- Women's colleges in the Southern United States
Women's colleges in the
Southern United Statesrefers to undergraduate, bachelor's degree-granting institutions, often liberal arts colleges, whose student populations consist exclusively or almost exclusively of women. Salem Collegeis the oldest female educational institution in the South and Wesleyan Collegeis the first which was established as a college for women. Some schools such as Mary Baldwin Collegeand Salem Collegeoffer coeducational courses at the graduate level.
Educational institutions for women during the 19th century typically began as schools for girls, academies (which during the late 18th and early 19th centuries was the equivalent of
secondary schools), or as teaching seminaries (which during the early 19th century were forms of secular higher education), rather than as a chartered college. The Women's College Coalitionnoted that: "Seminaries educated women for the only socially acceptable occupation: teaching. Only unmarried women could be teachers. Many early women's colleges began as female seminaries and were responsible for producing an important corps of educators." [ [http://www.womenscolleges.org/history/default.htm The Rise of Women's Colleges, Coeducation] ]
Schools are listed chronologically by the date in which they opened their doors to students. Current women's colleges are listed in bold text. Schools that are closing or transitioning to
coeducationand former women's colleges which are now coeducational are listed in "italics".
Lists and tables
Historically black colleges
Historically black colleges and universitiesfor women developed in the Southern United States. [ [http://www.ed.gov/offices/OERI/PLLI/webreprt.html Women's Colleges in the United States: History, Issues, and Challenges] ]
Current women's colleges in the South
*1772: "Little Girls' School", (now
Salem College): Originally established as a primary school, it later became an academy (high school) and finally a college. It is the oldest female educational establishment that is still a women's college, and the oldest female institution in the Southern United States.
*1833: "Columbia Female Academy" (now
Stephens College): Originally established as an academy (high school), it later became a college. It is the second oldest female educational establishment that is still a women's college.
*1838: "Judson Female Institute" (
Judson College (Alabama)): Founded in Marion, Alabama, it became "Judson College" in 1903 and later Judson College
*1839: "Georgia Female College" (now
Wesleyan College): It is the oldest (and the first) school which was established from inception (chartered in 1836) as a college for women.
*1839: "Farmville Female Seminary Association" (now
Longwood University): Founded in Farmville, Virginia; it became coeducational in 1976.
*1842:"Valley Union Seminary" (now
Hollins University): Established in Roanoke, Virginiaas a coeducational school, it became a school for women in 1852, and was renamed "Hollins Institute" in 1855, "Hollins College" in 1911, and "Hollins University" in 1998
*1842: "Augusta Female Seminary" (now
Mary Baldwin College): Founded in Staunton, Virginia, it became the "Mary Baldwin Seminary" in 1895, and the "Mary Baldwin College" in 1923
*1847: " Kentucky Female Orphan School" (now
Columbia College (Columbia, South Carolina)
*1857: "Peace Institute" (now
Peace College): Founded in Raleigh, North Carolina
Bennett College: Founded in Greensboro, North Carolinaas a coeducational school, it became a women's college in 1926
*1878:"Georgia Baptist Female Seminary" (now
Brenau University): Founded in Gainesville, Georgia, it became "Brenau College" in 1900, and "Brenau University" in 1992
*1881: " Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary" (now
Spelman College): It was the first historically black female institution of higher education to receive its collegiate charter in 1924, making it the oldest historically black women's college.
Converse College: Founded in Spartanburg, South Carolina
*1889: "Decatur Female Seminary" (now
Agnes Scott College): Founded in Decatur, Georgia, it became the "Agnes Scott Institute" in 1890, and "Agnes Scott College" in 1906
*1891:"Baptist Female University," (now
Meredith College): Founded in Raleigh, North Carolina, it became the "Baptist University for Women", in 1891, and "Meredith College" in 1909
Sweet Briar College- founded in Sweet Briar, Virginia
Former and defunct women's schools
*1814: "Louisburg Female Academy (now
Louisburg College"): Founded in North Carolina; Louisburg Female College, founded in 1857. Later merged with Franklin Male Academy.
