Yale College’s ‘First Women’ gather on campus for a weekend of events

During tours, talks, dinners, and more, women from the first coed classes at Yale College reflected on their experience and its impact on women who followed.
Ceremony unveiling a commemorative stone on Old Campus for the first coed class at Yale.

(Photo credit: Mara Lavitt)

This past weekend, women from the first coed classes at Yale gathered on campus to celebrate 50 years of coeducation at Yale College, participating in tours and talks, film events, dedications, and dinners, and sharing memories of their undergraduate experiences as part of an ongoing Oral History Project. The series of events gave Yale alumnae the opportunity to reflect on what coeducation has meant for Yale, both for the 575 women who came to campus in 1969, and for subsequent generations of students.

On Sept. 21, the university dedicated a commemorative stone on Old Campus, just inside Phelps Gate in their honor. Addressing the alumnae in attendance, President Peter Salovey said: “This is not far from the spot where the first building of the Collegiate School, now called Yale, was raised over 300 years ago. In this place, rich with Yale history, we remember that every barrier broken is both an end and a beginning.” Elizabeth Alexander ’84 B.A., celebrated poet and president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, also spoke, saying: “We belong to an evolving entity that believes in the strong spine of certain traditions but also evolution. Yale has changed; you have helped change it; it will continue to change.”


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Media Contact

Brita Belli: brita.belli@yale.edu, 203-804-1911