Celebrating 125 Years of Women at MIT 1873 —1998

McCormick Hall Opens

K. D. McCormich at the Dedication of McCormick Hall

Katharine D. McCormick '04 donated a women's dormitory in 1959, saying that: "I am particularly happy to be able to provide a dormitory on the Tech Campus...This has been my ambition for many years, but it had to await [the successful research on] the oral contraceptive for birth control."

In his 1960 President's Report, President Julius Stratton said:
[the dormitory is] an unprecedented opportunity to advance the professional development of our women students. Women have made substantial contributions to scientific and technical progress in the past... Women's potential for achievement in these fields represents one of the great latent resources of the country.

Mrs. McCormick opened Stanley McCormick Hall in 1964, thanking MIT for its "advanced policy of scientific education for women... gave me the opportunity to obtain the scientific training which has been of inestimable value ... throughout my life."

Mrs. McCormick left much of her wealth to MIT and many of her possessions to the women students when she passed away in 1967. Her endowment was valued at $51 million in 1997, the largest from an individual donor.

MIT committed itself to its women students. From this point on, MIT would welcome the many young women capable of excellence in science and engineering.

Until the Institute could commit itself to educating women in significant numbers, and could provide suitable living conditions, coeds were not overly 'successful.'... Before 1960 women entered MIT at their own risk. If they succeeded - fine! If they failed - well, no one had expected them to succeed...The class of 1964 entered in 1960 knowing that MIT believed in women students. It was the first class in which coeds... matched the proportion of BS degrees earned by their male classmates! (Dean Emily Wick, Proposal for a New Policy for Admission of Women Undergraduate Students, 1970)