First Words

What's in a Mark?

By Veronika Ruff '01

It may not be as recognizable as the Harvard "H" or UCLA's cursive script, but the Vassar logo has a brand all its own. Representations of the interlocking "V" and "C" have led to horn-honking bonanzas on Palisades Parkway during Thanksgiving weekend, job offerings on a hike in Israel, and countless meetings between alumnae/i of all ages. Melissa Walker '99, wearing a Vassar t-shirt, was running in Central Park when a passerby yelled out "'97!" Melissa smiled, kept running, and replied, "'99!"

When Tony Hacking '90 wanted to meet new people after graduation, he joined a co-ed community volleyball league. One night, he and the setter were flirting. After the game, she asked if he went to Vassar. He was flattered when he realized she figured it out by perusing the "VC" on the rear of his sweatpants. Tony and his teammate, Hilary, are now married.

Lisa Tulchin '91, who describes herself as a "nice Jewish girl from North Carolina," was shocked when a friend asked her if the "VC" on her ring meant "Virgins of Christ." She just stared and bit her tongue until he figured it out for himself.

When riding a New York City B-train to work one morning, AAVC President Paula Williams Madison '74 was clutching the overhead railing when a woman said to her, "You went to Vassar." Paula asked the woman how she knew. She smiled and lifted her own hand. "The ring, see?"

Though fellow Vassarites tend to know the college logo, most members of the general public associate the symbol with a wide variety of other meanings. I myself once received an extra 10 minutes of a massage when the masseuse mistook the "VC" on my ring as the Star Trek symbol. "I'm a big Trekkie, too," he exclaimed. (I decided against correcting him.) At a Knicks game, Jonathan Kallus '00 in a VC hat and Brainerd Taylor '01 in a VC t-shirt were mistaken for Viet Cong lackeys. Another alumnus was asked if he was a member of the Free Masons because of his VC-logo sweatshirt. Whenever Charlotte Veaux '91 wore her ring, everyone assumed those were her initials. (Regretfully, the ring sank to the bottom of the Arkansas River during a white-water rafting trip.)

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