harpiscord player, Albert Fuller gave a recital at Skinner Hall.

1961, Apr. 7-8

The Student Swupper Club presented a water ballet and synchronized swimming exhibition entitled "One Hundred Proof."

1961, Apr. 10

Austin Farmer, warden of Keble College, part of Oxford University, lectured on "Divine Omnipotence and Human Freewill."

1961, Apr. 16

The Vassar College Choir, the Harvard Glee Club, and the Wind Ensemble of Eastman School of Music, gave a recital in honor of Vassar's centennial year.

1961, Apr. 23

Work by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, recipient of the American Institute of Architects' 1960 Gold medal, was shown in a photo exhibit.

1961, Apr. 26

Foreign correspondent, John Scott lectured on "Russia Revisited."

1961, Apr. 29

The William's College Glee Club and the Vassar Glee club gave a concert.

1961, Apr. 29

Founder's Day, an allstudent celebration in honor of Matthew Vassar. Concerts by the Yale Band and the Yale Glee Club.

1961, Apr. 30

Gore Vidal, author, playwrite, and politician, lectured on the topic of "Love in a World of Strangers."

1961, Apr. 31

Pianist Basil Brominov gave a concert and a lecture of Russian music.

1961, May 5

Sixty members of the Vassar College Glee Club traveled to Annapolis, Maryland to perform with the U.S. Naval Academy.

1961, May 5

Concert by Licia Albanese, operatic soprano of worldwide renown, sponsored by the Department of Italian. The concert, the gift of Miss Albanese, will commemorate the centenary of Italian freedom and the unification of Italy as well as the centennial of Vassar College.

1961, May 6

Vassar College was one among 732 liberal arts colleges and universities to receive a grant from the U.S. Steel Foundation, Inc. The program was set up to aid excellence in education. Vassar also received a unrestricted gift of $29,550, from members of the Poughkeepsie community.

1961, May 6

Matthew Vassar Day, as proclaimed by Mayor Waryas of Poughkeepsie and Town Supervisor, Thomas Mahar: community parade in the morning; open house for Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County friends in the afternoon.

1961, May 10

Republican Senator Barry Goldwater, from Arizona, lectured on local versus federal support of schools.

1961, May 19-June 10

Drawings and watercolors from alumnae and their families; a Centennial Loan Exhibition. The exhibition will be on display at the Wildenstein Galleries, New York City, June 14 - September 9.

1961, May 28

Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy, sent an engraving of the White House to Vassar in honor of its centennial.

1961, June 5

Graduation exercises for the Class of 1961; speaker, George C. McGhee, member of the Board of Trustees, recently appointed Secretary of State for Policy Planning.

1961, Jun. 7

Five hundred alumnae from the United States and around the world participated in Vassar's centennial Festival. Representatives of every class from 1891 to 1961 attended. A parade of the seventy classes helped celebrate the day. At the festival Vassar received a record $1,352,681 in alumnae gifts.

1961, Jun. 7-28

Vassar and Wellesley College collaborated for the first time to send thirty juniors to Washington D.C. for summer internships in politics.

1961, June 9

The Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, with the Hudson Valley Chorale, under the direction of Claude Monteux, will present the first concert performance of Vittorio Rieti's Trionfo di Bacco e Arianna.

1961, June 10

Alumnae Festival at the College. Centennial play, "Colors of the Day," by Muriel Rukeyser, ex '34, in the outdoor theatre; two contemporary oneact comic operas: MardiGras, by Mildred Kayden, '42, and Trial of the Dog, adapted from "The Wasps" of Aristophanes by Martha Alter, '25; the centennial photographic exhibition, The Magnificent Enterprise: Education Opens the Door.

1961, Jun. 21-23

The 17th Annual Institute of Community Leadership was held at Vassar. Over the three days the topics discussed were "City and Suburbia in Transition", "The Future of Higher Education in New York State," and "Integration versus Ghetto." The conference was attended by two hundred and fifty members of the New York State Citizens' Council.

1961, Jun. 23-25

A festival of mid-seventeenth and eighteenth century music was held at Vassar.