Elizabeth Female Academy": First female educational institution in Mississippi; it closed in 1843
*1821: "Clinton Female Seminary": Georgia. Forerunner to
*1831: "LaGrange Female Academy" (now
LaGrange College): Founded in LaGrange, Georgia, it became "LaGrange Female College" in 1851, and coeducational in 1953
*1835: "Livingston Female Academy and State Normal College" (now
University of West Alabama): It became coeducational in the 1950s
*1842: "Fulton Female Academy" (now "
Synodical College"): Founded in Fulton, Missouri, it closed in 1928
*1846: "Greensboro Female College": Charted in 1838 in
Greensboro, North Carolina; it is now the coeducational school Greensboro College
*1851: "Tennessee and Alabama Female Institute" (later
Mary Sharp College): It was the first women's college to grant college degrees to women that were the equivalent of those given to men; the college closed due to financial hardship in 1896.
*1857: "Charlotte Female Institute": founded in
Charlotte, North Carolina; became the coeducational Queens University of Charlotteafter WWII
*1867: "Scotia Seminary" (now
Barber-Scotia College): It was the first historically black female institution of higher education established after the American Civil Warand became a women's college in 1946. It became a coeducational school in 1954 and lost its accreditation in 2004
Mount Hermon Female Seminary": Founded in Clinton, Mississippi, it closed in 1924
*1881: "Tillotson College": Founded as a
coeducational, it was a women's college from 1926-1935. It is now the coeducationalschool, Huston-Tillotson University
*1883: "Hartshorn Memorial College" founded in
Richmond, Virginia. In 1932, it merged with Virginia Union University. [ [http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaead/published/vuu/virvu00002.document A Guide to the Hartshorn Memorial College Reunion Collection 1976-1980] ] [ [http://www.lva.lib.va.us/whatwedo/archweek/2007/gallery.asp?inst=12 Photos] ]
*1884: "Industrial Institute & College", (now
Mississippi University for Women): It was the first public women's college; became coeducational in 1982 as a result of the Supreme Court's Mississippi University for Women v. Hogancase, but maintained its original name.
*1886: "Mary Allen Seminary ": Founded in Crockett, Houston County,
Texas. It became coeducational in 1933. [ [http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/MM/kbm8_print.html Mary Allen Seminary] ]
H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College": Became coeducational in 2007 (merged with Tulane University)
Georgia College & State University": The coordinate college (Georgia Normal & Industrial College) for Georgia Tech; it became coeducational in 1967
*1891: "Randolph-Macon Women's College": It become coeducational and changed its name to
Randolph Collegein 2007.
*1891: "North Carolina Women's College": It became the coeducational school
University of North Carolina at Greensboroin 1963
*1896: "Barber Memorial College": Founded in
Anniston, Alabama, it merged with Scotia Women's College (formerly Scotia Seminary) in Concord, North Carolinain 1930 to become Barber-Scotia Junior College
University of Mary Washington": Developed as a coeducational school, it became the coordinate women's college of The University of Virginiafrom 1944 to 1970; it returned to coeducation in 1970
A number of women's colleges have become coeducational such as
H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial Collegewhich was dissolved as part of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrinain 2006. It is now a part of Tulane University. This also includes a few historically black women's colleges: Barber-Scotia Collegeadopted coeducation in 1954; Tillotson College (a women's college from 1926-1935) is now coeducational Huston-Tillotson University; Hartshorn Memorial College merged with Virginia Union Universityin 1932; and Mary Allen Seminary [ [http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/MM/kbm8_print.html Mary Allen Seminary] ] became coeducational in 1933. Bennett College, originally founded as a coeducational school, became a women's college in 1926. Mississippi University for Womenchanged its single-sex admissions policy to include men in 1982 following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in " Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan". The court found that the university would be in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clauseif it denied admission to its nursing program on the basis of gender [ [http://www.ihl.state.ms.us/universities.html Mississippi IHL - Mississippi's Universities ] ] . The 5-4 opinion was written by Justice O'Connor, who stated that "In limited circumstances, a gender-based classification favoring one sex can be justified if it intentionally and directly assists members of the sex that is disproportionately burdened." She argued that there are a disproportionate number of women who are nurses, and that denying admission to men "lends credibility to the old view that women, not men, should become nurses, and makes the assumption that nursing is a field for women a self-fulfilling prophecy." [" Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan", 458 U.S. 718 (1982)] In their dissenting opinions, Justices Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and William H. Rehnquistsuggested that the result of this ruling would be the elimination of publicly supported single-sex educational opportunities. Fact|date=August 2008 The ruling did not require the university to change its name to reflect its coeducational status. [ [http://www.muw.edu/pie/vision.html MUW - Planning and Institutional Effectiveness ] ] .
