News & Features


On Campus - December Preview

A preview of events on the Vassar campus for December 2015.

Vassar Students Are from Everywhere

International students comprise nearly 10 percent of the current Vassar student body. They come from 55 different nations--from Canada and China, Ghana and Greece, Kenya and Korea, to name a few. Meet four international students and read about their journeys.

Associate Dean Edward Pittman talks to Marketplace about the importance of cultural centers

Defeating Bowdoin, the Brewers Head to the Final Four

For the second time in three years, the Vassar women’s rugby team is headed to the Final Four national championship. Congratulations to the entire squad and best of luck on December 5th!

Helping with Soup … and Sangria

Artists for Soup—a nonprofit aimed at supporting sustainable agriculture, educational opportunities, and women’s rights in La Paz Centro, Nicaragua—held a benefit on November 15 at the Aula. It was a grand party with twinkling lights and sangria and empanadas and samba tunes and a packed house in high spirits—and, of course, soup.

Mini-Reunions Rule!

Mini-reunions are becoming quite popular among many classes, giving alumnae/i a chance to gather in various parts of the U.S. to reconnect. For some classes, like the Class of 1966 anticipating its 50th Reunion this June, several mini-reunions have taken place—from Boston to Santa Monica—over the past two years.

Whitney Donhauser '89 is named director of the Museum of the City of New York

Ry Blume: Grit and Talent

Legally blind, cross country runner Ry Blume steadily improved his times throughout the fall season and led Vassar to a 15th-place finish in a 40-team field at the Eastern Collegiate Athletics Association meet on Nov. 7.

Rebecca Pober ’18: Raising Awareness of Sex Trafficking

Appalled by what she learned about sex trafficking worldwide, Rebecca Pober ’18 decided to produce a video on the subject to raise awareness. She earned a Gold Award and a Young Woman of Distinction citation from the Girls Scouts.

Educating Citizens of the World through Study Abroad

About half of the members of the junior class attend colleges and universities in more than 30 countries on six continents in sessions coordinated by the Office of International Programs. Meet seven seniors who studied abroad last year.

Vassar College's Devil of a Trivia Quiz

We created this quiz to give alumnae/i a fun way to test their knowledge of Vassar. Good luck!

Thanksgiving Feasts of Yesteryear

According to the Vassar Online Encyclopedia, “As the students only had a day off for Thanksgiving, very few chose to leave campus. Emma Logan McCoy described the event to her parents in 1872. Apparently, they ate an elaborate turkey feast at dinner, which was followed by a dance. President Raymond then read “The Merchant of Venice” until eight, when the students went to a reception with the teachers in the president’s parlor where the vocal teachers sang and the instrumental teachers played. The students were served ice cream in the dining hall at the rather late hour of ten-thirty before they were told to go to sleep.”

Former Dean of Faculty Nancy Schrom Dye '69 is Remembered

During her professional career, Nancy Schrom Dye ’69 served as Oberlin College’s first and only female president, Vassar’s dean of the faculty and acting president, and United Arab Emirates University's vice provost. She is remembered for her work in higher education following her recent passing.

The Sports Page - October 2015 Roundup

A roundup of Vassar athletics in action over the course of October 2015.

Former Oberlin College President Nancy Schrom Dye '69 Remembered

Amazon Original Inspired by Newsweek Discrimination Suit

A pilot inspired by the landmark sex discrimination lawsuit successfully launched by a group of female employees against Newsweek in 1970 will become one of Amazon’s newest original programs. The fictionalized pilot was derived from the book The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich ’65.

“Solidarity with Refugees”

Three members of Vassar College’s faculty and Mariya Nikolova '07 were part of a recent forum in which they discussed the implications of the current refugee crisis in Syria and the role the Vassar community can take to help on an institutional and individual level.

In the Media – October 2015 Roundup

A roundup of Vassar and its alumnae/i, faculty members, students, administrators, and staff in the news for October 2015.

Vassar's Fall Colors

Vassar's campus is a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors in the fall as red, orange, yellow, green, and other vibrant hues abound. Here is a photo gallery with some of our favorite views this autumn.

Memorial scheduled for well-loved English professor William Gifford

A memorial for beloved English professor William Gifford, will take place at 3 pm on Saturday, December 12 in the Chapel, with a reception following.

Celebrating Women in Computing

Grace Hopper would be proud. This year, associate prof. of computer science Jennifer Walter took 19 women—the largest Vassar contingent ever--to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the largest annual gathering in the world of women in technology.

On Campus - November Preview

A preview of events on the Vassar campus for November 2015.

Rabbis Without Borders

When Rebecca Sirbu ’94 was in rabbinical school, some of her professors made it clear they didn’t believe women belonged there. Over the past 15 years, Sirbu has been happily proving them wrong. Her career has taken her down some non-traditional paths, and these days she’s helping other rabbis blaze new trails for themselves and their congregations as the director of Rabbis Without Borders.

