In the spring of 1971, seven women walked across the Williams commencement stage to receive diplomas for the first time in the institution’s history. In the fall of 1971, the first four-year class of women and men arrived on campus.
Women of Williams Conference
Purple Prose Book Club & Author Talk
Williams @ Work – Distill the Data: How to Tell a Nonprofit’s Social Impact Story with Existing Resources and Effective Practices
Dwelling of the Gallant: Women of Williams
Celebrate the distinct experiences and impact of half a century of Williams Women in this collection of stories—and contribute your own "tweet-sized" reflection!
Send us 50 Words for 50 Years
We aspire to capture a representative look into the diverse and myriad experiences of the Women of Williams. Please offer your voice and perspective in this moment of recognition and celebration.
The College’s Transition to Co-education
The College only officially became a coeducational institution in the 1960s, though it allowed women to enroll in classes from time to time. The College officially opened its doors in 1793 with an undergraduate population of eighteen male students, but it would not confer a degree to a woman until Beatrice Wasserscheid graduated almost 140…
“Some Sort of Honor”
Band Director Fran Cardillo welcomed women to the band hoping they would consider being the first “some sort of honor.” For these three women it might have been an honor but mostly it was “just so much fun.”
First Female Athletes Reflect on Culture and Competition
The College’s first coeducational class in the fall of 1970 included approximately 95 women and about 1,250 men, and the first women’s athletic teams were formed alongside long-standing men’s teams. In this look back from the Williams Record, women spoke to the benefits and challenges that joining the athletic community posed.
‘Pioneer Williams women’
In this Williams Record feature, read about the lesser-known history of women learning at the College long before coeducation was ever on the horizon — women who studied alongside male students but did not receive degrees until years or decades later, if they received a degree at all.
Williams Women in Arts Leadership
Williams women who run museums and galleries discuss their experiences, their influences and the future of their organizations with Pamela Franks, Class of 1956 Director of WCMA.
‘Like an adventure’: The beginnings of coeducation, 50 years ago
This Williams Record article by Irene Loewenson and Kiara Royer follows Williams’ path to coeducation, women’s residential and social life, and experiences of sexism.
Breaking the Code
Three alumnae—Sarah Megan Thomas ’01, Hilary Klotz Steinman ’90 and Amy Butler Greenfield ’91—reveal the untold stories of female spies and codebreakers during World War II, in this Williams Magazine interview by Williams Spanish and comparative literature professor Soledad Fox Maura.
‘Freed by Title IX’
Coinciding with the College’s move towards coeducation, Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs including athletics, was passed in June 1972. Learn about the first official female varsity sports teams in this Williams Record feature by Kiara Royer ’24.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the graduation of the first women admitted to Williams as first-year students, Williams Magazine takes a look at the lives and the impact of these Ephs—one from each decade—and that of one of the newest additions to their ranks.
Early Days for One Woman at Williams, 1970-1973
As part of the Society of Alumni Bicentennial, Thomasin Jean Berry ’73 writes about her experience being among some of the first female students at Williams.
Bret Hairston ’21, an English major with a concentration in Africana studies, explores the subjectivity of Black women in their prose and poetry.
Giving Back Purposefully
After being diagnosed with cancer, Isa Catto ’87 found joy in meaningful giving alongside other Williams women.
How Did We Get Through?
Jackie Laughlin ’75 reflects on the ongoing work of building the Black legacy at Williams in this “Every Person Has a Story” narrative.
An American Tragedy
Jiayang Fan ’06 shares the double bind of being an Asian woman in this Williams Magazine excerpt adapted from her New Yorker magazine piece, “The Atlanta Shooting and the Dehumanizing of Asian Women,”
Hear the narratives and perspectives of Ephwomen across the decades in these recorded events celebrating Women of Williams.
Scroll down memory lane with a sampling of archival photographs and preserve your own as part of the Williams College Archives.