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University at Buffalo Libraries

University Archives

Timeline of Events


Mary Blair Moody, UB's first female graduate, receives her M.D. on February 23rd.

photo: Mary Blair Moody


The first woman to attend UB from outside of the state, Anna Brooke Cuher of Des Moines, Iowa, graduates.


The School of Pharmacy, which became the second school of the University in 1886, awards a degree to Rosa Schorp, its first female student.

Sara P. Sheldon becomes the University's first female staff member. She served as the librarian for the School of Pharmacy from 1888-1894.


School of Pedagogy is established on April 30th. Buffalo's first female faculty members, Ida C. Bender and Natalie Mankell, join the University to teach in the school.

G.G. Burns, a member of the School of Dental Medicine's third graduating class, becomes its first female graduate.


The School of Pedagogy awards its first degrees to female students.


School of Pedagogy is discontinued on January 28th.


Helen Rogers and Cecil WeinerHelen Z. M. Rogers (University Archives manuscript collection MS 44 -- finding aid available online) and Cecil B. Weiner are the first female graduates of the Law School.

photo: Helen Z. M. Rogers and Cecil B. Weiner, c. 1899


Pharmacy's Fannie Louise Fish becomes the first female Vice President of the student body.

photo: Fannie Louise Fish in her 1900 Iris yearbook photo


Townsend Hall is given to the University by the Women's Education and Industrial Union of Buffalo. Harriet A. Townsend (1839-1916) was a prominent figure in Buffalo's progressive movement. She founded the Women's Education and Industrial Union of Buffalo in 1884.

Susan F. Chase (Psychology) joined the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences as its first female professor.

photo: Townsend Hall, photo by Hare


Emma DetersEmma Elizabeth Deters becomes the first female administrator in the university, serving as a registrar from 1916-1965

photo: Emma Deters, c. 1950s


Katherine Holmes joins the faculty of the School of Pharmacy. Its first female faculty member, Holmes taught chemistry as an instructor from 1919-1922.

Marian de Forest, a Buffalo playwright and journalist gathers nine women together to form the first Zonta Club (University Archives collection MS 56). Today Zonta is an international service organization of professional women. In the early part of the century, the primary purposes of the clubs were to standardize and disseminate business principles and practices and to provide service to humanity through cooperative efforts.

photo: Marian de Forest, photo from the Zonta International website


University publishes the earliest known non-discrimination statement. It stated that the University was "For all Buffalo Boys and Girls-- regardless of race, creed or class."

The University's first sororities were founded. They were Phi Sigma Sigma, Sigma Delta Tau, and Sigma Kappa.

Anna Christina Ulrich and Annis Elizabeth Fox were two of the three students that made up the first graduating class of the College of Arts and Sciences.

photos: Anna Ulrich and Annis Fox in the Iris yearbook


Lillias MacDonaldRuth Bartholomew appointed as first University Librarian. She served the library for 42 years.

Lillias MacDonald, UB's first female dean, was appointed "Dean of Women". Approximately 200 women attended the University in 1922. At the time of her retirement in 1952, ground is broken for the University's first women's residence hall to be named "Lillias M. MacDonald Residence Hall for Women" in honor of her championship of women's dormitories on campus.

Lillias MacDonald in the 1923 Iris yearbook


Emily Webster (B.A., 1923) was hired to work with University treasurer George Crofts. She later became the first two women in the country to serve as assistant treasurer of a major university.


School of Education is established on February 13th


Adelle Land is the first female professor in education.


Julia Etta Lockwood becomes the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from the University. Her dissertation is "The Relation of the Adrenal Cortex to Vitamins A, B, and C."


School of Social Work is created on June 6th. Its first faculty member, Cornelia Allen joined UB's faculty in 1934.

Katherine Cornell is the first woman and the first artist to be presented the Chancellor's Medal. Chancellor Capen said of her, "She has created characters so vivid, so complete, so consistent and so compelling that they have become a part of the imaginative life of our time."

photo: Katherine Cornell in 1935


UB's first female academic dean was Anne Sengbusch who established the University's nursing program in 1936 and became Dean when the School of Nursing was formally established four years later.

photo: Anne Sengbusch


Eva Noles, 1939Eva Noles becomes the first African American registered nurse to graduate from an area hospital. She went on to earn a B.S. in nursing from UB in 1962. After earning a Master of Education, Noles was selected to serve as the director of nursing at Roswell Park Memorial Cancer Institute in 1972 becoming the first woman to serve as a director of nursing in the city of Buffalo as well as the first in any New York state institution.

In 2005, Eva Noles formally donated her collection of scrapbooks, photographs and memorabilia to the University Archives (collection MS 125 -- finding aid available online). Also see the online exhibit, Eva M. Noles: Nurse, Educator, Volunteer, Community Leader, Author

photo: Eva Noles, 1939


The School of Nursing formally separates from the School of Medicine. Ruth Schlagenhauf was the first graduate of UB's nursing program.