5 Questions: Bethel “B” Nathan, New Director of the ALANA Center

Bethel “B” Nathan came to Vassar this summer to take on the role of director of the African American, Latino/a, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) Center. In addition to directing the center, she will work with Campus Life and Diversity and other offices on various diversity initiatives across the college.

MS MR's Lizzy Plapinger '10 and Max Hershenow '10 talk with the Village Voice

Art dealer Frances Beatty Adler '70 talks about art and the legacy of artist Ray Johnson with the Observer

The 11th Annual Vassar FilmFest

The 11th Annual Vassar FilmFest will showcase the talent of Vassar filmmaking alumnae/i on October 17 at the Goethe-Institut in Washington, D.C. The festival will feature 15 films—from a feature-length film to documentaries to stop-motion shorts.

The Sports Page - September 2015 Roundup

A roundup of Vassar athletics in action over the course of September 2015.

Studying Cancer-Fighting Antioxidants

Ilaria Costanzini, PhD candidate at the Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia in Italy, is finishing her doctoral research on antioxidants under the guidance of Miriam Rossi, chemistry professor.

Summer Research in Singapore

Paige Abramowitz ‘16 and Paarul Sinha ’17 traveled to the island nation of Singapore over the summer with anthropology prof. Martha Kaplan to do independent research on water issues, the food distribution system, and public and private gardens.

All Families Weekend 2015

Parents, siblings, friends, and others came to Vassar's campus September 18-20 for All Families Weekend 2015. From campus tours and the Arlington Street Fair to live performances and faculty presentations, the weekend offered much for guests to enjoy.

Dog Day Afternoon

Faculty, administrators, and others brought their canines to campus on September 16 to participate in the inaugural VC Dog Day. Organized by Vassar's First Year Programs, the event succeeded in its mission to put a smile on freshmen faces.

In the Media - September 2015 Roundup

A roundup of Vassar and its alumnae/i, faculty members, students, administrators, and staff in the news for September 2015.

On Campus - October Preview

A preview of events on the Vassar campus for September 2015.

One Year Out: Samantha Smith ’14, Executive Director of Ashinaga Senegal

One year out of Vassar, Samantha Smith ’14 is the executive director of Ashinaga Senegal, a newly formed branch of a Japanese not-for-profit that provides support and scholarships to children in Japan and Africa who have lost their parents.

Time-Out Grant applications now available online

Linda Nochlin ’51: Women Artists

The recently published Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader, a collection of essays from art historian Linda Nochlin ’51, brings together 45 years of work on the subject of feminism and art. Nochlin’s 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”—which is included in the book—is still considered to be the seminal work on the subject.

Vassar Ranks Eighth on New York Times' College Access Index

Vassar once again ranked high on the New York Times’ College Access Index, which measures top colleges’ efforts on economic diversity. Vassar ranked first among private colleges and eighth overall. In addition, President Catharine Hill was one of a panel of five higher education leaders to talk at the corresponding New York Times’ Schools for Tomorrow conference.

Short Tour of the Bridge Building

Take a tour of the construction site of Vassar's new bridge building—the centerpiece of the new Integrated Science Center.

Exploring Transfer at Vassar College

Now in its 30th year, Vassar's Exploring Transfer program has given over a thousand community college students the opportunity to experience a residential liberal arts college. One of this year's ET professors, Yolanda Martin, was herself an ET student over a decade ago. She went on to graduate from Vassar, earned her PhD in sociology, and is now a college professor in New York City.

Community Fellows Make a Difference at Local Nonprofits

Now in its 18th year, the Community Fellows program matches the interests of a select group of Vassar students with the needs of local nonprofit agencies. Meet Community Fellow Elijah Mondesir '16, director of the summer learning academy at the R.E.A.L. Skills Network in Poughkeepsie.

URSI: Emerald Ash Borer

With the emerald ash borer headed this way, an URSI biology project aims to protect a dozen ash trees on campus by deploying predator wasps.

URSI: Ashokan Reservoir Archaeology

The Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskills supplies about 40% of New York City’s drinking water. During its construction in the early 20th century, about a dozen farming communities were impounded and about 2,000 residents lost their homes and means of livelihood. Today, the NYC Department of Environmental Conservation continues a program of land acquisition to fortify the buffer around the reservoir. A recently acquired parcel is the subject of an Undergraduate Research Summer Institute project to document the reservoir’s impact on local communities.

URSI: Hijacking Photosystem 2

If chemistry prof Chris Smart and his URSI fellow, Drew Needleman, can borrow (okay--steal...let's be honest) an electron from Photosystem 2, they can generate electricity. Find out how!

Powerhouse Theater Apprentice Program

Every summer, high school and college students from around the country come to Vassar for an intensive 10-week theater apprenticeship offered by the college in collaboration with New York Stage and Film. Hear what two of this year's apprentices have to say about the program.

