Free public walking tours of Vassar College history to be offered on three Saturdays in October

Free public walking tours of the historic Vassar College campus will be held on three upcoming Saturdays, October 8, 15, and 29. On each day tours will begin at 10:00am and 1:00pm, and registration is limited. The tour leaders will be: Colton Johnson, College Historian and Dean Emeritus of the College  (10/8); Vassar alumnus Chris Smart, Assistant to the President and Associate Professor of Chemistry (10/15); and Leslie Offutt, Associate Professor of History (10/29). All tours run for approximately 90 minutes beginning from the front entrance to the college’s Main Building. They are held rain or shine, and all ages are invited. To sign-up or for more information contact the Office of Communications at (845) 437-7400.


Highlights will include Main Building, a National Historic Landmark, as well as such architectural gems as the Thompson Memorial Library, and the Vassar Chapel.

The Vassar campus is also a designated arboretum home to more than 200 varieties of trees and thousands of trees all told, so fall foliage colors will abound during the tours.


Main was the largest building in the U.S. when the college opened its doors for classes in 1865, designed in the Second Empire style by James Renwick, Jr. and inspired by the Tuilleries Palace in Paris. Thompson Memorial Library (1905) is consistently named one of the world’s most beautiful academic libraries and is a leading example of collegiate gothic architecture. Its massive stained glass window depicts the first woman to receive a doctorate, Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, defending her dissertation at the University of Padua in 1678. The Norman Revival-style Vassar Chapel (1904) includes a variety of architectural flourishes, from gilded half-figures of angels terminating the ceiling beams to several stained glass windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, John La Farge, and Robert Leftwich Dodge.


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 Monday, October 3, 2016