History of Coeducation at Lafayette College

The 40’s

  • 1942- The College provided summer school, the first in Lafayette’s history, in which one hundred thirty-five students enrolled, five of them women.
  • 1946-Mrs. Mary Maschman, wife of Jack Maschman ’49, was at Lafayette College on the G.I. bill along with her husband.  She had been a Navy WAVE.  (Just after the war the trustees took action to permit wives of G.I. students to attend classes for credit, but not for a degree. )

The 50’s

  • 1954– Clay Ketcham, a member of the Education Department, is first woman hired permanently for the Lafayette faculty.
  • 1956Carole Hirsch was in attendance for her senior year because of her recent marriage to Foster Hirsch ’57.  Although enrolled at Lafayette, she received her degree from Bucknell.

The 60’s

  • June 1, 1967– A special faculty committee was established “to explore the possibility of admitting females to degree programs at Lafayette College.”
  • April 2, 1968- The Lafayette College Faculty voted to recommend to the Board of Trustees that “the admission of women to all degree programs at Lafayette College be authorized as soon as practicable.”
  • Winter 1969– Issue of the Lafayette Alumnus published, where staff, students, and alumni contributed arguments for the proposal of a Coed institution.
  • June 27, 1969 – The day that Lafayette College went Coed.  Board of Trustees passed its resolution mandating “that women be admitted to all programs of the college” by a 19-9 vote.
  • Summer 1969– By the end of summer 1969, the number of all-male colleges at the beginning of the decade decreased from 200 to 78.

The 70’s

  • 1970– Suzanne Hermann, Lafayette’s first female administrator, was hired as an assistant dean of students.
  • Spring 1970- The first two women submit their enrollment deposits to Lafayette College, Joyce S. Cohen and Susan L. Trotter.
  • September 1970- Lafayette College welcomed 146 women- 123 freshmen, and 23 transfers.
  • 1970– Jeanette Reibman was the first woman elected to serve on the Lafayette Board of Trustees.
  • Fall of 1971– Marked the introduction of women’s athletics to the Lafayette Campus.
  • February 2, 1971– A poll of Lafayette women in an issue of the The Lafayette, indicated that almost half of the respondents (26 out of 54) expressed “substantial dissatisfaction” with their experiences at the college.
  • 1971– First season of field hockey, championed by Sharon Mitchell.
  • 1972- Candace Kovner ’72 was the first woman nominated for the Pepper Prize.  She also served as one of the college’s first female admission counselors.
  • 1972– Linda Yock Baker is the first female to receive a degree from Lafayette College.
  • 1976–  An evaluation of women’s athletics mandated by Title IX revealed that the program suffered from inequality in terms of equipment, facilities, money, coaches, and publicity.   Title IX  adopted in 1972  banned sex discrimination in public schools.
  • October 1977– The Lafayette administration approved the creation of sororities.
  • 1977– Catherine Patterson ’77 is the first woman student to win the Pepper Prize.
  • 1978– Carol Stella ’79 served as the first and founding president of Beta Gamma which was recognized as the first official sorority on the Lafayette campus.

The 80’s

  • 1980– First editor of The Lafayette, Ann Gallagher.
  • 1981– College started offering gender oriented courses in history (Women’s History), sociology and anthropology (Sex and Gender: A Cross Cultural Perspective), and psychology (The Psychology of Sex Roles).
  • 1983-84 College began to offer an English course (Literary Women), and an interdisciplinary women’s studies course (Introduction to Women’s Studies).

The 90’s

  • 1996– Over two-hundred women involved in eleven varsity sports at Lafayette.