Josephine Johnson Holmes becomes the first African American woman to receive a master's degree in social work.


Wanda Smith Hackney is the first African American to hold the position of class president of the Student Union and Vice President of the class of 1954.


Olive Lester becomes the first woman to chair an academic department when she took the helm of the the Department of Psychology in 1954.


Emily Webster becomes the first woman to receive the Samuel P. Capen Award, the highest award given to a UB Alumnus.

Barbara Sims becomes the first African American female to graduate from the School of Law. Later she would become the first African American female on the Law School faculty. In 1964 she became the first woman appointed as assistant district attorney and in 1977 she became the first woman appointed as a city court judge.

Georgia Mae McKnight and Veola Knowles Hawkes are the first African American women to bachelor's degrees in nursing from UB.

Pamela Gearhart and Alta Mayer are the first women appointed to the faculty of the Department of Music.

photos: Georgia McKnight and Veola Hawkes in the 1955 Buffalonian yearbook


Lillie Stephens is first African American female to graduate from the University at Buffalo with a degree in Physical Education.


Ella Conger GoodyearGoodyear Hall is dedicated. In 1960, the Goodyear family contributed $500,000 to the university's building program to honor the memory of Ella Conger Goodyear (1853-1940). Known for her philanthropies and interest in the arts, Goodyear was the mother of General Anson Conger Goodyear and the grandmother of George F. Goodyear. In 1912, she established the Charles W. Goodyear fund at the Albright Art Gallery in memory of her late husband. Goodyear frequently visited the White House during the Cleveland administration and was a lifelong friend of Carolyn Tripp Clement.

photo: Ella Conger Goodyear


First women's varsity athletic program is established at UB, swimming and diving.


Clement Hall, a women's residence hall, is dedicated on October 9th. Carolyn Tripp Clement was a distinguished community leader and philanthropist. She served on the University Council from 1920 until 1941 and donated her home at 786 Delaware to the American Red Cross.


Gertrude Kappel is the first woman to receive a master's degree in physics from UB.1


School of Information and Library Studies is established by the SUNY Board of Trustees on April 15th.

By 1966, UB had three intercollegiate women's athletic teams: Swimming and Diving, Volleyball, and Field Hockey.


Department of Computer Science is formed. Patricia Eberlein, the Department's first and only female chair, was among the original faculty members (and the only woman).

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is formed. Ann London Scott who formed the Buffalo chapter would go on to serve on served on NOW's Board of Directors (see University Archives collection, MS 60 for the papers of the Buffalo NOW chapter).


Mona Jean Easter is the first graduate of UB's library science program.


Doris Hsu is the first woman to graduate from UB with a degree in statistics.


Marjorie Girth was appointed to UB's faculty. She later became the first woman to receive tenure in the Law School.


Liz KennedyUB becomes a member of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW).

Rosalind Passwell becomes the first woman to graduate from the School of Architecture and Planning.

Elizabeth Kennedy teaches the first course on women's studies at UB.

View the finding aid for collection 34/5/1012, Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy Papers, 1961-1993 (bulk 1970-1993) -- finding aid available online

photo: Liz Kennedy speaking in 1982


Lillian Robinson and Ellen DuBois were the first women appointed to teach in the Women's Studies program.


Terry Gross in 19922003 Edward R. Murrow Awardee Terry Gross (Ed.M. 1975, B.A. 1972), host of NPR's nationally popular Fresh Air and UB alumna, begins her radio career at WBFO.

Rae Anne Hawkes and Liz Kennedy are the first UB women to receive the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

photo: Terry Gross in the studio, 1992


Gloria Steinem lectures at UB to audience of more than 2,000.


Author Maya Angelou speaks at UB during the fall semester.

Elizabeth "Betty" Dimmick becomes the first Women's Athletic Director.

Betsy Jolas is the first woman to be appointed the Slee Professor.


Mary TalbertTalbert Hall, named for Mary Burnett Talbert, a prominent African American Buffalonian, is completed.

Carol J. Bradley and Shirley Hesslein are the first UB women to receive the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Librarianship.

Patricia Colvard and Shirley Stout are the first UB women to receive the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

photo: Mary Talbert


Marian WhiteThe Marian E. White Anthropology Museum opens to the public. Dr. Marian White (1921-1975), a well-known archaeologist in New York State and professor of anthropology at UB, laid the groundwork for establishing a departmental museum in the 1960s. The collections in the museum are now one of the most complete extant collections of prehistoric artifacts and site records in Western New York.

The Nancy Welch Award is established in honor of Welch, a residential coordinator who played a key role in creating a sense of community among students when the Ellicott Complex was new. The Award is presented to students for organizing events that increase UB's level of community.

