Free walking tours of Vassar College history to be offered on three upcoming Saturdays (May 11, June 15, June 22, 2013)

Free walking tours of the historic Vassar College campus will be held on Saturdays May 11, June 15, and June 22, with tours beginning each day at 10:00am and 1:00pm.  The tour leaders will be Colton Johnson, Dean Emeritus of the College and Professor Emeritus of English (5/11); Chris Smart, a chemistry professor and Vassar alumnus (6/15); and psychology professor Randy Cornelius (6/22). All tours will start out from the front entrance to the college’s Main Building, and will be held rain or shine. To sign-up for a tour contact Damara Ohlhoff in the Office of Communications at or (845) 437-7400.

Highlights will include Main Building and the Judith Loeb Chiara ’49 Center at the Maria Mitchell Observatory, both of which are National Historic Monuments. Main was the largest building in the United Sates when the college opened for classes in 1865, and the Tuileries Palace in Paris inspired its design. The observatory was completed in 1864 for the preeminent astronomer Maria Mitchell, the first faculty member Vassar hired. The tours will also include the Vassar Chapel and the college's Thompson Memorial Library, consistently named one of the world’s most beautiful libraries. The building is a leading example of collegiate gothic architecture, and its massive stained glass window depicts the first woman to receive a doctorate, Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, defending her dissertation in 1678.

The Vassar campus is also a designated arboretum home to more than 200 varieties of trees and thousands of trees all told, along with a vast array of flora.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (

Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, and directions to the campus can be found at


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

Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, May 2, 2013