Women scholars and administrators contributed to CMC’s early success

Impact Stories

First Faculty: Women at the Men’s College

Women scholars and administrators contributed to CMC’s early success

Given the decidedly male nature of CMC in its early years, it is important to note the vital role played by women faculty and staff.

To her position as lecturer in Spanish, Bertha Ward—a Mount Holyoke graduate, her dignified demeanor ever suggestive of the Seven Sisters at a time when those colleges produced an outstanding array of women scholars—brought a wealth of experience in teaching abroad (Paris, Barcelona) and a mastery of Spanish perfected over a long residence in Latin America.

A graduate of Bryn Mawr, with a PhD from Radcliffe College, Alice Vandermeulen came to CMC after one year at Scripps, with teaching experience at Simmons and Wellesley and research experience with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Like her husband, she was an extremely tough grader. The Vandermeulens, in fact, were ferociously dedicated to upholding standards in the new institution through rigorous grading.

As registrar, Vivian Howes was the senior ranking woman on the administrative staff. Mary Simpson Pratt served as librarian, and Grace Montgomery was secretary to Benson. To run food service, Benson hired Angelyn Sampson, a graduate in home economics from Louisiana State University with a master’s degree in institution management from Columbia. As director of dormitories, Sampson also supervised the maintenance staff.