View the finding aid for collection 22/9F/422 Marian E. White Papers, 1934-1975 -- finding aid available online

photo: Marian White
(couresty of the Marian E. White Anthropology Museum)


Alice SleeSlee Hall on North Campus is completed. Alice Slee (1875-1956) and her husband Frederick were Buffalo music aficionados who gave the University a very large endowment to support the annual playing of Beethoven's complete works for string quartet.

Alice Slee was an honored member of the American Red Cross who was known for her flair in choosing hats. The Beethoven cycle was performed in 1955 by the renowned Budapest String Quartet, which performed it for the next eleven years.

photo: Alice Slee


Cornelia AllenBaird Hall, on UB's South Campus is renamed Cornelia Hopkins Allen Hall. A pioneer in the field of social work and in fostering camping opportunities for handicapped children, Allen (1896-1979) served on the faculty of the School of Social Work for 31 years.

Elizabeth Harvey served as the School of Social Work's first female dean from 1982-1983.

photo: Cornelia Allen


Ana Maria Hildalgo becomes the first full-time faculty appointment in Third World Women's Studies.


Bonita Hampton receives UB's first bachelor's degree in women's studies.

Judith Albino takes the post of Associate Provost, becoming UB's top woman administrator.

photo: Judith Albino in 1984


Feminist Scholarship: Kindling in the Groves of Academe is published by UB faculty colleagues Elizabeth Kennedy, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Lillian Robinson, and Gail Paradise Kelly.


Barbara von Wahlde Barbara von Wahlde becomes Associate Vice President for University Libraries having served as the Director of the University Libraries for one year.

Deborah D.L. Chung joins the faculty of the School of Engineering. She later became the first female engineer to earn the rank of full Professor.

photo: Barbara von Wahlde


Peggy Brooks-BertramGeraldine Ferraro, the first female Vice Presidential Candidate on a National Party Ticket, is one of the inaugural speakers of the Distinguished Speakers Series at UB.

The first Women Playwrights International (WPI) Conference is held at UB. The Buffalo conference brought together more than 200 women playwrights from over 30 countries around the world. UB faculty member, Peggy Brooks-Bertram's play, Dynasties of Kush, was selected to be included in this prestigious conference.

photo: Peggy Brooks-Bertram


Muriel A. Moore becomes the first female Vice President when President William Griener appoints her as Vice President for Public Service and Urban Affairs. She is now the president of Buffalo State College and the first feamle president in the SUNY system.

Well-known pop-artist, Marisol Escobar is awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.

Beverly Bishop and Joyce Sirianni become the first female faculty at UB to earn the rank of SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor.


Mary Bisson is the first woman to be promoted to the rank of full Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.


Nelson Townsend, Director of the Division of Athletics, announces at a Faculty Senate Executive Committee meeting that UB will add three women's intercollegiate sports -- crew, lacrosse, and softball -- over the course of the next two years. Doing so will increase the proportion of total athletic funding spent of women's sports to reflect the percentage of females in UB's student body as required by Title IX of the 1964 Civil Right's Act.

Philosophy doctorial candidate, Barbara Joseph Shircliffe submits her dissertation, "The History of a Student-Run Women's Studies Program, 1971-1985" which documents the early days of UB's Women's Studies (call number: Diss E32 1996 S55).


Uncrowned QueensUB faculty, Peggy Brooks-Bertram and Barbara Seals Nevergold begin the Uncrowned Queens: African American Community Builders of Western New York project. This important documentation project highlights the accomplishments of African American community builders of Western New York and includes many women who are affiliated with UB. On February 15, 2001 they launched their website and in 2002 and 2003 they published corresponding monographs in two volumes.

photo: Peggy Brooks-Bertram and Barbara Seals Nevergold with Curlane Jones-Brown at the Refuge Temple Plaza Book Signing (November 2003) image from the Uncrowned Queens website


Elizabeth CapaldiElizabeth D. Capaldi is appointed the first female provost on July 7th. While Provost, she is the highest ranking female at UB.

photo: Elizabeth Capaldi, c. 2002


Victoria BullVictoria S. Bull joins Victor E. Bull as one of UB's mascots. Although she was introduced at the "Rockin' Rally 2001" on August 24th, her first game appearance was August 30 at the football team's home opener against Rutgers.

photo: Victoria Bull (photo by Nancy J. Parisi)


Donald L. and Esther P. Davis receive the first Dr. Philip B. Wels Award, which is given to individuals and groups that have contributed to and advanced the University at Buffalo for a specific purpose, or served UB in a voluntary capacity for a significant period of time.

Seven of UB's nine women's sports programs are coached by female coaches, two times the national average.

The SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities is established. UB women, Susan Howe (2002) and Deborah D.L. Chung (2003), are among the first recipients.


Susan HoweSusan Howe becomes the first and only woman at UB to earn the rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor.

photo: Susan Howe

  1. Kappel contacted the Archives in March 2011 regarding this entry. She believes that she was not the first woman to receive a master's in physics from UB [a Tung-Sheng Chang (gender unknown) is listed in the February 1963 commencement program].