1961, Summer

Under the direction of Professor John Johnsen of the Department of Geology, Vassar held a National Science Foundation summer earth science program

1961, July

Summer workshops in French and Russian began. The programs were sponsored by Vassar College, and the New York State Education department.

1961, Jul. 2

Inez G. Nelbach was appointed the first Dean of Studies.

1961, Jul. 30

Sarah Gibson Blanding reported that for the 1960-61 academic school year Vassar College received $2,510,000 in gifts.

1961, Fall

Vassar College instituted the Matthew Vassar scholarship to be given to sixty Vassar students, fifteen in each class. Up to $ 2,500 was awarded to the students as either financial aid or an honorary scholarship.

1961, Sept. 11

Vassar received a grant for $ 1,000,000 from the Old Dominion Foundation.

1961, Sept. 27

The Lenox Quartet, a string group, performed at Vassar.

1961, Oct.

Charles Jones of the Divinity School of the University of South Carolina, and Charles McDew a senior at the University of North Carolina, both leaders of SNCC, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee spoke about their work in McComb, Mississippi.

1961, Oct. 9

Professor Ursula M. Niebuhr of Barnard College, spoke on "The Point of the Story."

1961, Oct. 11

Ravi Shankar, an Indian sitarist and composer, performed a program of classical Hindusthani music.

1961, Oct. 11

David McAllister of Wesleyan University lectured on "Music and Culture."

1961, Oct. 12

An Academic Convocation was held at Vassar College with representatives from over three hundred educational Institutions world-wide gathered to celebrate this centennial event. The day began with a procession of "college trustees, faculty members, public officials, and representatives of the board of regents and state department of education." President of Radcliffe and a 1931 graduate of Vassar College Mary Ingraham Bunting spoke on the theme of "Cultural Evolution."

1961, Oct. 13

Contemporary French writer Jean Bruller, Vercors, lectured on "De la Resistance a la Philosophie."

1961, Oct. 25

Oceanographer George L. Clarke, of Harvard University, lectured on "Light-and Its Effects in the Deep Sea."

1961, Oct. 25

Anne Oliver, lecturer at the University of Manchester in England, lectured at Vassar on Scottish Poetry.

1961, Oct. 29

A chamber music performance was given in Skinner Hall.

1961, Nov. 3-5

The Contemporary Arts Conference was held at Vassar, helping to celebrate it's centennial. "Unfolding trends in art, literature, music, cinema, and dance will be discussed with Vassar students by some of those involved in creating the trends." Friday William Rubin, art historian, lectured on "American Avant Garde Painting Today." On Saturday there were several guest poetry readings, a panel discussing the novel, and a discussion on modern dance. Pianist and lecturer Howard Lebow performed contemporary music on Saturday night. Closing the event on Sunday was a round table discussion.

1961, Nov. 10, 11 &13

The opera, Command Performance, composed by Robert Middleton, and written by Harold Smith, opened to an invitation-only audience. The opera, performed by the Boston Opera Group, was based on the relations between England and Turkey in the mid sixteenth century. The cast included Metropolitan Opera Mezzo soprano Blanche Thebom, Metropolitan Opera bass Ezio Flagello, Sante Fe Opera baritone Robert Treny, New York Opera soprano Doris Yarick, Metropolitan Opera tenor Thomas Heyward, and Boston Opera baritone James Billings.

1961, Dec. 1

Professor I. A. Richards, of Harvard University, gave a reading of his poetry.

1961, Dec. 2

The Vassar College Glee Club, directed by Albert van Ackere, and the Lehigh University Glee Club, directed by Robert Cutter, gave a joint performance.

1961, Dec. 3

David Jeffreys, the former director of studies and cultural activities at the International School in Rome, lectured on "A Tour of Ancient Greece."

1961, Dec. 8

The Budapest String Quartet performed a program of chamber music.

1961, Dec. 10

Thomas Hayden, former editor for the Michigan Daily, at the University of Michigan, and southern field secretary for students for a democratic society, spoke at Vassar about civil rights.

1961, Dec. 17

The Vassar College Choir, directed by Margaret E. Cawley, gave a joint concert with the Colgate University Glee Club, under the direction of William Skelton.

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Last updated: 10 November, 1999, by Jeremy R. Linden, '00.