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Then and Now

story-then-now.jpgPenn State University Archives

President James Calder first admitted women into the University in 1871, but they were not allowed to enroll in the College of Agriculture until forty years later. But women were already making an impact—teaching in the college as early as 1907. In 1912, Honora Frances Whalen became the first female student in an agriculture program.

The college's emphasis on preparing graduates for nonfarm careers, including teaching, research, sales, and food processing/distribution, combined with University-wide diversity initiatives, had a measurable impact on its gender composition. In 1930, there were only seven female agriculture undergraduates, but by 1960, that number had risen to 239. Today, female students make up nearly 50 percent of all undergraduate agriculture majors.

Penn State is dedicated to encouraging future generations of women and fostering opportunities for them in whatever career path they choose.