Wesleyan College: First For Women's Education

Wesleyan College: First For Women's Education

Melissa W.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we're highlighting women-centered colleges and campus organizations.

Founded in 1836 as Georgia Female College, Wesleyan College was the first college in the world established to grant degrees to women. It was created after local citizens alongside members of the Methodist Episcopal Church saw growing concern of the current limitations of higher education access for women. Upon opening their doors officially in 1839, Wesleyan was considered progressive for their liberal arts education centered around sciences. 

As stated on their website, “Wesleyan College is committed to women’s education and helping every student find a unique voice and purpose. As the first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women and shaped by Methodist values, Wesleyan provides students an academically challenging and relevant liberal arts education. Our diverse, inclusive community encourages creativity, innovation, and leadership so all graduates are prepared to thrive in a complex world.”

The college lives by what they consider “guiding principles” which are:

  • Academically challenging: We believe students succeed when they are challenged academically. Wesleyan’s dedicated faculty and staff offer individualized support to motivate students to achieve their potential.
  • Purposeful: We believe students thrive when they have a purpose and a clear vision of their goals. Wesleyan helps students define these goals and strategically plan for the future.
  • Inclusive: We believe all student voices are important. Wesleyan is diverse and inclusive, gaining strength from and celebrating the many ways we can learn from each other. 
  • Connected: We believe we gain strength from our connections to each other. Wesleyan encourages students to find their own places within a community and to contribute in meaningful ways. 

On top of being the first to specifically educate and grant degrees to women, Wesleyan College created some of the first American sororities: Adelphean Society (Alpha Delta Pi) and the Philomathean Society (Phi Mu), though the creation of additional social sororities was banned in 1914 after concerns they were having negative impacts on the campus community. They’re also home to the world’s largest alumnae association, established in 1859.

Since opening its doors, Wesleyan College has seen thousands of graduates, welcoming students from over 20 countries each year. They offer 29 degree programs, giving students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, or Bachelor of Science.

Are you a current student or alumni of Wesleyan College? Let us know in the comments!


Photo by Jasmine Coro on Unsplash

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