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1865-1945 On February 28, 1861 Matthew Vassar met with a group of twenty-eight trustees for the creation of "Vassar Female College." After four years of extensive bickering between trustees, founding family and presidents Milo Jewett and Dr. John Raymond, the college finally opened its doors to 353 young women in the fall of 1865. Despite Matthew Vassar's death a mere three years later, his belief in the importance of "a sound mind in a sound body," or balancing physical education with academics has extended throughout the college's existence. The first sport implemented at Vassar was "light gymnastics" that taught movement and posture as well as endurance, speed, agility and strength. The location of the current Center for Drama and Film made its mark as the house of the country's first gymnasium at a women's college, the Calisthenium. In accordance with Matthew Vassar's emphasis on "a sound mind in a sound body," students were required to participate in some form of physical activity for an hour each day, preferably outdoors. This "physical activity" could be fulfilled from walks through the fields surrounding Vassar or more conventionally, through sports. In the late 1800's, Vassar women engaged in student-organized: croquet, archery, skating and tobogganing in the Athletic Circle (now Noyes Circle). For eleven years between 1866 and 1877 baseball also flourished on the campus with as many as seven teams participating. Unfortunately it was discontinued from public censure deeming the sport "plebian."

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