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In celebration of its 150th anniversary, Vassar College invites the Hudson Valley Community to enjoy "A Day at Vassar," October 15, 2011.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Have you ever wanted to return to college just to take that one course you missed? Would you like to explore what one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges offers? On Saturday, October 15, in celebration of its 150th anniversary, Vassar College will welcome all members of the Hudson Valley community, age 18 and over, to “return to school” for a very special program, “A Day at Vassar.” This day-long event is free and open to the public with pre-registration required. See for details and registration.

“Our college places great emphasis on being a good neighbor,” noted Vassar College President Catharine Hill. “It is only appropriate that, as we celebrate our sesquicentennial year, we extend our Hudson Valley neighbors a warm welcome to campus, and offer them the opportunity to experience Vassar as our students do.”

The morning program will feature two periods of lectures in the arts, sciences, and humanities taught by distinguished members of the college’s faculty. The afternoon will feature a performance of a special Hudson Valley-themed performance of Vassar Voices, a special sesquicentennial salute that has toured this country and abroad. In addition, there will be an afternoon concert by members of the world-renowned music faculty as well as walking tours of the historic campus, and exhibitions in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, the Palmer Gallery, the Warthin Museum, the Thompson Memorial Library. For early registrants a special Hudson Valley lunch is included.

“A Day at Vassar” is just one of the many programs presented by the Vassar College Sesquicentennial Committee led by co-chairs and alums John Mihaly and Susan Kuretsky.

“This year’s sesquicentennial events are the result of an extraordinary contribution by every facet of the of the college community, from students to faculty to staff,” noted John Mihaly, senior director of regional programs and co-chair of the college’s sesquicentennial. “This truly is a campus-wide celebration and we are so happy to extend this invitation to all members of the Hudson Valley, the home of Vassar College,” said the 1974 Vassar graduate.

Susan Kuretsky ’63, Professor of Art History on the Sarah Gibson Blanding Chair and co-chair of the college’s Sesquicentennial, added: “This year we’ve learned more about the history and evolution of the college, which has touched on so many larger developments in American history. ‘A Day at Vassar’ is one of many programs that have made this an edifying and joyous birthday celebration. Thanks to our award-winning sesquicentennial website (, we have also shared our celebration with alumnae/i and friends across the world.”

To attend “A Day at Vassar” register online at, where you can find further details about the lectures and events on October 15. The final deadline to register is Friday, October 7.

Note that there is a limited capacity for the registrants that may be accommodated for the lunch. Once capacity has been reached, participants are encouraged to enjoy lunch at their own expense at one of the many restaurants in Vassar’s Arlington neighborhood on Raymond, Collegeview, and LaGrange Avenues.

About the Lectures
The lecture periods will be held at 10:00am (period 1) and 11:30am (period 2) at locations to be given to registrants in registration packets.

Karen Hwang, assistant professor of art, will present a lecture on “The Aesthetic of Imperfection in Japanese Art of Zen.” (period 1)

Mihai Grunfeld, associate professor of Hispanic Studies, will present a lecture on “The Mexican Muralism,” about the Mexican muralists who produced what is considered the greatest public revolutionary art of the 20th century. (period 1)

Susan Kuretsky, Sarah G. Blanding Professor of Art, will discuss how witty canine motifs in Rembrandt’s prints and paintings reveal how 17th-century artists and scientists were exploring the relationship between people and animals in: “Rembrandt’s Disreputable Dogs.” (period 2)

Kathryn Libin, associate professor and chair of music, will present a lecture that will shed a special light on the musical characters and scenes in Jane Austen’s novels in: “Daily Practice, Musical Accomplishment, and the Music Collection of Jane Austen and Her Family.” (period 2)

Sophie Martinez, visiting assistant professor of French and Francophone Studies, will examine how the superb, but now defunct Palace of the Tuileries, commissioned by Catherine de Medicis in France, remains alive today in some of the structures, roofs, and visual ornaments at Vassar in: “Digging French Architecture at Vassar.” (period 2)