Bridging the Culture Gap with a Love of the Game

VC Basketball Liberty League all-stars Caitlin Drakeley ‘16 and Colleen O’Connell ’16 spent most of the summer in Costa Rica training with the Costa Rican Women’s National Team and teaching the game to school children and Special Olympic athletes.

Ford Scholar Jamily Duarte ’16: Documenting Poverty and Alleviating Hunger

Ford Scholar Jamily Duarte ’16, a sociology major, spent part of the summer in Nicaragua, documenting barriers to education faced by children in a squatters’ community and helping to launch an anti-hunger organization founded by a former Vassar faculty member.

A Summer at Sea

With SEA (Sea Education Association) this summer, Ben Lehr ’16 sailed from Massachusetts to Ireland, and Katie Hoots ’18 sailed from Oahu to Molokai, HI. Both students say that their experiences were among the best of their lives.

Vassar ranks 8th overall--and first among private colleges--in the New York Times' College Access Index, released during the School for Tomorrow conference.

New Gallery Tackles Environmental and Social Justice

When award-winning filmmaker and photographer Evan Abramson ’00 and his collaborator (and spouse) Carmen Elsa Lopez moved with their young family from Brooklyn to Bridgewater, Connecticut in 2012, the couple seized on a different way to make and bring art to the community—creating a gallery with a “community education” component that teaches visitors about environmental and social justice—and offers patrons an opportunity to take workshops in the media in which presenting artists work.

Heinz Insu Fenkl '82 discusses his latest story with the New Yorker

The New York Times notes the reprint of Cheap Chic, the fashion touchstone co-authored by Carol Troy '66

Tour the New Bridge Building

Take a tour of the construction site of Vassar's new bridge building—the centerpiece of the new Integrated Science Center.

Fall Convocation 2015

During Fall Convocation, President Hill reminded students that it’s typically the difficult path that leads to greatness, Vassar Student Association President Ramy Abbady ’16 encouraged students to engage in social change, and Greek and Roman studies professor Bert Lott asked students to remember that their future will be predicated on how they interpret their present. View photos and read the speeches.

A New Cache of Vassariana

Packaged in cardboard, wrapped in bubblewrap, and labeled by number, 280 packages of glass plate negatives have occupied a significant amount of shelf space in the stacks of the Catherine Pelton Durrell ’25 Archives and Special Collections Library as long as anyone currently working there can remember.

“The Big Three”: The mass spectrometer, the X-ray diffractometer, and the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer

When the Bridge Science Laboratory opens this winter, Vassar will have state-of-the-art versions of three key instruments, thanks to more than $1 million in grants secured by chemistry professors Joseph Tanski and Teresa Garrett.

Guantánamo Diary Editor to Deliver Starr Lecture

This year’s freshman common reading, Guantánamo Diary, is Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s harrowing account of his imprisonment and torture in the infamous jail where he remains, despite having never been formally charged. Writer and activist Larry Siems edited Guantánamo Diary, and will deliver this year’s William Starr Lecture, which is traditionally given by the author of the common reading selection.

Ulysses Cylinders by Glass Artist Dale Chihuly

The work of Seattle-based glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, an innovative leader in the field of blown glass, will be on display in the Thompson Memorial Library from October 10-November 24. Titled Ulysses Cylinders, the exhibition features exquisite glass and gold leaf cylinders inspired by James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses.

Public Radio Program Hails Vassar Diversity Initiatives

This month, public radio Marketplace's Amy Scott covered three topics relating to Vassar: One praised the college's Transitions program, created to make first-generation students feel at home at the college; the second offered comments from President Catharine Hill on the impact of income inequality on tuition; and the third hailed the Posse Veterans Program, now in its third year. It's been a banner week!

Lydia Sisson '06 talks to the Boston Globe about her nonprofit, Mill City Grows

Freshman Move-In Day 2015

The 668 members of the class of 2019 arrived on campus for Freshman Move-In Day last week. The impressive crew includes 30 valedictorians, students from 46 states and 25 foreign countries, and 97 first-generation college students. Among them are also a nonprofit founder, three musicians who have performed at Carnegie Hall, and 10 veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Michael Kimmel '72 discusses men and masculinity with the New York Times

In the Media – August 2015 Roundup

A roundup of Vassar and its alumnae/i, faculty members, students, administrators, and staff in the news for August 2015.

URSI: Catskill Cores

Chemistry professor Alison Spodek Keimowitz and her URSI fellows are obtaining sediment cores from ombrotrophic (purely rain-fed) bogs in the Catskills Mountains and analyzing them for lead and mercury and other metals. Because they are purely rain-fed, these bogs can reveal the atmospheric depositional history of the region.

Professor Hua Hsu pens The Fader cover story about comedian Hannibal Buress

An Intern Finds Her Passion

Nicole Wong ’15 began as an intern at Family Services last year, worked full time as a domestic violence counselor over the summer, and has now been named senior high-risk case manager at Domestic Violence Services even though she won’t graduate until May.


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