This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Urvashi Vaid ’79.

On Campus

Don't miss the following events taking place on Vassar's campus this month:

Tuesday, October 4

Steven Cook ’90, the Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), will give a lecture, “Uprising and Change: The United States and the New ‘New Middle East’” at 7:30pm in the Villard Room of Main Building. Cook followed his B.A. in international studies from Vassar with an M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins and a Ph.D. in political science of the University of Pennsylvania. An expert on Arab and Turkish politics, as well as U.S.-Middle East policy, Cook’s writing has appeared in publications ranging from Foreign Affairs to the Wall Street Journal. His most recent book, The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square, provided a timely account of Egyptian politics since the 1952 revolution. For more information, contact Sheila Stukes (, 845.437.7140). Also, stay tuned for more from Cook in the upcoming Winter 2011/2012 issue of the Vassar Quarterly.

Monday, October 10

To mark both the Sesquicentennial and the upcoming Sukkot holiday, Vassar art students will design and fabricate original variations on traditional Jewish sukkah shelters. An installation ceremony for the shelters featuring live musical accompaniment will be held at 5:00 p.m. outside of the Students' Building. Following the ceremony, a panel discussion with current and former Vassar students on Jewish life at Vassar will commence at 5:30 p.m. in Rockefeller 200. Built to commemorate the temporary dwellings used by the ancient Israelites in their 40-year journey after fleeing Egypt, the sukkah shelters will follow basic guidelines of Jewish law, each with three walls and a roof—crafted from organic materials—through which one can view the night sky. Notes Rena Blumenthal, assistant director of the Office of Religious & Spiritual Life: “The fragile, welcoming shelter of the sukkah evokes the many ways that Jewish students have made Vassar their home over the years." For more information, contact Shernett Dixon (, 845.437.5550).

Tuesday, October 11

Duke University’s professor of religion Laurie Patton will deliver the Asian Studies Program’s annual Gandhi Lecture at 5:00 p.m. in Taylor 203. Patton, who is also Duke’s dean of Arts and Sciences, specializes in South Asian history, culture, and religion, and has authored or edited eight books on the subject; she has published two books of poetry, and translated the Sanskrit text “The Bhagavad Gita” for Penguin Classics. Prior to her time at Duke, she was a chair of Emory University’s Department of Religion, founding Emory’s Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding Initiative. She also served as president of the American Society for the Study of Religion from 2008 to 2011. For more information, contact Martha Kaplan (, 845.437.7500).

Saturday, October 15

In conjunction with Vassar’s Sesquicentennial celebrations, the college will host A Day At Vassar, a program free of charge and open to members of the Hudson Valley community. Participants are invited to register for two periods of lectures by members of the Vassar faculty, attend a performance of Vassar Voices, enjoy a music faculty concert, view exhibitions in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and Thompson Library, take a campus tour, and have lunch in the Students’ Building. As a Hudson Valley outreach event, in general this program is not open to members of the Vassar community. However, alumnae/i wishing to attend are asked to invite a friend or neighbor, in order to make this event a great success! October 7 is the deadline for registration. For more information, visit the event page on the Vassar 150 website.

Sunday, October 30

Vassar's organist Gail Archer will perform "Franz Liszt: A Hungarian Rhapsodie," celebrating the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth. The faculty recital—free and open to the public—will take place from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Chapel. For more information, contact Karen Murley (, 845.437.7294) or visit the Music Department website.

* Advance Notice * November 3–5

In light of Vassar’s Sesquicentennial, the Women’s Studies program will present a three-day conference, “Smashing History: 150 Years of LGBTIQA at Vassar.” The event will commemorate the college’s unique lesbian, queer, and gender nonconforming histories, as well as provide a forum for alumnae/i, students, and members of the community to assemble and imagine transformative futures for Vassar, liberal arts education, and communities outside our gates. Events will include panels, discussions, and performances, with speakers spanning the Class of 1949 to the Class of 2014. Urvashi Vaid ’79 (pictured) will deliver the keynote at 5:00pm in Taylor 203 on Saturday, November 5. Vaid is a prominent activist in the LGBTQ community, and has served as the executive director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; she was previously named one of Out magazine’s 50 most influential men and women in America. For more information, contact Angela Dysard (, 845.437.7140), or view the full conference schedule.

For more events, browse Vassar's campus calendar, news releases, and events listings.

Compiled by Cynthea Ballard ’13

October 2011

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