John Ahern, professor of Italian on the Dante Antolini Chair, will present the lecture “Lieutenant Roselli comes to Town,” about the resourceful, dynamic, and unpredictable Florentine, Bruno Roselli, who founded the Italian Department and soon made it into the largest Italian program in any American college. (period 1)

Mark Amodio, professor of English, will focus on the history and structure of the English language from its beginnings to the present day in his lecture: “A brief history of the English language: words and their meanings.” (period 2)

Peter Antelyes, associate professor of English, will examine narratives and maps from the Age of Discovery in an illustrated lecture: “The Literature of Discovery: Explorer Reports and the Mapping of the New World.” (period 1)

Robert Brigham, Professor of History on the Shirley Ecker Boskey Chair,” will use historical case studies to identify practical ways to end conflict and build sustainable peace in his lecture “Ending Deadly Conflict.” (period 2)

In her lecture, Rachel Friedman, associate professor and chair of Greek and Roman Studies, will discuss “Homecoming without Home: Derek Walcott’s Stage Version of the Odyssey.” (period 1)

Susan Hiner, associate professor and chair of French and Francophone Studies, will examine the crucial role of fashionable accessories in defining women’s place in 19th-century France in her lecture: “From Pockets to Purses: Modernity and the Feminine in 19th-Century France.” (period 1)

Maria Höhn, professor of history, will discuss GI dissent and racial violence during the late ’60s and early ’70s in US military bases in West Germany that forced the US and West German governments to formulate comprehensive responses to the crisis in her lecture: “The Voice of the Lumpen and the Trial of the Ramstein 2.” (period 1)

Bill® Hoynes, professor of sociology, will explore enduring questions about the relationship between journalism and war, paying particular attention to news coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in his lecture: “The News of War and the War Over News.” (period 1)

Glen Johnson, professor emeritus of political science, in conjunction with the viewing of the exhibition in the Thompson Memorial Library, will discuss “Vassar and the Roosevelts: Friends and Neighbors.” (period 2)

Shirley Johnson Lans, professor and chair of economics, will discuss “The Role of Academics in NGO projects in the Developing World: A case study providing education and health care for women and girls in rural Rajasthan.” (period 2)

David Kennett, Elizabeth Stillman Williams Professor of Economics, will seek to answer questions about the economic future of the United States and the New York region in his lecture: “The Economy: How did we get to this place, and can we get out?” (periods 1 and 2)

Rachel Kitzinger, Professor of Classics on the Matthew Vassar, Jr. Chair and Dean of Planning and Academic Affairs, will present the lecture: “Vassar and the Liberal Arts: Then and Now.” (period 2).

Michael McCarthy, professor emeritus of philosophy, will discuss “Democracy in America: the sources of our discontent.” (period 2)

Barbara Page, professor emeritus of English, in conjunction with the viewing of the Bishop exhibition in the Thompson Memorial Library, will discuss “Reflections on the Life and Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop.” (period 2)

Science and Technology

Abigail Baird, assistant professor of psychology, will discuss “The Teenage Brain.” (periods 1 and 2)

James Challey, senior lecturer of science, technology, and society, will examine “How Technology Evolves: The (Social) Construction of the Bicycle.” (period 1)

Brian Daly, assistant professor of physics, will discuss “Light and Sound: How ultrafast lasers let us ‘hear’ 29 octaves above middle-C, and why we might want to ‘listen.’” (period 1)

David Esteban, assistant professor of biology, will present a lecture about “Microbial Wars: Clashes Between the Human and Microbial World.” (period 1)

Harvey Flad, emeritus professor of geography, will present many of the artists and images of Hudson Valley natural and cultural landscapes that formed a national imagination as the “Landscape that Defined America” in his lecture: “Geographic Perspectives on the Hudson River School of Art, the American Landscape, and the Construction of National Identity.” (period 2)

Bret Ingerman, vice president for computing and information services, will examine how you can be sure that the electronic data you are accessing is secure and how to keep your private digital information private in his lecture: “Internet Privacy and Security: What to do, and what never to do.” (period 2)

David Jemiolo, associate professor of biology, will present a lecture about “The Culture and Chemistry of Cuisine.” (period 1)