In 2006, Randolph-Macon Woman's College announced that it would adopt coeducation and change its name. Former Interim president Ginger H. Worden argued (in a
17 September 2006editorial for the " Washington Post") that it was not economically feasible for the college to remain single-sex as young women are no longer interested in attending women's colleges. [cite news | first=Virginia| last=Worden| url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/15/AR2006091500939_pf.html| title=Why We Had No Choice but to Go Coed| publisher=washingtonpost.edu | date=2006-09-17| accessdate=2006-10-20] In response, a number of presidents of women's colleges challenged Worden's article, arguing that other women's colleges are still doing well and attracting students. This includes: Agnes Scott College, [cite news | first=Elizabeth| last=Kiss| url=http://www.agnesscott.edu/news/newsDetails.aspx?Channel=%2FChannels%2FAdmissions%2FAdmissions+Content&WorkflowItemID=46ad7d9b-8645-4f7a-ba6b-0a67bfa466b2| title=Reaffirming Our Commitment to Women’s Education | publisher=agnesscott.edu | date= | accessdate=2006-10-20] Columbia College, [cite news|first=Caroline|last=Whitson|url=http://www.columbiacollegesc.edu/news/2006/news_2006_thecase.asp|title=The case for women’s colleges| publisher=thestate.com | date= 2006-10-17| accessdate=2006-10-20] The Seven Sisters, [cite news | first= April| last=Simpson| url=http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/11/05/sisters_dont_want_a_future_in_coeducation/| title='Sisters' don't want a future in coeducation: Women's colleges see an obligation| publisher=boston.com| date=2006-11-05 | accessdate=2006-11-06] a separate article from Mount Holyoke College, [cite news |first=Joanne|last=Creighton|url=http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/05/21/why_we_need_womens_colleges?mode=PF|title=Why we need women's colleges| publisher=boston.com | date= 2007-05-21| accessdate=2007-05-21] [ [http://www.mtholyoke.edu/offices/president/14897.shtml Mount Holyoke College :A Tradition of Their Own] ] Simmons College, [cite news |first=Susan|last=Scrimshaw|url=http://bostonworks.boston.com/news/articles/2006/10/04/yes_to_womens_colleges/ |title=Yes to women's colleges| publisher=boston.com | date= 2006-10-04| accessdate=2006-10-14] Sweet Briar Collegeand Hollins University. [cite news | first= | last= | url=http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/commentary/wb/wb/xp-82587 | title=Women's colleges must be an option| publisher=roanoke.com | date= 2005-09-14| accessdate=2006-10-14] In addition, there were numerous protests on campus including rallies, blocking administrative offices, mass requests for transfer transcripts, banners all over campus, striking from classes, and participation in quiet protest to highlight lack of student voices in the board of trustee votes. [cite news | url=http://www.newsadvance.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=LNA/MGArticle/LNA_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149190292109&path=| title=R-MWC sends message to board of trustees|publisher=NewsAdvance.com |date = August 29, 2006| first= Janet | last=Nguyen | accessdate = 2007-02-18] [cite news | url=http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=RMWC | title=YouTube footage of campus protests and efforts to save RMWC|publisher= Youtube|date = December 15, 2006| first= | last= | accessdate = 2007-02-18] This led to the formation of a non-profit "Preserve Education Choice" (PEC), [ [http://www.preserveeducationalchoice.org Preserve Education Choice] ] comprised of students, faculty, and alumnae who are trying to reverse the decision. Two lawsuits were filed by "Preserve Educational Choice". [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/21/AR2006102100901.html Coed Vote Brings Legal, Financial Repercussions] ] On January 23, 2007, both lawsuits were dismissed in Lynchburg Circuit Court. [ [http://www.newsadvance.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=LNA/MGArticle/LNA_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149192817387&path= Challenges to coed decision dismissed] ] PEC raised enough money, however, to appeal both dismissals [http://www.jacksonville.com/apnews/stories/070207/D8Q4O7F02.shtml] and a group of nine students brought the case to the Virginia Supreme Court where "Richmond lawyer Wyatt B. Durrette Jr. asked the state's high court to grant an appeal of the group's lawsuit. [ [http://www.dailypress.com/news/local/virginia/dp-va--scova-coedvote-la0709jul09,0,5437428.story?coll=dp-headlines-virginia Va. Supreme Court hears argument for appeal of coed challenge] ] In addition, Professor emeritus of romance languages, Charlotte Stern, published the 24 page letter (with signatures from alumnae, former professors and a former president of Randolph's board of trustees) condemning the decision on the PEC website. [cite news | url=http://www.preserveeducationalchoice.org/SternopenletterRevised.pdf| title=How the Board of Trustees Hijacked R-MWC Right Before Our Eyes|publisher=Preserve Educational Choice Inc.