Climate Change, Journalism, Refugees, X-RaysLots of Learning Goes On at “Day at Vassar”

Vassar’s 2,450 students began a one-week Fall Break Oct. 12, but one day later, the campus was still teeming with teaching and learning. More than 450 visitors from Poughkeepsie and beyond took part in “A Day at Vassar” on Oct. 13, attending hour-long classes taught by more than 30 faculty members, taking campus tours, and viewing a concert presented by members of the Music Department. The Office of Alumnae/i Affairs and Development hosted the daylong event.

The classes focused on such topics as the worldwide refugee crisis (Prof. of History Maria Höhn), the looming threat of climate change to U.S. national security (Prof. of History Robert Brigham), the evolution of American journalism (Prof. of Sociology William Hoynes), and the history of Vassar’s Chemistry Department, plus some demonstrations of X-ray spectroscopy (Prof. of Chemistry Joseph Tanski). Twenty-seven other faculty members from the departments of Political Science, English, Biology, Physics, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Russian Studies, Music, Philosophy and Psychological Science also taught classes.

John Mihaly ’74, OAAD’s Associate Vice President for Regional and International Programs, said the college had decided to revive “A Day at Vassar” this year after a three-year hiatus “to share with the community the heart of our mission.”

Mihaly noted that all of the faculty members who took part in the event had volunteered to do so. “The fact that all of them would donate their time on the Saturday of Fall Break to be here says a lot about their dedication to their work,” he said. “And staff from many departments came together to make this day happen. It’s been an enormous campus endeavor.”

Check out the gallery of images from A Day at Vassar.

In addition to the academics, attendees were served lunch in the dining center, took tours of the campus and the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and attended a concert given by Adjunct Artist and guitarist Trevor Babb, Adjunct Artist and soprano Courtenay Budd, Adjunct Artist and percussionist Frank Cassara and Professor Emeritus of Music and pianist and composer Richard Wilson.

Poughkeepsie resident Timothy Walters said he had attended “A Day at Vassar” in 2014 and quickly signed up when he heard the event had been revived this year. “I was fascinated by the X-ray demonstration that Professor Tanski showed us, and I enjoyed the whole day,” Walters said. “I still love to learn.”