Ken Livingston, professor of psychology, will discuss “Brain, Ritual, and Belief: Toward a Cognitive Science of Religion.” (period 2)

John Long, professor and chair of biology, will discuss “Evolving Robots: Mechanical Animals Play the Game of Life.” (period 1)

Benjamin Lotto, professor of mathematics and dean of freshman, will investigate some o the properties of Pascal’s triangle in his lecture: “Pascal’s phenomenal triangle.” (period 2)

John McCleary, Professor of Mathematics on the Elizabeth Williams Chair and Chair of Mathematics, will examine “Long division and the secrets of infinity.” (period 1)

Ronald Patkus, head of Special Collections and adjunct associate professor of history, will examine late medieval manuscripts held in Special Collections in the Vassar Library, in order to discover how they were used by medieval readers in his lecture: “Medieval Manuscripts at Vassar.” (periods 1 and 2)

Ismail Rashid, associate professor of history, will explore the positive political and social transformations that are taking place in West Africa after two decades of violent conflict in his lecture: “African Renaissance or another False Dawn?: Civil Wars, State Reconfiguration, and Democratization in Post-Colonial West Africa.” (period 1)

Cindy Schwarz, professor of physics, will discuss discoveries in particle physics over the last century and some of the hoped for results of the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, in her lecture: “A Tour of the Subatomic Zoo.” (period 1)

Jodi Schwarz, assistant professor of biology, will examine how through the understanding of corals at a tiny scale, we can come to understand the incredible power that small relationships have to transform life at the big scale in her lecture: “Big things come in small packages: Lessons learned from coral reefs.” (period 2)

Christopher Smart, associate professor of chemistry, will give the lecture “A Chemist and Glassblower’s Tour of the Stained Glass Windows in the Vassar College Chapel” (period 1) as well as the lecture “Organic Chemistry: The Best Course You Never Took.” (period 2)

Tyrone Simpson, associate professor of English, will explore how a government document, known as the “Moynihan Report,” set the template for how we understand cities and the people that live in them in his lecture: “The Race, Sex, and Gender of Urban American Literature (Hubert Selby Jr.)” (period 1)

Kate Susman, Professor of Biology on the Jacob P. Giraud Jr. Chair, will examine the recent research in genomics and neuroscience that is providing startling insights in the evolution of our most unique feature, our brain, in her lecture: “Insights in the Evolution of the Human Brain.” (period 2)

Joseph Tanski, associate professor and chair of chemistry, will discuss the discovery of atomic structure, some of the history of the chemistry department and buildings at the college, and the use of X-ray fluorescence for elemental analysis of art and antiquities in his lecture: “Elemental Analysis of Art and Antiquities (and a Little Bit of the History of Chemistry at Vassar).” (period 2)

Adelaide Villmoare and Peter Stillman, both professors of political science, will explore the political meanings of African American parading, that lay claim to streets for pleasure, community, remembrance, and protest in New Orleans, pre- and post-Hurricane Katrina, in their lecture: “African American Parading in New Orleans: Democracy Despite Government.” (period 1)

Schedule of Events
“A Day at Vassar”
Saturday, October 15
Pre-registration required, see

Main Building, Villard Room

10:00am (period 1) and 11:30am (period 2)
Elective Lectures
Locations to be announced

Sale of Haitian art and handicrafts to benefit the Vassar Haiti Project
Main Building, North Atrium



Performance of Vassar Voices
Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film, Martel Theater

Walking tours of the historic campus
Main Building, Main Circle

Exhibition viewings of the permanent collection and A Pioneering Collection: Master Drawings from the Crocker Art Museum
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

Exhibition viewings of From the Archive: Discovering Elizabeth Bishop and Vassar and the Roosevelts: Friends and Neighbors
Thompson Memorial Library

Exhibition viewing of works by the Hudson Valley artists from the Long Reach Collective
Palmer Gallery, College Center

Exhibition viewing of the permanent collection of geological and fossil collection
Warthin Museum, Ely Hall


Concert by the Music Faculty
Skinner Hall of Music

Walking tours of the historic campus (see description above)

Exhibition viewings (see descriptions above)

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Monday, September 5, 2011