The First Women of F&M

Honoring the Class of 1973 and All the First Women of F&M

"The women - we affect each other. It is so important to know this. You can learn and you don’t always have to agree. Uniformity is not what it is all about. In your difference, you can still come together.”

- Mizan Kirby-Nunes '73

The story of the women of this College, most particularly those first women at F&M is at the core of Gamechangers.

The women who walked onto the campus in 1969, who were the first women to spend four years on a male-dominated campus, graduating in 1973, and all those women in those early years were the torchbearers for what came after. They created history. They set women, and men, on a trajectory. They changed everything! 

These women set the College on a path of inclusivity, these trailblazers changed academics, athletics, and student programming, they moved the College forward into the future. All women of F&M stand on the shoulders of the First Women at F&M. 

Explore programs celebrating 50 years of coeducation, view the stories of some of the women of F&M and share your story for the 50 years of coeducation time capsule.  

  • Students looking at a poster reading "We've Gone Co-Ed" Students looking at a poster reading "We've Gone Co-Ed" Image Credit: F&M Archives
  • In 1969, 182 years after the founding of the College, Franklin & Marshall accepted its first class of women. That fall, approximately 125 women, including 82 matriculating "freshwomen," joined the 1,850 enrolled male students. This poster was among a suite of material-including ads in TIME Magazine-encouraging women to apply for admission. In 1969, 182 years after the founding of the College, Franklin & Marshall accepted its first class of women. That fall, approximately 125 women, including 82 matriculating "freshwomen," joined the 1,850 enrolled male students. This poster was among a suite of material-including ads in TIME Magazine-encouraging women to apply for admission. Image Credit: Eric Forberger
  • Group of students beside a sign for registration, 1969 Group of students beside a sign for registration, 1969 Image Credit: F&M Archives
  • Image of three students at a table. No names are provided. Image of three students at a table. No names are provided. Image Credit: College Photographs Collection
  • "1/8/69 Lancaster, PA: A dozen students greet Susan Vanderzell, the first girl to apply for admission at 171-year-old Franklin and Marshall College, which will go co-ed next fall. About 50 girls are expected to enroll in September, and ultimately the ratio of the 1600-member student body will be about 12 to 1, just as it was in the group when Susan made campus history recently with her application for admission. UPI Telephoto" "1/8/69 Lancaster, PA: A dozen students greet Susan Vanderzell, the first girl to apply for admission at 171-year-old Franklin and Marshall College, which will go co-ed next fall. About 50 girls are expected to enroll in September, and ultimately the ratio of the 1600-member student body will be about 12 to 1, just as it was in the group when Susan made campus history recently with her application for admission. UPI Telephoto" Image Credit: F&M Digital Photographs Collection

Digital Time Capsule

Alumni who attended F&M between the years of 1969-1973 are invited to submit photos and memories to our digital time capsule! Help us capture your experience. 

Submit Memories Here

HERstory 

Story 6/16/2020

Celebrating 50 Years of Coeducation at Franklin & Marshall

Editor's note: The Coeducation Project was fully conceived and executed by Rosemary C. McDonough '76, P'11, P'18, in recognition of the historical significance of the coeducation of Franklin &...

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Story 10/11/2019

A Time of Ferment and Foment

Sue Washburn ’73 says F&M's first class of women wasn’t shy about demanding fair and equal treatment and access.

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“There was a stigma put on us almost immediately, and it was an interesting time until we broke the ice.” - Ellen Azrael

 

Overview: Celebrating Our Agents of Change

In 2019-20, the F&M community will come together to highlight individuals and events that have been responsible for paradigm shifts. Join us!

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Alma Mater's Daughters

Alma Mater's Daughters

This one-minute video clip is from a documentary celebrating Franklin & Marshall's 40th year as a coeducational institution (by film and dance students Ashley Lippolis and Heather van der Grinten, Class of 2009).  

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In Pictures: Coeducation at F&M

Browse a collection of images from the College's archives documenting coeducation at F&M. 

browse gallery

Reflections & Memories

50th Anniversary of Co-Ed: Sue Washburn, Sharon Stamm, Judy White, JoAnn Kahn
50th Anniversary of Co-Ed: Linda Geist Hiney and Ellen Azrael
50th Anniversary of Co-Ed: Sarah Musser Cavanaugh
50th Anniversary of Co-Ed: Susan Klehr
50th Anniversary of Co-Ed: Mizan Kirby-Nunes

Feminists

Story 8/26/2019

This is What A Feminist Looks Like

If you want to trace the rise of modern American feminism, you might well start with Alice Drum.  

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Alumnae Stories

Mary Haverstick ’82: From Geology To Filmmaking
Alumni Spotlight: Liz Watson (1998)
Alumni Documentary: Becky Fawcett ’92
Alumni Spotlight: Mary Kate Salko '01
Alumni Documentary: Nilaja Sun Gordon '96
Alumni Documentary: Mary Schapiro '77
Alumni Documentary: Mary Cabriele ’84
Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Waybright (2006)

TRUE BLUE Weekend
 October 25 - 27, 2019 

FINAL 50 Years of Coed
Phillips Museum of Art Celebrates 50 years of Coeducation 

Franklin & Marshall College admitted the first class of female students in the fall of 1969. Marking the 50th anniversary of co-education, the Museum is highlighting two alumnae artists from each decade since that historic day.   

Story 6/21/2019

50 Years: A Celebration of F&M’s Alumnae Artists

Rothman Gallery, September 3–December 6, 2019 

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Story 6/21/2019

Stitched Stories: Women’s Narratives in Regional Textiles

Gibson Gallery, September 3–December 6, 2019  

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