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Shakespeare at Vassar


by Andrew Ashton
Director of Libraries

It is a pleasure to present the exhibition “Shakespeare at Vassar”, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. This exhibition reveals how thoroughly Shakespeare’s work has infused Vassar’s academic and extra-curricular endeavors over the years. His dramatic works, poetry, and overall cultural significance have had a resounding and lasting effect on teaching, the arts, and life at the College. It is particularly gratifying to have this exhibition presented at Thompson Library, where so many readers have enjoyed meaningful and inspiring encounters with Shakespeare.

The impact of William Shakespeare’s work can be seen across life at Vassar - from the boundless exploration of Shakespeare in the curriculum, to the many vibrant performances staged at Vassar over the years, to the spaces on campus, including the Shakespeare Garden, which celebrates Shakespeare’s legacy. One need only to browse through the historical archives of Vassar’s student and alumni newspapers to see that the study and enjoyment of Shakespeare have been a common experience and source of inspiration for Vassar’s students since the founding of the College. Shakespeare’s appeal is timeless, intriguing scholars and students across generations. His endurance testifies both to the depth of Shakespeare’s work and to its unique suitability to the ever-evolving traditions of liberal education.

Our sincere thanks go to the many members of the faculty, librarians, and Vassar colleagues whose knowledge of Shakespeare and of Vassar’s history combine to tell the story of Shakespeare at Vassar. Special thanks go to Leslie Dunn (Associate Professor of English), Zoltan Markus (Associate Professor of English), Elizabeth Nogrady (The Andrew W. Mellon Curator of  Academic Programs at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center), Ron Patkus (Associate Director of the Libraries for Special Collections and Adjunct Associate Professor of History), and Denise Walen (Professor of Drama) for their contributions to the exhibition and catalog, as well as to Sharyn Cadogan (Digital Production Manager ), Laura Streett (College Archivist), Julia Fishman (Media Relations & Social Media Coordinator), and George Laws (Director of Publications, Office of Communications) for their support in bringing this endeavor to life.