Mills College

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Short History

In 1852, two years after California was admitted to statehood, the Young Ladies’ Seminary in Benicia, California was established by nine citizens in what became the state capital. Cyrus and Susan Mills bought the Seminary in 1865 for $5,000, renamed it Mills College, and moved it in 1871 to its current 135-acre oasis. We invite you to take a virtual tour of our campus

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Oakland, California

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Mills encourages openness to experimentation in the context of established academic disciplines. Programs are designed to reflect the importance of global issues, provide an understanding of the natural world, and enhance opportunities for women in their developing roles throughout society. The curriculum combines traditional liberal arts with new educational initiatives that recognize the value of cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity.

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1852

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Simmons College

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Simmons College was founded in 1899 by Boston businessman John Simmons, who had a revolutionary idea — that women should be able to earn independent livelihoods and lead meaningful lives. It was this same spirit of inclusion and empowerment that produced the first African-American Simmons graduate in 1914, and made Simmons one of the only private colleges that did not impose admission quotas on Jewish students during the first half of the 1900s.

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Location

Boston, Massachusetts

Points of pride

At Simmons, we place students first. Our hands-on curriculum integrates intellectual leadership, career preparation, and community orientation, because all three approaches are necessary for success. We are proud of our welcoming, collaborative community that encourages dialogue, action, and respect—and that makes the Simmons experience as thoughtful as it is thought provoking.

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1899

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Barnard College

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When it was founded in 1889, Barnard was one of very few American colleges where women could receive the same challenging education as men did. The College was named after Frederick A.P. Barnard, then the 10th president of Columbia University, who fought unsuccessfully to admit women to Columbia.

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Location

New York, New York

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Barnard is a diverse intellectual community in a unique learning environment that provides the best of all worlds: small, intimate classes in a collaborative liberal arts setting dedicated to the advancement of women with the vast resources of Columbia University just steps away—in the heart of vibrant and electric New York City.

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Barnard College

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Smith College

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Smith College began more than 140 years ago in the mind and conscience of a New England woman. Sophia Smith, who inherited a large fortune at age 65, decided that leaving her inheritance to found a college for women was the best way to fulfill her moral obligation to provide an education for women equal to that available for men.

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Location

Northampton, Massachusetts

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At Smith, your individual exploration and education come first. The focus is on making the most of who you are and what you want to become. The world is your campus, preparing you to live, work, and lead across global borders.

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1875

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Wellesley College

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Wellesley College was founded in 1870 by Henry and Pauline Durant, who were passionate about the higher education of women. Wellesley’s first president, Ada Howard, and nearly all of the College’s early educators and administrators were women.

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Wellesley, Massachusetts

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Wellesley's motto is "Not to be ministered unto but to minister." Smart, serious women choose Wellesley because the college believes in making a difference; disciplined thinking; pragmatic leadership; valuing diversity; and service.

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Mount Holyoke College

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Chemist and educator Mary Lyon founded Mount Holyoke College (then called Mount Holyoke Female Seminary) in 1837, nearly a century before women gained the right to vote. As the first of the Seven Sisters—the female equivalent of the once predominantly male Ivy League—Mount Holyoke has led the way in women's education.

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Location

South Hadley, Massachusetts

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Mount Holyoke provides an intellectually adventurous education in the liberal arts and sciences through academic programs recognized internationally for their excellence and range. The college draws students from all backgrounds into an exceptionally diverse and inclusive learning community. The famous words of Mount Holyoke's founder Mary Lyon—"Go where no one else will go, do what no one else will do"—continue to inspire Mount Holyoke students.

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Bryn Mawr College

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When Bryn Mawr College opened its doors in 1885, it offered women a more ambitious academic program than any previously available to them in the United States. Other women's colleges existed, but Bryn Mawr was the first to offer graduate education through the Ph.D.—a signal of its founders' refusal to accept the limitations imposed on women's intellectual achievement at other institutions.

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Location

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

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A Bryn Mawr woman is defined by a rare combination of personal characteristics, which include an intense intellectual commitment, a purposeful vision of her life and a desire to make a meaningful contribution to the world. These attributes create a spirit that is palpable on campus.

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