“ . . . a godly young woman, and of special parts, who has fallen into a sad infirmity, and the loss of her understanding and reason, which had been growing upon her divers years, by occasion of her giving herself wholly to reading and writing, and written many books.” John Winthrop 1645
The first woman to receive an Honorary Degree from Georgetown was philanthropist Mrs. Nicholas Brady in 1934. She was the President of the Girl Scouts of America.
In 1939, James Bryant Conant, the President of Harvard, was asked to speak at the fiftieth anniversary of Barnard. He replied: “ I have a good many doubts about education in general, but when it comes to the education of the fairer sex, I throw up my hands in complete despair and consternation. . . . it is very much like asking a Christian Scientist to speak at the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of a medical school.”
Summer 1951 Patricia Anna Collier enrolls at the law school.
In view of the success women have achieved in many professional fields including law, Georgetown Law School has decided to break with tradition and accept women applicants. The first woman to be enrolled in the eighty-one year history of the Law School is Patricia Anna Collier.
In 1969 the College began to admit women students. As The Hoya proclaimed:
Certain symbols of male exclusivity took awhile to change. One example is the “animal section”, a set of bleachers reserved for men in the center of McDonough Arena, from where fans shouted cheers during the basketball games. In 1969, any woman who entered the section would be removed, but over time women persisted and by 1974, the section was integrated.
By 1976, Georgetown was more than 50% female, with 2,642 women undergraduates enrolled.
“ Personal pride is an inherent quality of the weaker sex and while clothing plays an important part in the college co-ed’s plans for college, it is well to remember that the ‘price’ wardrobe is not always the wardrobe that is appropriate and best suited for co-eds.” (1962)
(By 1971 this section was omitted and the guide contained only one reference to suitable attire. Shortly after there was only one guidebook for both men and women.)
When Darnall Hall opened in 1965, it was to be for women only. The hall is named for Elizabeth Darnall Carroll, mother of Archbishop Carroll and one of few women in colonial times to receive a formal education.
1973 Jayne Thomas Rich named the 1 st woman Chief of University Security (she previously had been the first black woman to achieve the ranks of corporal, sergeant, & lieutenant in the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department)
1969 Mary Switzer became the first woman member of the Board of Directors. She was the administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. At the time, she had the largest administrative responsibility of any woman in the American government.
1972-1975 Rita Lenihan (G’45, G’54) and Elizabeth Glenn Sarpy were the first women members of the Board of Regents. Rita Lenihan commanded the Women’s Naval Forces (WAVES), and Elizabeth Sarpy was the Director of the DC Health and Welfare Council.