University of Iowa a first among firsts in women’s education Print
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Written by Hawkeye Caucus   
Monday, 02 April 2012 08:25

The theme for this year’s National Women’s History Month is “Women’s Education-Women’s Empowerment,” and the University of Iowa was among the first to recognize this connection.


  • In 1855, Iowa became the first public university in the country to admit women and men on an equal basis.
  • In 1873, it became the first public university in the United States to grant a law degree to a woman (Mary B. Hickey).
  • In 1907, the UI became home to the nation’s first female college newspaper editor.
  • In 1912, the UI graduated the first African American women, Letta (Cary) Bledsoe and Adah (Hyde) Johnson of Des Moines, from the College of Liberal Arts (now College of Liberal Arts & Sciences).
  • In 1941, Lulu Merle Johnson became the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. from an Iowa institution and among about a dozen black women in the nation to achieve such status at that time.
  • And in 1983, C. Vivian Stringer became the first African-American to coach a Big Ten women's basketball team.


Learn more about National Women’s History Month at the Website of the National Women’s History Project at
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