| date= 30 June 2007| first=Charlotte | last=Stern| accessdate = 2007-07-22] cite news | url=http://www.newsadvance.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=LNA%2FMGArticle%2FLNA_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173352092666&path=!news!archive| title=She said, she said: The coed debate broken down|publisher=The News & Advance | date= 22 July 2007| first=Christa| last=Desrets| accessdate = 2007-07-22] Ginger Hill Worden, Interim President, responded to this letter. [cite news | url=http://www.randolphcollege.edu/strategicplan/20reasons_response.asp| title=Ginger Hill Worden, Interim President, responds to What Every Trustee Should Know and 20 Reasons Why You Should Change Your Vote|publisher=Randolph College| date= | first=Ginger Hill| last=Worden| accessdate = ] The Virginia Supreme Court agreed to hear appeals in both the student contract and charitable trust cases. The Court affirmed the trial court's decision in both cases in opinions issued June 6, 2008. [cite news | url=http://www.newsadvance.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=LNA/MGArticle/LNA_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173352841194&path= | title=Richmond Appeals go to Virginia Supreme Court|publisher=The News & Advance | date= 31 July 2007| first=Christa| last=Desrets| accessdate =] It was re-named Randolph Collegeon July 1, 2007, when it became coeducational.
List of current and historical women's universities and colleges in the United States
Timeline of women's colleges in the United States
Women's colleges in the United States
Seven Sisters (colleges)
Women's College Coalition
*cite news |first=Joanne|last=Creighton|url=http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/05/21/why_we_need_womens_colleges?mode=PF|title=Why we need women's colleges| publisher="
The Boston Globe" | date= 2007-05-21| accessdate=2007-05-21
*Guy-Sheftall, Beverly. "Black Women and Higher Education: Spelman and Bennett Colleges Revisited." "The Journal of Negro Education", Vol. 51, No. 3, The Impact of Black Women in Education: An Historical Overview (Summer, 1982), pp. 278-287.
*cite news | first=Elizabeth| last=Kiss| url=http://www.agnesscott.edu/news/newsDetails.aspx?Channel=%2FChannels%2FAdmissions%2FAdmissions+Content&WorkflowItemID=46ad7d9b-8645-4f7a-ba6b-0a67bfa466b2| title=Reaffirming Our Commitment to Women’s Education | publisher=
Agnes Scott College| date= | accessdate=2006-10-20
*Muhlenfeld, Elisabeth and Nancy Gray. " [http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/commentary/wb/wb/xp-82587 Women's colleges must be an option] ." "
The Roanoke Times", September 14, 2006.
*cite news |first=Susan|last=Scrimshaw|url=http://bostonworks.boston.com/news/articles/2006/10/04/yes_to_womens_colleges/ |title=Yes to women's colleges| publisher="
The Boston Globe" | date= 2006-10-04| accessdate=2006-10-14
*cite news | first= April| last=Simpson| url=http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/11/05/sisters_dont_want_a_future_in_coeducation/| title='Sisters' don't want a future in coeducation: Women's colleges see an obligation| publisher="
The Boston Globe" | date=2006-11-05 | accessdate=2006-11-06
*cite news|first=Caroline|last=Whitson|url=http://www.columbiacollegesc.edu/news/2006/news_2006_thecase.asp|title=The case for women’s colleges| publisher=
Columbia College| date= 2006-10-17| accessdate=2006-10-20
*" [http://www.atlantahighered.org/Newsroom/FeatureStoryDetail/tabid/604/xmid/145/Default.aspx Giving Voice to a New Generation: Metro Atlanta's three women's colleges are going strong, even while the number of women's colleges nationwide has declined] " (
Agnes Scott College, Spelman College, and Brenau University)
*" [http://msnbc.msn.com/id/15463035/site/newsweek/ In Virginia, three elite women's colleges reinvent themselves and find a new mission in a coed world] " (
Sweet Briar College, Hollins University, and Mary Baldwin College)
*" [http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/728929.html All women, and thriving] " (
Meredith Collegeand Peace College)
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