women were first admitted to Emory College in the fall of 1953,
a student handbook, separate from the mens, was created
to guide them through their foray into college life. Coyly entitled
Dooleys Rib, the handbook concluded:
Rib has a last word . . . Emorys ideals and standards
will not change. But you who are among the very first women
on Emorys campus will have the exciting chance to help
set the pattern for the Emory of the future. Dooley and his
Rib expect you to change things for the betterto add the
feminine touchto help us achieve more rapidly the ideals
we have cherished so long.
University celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the feminine
touch at Emory this year with an exhibit documenting the
history of coeds on campus and two special events.
Dooleys Rib handbook, along with dozens of photos, documents,
and memorabilia, was part of the scrapbook-style exhibit To
Change Things for the Better, curated by University Archivist
Ginger Cain and mounted in the Woodruff Librarys Schatten
Gallery last year.
the opening of the exhibit, Barbara Hund 58C recalled
what it was like to be part of the second official class of
women ever to graduate from Emory.
did we fit in? she said. Very easily. The men were
glad we were here. We were told we were to fit in with what
was already here and no special arrangements would be made for
us. . . . Women were actually held to higher academic standards,
and that was pretty obvious in the classroom. By and large the
professors were glad we were here, although one biology professor
said women were not very good at science. He was sorry.
In general, the early women students grades were well
above those of the men.
1953, women did attend Emory College under certain circumstancesif,
for instance, they were the daughters of faculty members, as
in the case of the Colleges first coed, Mamie
Haygood Ardis 1888C, whose father was former University president
Atticus G. Haygood. Women also attended the graduate and professional
schools in small numbers. By the time the policy changed, some
1,500 Emory degrees already had been awarded to women. Still,
the proposal that the College become coeducational was not met
with unanimous approval by administrators and trustees, at least
partly because of the Universitys amicable relationship
with nearby womens colleges Agnes Scott and Wesleyan.
the face of declining enrollment during the Korean War, climbing
tuition costs, and rising calls for coeducation, however, President
Goodrich C. White told the Board of Trustees in early 1953,
I am convinced that this action is inevitable, and that
the present is a good time to take the initial steps.
vote or no, the women came, and with them the feminine
touch that prompted a male freshman from that year to
tell the Emory Alumnus, I think its absolutely wonderful.
Ill go hog wild. Its the greatest thing in the worldWOMEN!
part of the Celebration of Fifty Years of Women at Emory College,
former First Lady Roslaynn Carter hosted a private reception
and dinner for the Emory events host committee in December,
honoring Mary Robinson, former U.N. High Commissioner for Human
Rights and former President of Ireland. Afterward, Robinson
delivered the Rosalynn Carter Distinguished Lecture in Public
Policy in Glenn Memorial Auditorium.
next day, more than a hundred women gathered in the Miller-Ward
Alumni House for a program sponsored by the College, the Womens
Center, and the Association of Emory Alumni to honor all Emory
day began with a panel discussion, Emory Women Through
the Years, featuring Ali P. Crown 85C, director
of Emory Womens Center; Judith London Evans 59C;
Emorys Director of Educational Studies Eleanor Main; Melanie
Platt 75C-85L; and Aida Rita Sued Domenguez 99O-01C.
a luncheon, University Archivist Ginger Cain 77C-82G
offered A Historical and Humorous Reflection of Women
at Emory 1953-2003. The Honorable Tillie Kidd Fowler 64C-67L
delivered the keynote address: Career Sera Sera: Success
Without a Plan is the Mark of Equality. Fowler served
from 1993 to 2001 in the U.S. House of Representatives, where
she was chosen in 1998 to be the Vice Chairman of the Republican
Conference, making her the highest-ranking woman in Congress
when she retired. She also served for six years as deputy majority
whip. In 2001, she joined the Washington office of Holland and
Knight as a partner.
contributed for these eventstotaling almost $25,000will
go to a newly established Emory College Scholarship Fund, according
to Marjorie Nunn 61C, who co-chaired the celebration with
Jaye Johnson Smith 59C.
as pioneers among the first women at Emory, felt privileged
to come here, and we wanted to offer that opportunity to someone
else, Nunn said. P.P.P.