The Sesqui Issue

I read every word of the special Sesquicentennial issue [Winter 2011] before I sent it on to my granddaughter, Hannah Snyder-Samuelson, who has just entered Vassar as a member of the Class of 2015. I am so proud of the excellent and beautiful Vassar and so glad I’ll have a good excuse to visit the college for the next four years.

Deborah Martin Arner ’57
Bethlehem, PA

I have carefully read the section of the Quarterly that describes the history of Vassar. I am in awe of how outstanding Vassar has been through history. Now I am even more proud of it and honored that I have a degree from Vassar. I attended the Sesquicentennial event in New York and now having read the extensive article in the Quarterly, I raise my hat to everyone who worked on celebrating this special year.

Ann Hutchison ‘49
New York, NY

My first glance at the cover made me think: “Did Matthew Vassar really look like that?” There was much relief when I saw the explanation that it was Meryl Streep’s impersonation of him. The Sesquicentennial edition was one of few issues I have read before turning to Class Notes. It’s a keeper, and not just because of Meryl Streep.

Mary Glassburn Greenly, ‘53
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

Ah, the Memories ...

Susan Donahue Kuretsky ’63 (left)

Have you visited Vassar’s Sesquicentennial site? It celebrates 150 years of friendships, awakenings, and memories! Visit the Memories section of the site to read what your classmates are saying about their time at Vassar. Here, alumna Susan Donahue Kuretsky ’63, an art history professor who lectures in Art 105 recalls how she discovered her field.

"I had absolutely no idea there was a field called art history before I came to Vassar. I discovered it by complete accident the first day I attended an Art 105 lecture. Christine Havelock began the course with a slide of the archaic Greek kouros in the Metropolitan Museum and as soon as she opened her mouth, I experienced something analogous to a religious conversion. This is one of the reasons I have remained such a passionate advocate of this course and of all survey courses—they open doors to students who may not have even known the doors were there.

I wrote a paper on Rembrandt that Professor Agnes Claflin thought was full of unseemly emoting and fuzzy thinking. She hated it and I am sure she was right because it had much more to do with me than with Rembrandt. But her response was interesting and original. I’ve never forgotten it, though I’ve also never tried it on my own students. She decided that the best way to correct my sloppy thinking was with a prescription (as a doctor might order a medicine to cure an illness)—writing another paper on a Cézanne still life in the Metropolitan Museum. “You go work on those apples, Miss Donahue,” she said sternly. I remember spending the entire Christmas break sweating over that paper and learning something that still seems a breakthrough: You can learn more of value by getting outside yourself than by internal wallowing. And second, if someone bothers to criticize you and give you a special prescriptive exercise, maybe, just maybe, you can begin to take yourself seriously in that field.”

Don’t forget to submit your own memories to the Sesquicentennial website (150.vassar.edu/memories)! Share any aspect of your personal Vassar experience—recollections of your time on campus, inspiring faculty, enduring friendships, and more.