Plea for pink from 1974 alumnus

When it comes to Vassar, color me Pink and Gray.·For four years, pink permeated my being and informed my soul. A pas de deux of pink on gray matter.

Yet, whenever I open the Vassar Quarterly, my heart sinks. For the Class Notes banner’s colors for ‘74 are not pink and gray, and my heart says this cannot be my class, for we were Pink and Gray.

And I only grow more despondent as there is little sight of pink in the Quarterly’s pages, very little pink in other college sponsored online publications, letters, snail mailings and what all. Why too so very little pink and gray at the college store in Main?

Was pink banished from Vassar?

Ever since pink was unceremoniously shown the door, a wanderlust of red/rose/maroon hues have come knocking. No shade semblance settling even.  How can there this be?  The rest are all impostors.

Vassar, our alma mater, Latin for “nourishing mother”. A Seven Sisters college. So deeply feminine from the Daisy Chain of sophomores to our college seal graced with the female goddess Athena. “There will always be another woman in my life”, I told my girlfriend. “Her name is Athena, Patroness of Learning.”

Gazing at Vassar’s architecture with Main Building’s two arms outstretched to embrace us as we enter through Taylor Gate. Or the crescent moon-shaped Noyes dorm designed by Eero Saarinen with its Jetson’s space age lounge nicknamed for that 60’s TV show.

Vassar’s architecture greets us with Main Building’s two arms outstretched to embrace us when we enter through Taylor Gate. The crescent moon-shaped Noyes dorm cradles its residents. with lullabies originating from a Jetson’s space age lounge, nicknamed for that 60’s TV show.

At our most recent reunion in 2009, I couldn’t help but notice cows painted on the fence surrounding Davison’s dorm renovation, and I realized that Athena was announcing herself in another guise. For this was cow-headed goddess Hathor, Athena’s Egyptian predecessor, personifying joy, feminine love, and motherhood.

Pink becomes Vassar and its student body. Pink is distinct, whereas multitudes of colleges sport red/rose/maroon colors. Pink is unique just as every Vassar student is. Remember that admissions brochure with the cover, “Vassar is not unique. Every Vassar student is.” How could you forget?

Yes, Pink becomes our exquisite campus which Vassar would not forsake, rebuffing Yale’s marriage proposal to go co-ed and relocate to New Haven.

Then when coeducation arrived separately for both schools, Yale’s true blue and white school colors were not compromised. But Vassar was stripped of its pink.

As Pink’s plaintiff, I ask for restitution. Let’s have Class Notes banners reflect each class’s colors in the Quarterly. That would be pink and gray for the Class of 1974. And pink and gray in full force in the college store. Not just the tokenism we have now.

It is also time for Vassar to have an annual “Pink Week”, a commemoration and celebration of Pink. A time for today’s students to reunite in color with their predecessors.

It’s time for nighttime pink flood lights to ethereally lift Thompson Library. At class reunions. On weekends. Whenever.

Think pink.

In sports, bring back the Big Pink. The name of Vassar’s first men’s sports teams. The name of Vassar men’s first sports teams. The name of Vassar’s first men’s athletic teams.

Think pink.

For when it comes to Vassar, my soul bleeds Pink and Gray.


—Robert Rothman is a member of the Legendary Class of 1974, Vassar’s first coed freshman class and was a sportswriter for The Miscellany News. He lives and works in New York City.


  1. As ’74 Class Correspondent, I have received similar comments from other classmates about bringing back pink.

  2. I never made it to graduation but still have a special affection for pink and gray. Vassar’s abandoning its maiden colours smacks of the most regressive forms of sexism and tarnishes its presumptions of “uniqueness.” Sounds to me like the same old thing.

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