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Former Vassar College President Dies at 86

March 4, 1985

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) _ Sarah Gibson Blanding, an economist who served as president of Vassar College from 1946 to 1964, died Sunday at her home in Newtown, Penn., the college announced. She was 86.

Miss Blanding opposed congressional review of college faculty members during the anti-Communist crusade in the 1950s, although Vassar itself was not under scrutiny, said college spokeswoman Dixie Sheridan.

Miss Blanding drew attention in 1962 when she spoke out against growing permissiveness on college campuses, warning students at the women’s college against pre-marital sex.

Miss Blanding was the sixth president of Vassar, which was founded in 1861 as a women’s college and became co-educational in 1969.

Miss Blanding, a native of Lexington, Ky., received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky in 1923, her master’s in economics from Columbia University in 1926, and did further graduate work at the London School of Economics under Harold Laski.

She began her career as a college administrator at the University of Kentucky, serving as associate professor of political science and dean of women from 1928 to 1941. She was Dean of the College of Home Economics at Cornell University from 1941 to 1946.

She asked that no funeral or memorial services be held, and the college will honor her request, said Ms. Sheridan.Miss Blanding is survived by no immediate relatives, the spokeswoman said.