POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — Sarah Gibson Blanding, an economist who served as president of Vassar College from 1946 to 1964, died Sunday at her home in Newtown, Pa., the college announced. She was 86.
Miss Blanding, Vassar's first woman president, drew national attention in 1962 when she spoke out against growing permissiveness on college campuses, warning students at the then-all-women's college against premarital sex.
She was the sixth president of Vassar, which was founded in 1861 as a women's college and became coeducational in 1969.
A native of Lexington, Ky., she 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.