Milestones in Coeducation

1837

Oberlin Collegiate Institute (now Oberlin College and Conservatory) admits women. Oberlin is already a multi-racial campus, and some of the women admitted are African American.

1848

First National Women's Rights Convention advocates coeducation for women.

1855

University of Iowa admits women.

1856

Wilberforce University admits women (the first HBCU to become coeducational).

1867

Indiana University admits women.

1870

University of Illinois admits women.

1873

Dr. Edward Clarke of Harvard publishes Sex in Education, or A Fair Chance for Girls, opposing coeducation. Clarke argues that coeducation at the college level is harmful to women, especially to their reproductive organs. He believes that "coeducation is a sin against man."

1874

Mrs. Julia Ward Howe publishes Sex and Education: A Reply to Dr. E.H. Clarke's "Sex in Education," a collection of essays by women and men who had taught or administered at coeducational colleges. "Despite Dr. Clarke's prominent position in this community, we do not feel compelled to regard him as the supreme authority on the subjects of which he treats," says Howe.

1878

The University of London admits women.

1880

Australian universities are opened to women. Bridgewater College admits women, becoming the first coeducational private college in Virginia and one of the first in the south.

1882

Virginia State Normal and Collegiate Institute (now Virginia State University) is established in Ettrick, and soon admits women. Thus Virginia State becomes the first coeducational public college in Virginia.

1893

University of Alabama admits women.

1910

A bill is introduced in the Virginia General Assembly to create a "co-ordinate college" for women, to be located in Charlottesville. Resistance is strong. One University of Virginia professor protests that college women would become "familiar, boisterous, bold in manners . . . rudely aggressive, and ambitiously competitive with men." The bill is defeated.

1912

Co-ordinate college bill defeated again.

1914

Co-ordinate college bill defeated again.

1916

Co-ordinate college bill defeated again.

1918

Co-ordinate college bill defeated again. The Virginia General Assembly authorizes coeducation at William & Mary. William & Mary admits women. University of Georgia admits women.

1920

University of Virginia co-ordinate college bill defeated again.

1921

Virginia Tech admits women.

1969

Georgetown admits women. Princeton admits women. Yale admits women. Vassar admits men.

1970

University of Virginia admits women.

1976

USMA, USNA, USAFA and USCGA admit women.

1985

Washington & Lee admits women.

1996

Virginia Military Institute admits women.

2018

William & Mary celebrates 100 Years of Women.