100 years of female education

Marquette became the first Catholic university to admit women in 1909, said Stephanie Quade, dean of students.

"That's really worth celebrating," said Quade, who is co-chairing the event's planning committee.,”

  • Marquette will celebrate 100 years of admitting women to the university in the fall.
  • There will be various speakers and events throughout the year related to women and other marginalized groups.
  • The centennial will focus both on the history of women at Marquette and what gains still need to be made.

Dedications, speakers and other events next school year will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Marquette University first admitting women.

In 1909, Marquette became the first Catholic university in the United States to admit women, said Stephanie Quade, dean of students.

"That's really worth celebrating," said Quade, a co-chair of the all-university centennial planning committee.

The dedication of the new sophomore dormitory, McCabe Hall, will be part of the celebration, Quade said. The hall is named after the Rev. James McCabe, who was president of Marquette at the time it started admitting women.

The newly formed Women and Gender Studies major, which will begin in the fall, will sponsor a series of lunch presentations where faculty members will present research related to gender studies, Quade said.

Beyond the residence hall dedication and lunch presentations, specific plans for centennial events are not certain, she said.

Rana Altenburg, vice president of the Office of Public Affairs and a co-chair of the planning committee, said all university departments have been encouraged to examine the lecturers they invite and see if there is a way to "highlight women researchers or women speakers."

The centennial's planning team established a fund to assist departments and organizations with bringing in speakers and planning events.

There will also be a Women's Centennial Week during the first full week of October, which will serve as a formal kickoff for all of the year's events, Quade said.

Freshmen will already be involved in the centennial celebration when they step on campus — this fall's freshman reading program book, "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi, was chosen partly because of its relation to women's issues, said Claire Anglim, a senior in the College of Communication.

The book follows a girl's struggles growing up in Iran at the time of the Islamic Revolution, said Anglim, a member of the centennial planning team.

Events related to the centennial will focus on the anniversary itself, as well as the ways various people — not just women — continue to be marginalized, Quade said.

The question that needs to be asked, Quade said, is, "Who's still waiting at the door?"

Altenburg agreed, saying it was important to know that the centennial celebration would not simply be a look at the past.

The centennial will examine "what's still left for us to do in the future" and "the issues we still have to look at as a university," Altenburg said.

The celebration will seek to engage not just current faculty and students, but also alumni, particularly women, Altenburg said.

The university plans on inviting some women alumni back to campus to receive awards, Anglim said.

"I'm really excited for it," she said. "I wish I was a student here next year."